Thursday, April 30, 2009

In the shadow of a J.O.B.

Yesterday, I got all dressed up (casual, no jeans, really comfy shoes) and even put on makeup to do a little job shadowing over at the hospital. I PUT ON MAKEUP, PEOPLE!!! This was a Big Deal in my tiny world.

A little background. In order to apply for the radiography program (that I really want to get into) it is just about mandatory that you follow people around the radiology department for part of a day, so that you know if you really want to do the kind of work they do. The competition is very stiff for this program, so I figured anything I could do to improve my chances was a good use of my time. So off I went.

The day went along pretty well. I found myself following a second year student in the program and got to stick my head into the room during various procedures. I got to talk with a variety of the students about what they liked about the program etc. and noticed how much computer work is involved. Luckily, this hospital has gone to all digital imaging, so there won't be any film development and the results are available much faster. Soon, I was handed off to a senior technician who was headed up to the surgery floor. Cool!

On the surgery floor, I was handed a paper suit and snazzy paper shower cap. The pants were extra long and since falling flat on my face wasn't likely to impress anyone, I had to roll the legs up... dork-style. This tech showed me some specialized imaging equipment they use when patients can't be moved, such as the patient he x-rayed on the operating table with his spine exposed. Pretty cool!

Now for the discouraging part. In talking with some of the students, and the senior tech, I learned that the economy is so tight right now, none of this current batch of students expects to be hired by the hospital when they graduate. And then, when one student was showing me how (in the world) to get out of the hospital and back to my car, we talked about how she got accepted into the program. She said she was surprised that even with perfect 4.0 grades, she didn't get accepted the first time she applied. I said I was hoping that my... ahem...maturity might work in my favor. She said she was 36! Okay, I am older than that, but is the world saying that having some life experience and perfect grades isn't enough to get you into the program the first time you apply?? Oh darn and cr*p!

I'm still getting ready to apply, just a bit... umm... subdued.

So, I got home to find Stud Muffin fretting about a pair of birds that decided they wanted to build their nest above the front door. On a tiny ledge about 1/2 wide. Not the best plan. They had spent all morning while I was at the hospital bringing grass and twigs and trying to stick it to the ledge with... bird poo! In fact, they used so much "stickum" it's a wonder they were still alive to keep trying! Of course, the twigs and grass wouldn't stay, so then we had bird droppings all over the front stoop, with an equal amount of garden trash thrown in for good measure.

Since these stupid birds were determined to try and build there no matter how hard we tried to discourage them, the decision was made (sadly) to exterminate them. Studly sat in the doorway with an airgun, trying to pick off a bird as it perched on the porch railing. He was actually very cute sitting there, but could have looked a bit more redneck if he was wearing an undershirt and drinking a beer while he did it! I was going to take a picture of him for my blog, but, well, he was serious and he had a long gun!

Today, he switched to a shotgun to increase the number of pellets flying towards the birds. He thought about something more powerful, but I had horrible visions of huge holes shot into the porch and the side of the house!! I hung some old CDs to try to scare them, but the little suckers just flew up between them! The nerve!!

Finally, as I was working on my hateful Physical Science final, I heard a strange ripping sound, over and over again. But I was working hard so I ignored the sounds until they stopped. When I took a break, my creative husband had used painter's tape to seal off the ledge, making it impossible for the blighters to land! Yeah!

See? Neat, huh! This is a really bad photo of the mess...

after Studly cleaned it up!! Seriously, it was gross and sticky and has lots of grass and twigs thrown around! What a guy!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Before MIL starts whining...

Warning: Blurry early morning photos!

I figured I better add a post! I heard just the start of a complaint about how boring I am since I haven't run myself over with the tractor lately, or been mauled by a giant beaver, or squirted hot, cooked beets around the kitchen. I guess life in sunny (read: hot) California isn't as much fun if I haven't become one with fencing through an air nailer accident. And I do try to please, but I just haven't felt up to being chased by a swarm of fire ants after I mow over their precious little condo-in-the-ground.

I am STILL trying to finish up the school semester. On two separate occasions, I asked (very nicely, I might add) two of my professors if we could just skip the final exam. Shot down both times! Can you believe it? Did I mention I asked nicely?!?

