Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Yellow Cats in My Life

On Christmas Day, a yellow kitten, about 12 weeks old trotted up my parents lane towards their house as if on a mission. Their 11 year old tuxedo cat was not amused and began beating up on the poor thing immediately. We separated them. The yellow kitten with a white tip tail and an upside triangle of white on its chest cried and purred and let me pick it up immediately.

We already have two cats, Molly and Tweeker. They get a long great. I really didn't want another cat. But, you can't turn away a yellow cat on Christmas Day so I popped it in a rabbit cage with plastic tray, with a can of food, dry food and a litter tray. I put straw in the corner and schlepped the poor bastard to our garage. Andrew named the cat BOLO, an acronym for Be On the Look Out for...

Bolo was very sweet, I let it out to run around the garage while I cleaned out its cage and gave it fresh victuals. I think I wouldn't have had to press Andrew to keep it, but two cats are enough. I put a night light in the garage so BOLO wouldn't be in pitch blackness.

Yesterday morning I called 9 count 'em NINE humane societies. There was no room at the inn, anywhere. At 3:30 though, the good folks at Union County called saying they would take one kitten, but I would have to pay a surrender fee. Fine.

I had a late lunch at Mom and Dad's and in the fog, the rain and the cold, trundled Bolo into a carrier and took off for Marysville.

I have to admit, the little sucker was so cute I almost turned back. I kept one hand with fingers laced through the bars of the carrier. Bolo laid its chin on my fingers and purred to sleep. Occasionally opening soulful yellow eyes.

Bolo is really cute.

But I don't want a third cat.

I took Bolo into the Union County humane society. They don't euthanize unless animals are diseased or aggressive. They pronounced Bolo a girl, among the slight 3% of yellow/orange cats that are female. They were impressed by how lovey she was and assured me that she would adopt out quick and they would call me when she did.

I paid the surrender fee and donated a little something extra. If you live near Marysville, stop by and ask for Bolo, or the little yellow cat that came in the day after Christmas. I would love to see her go to a good home.

Yellow cats though, have been a large part of my life, and by telling you about them, you'll get a further peek into the life that is Jules.

IN the begining there was...

The first cat I ever encountered was my parents cat, Kitty. Kitty was a tiger striped and my Mom really loved her. There are pictures of me as a baby with her nearby. Kitty had to have a surgery and didn’t make it.

When I was three, four-ish a gray tom began to live with us. I named him Lucky (man who hasn’t had a pet named Lucky). Lucky used up a good third of his nine lives during his tenure with us, from tomcat fights and once, Dad accidentally ran over Lucky with a truck and he survived, so was he really lucky?

After Lucky disappeared, there was a succession of strays that passed through. I was obsessed with the name Jeff for a while and when I was in the third grade, fall of the third grade we got a barn cat, a gray kitten that I inevitable named Smoky.

Smoky had a cold. Dad took him to the vet. Smoky didn’t have a cold, he had feline leukemia and died at the vets.

Not so good with the cats so far.

Then there was Squeakers. My Uncle cat us this cat, he kept a tuxedo kitten for himself and I got the adorable orange and white Squeakers. Squeakers was a terror. His favorite game was the “hide behind something and wait until family member walks by. Jump out, latch yourself to their leg with you claws and hang on.”

I felt guilty for hating this cat. Everyone was wary of him. One summer day, Dad was taking the round up with the spray wand and the handheld tank around the farmyard killing weeds. Squeakers decided to play his favorite game and before Dad knew it, and airborne Squeakers sailed through the air and through a stream of round up. Dad did not intentionally spray Squeakers, my Dad isn’t like that. It was all just a horrible intersection of circumstance.

Dad hoped for the best. But the next morning I found the worst when I went to feed him, Oh Squeakers the bell tolled for thee.

Even though I didn’t really like the little bastard, it’s still traumatic to be like, 8 and find your pet kitten um, prone and not breathing.

So Dad took me to a buddy’s house, you know the inevitable country farm with 50 cats.

I saw two yellow cats and I couldn’t make up my mind. Dad reminded me I could only have one. I reminded him that just the other day I found my kitten laid flat on the barn floor with flies buzzing around him…it would be years before I found out about the round up bit. I got two cats.

The one I wanted the most, the fat orange one, I named Chubby. He was a darker yellow to orange, short hair, with green eyes. I can see him in my minds eye, looking pissy and adorable. I also picked out his lighter yellow, blue eyed litter mate, Jeff. Yes, I named yet another cat Jeff, don’t ask me why.

So the Perdue family left Cecil’s farm with Chubby and Jeff in tow.

