Friday, February 26, 2010

Back By Popular Demand: More Snow!

It's snowing again. We're only supposed to get about 8" so it shouldn't be too bad.
This is a pic of the garage and carport. The garage is really an old stable/carriage house, finished off inside really nicely. But we don't use that space for anything other than storage, which is kind of a waste. It would make the perfect studio.
And now I am off to Pittsburgh to check on MK's place and some impending sale related stuff. Hopefully the roads aren't too bad. Wait, have I even mentioned that MK's condo sold? MK's condo sold. The home inspection went fine, except for a tiny bit of ice jam related minor water seepage in one area of the basement. A guy from a basement water seepage company is coming today to access the situation.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Riding With Bela

For her own safety, and my sanity, when we travel Bela is kenneled up. Don't be fooled by how pathetic she looks here! Beagles milk their ability to look utterly forlorn and wretched for all that it's worth. She's the most shameless beggar in the kitchen, it's positively scandalous. She points that noble-domed head at me, lowers her big limpid eyes and the next thing I know I'm frying her an egg. It's like I've been hypnotized by the dog, my mind and will are that weak. "Ignore my rolls of fat, look into my eyes, I starve..."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Tired of me posting about snow/winter yet? Yeah, me too. There's nothing to be gained railing about the weather because I have no control over it. It just keeps happening, regardless of how I feel about it. I'm powerless, which just makes me want to load up the shotgun and go out and shoot the weather. That sort of behavior is frowned up in this neighborhood so instead I'm just skulking around and muttering profanities, and posting my continued disgust on the interweb.
You're welcome.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An Ode To Winter

Roof Flavored Icicles

Nothing quite as numbing as the dead of winter in the dead of night. The snow's been slowly melting for days, forming ice dams in the gutters and downspouts that feed the perilous icicles that hang from, what seem to be, precarious heights. What we can reach, we knock down. Human nature dictates that we do so, in all things. The fallen ice explodes like shattering glass, catching light in impossible ways. Then, the boredom of winter continues to slouch toward entropy.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Godzilla Approaches The Porch

This is why I have a shotgun at the ready.

Too Clever


This tagger is almost too clever. It took me a minute to figure it out.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Let's Do Lunch

Frozen Kinzua Reservoir, 1988

Total guess at the date. That's my sister-in-law, my friend Phyllis who had the discount facelift last year, and my brother. I'm meeting Phyllis for lunch tomorrow, and since MK reminded me that this is the first time I've seen her since the plastic surgery (we mostly talk on the phone), I should be prepared. Actually, with Phyllis there is no way to be prepared. Everything has to be dealt with as it comes, in the moment, on the fly, like dodgeball.
I'm really looking forward to lunch, and finding out what's going on with Phyllis since her retirement from the planetarium. Her planetarium stories were a riot! Once, she had this co-worker who was let go, who snuck back into the planetarium and lived there for a time, making a nest for herself in one of the big storage drawers. Secruity finally stumbled upon her when she made a late night bathroom run. If only she'd purchased my Home Catheter Kit(patent pending), she could still be holed up there, feasting from the vending machines and taking sponge baths at the water cooler.

UPDATE: Phyllis looked great! She looked 20 yrs younger, which was what she wanted, so I'm happy for her. I would never choose to have elective cosmetic surgery, but I respect her decision in this matter.
One thing that I wasn't prepared for though: Phyllis has taken to wearing a wig. A wig that is not at all like her natural hair. I guess she just wants to do herself over.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Man

Jeff, Lake Erie, 1928

My mother's father, back in the day.

Battle of Lake Erie

Brig Niagara, 1928

Just going through some of my grandfather's old photographs. He was something, that one.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Oakmont, Here We Come!

Oakmont Country Club

A few years ago, while on vacation in a cabin in the woods with limited television reception originating out of Buffalo, NY recieved by a rooftop antenna, MK and I watched the LPGA US Open. To offer full disclosure, I do not golf and almost never watch it on tv. But on this particular afternoon I left it on as sort of background noise. Soon, we were glued to the action, despite ourselves. Ever since then, we follow the US Women's Open, but only that particular event. Odd, isn't it? But for us it's synonymous with relaxing and vacation. Even edge of your seat action is more cathartic than coronary.
The 2010 LPGA US Open is going to be held at Oakmont Country Club, outside of Pittsburgh. For Valentine's Day MK procured for me, and herself, any-day passes so that we can see in person all that specialness that is women's golf! MK's a fan of Lorena Ochoa, ranked #4 in the world but a former #1 player. I'm partial to Cristie Kerr, for no other reason than she looks a lot like my sci-fi crush, Gillian Anderson/Special Agent Dana Scully. Not that Kerr is any slouch, she finished 2009 ranked #3 and she won the US Open in 2007.
There are a lot of great players on the tour that I am not familiar with at all, but in the months leading up to the July tournament I intend to get myself acclimated with who's who so that I'm not standing there like some nose picking idiot in the gallery. There's always the reisk that I'll be that person anyway, but I'm going to do my best to make sure that I'm not!

