Thursday, March 14, 2013

It's the 14th of March, you know.

And we all know what THAT means.

Yes we do, ALL of us.  Even that goofy kid with the funny shirt in the corner over there, and the cosplay chick with attention deficit problems, and whoever that is that just walked in the room and smells like pancakes.


Do you?


Yes, I'm talking about 'Pi Day.' Pi Day, and also 'Pie Day' as well!  Two things to celebrate on one day!  MADNESS!!!

 I know what you should do to properly celebrate! Combine the two to turn your life into a fun-filled festival of crazy wackadoodliness!  So out-there!  So inventive!  Cut that Pi(e) with a bat'leth to really get the insider vibe going!  Ooooh, maybe air a few grievances and eat a Cadbury Egg while staring in a mirror and humming 'Tubular Bells' to completely solidify the making of a new tradition.  Be sure to wear a false mustache while doing it, or it's not hipster and therefore good for nothing.

Or, if you're not into hipster so much, you are invited to do like Matilda of Ringelheim did, and sneak off in the middle of the night to pray.

Then start building a gigantic brick building to house abbesses, and get yourself sanctified.

That's MY plan, anyhow.  Hey, it worked for her, and she didn't even have the power of the internet at her fingertips!

Or, maybe I should just  hobn in der linker peye -  not give a hoot about (lit., to have in one’s left side lock; for more on this phrase, seeWeinreich) Pi/Pie day, and go buy stock in this company, then go check up on what this guy's been up to lately. 

Whatever you do to mark this day, be sure to do it randomly.  Because that's what Matilda would want, I'm sure.  Thus, by extension, that's what I want for you.  Randomness.  Much like this post.

Tiff out.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Things I did not know

So, a list, of sorts of things I did not know until recently (being a relative term):

  • Cats can be allergic to fleas
  • Cats with fleas will probably never totally get rid of them, at least in this area
  • Flea control is the goal
  • This can be achieved by treating with Advantage (or similar) once monthly
  • Flea bombs don’t work
  • Flea baths don’t work either
  • Cats who are allergic to fleas need a shot of steroid to get their little immune systems to calm the heck down and let the cat’s skin heal.
  • Steroid shots equal almost-instant miracles happening.


So, yes.  The pestilence is pestering one of our pets, and she was so miserable I took pity on her and had an evaluation done by the vet.  I learned many things at this visit, most of which are recorded above.

Almost makes me wish we still lived in CT, where fleas were not so much of an issue, but then I saw a few pictures of what is happening there today and I went all ‘nah, I’ll keep North Carolina.’  Lordy lordy – they have yet more snow, and it’s thick and fluffy and the one picture I saw of someone’s mailbox almost completely buried in snow reminds me of the winter of 1995-96 when we had so much snow that our cars were buried and nobody was getting noplace and I was stuck at home with a newborn I didn’t know how to operate.  And then I got the heebie-jeebies about that and turned right back around to accepting the fact that I live in the south now and even though it’s only the beginning of March we already need to bust out the lawnmower to cut back the recent rampant growth of weeds that is burgeoning in the front yard.  Oh, and maybe turn over the garden to prepare it for planting, because it’s time for that too.

No, really – planting.  Peas and suchlike.  Cool-weather crops, possible lettuces and broccoli as well, though I’d have to check the handy-dandy planting calendar calculator we picked up last year at around this time.  We were late getting in the Spring garden last year, so this weekend might find us scouring the racks at one of the local garden stores to gander at baby plants.  Because I don’t think there are going to be any more crops grown from seed; they take too long and it’s too easy to overlook things like ‘thinning’ and ‘weeding’ when you can’t tell which is the weed and which is the crop.  We had some issues last year in this regard, if you must ask.

Since we’re already out of the diced tomatoes we canned last year, I’m eager for garden season to start up again.  This year – more tomatoes!  And a dedicated patch in the garden for herbs - I stink at growing herbs in pots.  Hardly ever works out the way I want.  Oh, and if I see any volunteer plants this year, they all get ripped out by their tiny stalks because I shall not have a repeat of ‘pumpkin summer.’  Ain’t nobody got time for that!