We have lots of pictures of Chubby and Jeff sleeping and playing together. Since they were litter mates, I was like the third wheel. Chubby liked to be petted on the head and could tolerate being picked up but he wouldn’t let you rub his tummy. Jeff would not let you pick him up or pet his head but he would stretch out in front of my Dad’s wood stove and let you rub his tummy.

We got these kittens when they were a little too old I think, to be really groomed to be affectionate. They were in at cats, meaning they didn’t have a litter box in the house and weren’t declawed but Mom trained both of them to go to the door when they wanted out.

In March of my fourth grade year, when the cats were one year old, I came home from school to find Chubby by the back porch crying. I could hear crying underneath the porch…it was Jeff. We was in the corner but too far back for me to reach. Dad got home shortly after I did and took Jeff to the vet. He wouldn’t let me see Jeff, whose back legs had been crushed by a car.

Jeff was buried by a large tree near one of our barns.

For months afterward Chubby did not like to be alone. If he was in the house and he felt like he couldn’t find us, he would stand in the middle of our hallway and cry. He did not however, greatly increase in affection. This is not to say he didn’t like to be petted or have his chin rubbed or brushed. This is to say he wouldn’t let me dress him up in a cabbage patch doll bonnet and dandle him on my knee like a baby. God knows I tried.

Chubby began to spend more time in the house as time passed. When we were leaving the house for several hours, we would have to put him outside.

Like a sixth sense, Chubby could tell we would be getting ready and make a break for going behind the couch. I was the obvious choice to fish him out. Chubby would wait until I had just reached him before releasing a potent cat fart. I managed to get him out every time though and he never scratched me up in the process.

Now by now you are thinking this cat is a real piece of work, but let me assure you that while Andrew refers to Chubby, even posthumously as the “viscious viscious creature.” Chubby was in fact my Beloved Childhood Companion.

When I was done with my evening chores, or later when I came home from my high school job at night and Chubby was in the barnyard, he would race me to the house. In my later college years, there were nights when I could beat him.

When I was little we would play a game where I would hide in the pine trees on the northern side of our yard and Chubby would follow me.

Chubby would sleep with me when I was sick. He was never one you could wrap your arm around and cuddle, but he would sleep by my feet or curl up behind my knees.

I used to make him catnip socks from my old socks and he developed a taste for syrup and butter left on my plate after eating eggos or cream cheese from a bagel and he loved pepperoni from Grandma's pizza.

As he grew older he spent more time in the house. Laying against Dad's legs on the recliner---more for body heat than affection I'd think. Mom would patiently let him out at 3 in the morning for him to go to the bathroom and then let the old man back in.

Chubby liked to be brushed, but even that was a little game. You could brush him and brush him and he would purr and roll around but brush him one second to long and BAM, he's whip around and try to scratch you.

Even though Chubby was a medium sized cat, he would scrap with any cat that came on the property, he was very territorial. And he had a couple close calls. He was struck by a car but only his back leg was stressed, not even broken. Another time he got a bad bite on his paw in a cat fight and had to go to the vet. When he was abotu 14 he ate something bad and nearly died, the vet saved him though.

By the end of my college years Chubby began to look different, grizzled. His head started to look larger than his body even though he weighed the same. It took him longer to jump down from beds and chairs. He moved slower. By the end of graduate school he'd let me hold him for longer periods of time, mostly because he was too tired I think.

After Andrew and I left our wedding reception, we went back to Mom and Dad's house to change out of the wedding clothes. I left my dress on the guest bed, in my old bedroom. When Mom came home, Chubby was laying on my dress, sunning himself through the west facing window. Mom took a picture of it for me. Despite having claws, Chubby didn't hurt the dress at all and Mom let him sleep, waiting for him to get up before packing my dress away.

By the winter of 2005 Mom and Dad were telling me everytime we visited how Chubby was on his last leg. I think they worried how upset I would be. Sadly, pets rarely die peacefully in their sleep. I told them they would know when it was time and that was okay by me. I still have in a little box, a bit of Chubby's fur, taken from the brush we used at our own risk to brush him.

One day in March, Chubby walked into the kitchen while my Dad was eating breakfast. He sat down and lifted a front paw to lick it as cats often do, but he lost his balance and fell down. He looked up at my Dad, and did not attempt to get up so Dad took him to our good country vet.

Chubby was very close to or just at 18 years old. Not bad, not bad indeed.

And I suppose it is with Chubby in mind that I was determined, no matter what to find little Bolo a place at a humane society. I was calling as far away as Licking County. If we had to keep Bolo a week until there was a place, or even adopted Bolo ourselves, I think we would have. But I am pleased with Union County and sure she will get adopted, who knows, maybe by a little girl who wants a yellow cat.

