Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Colorado Dreamin'

Next week we (me, CPA Boy and my dad --- need a good blog nickname for him...) will be on our way to Colorado to visit my youngest brother K2. He lives just outside Denver.

This will be the second visit for CPA Boy and me. We went back in 2008 with The Boy and had a great time.

Except for the "shed incident".
 "C'mon! It'll be FUN!!"

We arrived about the time K2's Tuff Shed arrived --- coincidence?! I think not! --- so we all got roped into helping him build it. This involved lifting the 4 sides into place and then holding them up for what felt like hours, even though it was probably only one or two hours. We are hoping this is not the year he decides on excavating for a swimming pool.

I will try to blog during the trip. Especially if any building projects arise. Otherwise we will eat at restaurants we don't have at home, visit a couple of museums, attend a Colorado Rockies game when they are actually playing CPA Boy's favorite team (the Oakland Athletics), shop for things we don't need and lounge about K2's house.

Meanwhile I will be getting things ready: laundry, packing and deciding what reading material to bring. And briefing The Boy on what to do and NOT TO DO while we are away.

In TV news, it seems I'm sometimes away from home when the season's final episode of "Mad Men" airs. At the end of season 3 I was at Disneyland and this time I will be in Colorado for the end of season 5. Just a funny coincidence.

"Game of Thrones" ends its current season this Sunday so that will be out of the way before we leave. The difference between "Mad Men" and "Game of Thrones" is this: I have read all the books on which "Thrones" is based so I have a good idea of what's coming. With "Mad Men" I have no idea what's going to happen and the final episode of the season is usually amazing.

It's funny how certain things converge around the same dates. We used to notice this during school years too sometimes. While on our trip I also have invitations to a friend's 50th birthday party and my niece's high school graduation both of which I will need to miss.

And one of the rats, Kirk, has some sort of bump on his face so he needs to see the vet tomorrow. Kirk is quite elderly in rat years being 2 1/2 (pet rats live between 2 to 3 years). His brother Spock died almost 2 years ago at only 6 months old. It was sudden and we have no idea why he died so young. Kirk is a very friendly little guy so we hope his problem is something minor and easily treatable.

Okay, I have so many other things to do! See ya!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bye-bye Dr. House!

Another one of my favorite TV programs wraps up tonight, "House".

CPA Boy and I were trying to figure out WHY we started watching the show 8 years ago. Had we seen Hugh Laurie on "Blackadder" by then? Was it because Entertainment Weekly actually included a DVD of the pilot episode in an issue that came out before it aired? Was it because of Robert Sean Leonard who had a role in one of our favorite movies, "Much Ado About Nothing"?

In any case we watched the pilot on the DVD and loved it. Then once we started watching we started familiarizing ourselves with the past work of Hugh Laurie, mainly in "Blackadder" and "Jeeves and Wooster." It turns out we had seen him in other things too, like "Sense & Sensibility" where he played a remarkably House-like character, albeit in his native British accent (I was blinded to his presence by one of the other Hughs: Grant). He was also in a "Friends" episode, where Rachel is flying to London to tell Ross she loves him. Hugh played Rachel's seatmate on the plane and he was hilariously dismissive of her saying, "You are a horrible, horrible person...and by the way, it seems perfectly clear that you WERE on a break."

I have read the comments on "House" over the years. In the early years the comments were mainly, "We hate [Jennifer Morrison's character] Cameron." Hate, hate, hate. Then her character was mainly written out and the comments changed to "We miss Cameron. Bring her back!" Then Olivia Wilde came on as Thirteen and the response was "We hate Thirteen!" And once Olivia Wilde left  comments changed to "We miss Thirteen!" Granted, the comments were probably left by separate factions. And when people dislike something they tend to override the positive comments. One good reason to ignore comments in general.

I liked all the characters fine. Not every storyline was my favorite but overall I enjoyed the entire series and it has always been a show we watch in real time, even in the days of weekly boy scout meetings on Tuesday nights and "House" was on at 9 (meetings ended around 8:45 so we'd get home just in time).

The episodes I remember best are "Three Stories" from the first season and the two episodes "House's Head" and "Wilson's Heart" featuring a bus crash and the fate of Amber.

The other programs I watch: Dancing with the Stars, Survivor, CSI, The Middle, Suburgatory, Modern Family, Cougar Town, Community, 30 Rock, Mad Men, Once Upon a Time, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Game of Thrones, Girls, Veep, and American Horror Story.

In other news, CPA Boy is back from his annual business trip to the East Coast. He also managed to make it to the Yankees game (last year it was rained out). My souvenir is a New York Yankees rubber duck. It's very cute! I have a small plastic helmet from The Philadelphia Phillies, a small fan from the Arizona Diamondbacks (a gizmo where you push a button and air blows on your face, not a child taken from the stadium) and miscellaneous items from the Oakland Athletics.

FYI, the fan looks like this except it's red and says "Arizona Diamondbacks" on the side and instead of colorful lights it reads "Go Diamondbacks!" 
I may have a couple of other things from The Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles but I am either forgetting what they were or I didn't get anything.

I always point out that when Mr. Lady Chardonnay visits presidential libraries (it's part of his job as a political scientist or it's his hobby, I'm unsure which) he always brings back a presidential gift for Lady Chardonnay. I will need to make an inventory to see what's missing from my baseball souvenirs. I may need to start accompanying CPA Boy on these trips and buy my own souvenirs! It's amazing how one's travel outlook changes when you no longer need to plan your life around the school calendar because your child is all grown up! More or less...