One professor for an online course, hasn't posted a grade or given any feedback since February. Do I really WANT to take his final?? I don't think so! In the other case, the lowest test grade will be dropped from the final score. As it stands now, my lowest test grade is ... 100%. I think I can safely say that taking this last test won't improve my score much, so I'd rather skip it. No go. Guess they might miss my shining face! Actually, I think I put the fear in some of the other students... hehe!!

Here is the only picture of something class related I have. This is my Anatomy Lab professor (hi, Donna!! *waving*) fishing a cow eyeball out of a bucket. Now, if it had been all nice and clean (and maybe smelled pretty) I might have been inclined to dissect it, but with chunks of flesh still hanging there?? PASS!!

So what else have I been up to? Let's see. I planted my hanging baskets for the front porch!

I planted a few new shrubs to replace those that died (a moment of silence for the ugly shrubs I paid someone else to plant.)

This morning, after I took these blurry photos, I started laying down the weed barrier fabric. It was a LOT more work to cut around the existing plants than I expected. I took a break as the blackness started creeping in the sides of my vision! Stud Muffin had been mowing and weed-whacking, but when he finished, he kindly helped shovel and move the mulch into place. We both had bright red faces when we were done!!

The trellis is started for the peas.

The lettuce patch is still producing bowls full of colorful yummies! We have been having a bit of a hot spell ourselves, so I got some shade cloth to try and extend the lettuce season a bit more.

Did you notice that one half is green and the other half is black?? Yeah. One wasn't wide enough, so I whipstitched two together, side-by-side. They were suppose to both be black, and green wasn't even listed as an option, but this is what I ended up with. Oh well, still works, just a bit more redneck than I planned. Aren't the lettuces pretty?

What else? I got the tomatoes planted... right up to their little foreheads!

This year, I only planted Roma and Amish paste tomatoes, instead of the eighty-thirteen kinds I planted last year.

I got a couple of zucchini plants installed.

The strawberries have settled into their home, but that straw that we used to hold off expected frost is sprouting grass faster than I can weed it!

Only the strawberry plant right by the hose should be there. All the other green you see is grass! So I am going to clear out the straw more thoroughly and use the leaves I put in the bed now housing the peas and beans last fall.

The fruit trees are looking really good this year. Look at these little peaches... yum!

The potatoes have sprouted leaves and will need topping off with soil soon.

Even Steve is looking pretty! The irises are coming in where the daffys were just a few weeks ago.

And his new flower boxes are flowering.

Stud Muffin and I were just watching the Nightly News, and an article about a town that is printing it's own money to stimulate the local economy. The money is called Berkshares and it can be spent at local merchants, and the banks exchange them for "real" money at a rate that gives the shopper a 5% discount on everything they buy! Some landlords even take the Berkshares for the rent money. How cool! Apparently, only the US government can "coin" money, but there isn't anything in the Constitution that prevents localities from printing their own paper money!

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So, now Stud Muffin wants to print his own money! He says you can send him $100,000 US dollars and he will send you $105,000 of his currency! Anybody for a Studshare?? How about a Muffieshare? Anyone? Hello?? Is anybody still reading this??

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A busy week

Where does the time go?? Wasn't it just the weekend like, 5 minutes ago?!? Time has gone so fast, I didn't even have "time" to take any pictures. Well, actually, I just forgot to. My bad!

I have only 2 weeks left of school classes. I have already taken my final in Math, and got enough points to get an A in the class! The rest of the classes are racing towards the finish, so lots to do there!

Stud Muffin bought me a Granny Smith apple tree and then planted it for me where the peach tree had died. I got some more weed barrier and have since mulched the last two trees! It feels good to have that job finished! Time to start working on the shrub beds in front of the fence.

I have an appointment to job shadow at the hospital in a couple of weeks. I needed some clothes that were nicer than Muffin's hand-me-down jeans with mulch stains and a ripped tee shirt that says, "Bite me!" so I had to go shopping. If you know me IRL, you know I would rather pluck my eyebrows with needle-nosed pliers that go to the "mall" and try on clothes! Blech!

Photo by nyenoona.files.wordpress,com

I looked yesterday at the redneck mall and found nothing. Doesn't anyone sell women's suits with skirts these days?? Will I be the only one at the job interview not wearing a cool suit with capris or shorts on the bottom? Whatever! Today, Stud Muffin took me into the "big" town, about a hour away by car, and we "did" the mall there. On a Saturday. Need I say more?