There are a bazillion stray cats out there, many will live and die without any notice of humans. We can't save them all. But like everything else in life, we do what we can. If you are thinking about getting a pet, or maybe you have lost a pet recently and are hesitant to get another, I would say this to you:

You love them while they are here, and give them the best life you can and then you let them go when it is time...they count on you for all of that. And, when you are ready, you save another pet's life...for yourself, for them and for the honor of those you have loved before.

Bolo and many other worthy animals are waiting for you... PS, I will post a picture of Chubby on the wedding dress when I can.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ten More Random Things, real time

1) I've not been sleeping well lately. I usually read till I get sleepy but I keep reading andnot getting sleepy. Then the cats wake me up on and off and I don't have the heart to kick them out. Last night I actually woke up and reminded myself to do something at work and I know that's not healthy...I'm worried.

2) I had a horrible migraine Saturday. First one in two months. Sucky

3) We didn't put up a Christmas tree because I knew sweet little Molly would destroy it. I tried putting a fiberoptic tree up but she chewed it and knocked it down. So now all we have is snow men figures on the tv and presents in the corner. UGH.

4) Typing longhand writing takes a really long time.

5) I'm tired of cleaning our house and I'm only 30.

6) I'm bringing Clementines to our staff pot luck.

7) Thinking about sharing on the blog, the things I am doing in my life to go green and the struggle between, want, need and green. There are five billion sites like that but the difference with this one is you know me. Comment if you would like to see an occasional blog post on that.

8) Worried that I am running out of stem on the book. Seems like every scene I start bores me to write. If it's boring to write then God help the reader.

9) Rediscovered how much I love working quietly in my little room, and how much I love solitude.

10) My purple hat with the tassles is warm and whimsical.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ten Random Things and a Reader Contest

1) I am addicted to sugar, and just fine with that, thanks.

2) Cookie Monster, Oscar, and Grover are my favorite Sesame Street characters. When I was little, Mom would buy me these Sesame Street picture books at the grocery store, they were a series, and each one was like a print version of an episode, with counting pages, stories, and focus on a letter and number. I still have them.

3) I hate to vaccuum.

4) My first car was a 1982 Berlinetta Camaro with brown metallic paint...I was supposed to get a station wagon but Dad wanted it to drive to work...

5) I am the 1992 Champaign County Rabbit Queen...yes I have a tiara.

6) I am the 1997 Champaign County 4-H Girl of the year, yes I have a silver pitcher and yes I polish it once a year.

7) I am roughly 100,000 words into my first book for teens. It's almost done...theoretically.

8) I am afraid of toads and frogs. Yep.

9) If I was going to be a boy, my parent's were going to name me Andrew. My first high school boyfriend's name was Andy, and I am married to an Andrew.

10) Lately, my cat Tweeker has been sleeping with me, on my pillow every night. Boy can that little booger generate heat!

11) Bonus: The first person who can name what food group I can no longer eat in the comments section gets a *new* lip balm.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Lip Balmers Anonymous?

Okay so not this past Saturday but the Saturday before that, before Halloween, Andrew and I were at Whole Foods. I needed some of the fabulous rice cheese that has provided a ray of hope in my dairyless world.

As Andrew was perusing ales, I went to the bath and body section and lo and behold there was...

A new Burt Bees Lip Balm...I have regular and pomegranate and now there was...Honey.

Dum da dum!

I snatched it and bought it and put it in my purse.

When we got into the car I wanted to try my new lip balm but couldn't find it in any of my pockets as I had already forgot that I had put it in my purse.

So as I was driving to the gas station I asked Andrew to look for my lip balm in my purse because I wanted to try it RIGHT NOW. Only to realize too late my dreadful mistake.

"Is this it?"

"No, that's Kiss My Face Vanilla Honey."

"Is this it?"

"No, that's Naked Bee honey."

"Wait a minute...Julie how many lip balms do you have in here?"



"I could collect coach purses instead honey."

"Seven! Julie you have 7 lip things in here."

"Their average cost is about 3 bucks...less than a pack of cigarettes."

"Average cost? Average cost? What's the most lip balm you have ever bought...oh God I don't want to know."

"The most expensive lip balm my sweet, is the one I bought at Traverse City, it is excpetional a 10.00--which is just the cost of three lip balms...on average."

After we left the gas station Andrew said.

"Hey...I know you have lip balms in the bathroom five right."

I wisely don't say anything.