The Observer

Unbeknownst to the penguin, it is being hunted by the stealthy polar bear. The one-eyed duck is merely an observer to this brutal dance.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bela Turns 2

Bela and Reichter

Tomorrow is Bela's second birthday! When we first got her at the end of March in 2008 she was endearing, adorable, and a holy terror. She was immediately nicknamed 'Hurricane' for how quickly she could sweep into a room and destroy everything in her path with her flying needle teeth of fury. She's toned down her wrathful storm status since then, becoming Tropical Depression Bela. The most accurate nickname she's got is Nebbie. She nebs into everything, just in case there's something that might be broadly construed as edible involved. Like that time she jumped up on a chair and got a hold of a magic marker off the desk. She ate it, and then pooped purple for two days. That made poop patrol exciting for me!
Happy Birthday, Bela! You complete our family.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Crazy From the Snow

Master Paddler

I can't wait to get back out on the lake again! I'll try not to fall in this time when getting in the kayak.

Of Inertia and Beagles

MK and Bela

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dangers of Snow Removal

Still and yet, snow

Always, always, always, always, people are just gonna do what people are gonna do. This morning I was having my coffee, reading the newspaper online like I do every morning when a froggy voice called out from a bedroom down the hall.
"What time is it?" Bela had just climbed onto the bed with Cree.
"Seven, go back to sleep." He works evenings and doesn't get home until ten and then doesn't usually go to bed until around one.
"How much more snow did we get?"
"Not that much." This is a lie. I could barely dig out Bela's tie-out this morning because I couldn't find it, the snow was so deep, again.
"If that guy comes with the snow blower to do our sidewalk go out and stop him."
Now, I should explain something about one of Cree's major obsessive compulsions. No one, and I mean no one, is allowed to clear snow from our sidewalk but him. Once the neighbor came by with the snowblower doing the entire block and Cree took the shovel and threw snow back on our sidewalk so that he could then clear it off, all the while cursing. I combed my hair and washed my face, expecting the police to arrive any second. They never came.
"Sure honey, don't worry about it, you just go back to sleep."
About half an hour later, the far off whine of a snow blower could barely be detected. In an instant Cree was up and racing outside in what looked like a skintight black unitard (really just a combo of a black long sleeve Under Armor shirt and a black footy long underwear garment that defies all labeling if not broad description). He threw on boots and grabbed the shovel. He looked like a crazed snow elf, madly shoveling, but at least he wasn't cursing.
A few minutes later he was back in the house and crawling back in bed with the dog.
I called MK and told her about his dash to clear snow before the kind neighbor could get here with his blasted machine. She chuckled. I reminded her of the time years ago when one morning the church van showed up at the house to pick the boys up for vacation bible school (yes, I forced them to learn religion so that they would fully understand what they would reject oneday) and Cree wasn't dressed yet, so I told him to throw something on and tell the driver to wait a minute. He put on a cape, part of an old halloween costume get up, and went out in his underwear. So, this outfit was better than that outfit, as far as having more skin covered.
This is why that stupid Super Bowl ad with the pantless guys marching over the moors or wherever was pretty darn accurate, if still stupid.
Ah well, for the time being I'm just enjoying the quiet, while it lasts.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Window Is A Door

Blizzard Nebula

I think this shot is a result of the stuff you get when you first load film into the camera and it self advances. I kind of like it. That little smear of color on the right looks like a rocket ship, the window seems to be free floating in outer space, and the snow flakes look like planets. Planets inhabited by beings who want to destroy us!
The 'nebula' part is probably smoke from my cigarette.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Black and Tan Contrast With Infinite White

Bela, Snow 2010

This was taken, by MK, about four hours before it quit snowing entirely. Bela was thrilled at first to bound through the heavy snow fall, but then became alarmed because it didn't end.
Foolish, foolish beagle.

When Snow Attacks!