I am officially suffering from sensory overload! We had fine dining at the food court and watched the people go by.

Photo by

Now I need an isolation tank to decompress. How do people do this more than once a year??

I did fine two outfits that ought to serve me well. One is a black skirt suit (they do exist!) with a short skirt and nice detailing in the jacket. The other is a pantsuit in taupey- beige with a nice shawl type collar. Both were on major sale! Score!

So now I have no need to go to a mall for at least another year. And it is going to take me that long to get over this shopping experience!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Between bands of storms

Just popping in here between rain showers for a little garden update. Stud Muffin and I worked outside much of yesterday. I finished installing the tree rings, laying weed blocking fabric and hauling mulch. He did stuff too, but I can't remember what! Oh, yeah, he spent a very long time using the heavy leaf blower trying to clean our neighbor's gravel off of the drive where it had washed in the rain. Anyway, back to me! Isn't the orchard pretty now??

Okay, not this peach tree because, well, it's dead! I want to replace it with a Granny Smith apple tree, or some other tart apple.

And this peach tree isn't done because I ran out of weed block fabric.

But otherwise, I got them all done! Yeah me!! Closer inspection of said fruit tree brings us this.

I spy, with my little eye... baby pears! Lots of them!

See them?!? If they all survive, I'm going to have tons of pears this fall!! Last fall... um... 6 pears total from 4 trees.

And I spy little peaches starting, too! Or "puzzy peaches" as they are known around here!

Last year, I got 1. Well, none, really, because after waiting for it to ripen, it dropped to the ground, rotten. *Sigh*

Today, I went to school to take my Math final online. I had to go to the testing center to be proctered, so they know I didn't cheat, or something. I had checked in last week and seen that the test was available online, with the procter's password. So, I got there, spent some time doing a final review, but when the procter tried to sign in with the password... no exam!! Where did it go?!? The professor didn't answer her phone, so I killed some time doing another test, but eventually left without taking the final exam. Arg.

I made myself feel better by buying some new flowers for the boxes that hang on Steve the shed.

Now Steve is ready, if ever Marmy comes for a visit. She has already staked out Steve as her home, especially since we sold the Big Rolling Turd out from under her!

Spring is really here now. The azaleas are starting to bloom.

These Encore azaleas will bloom more than once a season!

And the dogwoods are lighting up the forest interior!

From the backyard.

This Doggie update for my girls:

Naughty Nick ran off while I was planting the flower boxes. After quite some time back in the house, and still no Nick, I took the Buggy out to Glen's place next door. I can usually find Nick hanging out in the horse corral, waiting for some fresh poo to appear so that he can roll in it. This time, I found him nicely playing with Glen's boxer dog, Diesel. Nicely playing, that is, until I showed up and Diesel wanted to say hi. Then Nick started to growl at poor, sweet Diesel. Time to leave. We drove back up to the house, parked the Buggy, and I said, "Let's go in." Nick shot off into the woods as if I had strapped a lit rocket to his hiney!! Totally ignored all my hollering to come back.

*Sigh* Back into the Buggy and off down the road towards the creek. All of a sudden, here comes Sassy passing me, running hell bent on election. I guess she was going nuts watching me drive back and forth without inviting her! But still no Nick. We returned to the house, parked the cart, and out of the woods comes the dirtiest, mud-covered dog pretending to be Nick! I mean, head-to-tail covered in creek water and mud! Up his nose, in his ears, everywhere! He must have jumped face first into the creek! Needless to say, the hose was employed to the fullest, but he stills smells like beaver-water wet dog! You guys need to come home and take care of the dogs!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It is I, LisaAlso, the all powerful!!

I was going to entitle this post "Lies, nothing but lies," because the freezing weather disappeared. But then I thought about how I suggested that Mother Nature go somewhere else, I figured out that She actually listened. To me!! I am drunk on the power to direct the weather!! {Insert maniacal laughter here.}

I think it all happened because of my stubborn attempts to thwart the destruction of my strawberry plants. I am, after all, nothing if not persistent! Just ask my poor husband, Stud Muffin!