"And you have a bunch in that little longaberger basket on the kitchen counter."

Silence seems safest.

"And what about all your coat pockets. Jesus Julie, you've got like what 25 lip balms."

"I don't have that many."

But Andrew got me thinking and one day before we left for Chicago I did a sweep for all my lip balms. And here they are.

There are 24...but I couldn't find my old almond oil one from CO Bigelow...and I'm not sure the two Burt's bees lip shimmers should count, or the tinted CO Bigelow...but Tweek is showing off what I currently can find/use.

So if you average the cost of each lip balm at 3 bucks a pop you are looking at 75 dollars worth of lip balm.

I think it's appropriate that Sarah Palin is in the background on CNN. That chick spend more than 150K on clothes on the RNC's I like to think she lends some perspective to the shot.

What do you think? Do I have a lip balm problem or a harmless and quaint collection of girly items? I expect comments...and now you all know what to get me for Christmas...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Charming Tale in Which Julie Sticks Her Foot in Her Mouth...with the Amish

Okay so yesterday morning Andrew and I were at the chiropractor's office, sharing the waiting room with a young Amish women and her adorable infant. The baby was dressed in baby boy blue, complete with knit cap, and wrapped in a black wool coat folded like a snug carrier. I said to the young lady how adorable her little baby boy was...only to be told thank you, and it's a girl.

Oh, I said, I'm sorry I took her for a boy just because she was all dressed in blue. The Amish lady just smiled at me and Andrew was giving me this weird look.

A second Amish woman came back into the waiting room, with another baby girl...dressed in blue...and it slowly dawned on me, the gray dressed the women wore, the blue baby outfits.

After the Amish family left I looked to Andrew and said. The Amish wouldn't dress their baby girls up in pink would they? Because pink is not a neutral color.

Well Duh.

Oh well, I can only hope the Amish mother took my compliment with the good intention behind it and not the handsmack ingnorance of her culture.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fall Continues

The picture posted here was taken in September. Do not be deceived. The picture is doctored in the sense that it was full sunlight and I was watering my Mom's roses. So it's not like I was in the right place at the right time after a rain shower. But, it's not a bad shot.

Speaking of great shots, I was driving home from my ahem, fitness class on Monday night and on the drive home I counted 10, count 'em 10 combines in a mile stretch of fields on 29 at the route 38 intersection. I had never seen that many combines at once. It was a little crazy. There was so much dust in the air that in a quarter mile stretch felt like driving through the fog.

You may have noticed more deer hit on the roads and ditches lately. That's because we are right in the middle of the white tail rut (translation: boys chasing girls). I saw a doe, a yearling and a fawn off of 270 the other day, and a doe in the corn just outside of Marysville today on my drive up to bowling green. I also saw two red tail hawks and some white heron like bird in a pond while taking 75 north.

I may post a picture of a red tail in flight, I have a couple that are just okay.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I'm not crazy...

Last night, after producing 4 pages, I decided to swith gears and actually take a look at a book I've had out forever, "The Forest for the Trees" by Betsy Lerner. After a brief perusal I decided I would want to pull some things out to record so I opened up my lilac rubbermaid tub full of blank books...I will talk about this another time. And I selected s smallish one, magnetic flap, light blue with a white vine/floral pattern.

I selected a pen to use and began to record a few things from the book. Andrew had just gotten back from the gym.

Molly, the cat who chews like a dog, was under the guest bed chewing on something. I found this so irritating that I got up and began to slap my hand against the mattress to distract her--nothing doing.

I yelled, I cajoled, but she continued to make the chewy tuggy noise from somewhere under the bed.

I've been a little short tempered lately so I kicked the boxspring without realizing that even though box springs are relatively light, they are framed with wood.

So I hurt my big toe. It hurt so bad. I flung my pen in anguish, yelled at Molly and collapsed on the bed...and Molly continued to make the chewy tuggy noises.

Andrew assured me that even though I had cracked the toenail and there was a little blood, it was not broken. I recovered, and when I got out of the shower, decided to look for my pen. I could not find it.

"So just use a different pen." Andrew suggested.

"But I don't have a second pen in that color."

"So just use a different pen."

"I can't, I already started writing with this one."

"You are crazy."

"I am not, I just need that pen."

I found it this morning...while Molly was chewing on something.

Tis Fall

The picture attached with this blog was taken from a treestand, about twenty feet up in an undisclosed location.

Generally I don't like height, I don't like being on the third floor of the library and looking down to circulation...but the treestand I don't mind a bit. I have this special vest that attaches to a safety belt on the tree so if I were to fall, I'd just dangle until Dad came to get me.

