Monday, May 30, 2011

Music Monday: You Spin Me Right Round

This one is near and dear to my heart, Dead or Alive You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record)

 My dance/hip-hop offering is flo-rida featuring ke$ha. I like this and the various House remixes.

*This Music Monday is brought to you by bad drivers everywhere.

I live very near a golf course, which hosts an annual tournament. Let me clear from the outset. I love this golf tournament. It brings in an amazing amount of tax revenue for my city and the surrounding community. People visiting also frequent a number of the locally owned businesses in my area, giving them the shot in the arm they need, as we head into a slower summer season. It also encourages residents and neighborhoods to keep their entrances neat, their lawns tidy and beautified. When your neighborhood might be on national TV it makes sense to spend some money and sweat equity and plant some pretty flowers and pull some weeds.

All good! This is all very, very good and exactly what communities need to encourage.

That said, my community seems to have a higher than usual number of traffic round-a-bouts. The residents of my town have a higher than average amount of difficulty driving through the traffic round-a-bout, visitors from far away, well they seem baffled, bemused and straight out confused and confounded. This makes me very edgy. The concept is so simple and I will be the first to admit, I am not the greatest driver in the world but even I get the concept of the round-a-bout as an intersection management tool. It is so simple... one yields until it is clear on the left. It is really that simple.

Take a look. This simple guide prepared by my community explains it so well.

For those drivers too lazy to click through, I will highlight these simple tips, which should improve your ability to drive safely in the round-a-bout and will prevent me from wanting to hit you, as you break the rules and feel self congratulatory about it.

Rules of the Road
  • Slow down when approaching a roundabout. 
THIS MEANS YOU SLOW DOWN. Hit the brake as needed. You cannot just sail into the round a bout like you own the road - you don't.
  • Yield. All entering vehicles must yield to circulating traffic in the roundabout. Look to the left for circulating traffic and enter when it is safe. 

THIS MEANS IF I AM IN THE ROUND-A-BOUT I AM NOT GOING TO STOP. I just don't have to stop, even if you speed into the round about, knowing full well I am there, you saw me to the left. You will get rear ended. Simple as that - you will be responsible for halting the traffic in the round-a-bout and everyone will know it is because you did not know how to YIELD. Yes we will laugh at you.
  • Choose your lane upon entering the roundabout based on your desired exit or destination:
    • The right lane is for straight-through movements or right turns.
    • The left lane is for straight-through movements, left turns or U-turns. 
  • Do not change lanes. Maintain your lane position until exiting the roundabout. 

This means that lane surfing, while fun is not allowed. Know where you are going. The GPS will tell you to take the 1, 2, 3 exit from the round-a-bout, or something similar. Most round-a-bouts in my area are not big enough to accommodate a lane change, if you are in the wrong lane, just go around.  

Please also note, while U-tunes are generally not allowed, with a round-a-bout they are allowed, you can use the round-a-bout to turn around and go back the way you came.

So please, slow down as you approach the round-a-bout, realize that the traffic which concerns you is now to your left, look left, if nothing is coming, go for it and no even though I know you want you, you are not allowed to drive in both lanes of the round about, no drifting or lane changes allowed.

Also, the crosswalks, which might be near the round-a-bouts, the people in the cross walk, waiting to enter the crosswalk, as you speed pass them - they have the right of way.

Also, while it should be obvious, no turn signal is required. You aren't turning, you are going around, like a record...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dusk in the Yarden

I braved the early part of what could be an energetic storm, to capture some pictures of the newest addition to our yarden and some of the fresh blooms. This gorgeous rust colored Iris is from a neighbor. She posted to the neighborhood's facebook page, that she had iris to share and I have admired this rusty gem all season, so naturally I talked H into walking over and digging one up. You are suppose to wait til late summer, early fall to split these, but it naturally split as H dug it up, so that is how it goes. We had this empty spot, just begging for something beautiful.

 Such a lovely burst of color, don't you think?
 Peas! I am going to have peas this year.
 The lettuce is coming along also, it is shady here, so it grows slowly.
 I have had this chive plant since college. It has moved as we have moved.
 Thus far my porch box is doing very well. I love the purple basil, so beautiful and flavorful too.
This is E's. He grew it at school. We think it might be a pepper plant. Whatever it is, it is growing like a weed.
 Our newest wind chime. I love the color and the music isn't bad either.
 This afternoon, the yellow blossoms were all open and it was beautiful, I guess the blooms sleep while the sun sleeps too!
 Peony. I just love them but the blooms get pretty beaten up by a hard rain, so I rushed to document these beauties before the rain came.

