Friday, June 22, 2012

A little at a time

I've found that pondering the scope of a project can prevent me from starting it.

Polish the stair railing, rewire the holiday deer, clean the ceiling fans, weed the yard. These chores were postponed indefinitely because the tasks from start to finish seemed overwhelming.

Polishing and dusting the stair railing.  That involves getting a rag, getting the Pledge, wiping down 70 stair posts, 5 newel posts, the base, and the banister.  The base is the worse.  It requires that you run your hand in between every single rail.  It would take an hour, maybe more.  I can always find something better to do for an hour.  But the railings were getting grungy.

It's hard for me to leave a task incomplete once I start it.  But I decided to break the tasks down into smaller chunks, to dedicate not an hour, but 15 minutes to a task.

Rather than tackle the whole stair railing, I cleaned the bottom section along the landing.  That was probably 15 rails at most.  The plan for the next day was the short section.  After that, the long section that had no newels. And finally the top landing.

Not surprisingly, when I started the second day, I was motivated to do the short and long section of the railing.  But not obligated.

And that seemed to make all the difference to my motivation.  I wasn't obligated to finish the task in one day.  I did my assignment.  And if I did more, well, that was extra credit.

I did the ceiling fans one room at a time.  I weeded one quarter of the yard, then allowed myself to move on to something else.  I broke the rewiring of the deer down to removing wire from one deer one day, rewiring one set of legs on another.

And it has been working.  Rather than lots of projects I have never started, I have projects in various phases of completion.  And they do get completed.

Which is really hard to accomplish if they never get started.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sign Under Test

As you may know by now, bad grammar and spelling bothers me.  I'm not perfect. But I strive to be.  And most of my work isn't in the public eye.

Every work day for the past couple weeks, I have driven past one of those digital highway signs, with a yellow and black sign affixed saying "Sign Under Test".

What does that even mean?  I know what they intend it to mean.  "Sign undergoing testing."  But that isn't what it says.

To me, it's a command to put my signature under the word "Test".  Or is it a command for ordering words in  reverse alphabetical order?  "Sign" goes under "Test".

Couldn't the sign have simply read "Sign Test:".  Short, succinct, and to the point.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Doggy play date

So my Angel has been understandably depressed since Peanut died.  Steve brought his dog, Lexi over for a play date.  I'm sure the visit helped Angel's mood, but it didn't help the leg that had had the knee surgery.  Although the surgery was over a year ago, she over-played and strained it. 

Angel, in the back, is chewing on a rawhide bone.  Lexi abandoned hers.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Backyard Hawk

There is a nesting pair of Harris Hawks in the electrical tower behind my house.  One of the pair decided to chill out in the tree just on the other side of my block wall.  My dog, Angel didn't appreciate the visit, but the hawk simply ignored her.  It also ignored me and my camera until I got too close.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Glass isn't as fragile as you think

Glass - very brittle, very fragile.  Yes?  Not necessarily.

Glass is very brittle.  And it cannot be flexed.  But it is stronger than you would think.

My Marlie portrait was hung via a screw through the chain.  So when the connector broke, the portrait didn't fall.  I took it down and soldered on a new eyelet.  I reattached the same brass chain.

I screwed through the chain, as before.

And the chain split.

The portrait went crashing down, first hitting the window sill, the sliding behind the upholstered bench to land on edge on the tile floor.

Unbroken.  Uncracked.

How hard did it hit?  Well, this is the damage done to the drywall, exposing the tin beneath it.  What doesn't show well in this photo is that the tin underlay is dented.

And this is the undamaged portrait.

I was surprised, and grateful 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bunny with a death wish

I took a picture of this bunny in the back yard enjoying the grass.  It's been a few years since I've seen a bunny in the back yard.  My yard is enclosed in a block wall, but there are 3 gates.

At first I thought the bunny was attracted by the grass, but a second visit suggested the real draw might be the water.  It drank for several minutes.  For a desert bunny, water can be a big deal.

Both times, the camera flash scared it off before Angel saw it. Although I don't know if Angel would have been able to catch it.

 Bunnies are pretty fast.
He seemed to be looking right at me.  
Ground level bird bath used mostly by Inca Doves

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Weeds allowed to flower

The association recently contracted with a landscaping company whose first instinct isn't to eradicate every plant that pops up in the retention basin.

Which is how I discovered some of these plants had interesting flowers.  I have no idea what they are.  I have several bird books, but the only plant guide I had didn't show these.  Still, I think they are pretty.

Pretty, gray, fuzzy flowers.

Lots of these plants grew in the basin when left alone. 

Yellow flowers seems to be the most prevalent.

Nasty, thorny plant, with a big pretty flower. 

I'm hoping that in a couple years, if we get some decent monsoon rains, the retention basin will become a wildflower oasis.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Graffiti can be art, can't it.

My house backs up against a retention basin.  For those who may not know, a retention basin is a water run-off area.  Arizona may not get much rain, but it gets it all at once.

Anyway, the block wall bordering the basin occasionally attracts vandals who leave ugly, sometimes obscene, graffiti marring the walls.

Only not all graffiti is ugly.  I saw this yesterday and kind of like it.

Unfortunately, it will probably get painted over like regular graffiti.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Outpouring of support, actual and virtual

When Peanut died suddenly, I posted her RIP here and on Facebook.  And the outpouring of support and condolences has helped a lot. 

So many of my friends I communicate with now solely via Facebook.  But they all chimed in with their sympathies.  They are my friends.  They know my dogs aren't "just dogs".  My dogs are my family.  

The people I see in the real, not virtual, world, gave me their sympathies and an ear.  I got texts.  I got phone calls.  I got sympathy cards.  

And I got hugs.  

And every one of those helped me with my grief.  

Thank you. 

Police activity isn't conducive to sleep

I had only been asleep about 30 minutes when the doorbell rang (just after 9:30).  I got up and there was no one there.  But a police car was parked on the street.  I opened the door, stepped outside, and a policeman was walking up to my neighbor's door.

Seeing me, he came over to me and said there had been an attempted sexual assault down the street, the suspect escaped into the retention basin, and could he look over my back wall.

I did him one better.  I put my shoes on, grabbed the gate key, and I let him out into the retention basin.  He said I didn’t need to wait for him, but I told him I wanted to make sure the gate was locked back up.

I watched over the wall while he scoped out the area to the east of me.  I was amazed at the range and intensity his flashlight had.  When the helicopter came back from being refueled, it took over the search with its infrared scanners. I let the policeman back out the front gate and locked up.

When I went inside, I realized the front door had been unattended while I was outside.  I searched every room in the house to make sure no one had hidden themselves inside.  I put the bar stool in front of the doggy door so it would fall over if anyone tried to get in.

Not surprisingly, the sound of the helicopter and the news of the assault did not make it conducive to getting back to sleep.  For the first time in 14 years, I felt unsafe.  I turned on the lamp to play more Palm games, but felt exposed by the interior light.  I didn’t need the light on to play solitaire anyway.

I played only a couple games.  I looked out over the retention basin a couple times from the bedroom window, watching the searchlight scan the area .  I checked from the studio window to see if the police car was still out front.  It finally moved away around 10:30.

Despite that, I couldn’t sleep.  I change positions in the bed about 15 times, even moving to the foot of the bed.  I laid on the floor for a bit.  I petted Angel multiple times.

I hung from the inversion table for a few minutes.  I wondered if Angel would bark if someone broke into the house.  I took some aspirin.

I finally got back to sleep a little before 11:30.  And still woke up before 5.