The evening I took this picture, there was a trail of corn cobs and husks leading to the tree and about a half dozen cobs on the foot platform of the stand...racoons.

I sat for two hours watching the colors of the field and trees change with the setting sun and clouds of birds fluctuating from ground to tree to sky.

I did not see any mammals to take any pictures of...unless you count a huge white cat. I heard some turkeys. Just as Dad was coming to unhook me, we heard two raccoons squabbling behind me in a tall tree. They had spent the day sleeping in a hole and were just getting ready to come down for more corn. By then it was too dark to take a picture.

I like fall. I like not having to water trees after four months of solicitude. I like the commute...seeing deer in the evenings at the edge of woods and in the corn fields. Watching clouds of dust around the combines and grain wagons in the morning and evening. The moon is always so cool in the fall, larger, richer, and better colored than any other time of the year.

I love turning the air conditioner off and not turning the heater on and I love wearing hoody sweatshirts on my way to work and casual days off. My current favorite is the Nightmare before Christmas hoodie I got at Disneyland when I went to ALA.

Last night, as I was driving home from class, I passed three combines in the fields. Seeing their lights in the dark was a comforting feeling. About a mile from my house I passed a corn field and at the base of a hill, between two sections of corn in a wide flattened aisle was a combine and grain wagon side by side. The lights of the combine illuminated the grain dust and it was just a really romantic scene--I'm serious. I wish I could have a picture of it...even if I had a camera it would have been too dark. Aw well.

The other great thing about fall is the Brach's candy pumpkins. Candy corn is for wimps. Each pumpkin equals five candy corns. They are even made with honey...and high fructose corn syrup. I eat them at work and Katheryn is very good at taking them away from me before I get sick...but they are so delicious...(homer simpson salivating sound...)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Contradictory items

Later this week I will post a new picture taken from a surprising spot and wax poetic about the fall season.

Im the past 24 hours I have seen:

A customer in line to purchase generic immodium i-d and two regular size reese's cups packages--so technically 4 regular size reese's cups I mean, isn't that a little weird.

And I saw a guy on 670 this morning driving an ice cream supply truck with a cigarrete in his mouth.

I thought they were contradictory but maybe I am just being weird.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

One flash drive found and another freakin' lost

Um, last night I discovered that the photos my Mom took during my parent's vacation to CO are really hard to import into my photo program from the cd made at the photo place in Colorado and by really hard I mean it's probably simple and I couldn't figure out how to do it.

So I am emailing all of the cd pictures to myself so I can put them on a flash drive to put in my photo program.

But, my Mom had a bunch of photos on her memory card so two nights ago I painstakingly (har har) uploaded them, did some cropping and some tonal adjustments. And saving them on a flashdrive.

I *thought* I brought my flashdrive with these memory card pics to work to work on my dinner and when I put the flashdrive in guess what.

None of the Colorado pictures from the memory card were there...but my Michigan Vacation pictures were!

I do not know how to explain this...

It just goes to show, if you can't find your flash drive with your precious vacation pictures then just order a replacement cd from shutterfly, spend 15 bucks, what a week and then...

find the lost flash drive.

bang head
on key board


Whatever, here's a vacation picture, mine, not my parents.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Best Picture of the Season

Okay so here is the joy of photography. I didn't realize how good a picture this was going to be until I brought it up on the laptop. The little bug to the right, I think really makes the gives it energy and perspective and makes the whole image alive.

What to talk about today...other than the fact that I keep getting horrible horrible headaches alternating with horrible stomach roiling illness, I'm just fine. I don't know if it's stress or my immune system has let any beg stroll into the ole Jules Saloon or if my body is just sensing the oncoming winter and flaking out on me...or quite possibly I could just be doing too much.

In keeping with the theme of doing too much but not inlcluding watering trees, I'll tell you how I spent Saturday, my last full day of vacation.

I went to the farmer's market in Urbana where I got eggs, maple syrup, bacon, soaps, trail mix and Cortland apples. Cortlands are my favorite. Sweet, juicy and just a little grainy, they seem to me like the most "just picked off the tree" kind of apple.

Then I got some gas for the mower. Then I spent 7 hours in the yard. Don't worry I wore lots of sunscreen.

What did I do?

I mowed the front yard, back yard and "back forty" which is the part of the yard that wasn't seeded with grass but retains its pasture grass from when our lot was, well a lot.

This always needs mowed twice as it grows with a vengeance. So I mow it with the deck up and then all the way down.

Then I ate lunch.