 The white one is suffering a bit, too close to the radon pump, so I am going to move it somewhere else, the question is where... I keep threatening to dig up some grass and make another flower bed, filling it with peony, only they last for such a short period of time and while the plant is pretty, it is boring without the blossoms. I suspect I could pair them with something, but I am just not sure. In any case, the white one will be moved this season, before it dies.
 My iris, still looking beautiful, and the only flower in bloom in our front flower beds.
 This bush like plant, blooms yellow. It lasts most of late June and nearly all of July. We moved it from our other house and it has slowly taken over. I am going to have to split it this year, as it has spread into the iris.

 Stormy skies.

 Last year the deer or something munched these to the ground. This year they have bloomed an especially deep pink. Some ended up being double headed.

A pretty pink volunteer snap dragon. I planted snap dragons here last year. If you don't pull them out at the end of the summer, sometimes you get some to return.

If you want some violets, please do stop by, I have them everywhere and would love to share.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Music Monday: Steve Miller Band - Jet Airliner & Far East Movement - G6

Steve Miller Band - Jet Airliner
 Far East Movement - G6

As most of my readers know, H is a commercial airline pilot. He flies for a very large and growing regional carrier. He is based here but for awhile, was in NYC. His first airline job, had him based in Detroit.

H was not in the military, he learned slowly and over a few years, following the FAA program for flight training. Most airports, large or small, have an FBO, fixed base of operations, and typically there is a flight school on site. When L was about 1 years old, he went to Atlanta to finish up his flight certifications and between that time and when E came along, H was a flight instructor, building his hours and his experience.

While I was pregnant with E, H decided, after much soul searching that in the air was where he wanted to be. This was no surprise to me, but he did weigh the costs, his career choice is not without costs. We all pay them, the children, me and H.

E was born and H left for two months, which morphed into 3 months of training in Memphis. The airline he went to work for was cheap and worked them like dogs during the training process. H came home once, maybe twice. If I had not had some family support and the women of my Moms group had not helped me in the early weeks, I am not sure we would have made it. A toddler and a newborn is alot to manage solo.

Manage we did.

Then about two years later, H switched to the airline he is with now, first as a First Officer and then upgrading to Captain fairly quickly.

His schedule is ever changing. Basically he works 15-18 days a month. The thing is when he is working, he isn't home. He can be gone just overnight, two nights, three nights, four nights and sometimes even 5 nights. Then he will be home for a few, maybe 2-3 days.

My MIL was not happy with his career path. Not one little bit. She gave him such a hard way to go. She would fuss every chance she got. Me on the other hand, I want him to happy. I had a job, that while I was successful and will even say I was good at, I did not love it, it wasn't what I wanted to be when I grew up, I took it at a time I needed a job and I will honestly say I stayed for the money, it was good money and soul leeching.

H loves flying. He is happy flying, he might not always agree with his employer's management practices and he has a few choice things to say about airlines in general, but at the end of the day, when he is at the end of the runway, waiting for clearance to take off, and then he starts that plane down the runway, he still feels the rush. Think about it. He is going to take that airplane off the ground. That is powerful stuff. Who gets to do that? I mean, really think about it. Or when he lands just so, "greases" the landing as he says. He is still critical of his landings, he has landed a plane so many times and still it matters, the quality of the landing.

I love to hear him talk about his flying. He is a great pilot. No hotdogging. He knows his limits. He respects the limits of the airplane he is commanding. When he started out in a Cessna 172 - the pre-flight could stretch for hours it felt like, but I was never once afraid. He knew what he was doing. We owned a Piper Seminole for awhile. That plane was a gas guzzler but fun, a twin engine. We went to FLA more than once. We had some issues over the years, but H kept his cool and I am here to tell those stories.

One of H's favorite things to say about flying, really I think sums it up for me.

Take off is optional, landing is mandatory.

And that is so true, reminds me something he used to say, when he was really considering his career options:

Better to be on the ground, wishing you were in the air, than in the air wishing you were on the ground.

The reality is H is happy in the air. His office is at 35,000 feet. He wouldn't be happy anywhere else.

So when I have days like Saturday, when I spend the entire day,driving in circles, in crazy traffic, so the kids can each be at an event which is important to them, I may be somewhat crabby, but in the end, I know H has a job he loves and the reality is how many of us can say that? How many of us get a rush sitting at our desks.  I know that is what keeps him going, that rush as the plane leaves the ground.

While I was pregnant with L, H's mom drug out the toys she had saved from H's childhood. With the except of maybe three cars, this box was overflowing with airplanes. All sorts of airplanes, big ones, small ones, ones H had rebranded with model paint. (H had even taken me to Hopkins as one of our first dates in Cleveland.)

I looked at her and said, "And you don't get why he wants to be a pilot? Really?"

I get it - I get it and as long as he loves it, gets that rush, I will do what it takes, to see that our house doesn't implode while he is away. I am really a single mother with husband, as I like to say, but at the end of the day, that husband loves his job and that, thus far has worked for me.