Blizzard 2010

My Jeep is parked on the other side of the tree that fell, fortunately completely missing it. The Weather-Attacker Storm Team predicted 4-8 inches of snow. We got two feet. So, MK and I spent the better part of Saturday and Sunday shoveling snow, and aiding some misguided college kids driving around in cars who became stuck right in front of our condo. Early Saturday evening there was a carload of Duquesne students drinking beer and smoking pot trying to push an Accord up the unplowed street. I took them out a shovel and suggested that they back down 13th Street to the main drag. Later we got more Duquesne students, this time in some kind of Toyota, again stuck, but this time they at least had shovels. Same result: Backing down 13th St.
This went on all Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
Eh, when I was young we ventured out too no matter the weather, so for them I'm sure it was all in fun.
Next up: More snow starting tomorrow! Wee! The side roads aren't cleared yet, so it'll be fun to see how bad things can get! I've got plenty of food and toilet paper...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cabin Fever, Part 2

Bee Balm

Soon the snow, she will be falling from the sky and we will once again be holed up in our house. I for one am really looking forward to summer. It's the only thing that keeps a person sane over the winter. MK and I were out hiking one day last year and came across bee balm. Unless something is very common, I don't know what it is off the top of my head, in which case I take a picture and identify it later. As I did here!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Pennsylvania Memorial, Gettysburg, PA

I've mentioned before that my father is currently dying of lung cancer. This dying thing, it's nasty business. The boys and I went to visit him yesterday. When we arrived my mom wasn't there and dad was slumped over in a chair at the kitchen table. Reichter thought he was dead, actually, so did I. But, he wasn't. And he said the same thing he always says to me whenever I first see him, "Jennifer, you know that I love you, right?" And I say, "Yes, Dad, and I love you too." We have always had such a difficult relationship, acrimonious, sometimes downright hostile. But now he's almost dead and I have to find whatever resolution someone finds in these things.
Earlier today I talked to my sister, Junior, about all of this and she's angry that Dad isn't going to have a funeral, because he's donating his body to science, and she doesn't want to go to a memorial service for him that has no body in a casket. She also doesn't want to go and see Dad before, after he's dead, UPMC comes and picks him up. Me? I'm going to go and see him. Oddly, he told me that he wants me too. I don't know what he's said to my brothers. But I'm going, and taking pictures. I take pictures of everything, and this is part of everything.
If he and I had been completely different people, then maybe we would have been able to transcend our natures, but we aren't, and we can't. He's my father, and he made my life hell when I was a kid. Now, I have to end things with him in a way that I can live with.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New River Gorge

New River Gorge Bridge, WV

I haven't been down to West Virginia in a couple of years, but since we're going to North Carolina this summer on vacation, we'll be passing through the wild and wonderful Mountaineer state. On our way back I'll make a point of stopping at the New River Gorge again, it's just so striking!
Vacation plans have become a bit dramatic since we're going with MK's entire family. The Dew's have a saying, "Someone has got to make an executive decision!" And then there's panic. Not arm waving, oh-dear!, panic, just a middling decision is then thrust upon us. That's how we end up eating skinless chicken breast roasted to dustbowl perfection for so many family dinners. Right now the panic is over which cottages to rent. We need two cottages because we're taking Bela and one of MK's niece's is constitutionally weak and has allergies. It's this big thing, and very convoluted, and honestly, I quit paying attention. I am a middle-aged woman! My brain only has so much free space remaining and I want it all to be taken up by commercial jingles (five, five dollar footlong), figuring out the hidden meaning in "Fringe", and solving the Lindberg baby case.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Suffering From Monsterism, The Study Of

Sometimes I sit all day at the computer looking up arcane science stuff. I find out some of the most fascinating things! Like how there really is the study of monsterism, called, Greekly enough, Teratology. Technically it's the study of birth defects, but that doesn't really cover the full rage since it extends far beyond humans to include all or our fellow mammals, animals, insects, even into the plant realm as well. So, I like the most literal translation best. It just fits.
I think we're doomed, by the way. I know, I know, all the time people are shouting, THE END IS NEAR! It hardly bears any meaning anymore. The basis of my belief rests solely on how truly fucking polluted the planet is. If I were a Christian and I worked for say, Monsanto, I might just insist that this is all God's Will. That the slogan, 'Better Living Through Chemistry' is really a prayer. And why not? The toxic red bloom that flourishes off the Gulf Coast is beautiful and deadly, just like God's wrath. And we don't know that it's a bad thing. Depleting the oceans of oxygen could just be God's way of choking some love into them, like Homer throttling Bart on The Simpsons. Right?
Oh my. Back to scaring the bejesus out of myself...