Then I hooked the mower to this little red wagon and hauled mulch, lots and lots of cypress mulch and garden soil to 8 of our pine trees...think of the little guy enjoying a shower in an earlier post.

I had done earlier in the week all the trees on the south side of the property--and now it is time to work on the north side. I also mulched two crabapple trees and a maple.

Mulching is like putting little scarves around your trees for the winter. For the trees that were planted in 2007, less work was involved...pulling up weeds that had taken advantage of the shade, water, and fertilizer stakes then adding mulch.

The 7 pine trees Andrew and I planted this spring though, require a little more love.

Because of being recently planted, the dirt in the hole is loose and the soil we added had settled, leaving the base of the tree not filled in with dirt even to the ground. In some cases there are cracks in the dirt that can lead right down to the base of the tree in the hole to its roots and this is very bad.

Because when water settles in and gets down there and it gets cold (like it tends to do in winter) the water freezes and wreaks havoc in the space where the tree is sleeping for the winter.

So I have to scrap all the mulch that I had placed over the summer and fill in with nice rich garden soil to fill in cracks, make up for the settling of dirt and just give the tree a nice layer. Then I put the mulch back and then add mulch to it. I haven't spent all this time watering these little darlings all summer just to loose them in winter.

I'm still not done. I ran out of top soil and still have 4 more trees to do plus three lilacs...if I don't decide to just rip them out and plant pine trees because the little jerks seem to not want to live very much.

Jules you ask, why are you killing yourself on the yard you still have the whole month of October.

Um, not really, because after I get the mulching done each tree still needs.

A fertilizer stake for food.

And I'd like to spread a boatload of grass seed in an attempt to have a nice lawn someday.

Plus, I have some professional things I need to get done in October including one trip and a large author visit and some other things and besides that.


And while that would free me up for the myriad of indoor endeavors, like's not helpful to get these last crucial things done my friends.

Gotta make hay...
Or Mow Grass
Or Mulch Trees
Or something

Okay well, see ya, Jules

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Almost Lost

I've been dragging my feet posting a new blog because I've been in a bit of a panic. I have misplaced, but at this point can say I have officially lost all of my vacation pictures that were on my flash drive. At least I thought I did. In a rare instance of rearranging my routine, I saved the pics onto a flash drive, uploaded them on shutterfly, without saving them on my laptop. Luckily, I can create a dvd disc from shutterfly and regain the pictures. So as soon as I get the dvd I'll post some more pictures.

I took a nice picture this weekend so maybe I will post that later.

Almost Lost is a good title for my little quirk of misplacing important things. I tend to take things I should really not lose and putting them in some weird place where it couldn't possibly be thrown out...and then promptlt forget where I put it. This happens abnd home and at work. Finally I bought a "safe box" to keep at work.

Almost Lost is a good title too, for this past week, a sorta vacation week.

I always like to take the third week of September off because it's our anniversary week and we may or may not take a trip so I just take it off just in case. Andrew doesn't have any vacation time built up and between teh July michigan vacation and our upcoming trip to Chicago in November, staying home seemed like a good idea.

But I didn't stay home. I went to 8 hours with or work obligations. They were worth it and I really needed to be there...but that's 8 hours that I could have been doing something else. As it was this is what I did on my sorta vacation:

Kitchen: Cleaned, really really cleaned.
DVDs watched:2
Trees re-mulched for fall: 20
Lawns mowed: 2
Big breakfasts made: 2
Writing: 0
Pictures taken: About 20, 3 are good.
Long Baths: 2
Nice suppers made:1
Loads of Laundry:12
Fitness Classes taken:3

Fitness? Fitness? What's that all about. Eh, I'll tell you eventually.

More later J

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Love Joe

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Movies on TV

Okay so last night I was waiting for Andrew to get done working out in the basement so we could retire for the evening. I was in the family room flipping channels and taking notes out of a non-fiction book when I found lo and behold, Star Wars A New Hope on the spike channel.

It had just started, you know where the droids are running around the ship before Darth Vader comes on.

Now here is the thing, I have like 4 versions, the original on tape, the original on DVD, the remastered versions...but it was on tv. And, like a favorite song on the radio I was delighted by the wonderful randomness of cable television.

So I watched. Andrew came upstairs and got some dinner and sat beside me.

"Do you want to watch something else?"

"No, why?"

"Well, it's not like we haven't seen this five thousand times and could watch it whenever we wanted."

"Yeah, but it's on tv."

"What is it about favorite movies on tv that compells you to watch? Which movies are like that for you?"

"I'd say every movie I own."

"Andrew, you own like dozens of movies, you'd watch every one if it popped up on tv?"