A note about the music - I like both these songs. E particularly likes the Steve Miller Band song. The other, well it is funny, H has on a few occasions said, such and such a plane is "sexy." When the G6 song came to being H was a bit shocked I think -to hear a song about an airplane, by a non-pilot anyway. A G6, I was told by H is a Gulfstream 6 - and it is a SEXY, very sexy private jet.

So as the summer draws near and we have survived another school year, where H is here for some events but absent from others, it is good to know that he really does have the best of both worlds, a job he loves and a family who loves him enough, to understand, that when he is in the air, he isn't that far away really.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Amazing how the time passes in...

the yarden. We have had buckets and buckets of rain, and in my opinion, not nearly enough sun, but the yarden and its bounty marches onward. We in that lull between early spring flowers and late spring, early summer flowers. Everything is lush and green.

 E and I planted marigolds and some other flower in the porch boxes. These poor guys normally have to endure an amazing amount of sun, but this week, they have been misted daily. We planted last Saturday.
 My beautiful Iris. This is the most blooms we have ever had.

 My mother in law, when E was a baby engaged in some clandestine planting. She brought the Iris from her yarden to our, putting it in a bare spot in our front flower beds. It has slowly grown and taken over that section. I love the Iris and this one is especially pretty and purple.
 This will eventually bloom yellow. The deer don't eat it and it is hardy.

 I invested in this over the rail flower box. I am testing out some purple basil and some other little vine like plant. E and L picked the flowers. If this works, I likely will buy another flower box or two.
 My herbs. The catnip seeds are slowly sprouting on the left side of the planter.
 Peas. I am hopeful for peas in a few weeks to a month.
 What is left of the lily of the valley.
 My pink daisy is so big this year and the lilies on the right. Last year they were munched to the ground by deer or other animals, but not this year.

 I planted glades this year - the bulbs are already sprouting. I am so hopeful for some beautiful glades this summer.

 The lambs ear. Soon it will bloom purple and attract a ton of bees.
 L put this together. She likes the colors. I told her it is her pot and she will have to water it, once the rainy season is over.
See, aren't they beyond lovely. They bloom now, after the riot of tulips and daffodils. Smart Iris, bloom at a time when the others are fading or not out yet!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Music Monday: Duran Duran - Notorious

It would seem we are about to enter another election season - do we really ever get out of that cycle - and I have been thinking about what it means to be known, to be a household name, to be celebrated, to be a celebrity, to be a manageable commodity. Is the flip side then, notorious - the unmanageable celebrity?

About 10 years ago, I saw Walter Cronkite speak at the Franklin Park Conservatory. It was before the fundraiser masquerade ball. There was something about that generation of journalists. I think now, we haven't many solid journalists among us. We have TV personalities. We have pundits, we have news readers, who are reading from scripts written by people we do not know, I think the true investigative, independent journalist went the way of the dinosaurs.

I don't watch the news, something my grandparents did regularly. My family does not watch the Nightly News. In fact, other than a quick glance at the NY Times or whatever paper H brings home from his travels, I don't read the news either. I have decided if it is important, it will hit my Twitter feed (and no I do not follow any news outlets on my Twitter feed - they tweet entirely too much bullshit, so I rely on my tweeps to retweet the important bits.)

What happened to fair and balanced. It isn't on any network that I have seen. We might well have both sides represented, but it is a circus, not news. The most fair and balanced "news" I have seen is the series Lisa Ling does for Oprah's network. She really digs in and asks the hard questions of both sides. She isn't afraid of tough topics.

I am not sure where I heard it or read it, but someone was accusing someone of trying to be the next Woodward and Bernstein, um, we could only hope. Investigative journalism is a dead entity. We have 24 hour a day information over saturation. Leaks aren't rare, they are staged regularly, they are managed. PR firms have a formula for building buzz. An investigation is hard work, expensive and frankly takes too much time, when the clock is delineated by sound bits.

I wonder, is it even possible to be notorious any more?



[noh-tawr-ee-uhs, -tohr-, nuh-] Show IPA
widely and unfavorably known: a notorious gambler.
2. publicly or generally known, as for a particular trait: a newspaper that is notorious for its sensationalism

The line between celebrity and notorious these days is rather blurry. We not only want to build people up and turn them into celebrity, on the other hand, we relish tearing them down and destroying every illusion we have created. The public appetite for sensationalism and the airing of dirty laundry is unending.

I mean could Zorro even exist today. Robin Hood? Superman and Spiderman? These characters banked on mystery and being able to manage a persona.

Notoriety it seems to me is grounded in part, in some sort of mystery. There is some sort of unknown, even being notorious - it is generally for one set of traits. A notorious gambler is known for his or her card playing skills, defiance of chance, skill at games.

