Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Called to report but not selected for the jury, whew. The judge was pretty charming but the whole experience was stressful. I have to check the message tonight to see if I'm called for Wednesday. If not, then done.

We finished watching Game of Thrones, season three and took the DVDs back to the library for the next patient cheapskate. It was good, seemed more consistently dramatic than season two. We ff'd through some of Jon and Ygritte, the torture of Theon (gah) and all of Sam and Gilly. I don't mind the Babes in the Woods but Nod couldn't stand 'em. Diana Rigg as the Tyrell grand dame was the best. And Davos (new reader and conscience for King Stannis) is now my favorite character. I wonder if the discs for season four will be out by xmas... Here's a good wiki for reference and looking up the umpty-hundreds of characters. And here's the Guardian's episode recaps.

Little dogs are doing well. They aren't much trouble but I feel the pressure of being on call. Snickers thinks they're great and they don't mind her much. We went to the fenced yard at the Humane Society last night. The hounds sniffed and trotted around. Not much exercise but at least some unfettered outside time. Kat was in charge of keeping the littles behind the sunshade so they wouldn't jump on me while I was driving.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Important Books

In keeping with my goals of laughing and reading, this is very important news to share.
The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize was launched in 2000, in honour of the great comic writer P G Wodehouse... 
Sponsored by Champagne Bollinger, the prize is the UK’s only literary award for comic writing, celebrating the novels that have really made people laugh in the past year. 

The 2013 prize was awarded to Howard Jacobson's Zoo Time. Previous winners include: Sir Terry Pratchett for his 50th novel, Snuff; Gary Shteyngart for his novel Super Sad True Love Story; Ian McEwan’s Solar; Geoff Dyer’s Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; The Butt by Will Self; Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday; All Fun and Games until Somebody Loses an Eye by Christopher Brookmyre; A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian by Marina Lewycka (which went on to be shortlisted for the Orange Prize); DBC Pierre for Vernon God Little (who went on to win the Man Booker Prize for Fiction), Howard Jacobson’s The Mighty Waltzer, Jonathan Coe for The Rotters’ Club, Michael Frayn for Spies and Jasper Fforde’s The Well of Lost Plots.
I approve of the champagne prize, that is very apt and very Wooster-ish. I suppose having a purebred pig named for your novel is also in the PGW spirit, but perhaps a little too on the nose? I must read my way through these. I had Super Sad on my to-read list. I've read Snuff and The Well of Lost Plots and am no doubt better for them.

Currently I'm oaring my way through Without A Summer. It's been a bit more effort than the previous two. Too much family politics, I'm wondering where the glamour is? I will try to reserve judgement until I finish it.

This week has taken guts and fortitude. I think I'm on the downhill side but must keep my eyes open. Girl Scout day camp starts at 8:45 and ends at 3:
{record scratch} {sound of me running to pick up Bun 20 minutes later than usual}

That'll teach me to turn off my calendar reminders. At least I was only 3 minutes driving from the scout camp when they called me to inquire. Bun was with friends and was not distressed. I will take what cold comfort I can that there were still two girls waiting for pick up when we left. 

As I was saying, this week has had it all: day camp, Kat taking the city bus solo for the first time, jazz band class, two softball games, music lessons, jury duty, applying for a new job. I'm not done yet! Caring for three extra dogs starts tomorrow morning. I was not called for jury service this week thank cheeses, but I have to call Friday evening to see about Monday's trials. Jury duty goes through next week. Dog duty goes until mid July. I just looked up the Humane Society's hours so we can use their fenced yard to run the dogs in the evenings. 

I have a loose button hole on my blouse and have to keep re-buttoning today. I need to take a couple of stitches to lessen the sloppy gap threat. I haven't needed any coffee for the past few mornings because my adrenaline level was Elevated. Tomorrow is the last of day camp and my application is in so I'd like to step down from Red Alert. But we start with the doggies tomorrow and what if I forget something? 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mountains to scale

I was invited to apply for a job in another team. It was very flattering to be asked. I had to find a way to politely demur because it happened a couple of days before we left for Greece and I had no brain cells for applying then. But as sometimes happens, the posting was delayed and it has just gone up. The deadline is next Thursday to get my resume, letter, and personal references submitted. I will need to tell my manager that I am doing this after all. We had talked about me cross-training for this team in the future. But I'm interested in applying and seeing what they offer. The original post included a salary range that started above mine. Now it's been updated to read 'salary commensurate with experience' which is a load of crap because this is a state agency with very narrow resources we're talking about. I think it'll be more money than I make now and I will certainly turn them down flat if it is not.

This position is what the educational technologists were doing in the office I started working in back in 2006. I will have to learn how to lead a workshop and many other things. I am sure I can do the phone support and deskside coaching part. I wonder if it will make me feel more stressed than this job. I am going to read the description out loud to myself to gauge my reactions.

I saw a clip of a tv show about Garrison Keillor. He was talking to (college students?) about writing and said something like -- we don't know what we think until we write it. That's part of my sporadic need to write here.