We watched Star Wars until Han Solo shot Guido in the cantina and Andrew complained about the remastered version where it shows Guido missing Han. I suggested naming a hypothetical child "Han Solo Scordato" and Andrew made a number of ways kids could tease a kid named Han Solo.

So, what movie would you watch when your flipping channels, even if you own it and/or have seen it 5,000 times.

I expect comments.

swish crack!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Watering...the Cows? A Quaint Country Yarn

Meet this year's feeder calves, or two of the 9 that are next door. My Dad used to raise beef cows that would calf every year but now he buys calves (around 500 pounds) lets them graze all summer and then takes them in late fall. You can't get much more local than that. Mom and Dad give us a half a beef, so we're pretty lucky. This year, one of the calves (the white-faced one) looked at me longingly one night as I watered...eyeing the water wand with such yearning.

I called my Dad.

"You giving these cows any water?"

"What to you mean?"

By this time I had slung the wand over the fence and turned the water flow down a bit just to see what would happen.

"They're looking at my hose like they haven't water in days."

"Their tank is full in the barn."

White faced had taken the mouth of the wand in like a straw and was gulping it down but it looked like as much water was sloshing out from the sides of his mouth as was going down his throat.

"Then why is one of them sucking water out of my wand?"

Others came to investigate and then began to lick at the water fall. Kids around a fire hydrant came to mind.

"He is not."

I positioned the cell phone in a way that would pick up the slurping.

"Huh, I guess he is. They're just goofing around."

And from that night in early June, whenever the cows are in the pasture near my trees, and they see me watering, they come up, white faced in the lead. If it's late and I'm pressed for time, I don't bother but more often than not I do. They jostle to get teh wand, and others are content to just snag the excess. On hot nights I spray the tops of their backs to cool them off but, they're indifferent to the shower.

One night, as the sun was setting, three of the black faced steers were huddled around the wand, each head looking forming a three leaf clover around the stem of the water wand. I didn't have my would have made a really good picture. I've tried to replicate the situation a couple of times but no luck. This image isn't bad though.

But Jules! You say, how can you eat these charismatic fellows! Some of you might be asking, but Jules how can you eat meat at all!

Don't be offended, or I hope not to offend. But yes, I do love beef. Especially grass feed beef in my own maybe that will be my next post or not. Maybe the comments will tip me off. Jules

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Legos are Cool Scroll Down for new Blog Posts

What is it with you and watering trees?

Well, some of you folks might have noticed that I mention, in my summer blogs, and in conversation, the compelling urgency to water trees. What is it with this obsession?

Well, you plant trees in the fall or Spring (the adage about planting them in months with the letter "r" in them is a pretty good rule.) Whether you plant in the fall or the spring, you can't (well, you can I suppose if you are okay with ripping out some of the trees you plant and putting new ones in because they didn't survive).

If you can get a tree through the first year of their life in your ground, their first summer, they have a good shot at living longer than you and growing as high as their species tends to do.

For our property, trees are very important, and not just for the aesthetic. Our houses faces West and is on a hill on our road and the Northern Winds can really whip across our place. Pine trees, planted in two rows, or three if we get really ambitious, can grow to make natural wind breaks. They are green year around, providing havens for birds and like some of my parents pines, grow past 40 feet.

The first fall we planted 7 pine trees from pots...potted pines generally do better than bagged ones as they keep more moisture. The trees, were 2 1/2 feet tall. A couple were close to three. We planted them and mulched them and gave a them a little fertilizer. The summer of 2007 we watered them almost every night--crucial when July and August of last year had very high temps and high humidity.

Neighborhood folks passed by and waved at me as I tended my charges. One on hand, it's a pain in the butt to get home at 6:30, change into grungy clothes, empty the cat boxes, fix a quick dinner and spend the next hour and a half watering trees, but on the other hand, it's a nice way to unwind, listening to the birds, watching the cows grave in the pasture and the sunsets.

But no, it doesn't take an hour and a half to water 7 pine trees. We also had a maple, a sycamore, four crabapples and some orchard trees.

The hard woods we water a little differently. Some folks in the neighborhood asked me what our watering system was.

Our watering system, for hardwoods, is basically, washing out and drilling holes in the bottom of empty cat litter buckets (why buy 'em?) and filling up the buckets with water. The small holes drilled at the bottom allow for slow draining of water so more soaks into the roots instead of getting lost on the surface to evaporate.

But the attention pays off. Passers by who wouldn't know better would think our house has been established longer than it has because of the number and size of the trees. The potted pines, now in their second summer have grown a freakish amount, a few are even over my 5'1'' head. The maple, that I could reach the top of it's leaves with the water wand last summer, is well beyond its reach.