On the show Nikita, she is a bad ass, she is notorious, as a persona, we have no idea how she takes her coffee and this is something her enemies would love to know I am sure - but it is to her advantage to remain notorious yet unknown.

The misanthrope in me, thinks there is real value in this concept. Being notorious is, I think, in someways preferable to today's penchant for putting it all out there and yet I am an advocate for transparency.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Music Monday: Ke$ha Blow

Ke$sha - Blow

She sings of going insane - Throwing glitter and making it rain. I am not sure about you, but glitter makes me insane. It goes everywhere, sticks to everything except what you want it stuck to.

Which is why I had to be a class A nut job to agree to help with L's dance costumes for her upcoming Wonderland show. She is a mad hatter and making the glittered vests nearly drove me mad.

It is no secret that I have been getting my craft on more regularly and that I do have some talent in that department. So when the dance instructor asked for help, I agreed, reluctantly to tackle this glitter project.

It was a bigger project than I ever imaged. She suggest I free hand the checker board pattern. I have to say that would have been a disaster, so I created a template using 2" lightly tacky painters tape. My friend and proprietor of Rogue Bakery watched as I taped out each vest. (6 in total)

Then using glitter and gem glue, I painted each square and dusted it with black glitter. This was not without its challenges. The glue ran, causing fabric discolorations. Keeping a handle on piles of glitter is a challenge, I used a cookie sheet and wax paper, but still, it is messy business.

The glue dried very quickly, so even working efficiently, I struggled.

When I removed the tape, I will say the squares were very square, which was nice, but it did not look right.

After sleeping and mulling over the problem, it occurred to me, I had to complete the checker board, so I went back and free-handed the remaining squares.

All was going well until I ran out of glitter.

The store was out of glitter and I was out of time to shop the free world for the same glitter, so I bought something similar.

It yielded mixed results.

But I finished. They looked fair, to poor to ok. I was not in love with the results. Everyone has said, it won't matter on the stage.

That said, if I were to do them over and there is no chance that is going to happen, but if I were, I think I would have used black fabric paint and then gone over that with some glitter glue. The fabric was satiny and it seemed to absorb the glue like crazy.

I do think using the tape was smart, at least to get the pattern going.

In general I do not allow glitter in the house. L was never allowed to have glitter in any of her art kits. I threw that stuff out. While I have some glitter-y make up, I seldom wear it. I once had lotion with glitter in it until H said one day, "Just throw that stuff out. We both end up with glitter everywhere when you wear it."

Just like I posted to facebook, glitter really is the spawn of the devil. I thought I had it all cleaned up, only to find more of it Saturday morning and L,  late Saturday, after her dress rehearsal came home caked in it. Even a shower couldn't shake it all loose and now, as I type, I am picking pieces of glitter out of my hair.

Go Insane, Go Insane, Throw some Glitter, Make it Rain...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Music Monday: I can ride my bike with no handle bars

well not really.


I did take a great bike ride Friday, the first of the season. Went with a friend who is new to town and I was showing her the trails which wind through my area.

This song is one of E's all time favorites. When it first hit the airwaves, I think he was around 3 years old and he had shown us no signs of being music obsessed the way his sister was from birth. When L was a baby she refused to sleep without her CD playing. (Now she refuses to sleep with the CD playing.) E as a baby refused to sleep with a CD playing, now he refuses to go to sleep without his music.

I digressed. So one day sitting in traffic, this song comes on the radio and I hear his little voice, singing along to the song. Later, I would hear him playing with his toys, humming or singing the refrain to this song.

We generally bike a good bit in the summer. This summer I think will be the first summer we will not make use of the Burley baby carrier for the bikes. I suspect E will ride the bike attached to mine or will finally be ready to go under his own steam. (One can hope.)

Today my friend and I took a tour around the area and then checked out the O’Shaughnessy Dam. There is a new park and observation area. The heavy and sustained rains have filled the rivers and the water flowing over the dam was nothing short of awe inspiring. So much water.

We watched some cranes cruising the area, saw a lone Canadian Goose swoop overhead and then watched some small birds, maybe sparrows, race and chase and come very close to being swept away. With it being spring and all, they seemed rather amorous, and sadly, the joy of spring led to the death of one of the birds, I think. In all their flapping and dancing and picking what has to be one of the most dangerous spots to mate, one little bird appeared to be swept away by the rushing water.

Such is life I suppose.

Friday started out grey and raw but the afternoon gave way to some beautiful sun and crystal blue skies. It really was a wonderful day to break back into biking again.

And just in case anyone wondered - yes I can ride my bike without holding on to the handle bars BUT I am of an age to know that it is best I hold onto the handle bars.