We all had eye exams yesterday.  Biff and I had the pupil dilation thing done.  6 hours later I still looked like
 that cat up there and was squinting like a vampire under a 100-watt light bulb.  No wonder people were looking at my funny as I ran the post-appointment errands, I had the wonky Bowie eye, doubled, and that just looks like you're on drugs, my friends.  WHICH I AM NOT!

And with that, I wish you a very Happy Weekend!  Tiff out.

Friday, March 01, 2013

It's all very odd

During one of my mental health breaks at work today I did a little online tour of the college campus where I spent many a happy year back in the Stone Age.  The school has a pretty decent interactive map, clickable down to the individual building level, with text accompanying most of the building descriptions.

Then I decided to visit some of the newer areas of campus using Google Earth, which has a timeline feature that allows you to see aerial views of the same space throughout time.  In the case of Harrisonburg, it would appear that the earliest aerial stuff was done in 1989, or about 1 year after I left school.

I was curious about ‘what used to be there’ before the school started its enormous expansion in the 1990’s that continues through today.  I knew from a trip back to Hburg a few years ago that the school and town are constantly reinventing themselves, knocking down the old buildings to replace with bigger shinier and probably more functional ones.  It’s still a little heartwrenching to know that if one of the Things ever goes there, I won’t be able to point out a lot of old favorite haunts because, well, they’re no longer there.  No more Mystic Den or JMs or the old Wampler Hall, to name but a few 'ain't here no more' places that loom large in that part of my personal history. 

Which, as I learned today, includes the grand house on the corner of Cantrell and South Main Street, where I lived off-campus for the first time.  Where it once stood is a simple green lawn, a sign on the corner announcing that this is now the school’s property.  Gone are the good memories of all the students who lived there, who learned a little more about how to be a grown up, who took that first step to independence.  Gone too, I suppose, are the bad memories, because if I recall correctly there was a murder in the house not long after I left.  Gone too are the relics of family life that occurred long before my time there:  the really cool cartoon graffitis in the attic (which we were not supposed to go in but, hey.  Whatever), the spooky basement with its inexplicable cage under the stairs, and, inevitably, the haunting places of whatever lost souls hung on to that tall brick shadow of the past.

to the left of those two trees used to be a big ol house.
All gone. Nothing but an empty lot now.  See? -->

No more reverberations of life, rich and complex, inhabit the space of that place now, unless one counts the rumble of semi-truck tires and cars whizzing past.  Nothing to impart the spot with life except the bland green grass planted over the flattened spot where I once lived.  The trees in the front yard survived; picturesque enough, I suppose, for the school landscaping planners and facilities folks.  Nice that those trees didn’t get in the way of the access road that’s been cut between my old house and the one that used to be next door, connecting Main Street with the large parking lot that was and still is behind the house where I once lived.

That’s all that small patch of land is now –  access only.

I hope there’s a good reason for why the house and the one next door were demolished and replaced with a stone memorial to the juggernaut that is my alma mater (said in the most loving way possible, of course).  I hope that the old gal had really and truly reached the end of her useful life and that someone, somewhere, has a few pictures of what used to be where nothing is now.

Much like those pictures I have someplace of the old row houses that used to be behind Burruss Hall (which were subsequently torn down for the hospital expansion), a photo of this now-unremarkable corner of town would hold a thousand imaginings for stories, a backdrop on which to set a tale from gentler times, or a memory-prod to bring back great swathes of life gone by.  For those of us with a propensity to wax nostalgic, and who likely have more history behind us than future ahead of us, having these memories to pin down corners of our life a of great use.  I'd hate to think this pin in lost forever...

Tiff out.


You know what?  Somewhere in the archives of this blog I’ve written about this house before, but I'll be jiggered if I can find it.  It might have even had a picture.  Anyone with better search-fu than me, please take a crack at finding it.  I'd be most grateful!