Good-as-full moon last night rising over the ball fields. Both girls are fielding and hitting well. Nod said something about Bun needing to run faster. But considering her relaxed approach to life I think it's a bit amazing that she runs at all. Both of them seem to enjoy this summer softball routine very much. Kat is aging out, this is her last year for city rec league. She may be ready for something tougher next year. As her parent I don't know if I am. I don't know what the options are to get her signed up and I don't know if I'm ready for more intense practices, etc. Stop borrowing trouble, save those worries for next year.

Lots of places to be for the kids next week. Kat will be in music class at the high school. She'll get to ride the city bus and it should provide some spice to her summer doldrums. I think she's getting testy with all this time off. Bun will be at girl scout day camp which will require some drop off time jigging by me. Which reminds me I need to tell my manager about that too.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Box Elder's photo collage for May reminds me that the month is over. I miss it! It was wonderful and I wish it had gone a little slower.

I am very sorry for the death of the bird trapped in the lantern that fell on our porch while we were away. I didn't see any of the young ones in the tumble of the nest but couldn't bear to look very closely. Sometimes existence is revolting.

It poured rain yesterday afternoon and all night and this morning. So far nothing's floated away. I baked cornbread and we ate it with our Cretan honey. I discovered again that cornbread is the most delicious when it's first made. I also made colcannon with potatoes and many leaves from our garden. It was good and really cried out for some bacon on top. Wish I'd had some.

Kat dyed her hair crayon red on Saturday afternoon. I kept being startled when I caught a glimpse of her in my peripheral vision. She asked if I liked it. I said I prefer the color that grows out of her head but that I was glad she was having fun. She and friend B went to The Fault In Our Stars last night. They said it was good and sad. I still haven't finished the ebook that I started last November. I regretted agreeing to be the parental chauffeur last night as it was pouring down both ways. I almost hit a pedestrian backing up in the parking lot. But we all got home safe so that means I win.

Friday, June 6, 2014


Back again to the place that we know. The smells are all different and welcome. There's been plenty of rain in Kansas while we've been away and the plants are doing their thing with verve. Giant chard and kale leaves in the garden. The dog loved being with our neighbor so much she tried to go to their home last night and I had to get a leash to get her.

Bun enjoyed her first ever swim at the ocean beach. Both kids loved playing in the waves and chasing the reef fish around. The day we went to Kommos beach the swells were higher and it was exciting but also a little terrifying at least for the parents. The girls loved it. We jumped in those big waves for about 45 minutes and then opted for the more sheltered cove at Matala beach. Death defying drive on cliffside road to BungaBunga. Too much like nightmares I've had of driving off the edge. Nod insisted on beach time for the first four days of our visit. He was worried about the weather shifting and it being too cold. I thought this was baseless anxiety but it happened just that way. The winds came up and there was unseasonable rain and we were happy to have gotten to the beach as much as we did to start.

My MIL was a hearty traveler and didn't have any trouble with the demanding schedule. She did manage to break the washing machine at our villa. Nod snapped into motion and we went down to Tymbaki to the gas station for directions to a hardware store. Exotic Cretan screwdrivers in hand he worked and swore and fixed the thing. Embarrassing and expensive confession averted!

My favorite times include the mountain hike we took in the Rouvas Gorge. The air smelled like thyme and sage and pine trees. Very few other hikers. Goats with bells. Kat said she was the goat paparazzi and has the pictures to prove it.

Our villa hosts were so helpful, generous and kind I felt incredibly in their debt and Nod had to remind me that we did have a financial relationship. The villa was old stone and stucco, thick walls with iron bars and shutters to keep out the afternoon heat.

To start our European visit, Bun threw up after our overnight flight while we trudged around Dusseldorf. She and Kat slept on the flight to Heraklion. And she was fine the next day. Sadly she started off the trek homeward with a spate of barfing too. She was done by the time we touched down at the Athens airport.

I owe the Athens airport a big apology. I had heard it was chaotic and unpleasant but no, that would be the Heraklion airport at 9am on a Sunday morning when the European package tours are all scrumming for their return flights. We stood and gaped and had no idea where to go to even check in. The surging humanity was everywhere. Nod zipped around and got a Swiss tour leader to tell him where we should head. Got our luggage checked through and our boarding passes. Then we joined the huge line for passport control. It took the hour that we had before the flight. After throwing up a bit, Bun mostly sat out with her grandma and played Smurfs while we snaked oh-so-slowly towards the One Solitary Person who was checking passports and boarding passes. It was the very definition of bottleneck.

We got off the plane in Athens and we were suddenly in a luxury mall and a little under-dressed. Those of us who were eating ate our bread and cheese and lightly squashed strawberries.

Another favorite episode was our hotel breakfast in Vienna. Many different coffee options, eggs and b., sausage, little dishes for jam, aaahhhh. The Teutonic peoples know how to breakfast. Lufthansa is still trusting their customers with metal cutlery, fork, spoon and knife.