[Speaking of Mr. Lady C and Lady C, a big shout out for thinking of me and Leslie Howard!]

Yesterday we got to witness an eclipse which was pretty neat. It started around 5:30 p.m. and was over by 7:30. It looks so eerie when the sunlight is muted. It wasn't a total eclipse with complete darkness. The moon covered about 85% of the sun and we lucked out with clear skies. The fog didn't start coming in until later.

And this week the music world lost two greats: Donna Summer and Robin Gibb. Stupid cancer.
I have many Bee Gees songs on my iPod but I don't seem to have any Donna Summer so I will need to get some. I really loved several of her songs. And the Bee Gees, so sad that three of the brothers died too soon. I got to see Andy Gibb perform in 1984 but I never got to see the Bee Gees.

My son and his girlfriend are downstairs giggling. It's so cute. And that's a nicer, happier note to end this post on...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spring in Bloom

This is our house in Petaluma. We have a large front lawn to the left of the house. The golf course path from the 8th hole to the 9th is between the yard and the back fences of the other houses. Our house looks so boring in this shot! There are 4 ornamental pear trees and they are covered with blooms (similar to cherry blossoms) for about 2 weeks in March each year. The rest of the time they are fairly dull. There used to be another ornamental pear tree that was HUGE but due to limb failures (it completely blocked the garage doors!) we had it removed. It used to block the sun from the house all day. The tree was at the left end of the short brick wall and was probably closer to 3 stories tall. Not a lot of color around the garage either so we will need to delve deeper into the yard...
Here is the view as you walk up the path to the front door (on the right just before the fence). Almost everything is in bloom right now so it looks great in person.

 Here are some closer shots of the front yard rose bushes. And one of our ceramic sheep!

There are many carnation plants because our landscaper paid attention when I said they were my favorite flowers. He planted a bunch. When I open the front door I can smell them!

Next to the front gate a bunch of purple flowers grow like a weed every year. I assume they are remnants from the prior owners' gardening. There used to be another ornamental pear tree in front that was HUGE but due to limb failures we had it removed. It used to block the sun from the house all day. The tree was at the left end of the short brick wall and was probably closer to 3 stories tall. The point is that the front area gets full sun now when originally it got  very little.
Closest to the street is a patch of yard that is covered with bark mulch and day lilies. Some of the lilies are yellow and some are red.
At the back of the bark mulch and in front of the lawn are azaleas. They will someday be larger bushes which will form a nice hedge behind the trees. They only bloom briefly in the spring and are plain green the rest of the year.
Between the lawn and the golf course path are rock roses. They will also form a large hedge eventually. Originally this was all lawn but our property line is about 4 feet from the golf course path. The golf course grounds crew would randomly mow part of our lawn twice a week so the lawn always looked ridiculous, with a big mown section chomped out in some random way.

When the golf course was closed and going through bankruptcy proceedings (it's now open again) the path was used by people living in the neighborhood as a walking path. So they would come down the path toward the street and then cut across our lawn towards the driveway. They were starting to wear a path into our front lawn! By placing the line of rock roses the problem was solved because people didn't climb over them to get to the lawn.

 When I open the front door this is what I see:

And now some backyard shots. This white rose was so pretty I took a close up. On one side of the yard is a rosemary bush, a lemon verbena tree and this white rose bush and a red one. The red one is an "Ingrid Bergman" (no blooms right now so no picture) and I assume the white one has a fancy name too but I haven't bothered to dig down to look for the tag.
This rose is a climbing bush that used to be all over the trellis and practically onto the roof of the house. I finally learned what rose hips were! They grow when roses aren't cut back regularly and are hard and not fun to step on. Anyway, I had the gardeners cut it back and they keep it trimmed. We had discussed removing it altogether and replacing it with a small citrus tree instead but this rose smells so wonderful, kind of like a rosy peach, that I couldn't bear to have it removed, even though the flowers are orange (one of my least favorite colors). It blooms like crazy in every season but winter so I am always bringing a bunch inside. They smell so good that I can ignore the orange color!
The prior owners loved roses and there are many in the backyard. Most of them are climbing bushes which is silly if you don't train them onto a trellis or something.

This one has a zillion blooms...
An interloper of sorts, a hibiscus, also known as a Rose of Sharon.
A climbing rose bush with no where to go...
I took this picture a week ago and there are so many more flowers now that most of this bush is lying on the ground under the weight of them. Time to look into trellis prices!
A close up of one of the calla lilies...
I have no idea what this plant is, but it is very pretty. There is also a lilac bush in the backyard but it's already bloomed and the flowers are gone. I am hoping that it will flower again before next year.
And there is also a hydrangea bush in the backyard but I loathe hydrangeas so I refuse to acknowledge its existence by photographing it!

Monday, May 7, 2012

One of Those Weird Days

One year ago today my mom died. Thus the weirdness of the day. I don't even know what I feel. Still kind of numb I guess.

The thing I think in regard to my mom is usually this: Wow, it's been ______ months since I've talked to her.

And I never went more than 2 or 3 weeks without talking to Mom. And now that a year has passed it will get harder and harder to quantify that time in terms of months; the time will get rounded up to the nearest year instead. In other words, I will not one day think, Wow, it's been 4 years and 5 months since I've talked to Mom. I will automatically round to "over 4 years" or "almost 5 years". And that's sad.

One other interesting note: last year we noticed how every rose was in full bloom in the week after Mom died. So the blooming roses will always catch my eye and remind me of Mom from here on out.