And in that vein, the one of blindless persistence I give you this gem of a story, sent as usual by Singapore Cindy.

Alligator shoes

Photo by

A young blonde woman was driving through the Florida Everglades while on vacation. She wanted to take home a pair of genuine alligator shoes in the worst way, but was very reluctant to pay the high prices the local vendors were asking.

After becoming very frustrated with the attitude of one of the shopkeepers, the young blonde declared, "Well then, maybe I'll just go out and catch my own alligator and get a pair of shoes for free!"

The shopkeeper said with a sly smile, "Well little lady, why don't you go on and give it a try?"

The blonde headed off to the swamp, determined to catch an alligator.

Later in the day, as the shopkeeper is driving home, he spots the same young woman standing waist deep in the murky water, shotgun in hand. As he brings his car to a stop, he sees a huge 9-foot gator swimming rapidly toward her. With lightning reflexes, the blonde takes aim, shoots the creature and hauls it up onto the slippery bank.

Nearby were 7 more dead gators, all lying belly up.

The shopkeeper stood on the bank, watching in silent amazement. The blonde struggled mightily and managed to flip the gator onto its back.

Rolling her eyes, she screamed in frustration, "Crap! this one's barefoot too!!!"

Photo by

You are welcome! And thanks, Cyn for the giggle!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mother Nature needs some meds!!

Maybe some anti-anxiety drugs, lots more chocolate, and a ticket to... well, somewhere else!!

A little background. Yesterday was a glorious. sunny, 74 degree day. Perfect. But the word was out that a cold front was coming and nighttime temps would get back down to freezing. "Cr*p" and "Oh Poo!"

So, yesterday afternoon, I worked to reinstall the hoops and row covers, hoping to keep the frost off of the lettuces and the just-planted strawberries. But the freakin' winds kept tearing the covers off no matter what I did to try and secure them!!

I gave up for the night, deciding that I would deal with whatever was left in the morning. I got a small reprieve, when the temps stayed in the 40s, as the cold front stalled.

Today, a new plan was hatched, one involving dry straw blanketing the tender plants. But my straw bales were all soggy and way too heavy for my sore back to move, so Stud Muffin drove me to the Co-op for some dry bales.

By the time we got finished with all our other errands and got back with the straw, the rain was starting to fall and the temperatures had dropped. But many hands make short work (and you know the dogs were so helpful) so the strawberries were put to bed!

So, we have done what we can for the bad weather to come. We are expecting thunder snow possibly. Weird, but there you have it. Probably won't happen, but since I never got my strawberries planted last year, and was so good to get these in the soil the same day I bought them, I just had to try and save them!

I want to thank you all for the well wishes about my hurt hip/back. I did go to the doctor and he shot me up, once again. I feel better, although a bit like I've been harpooned.

Just thought I'd show you that the potatoes have sprouted and seem to enjoy their little banana boxes. They, however, are on their own tonight and whatever comes in the next few days!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's baaaaack!

The mulch pile, that is!

My main birthday present this year was another truckload of mulch, which I ordered up today. I had pretty much scraped all there was from the last pile, and yet still have so much more to do!

Of course, as I was picking up a few stray fallen branches while the delivery guy got set to dump the load, my back sorta-kinda went out. No doubt registering it's horror at the sight before (or behind?) it. Since I had just gotten finished telling the guy that I would be responsible for moving this shredded mountain, I stood as straight as possible, with a silly, grimacing smile on my face, until he drove away. I waved him goodbye and I crab-walked my crippled self back into the house for a muscle relaxant. Now I'm doing the Frankenstein shuffle!

That didn't keep me from planting the strawberry plants I got earlier this morning, but did make it a half-assed job! I'm sure the darlings will forgive me. At least they won't rot away in a bowl of water like the ones I bought last year!

I promise there are 25 plants in there!

As for the rest of the garden, the onions are onioning,

the lettuces are leafing,

the cabbages...well... hmmm,

and the peas are peeing.

No! That didn't come out right!! Well, you all speak Lisa, don'tcha?

We are expecting more rain storms tomorrow and Sunday, but we are ready... I guess! We have had sporadic power outages over the last few days, but the generator has worked like a charm! Best purchase we ever made for the property! I will be doing the Quasimodo into school tomorrow and hope to get home before the skies open up!