Friday, August 25, 2017

Isn't this pretty?

I have no idea what it is, but I love the flowers on it this time of year.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Do you remember Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom? I used to watch that show when I was a kid, and loved it. Lately, though, I’ve been feeling like I could make my own wild kingdom show.

Leawood as nature preserve?
I live in an inner suburb—inside the I-435 loop, with medium-size yards and fairly busy streets. But you wouldn’t know that by all the wild life I see on my runs. You’d think I was running in the exurbs or in a natural preserve or something.

I wrote about encountering several raccoons on a run, and I’ve mentioned the crazy numbers of bunnies, squirrels and birds I see. I thought I'd also written about seeing a coyote a couple of times last year (pretty sure it was the same animal, and not a second, different one), but it looks like I only mentioned it on Facebook. That was pretty cool, to be honest.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve run past a gigantic owl on the ground in someone’s yard—it immediately took off and I could not believe how big the wing span was. I hear another owl at a different point on my daily runs, and after having seen the one that took off, I sure hope I never encounter the hooting one up close and personal.

Then there’s the opossum I saw early one Sunday morning shambling from someone’s yard and across the street (I silently urged it to hurry up). That same week, I came pretty close to yet another raccoon that immediately turned tail and ran into the nearest storm drain.

And one morning, as I left the house I saw what I thought was a small leaf twirling in the breeze. Only there was no breeze and it wasn’t a leaf. It was a mouse turning counter clockwise circles as though it could not stop. I have no idea what that was about, and I was pretty glad it was gone when I finished my run.

This morning, I turned on our porch light and stepped out the front door only to encounter an opossum on the front port about three feet from me. I stopped, it stopped, blinked, turned around and hurried off the porch and into our front yard, then started climbing the pine tree at the end of our front porch.

I like critters, I just wish some of these wouldn't get quite so close.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


When we lost power July 22, of course we also had no AC. We’ve got curtains and/or blinds on the bedroom windows, but by design have never put any in the living room. Our fireplace is flanked by floor to ceiling windows that look out into our (no thanks to us) gorgeous back yard. We love that view and also like the views from the patio door, and the other two more typical windows in that room.

Except we get full sun on the east window and a lot of sun through our west-facing patio door. For those 53 hours, that solar heat was awful. About midday on the first day, I tacked up some beach towels and fabric to block the sun. My make-shift solution worked, even if it was ugly as all get out.

Two weeks ago, we picked up some curtains at IKEA (do we ever shop anywhere else for home goods? No, no we don’t), but only for the patio door and the east window. We’d thought we could leave the other, normal window uncovered but honestly it looked like we forgot something.

Last weekend, we went back and got another pair of curtains, and two matching pillows for the couch. Those pillows hadn’t been there the previous week—and I’m not sure if you can see in this photo, but the flowers and stuff are also embroidered. I think that’s why Wally adores the pillow.

Today, I decided that our kitchen window, the one over our sink, also looked bare. But as with our flanking windows, I didn’t want to obscure the view into the backyard. So I made a simple valance, and now everything looks planned, cohesive and complete.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

I’m not doing that again

I prefer a very firm feather pillow—I’m a side sleeper so I want my neck in a straight line. I don’t care for foam or those weird memory foam pillow, I’m Team Feather all the way.

Unfortunately, I appear to be in the minority in terms of how firm I like my pillow. I’ve found exactly one pillow that was firm enough from the start; I bought it in Boston in 2008 and could not believe how perfect it was. Over the years, of course, it compressed and got flatter, so I sewed a seam about four inches in from the end so that the feathers got mooshed together more. Finally, though, I admitted defeat and gave the pillow to Kent (who likes firmer pillows but not as firm as I do).

I’ve looked ever since, tried a few that didn't work and ended up as pillows in the guest room. I finally ended up with IKEA’s version of a firm down pillow. It wasn’t firm enough, so I started with the sewn seam trick, and it did OK.

But I’ve always wondered if I could take feathers from one pillow and overstuff another one to get the pillow I really want.

Today, I gave it a try.

If you've ever worked with feathers, I'm sure you are already shaking your head and saying "oh no." I haven't worked with down or feathers before, and I’m confident I probably never will again. That down went everywhere! I’d started the pillow stuffing process in the house but pretty quickly moved to the garage because feathers and down were flying everywhere!

I got it done (I didn't want to have made that giant mess for nothing), and I've got a firmer pillow, although I haven’t tried sleeping with it yet. I sure hope this worked, although I’m not sure what I’ll do next time.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I cannot believe it's August

Which means it's also time for surprise lilies. I love them.