This summer has been kinder, more rain and less humidity. The trees struggling through last summer are doing well, and get only one water a week if there has been no rain as I expect their roots to go further down rather than depending on regular watering like houseplants.

But watering still takes an hour and a half. We planted another seven pine trees in a staggered row in front of the crop last year to really fill in for the wind break. We planted another 8 trees last fall on the south side of the property and a small grove of three lilac trees, all of which wilt when they get too much rain and too little, plus more orchard trees, and Andrew's fledgling vineyard plants.

Last night was a real blessing, breezy, cool and fall like with a darkening sky to the south not quite able to reach the sun, setting earlier by the day.

It was enjoyable to water in comfort, no bugs, no sweat, and I gave every tree a good long drink. Hence the picture above.

It's satisfying to give these trees a good boost. Why bother to use the considerable energy to plant a tree if you aren't going to help it survive. I like the idea of planting trees that, some at least, can easily out live me. The trees on my parent's property really make it cool, restful, and natural. I hope someday, trees will be one of the dominate features of our land.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Picture of the Week

Okay so in the past, I've created a whole album of photos, sent a link to the photos over email, and then added "check out the blog at:" etc etc

Well, I'm taking a lot of photos and I'm really busy and I am going to try something new as I learn and play at CML.

So, I am going to try try try to update my blog once a week, and post a picture, a new picture from the ever growing number of pictures I am taking.

Hope you like the new system, Jules

photo: the shores of Peterson Park, in Leelanau County Michigan, our summer vacation.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tweeker and Molly

This is a fairly recent picture of our cat babies (Andrew would call them Cats) Tweeker (orange) and Molly (tortie)

They are great fun and company. Molly is definitely the more classic cat-like, slinky, aloof sometimes and cuddly at others. She runs the schemes, chases, and exploring adventures. When ever they are caught doing something naughty, Molly looks at you with a cool, narrowed face. She's not going to talk. Tweeker, wide-eyed, plays the sweet but dopey sidekick to a tee.

Tweeker will allow you to shove him into the carrier for the vet, and take medicine before he has even known what happens. Molly has to be tricked, cornered, wrapped in a towel and boy can she glare.

Tweek cries sometimes but mostly opens his mouth and makes an almost muted (me--uh) sound. Molly has a one note, lingering cry that wavers in a high pitch.

Both cats love to cuddle, but only Tweeker can be picked up. Molly always must come to us. She will cuddle with me in bed as I read, propped up in the crook of my arm, a paw outstreteched to touch my chin, her face flat against my arm. As soon I shut off the light, she is gone, scampering away to chase Tweek or jump on the kitchen cabinets.

Tweeker is the one who I always find curled up on my pillow in the middle of the note, ultra soft and warm.

Good companions, these cats, they really make our house a home.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

But Hey...Aren't You Big on Gaming at the Library???

Well, yes, I've written an article and spoken on the topic, and I'm on ALA's national expert panel. But here's the thing. I'm a big advocate for gaming because I appreciate the everyday results of the program in our library and I see the potential gaming can have...but no, I'm not a gamer. I remember we had an atari and I played Frogger and I would play Combat (the tank game with my Dad) and I was really good on the invisibility setting, I would get like right up next to my Dad's tank and blow him clear across to the other side of the screen but...I digress.

I never played super mario brothers, or even asked for one. I think, even at the tender age of 5th grade, that I knew if I got one I would:

a) play it all the time.

b) get frustrated and play it for a while and not play it

I lean towards option b. I am not known for my patience. I think video games do reward persistence and patience and problem solving but back then, I was interested in not getting frustrated. Maybe I'd be more patient today if I played more video games.

Even now, I bought the latest Simpsons game for PS2 because you know, I love the Simpsons, and I played it for like 45 minutes, got challenged, frustrated and then I haven't played it since.

I played Kingdom of Loathing on line for about a year. I got to the very last challenge, and even when I found the cheat it sounded too hard so I quit.

Yes, there is a pattern here, at least with videogames.

So no, beyond the odd game of bejeweled, I am not a big gamer. But like I said, I don't have to be to appreciate the variety of skills, opportunties and experiences gaming can offer.

So, I hope that reduces some of the contradiction...or maybe I'm just a little contrary.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Learn and Play at CML Or, my Ambivalence for "Hey, you really got to try..."

Dear Friends and Family, yes it's time for Julie's random blog post. But, coincidentally, I am blogging now as part of a learn and play initiative for the Columbus Metropolitan Library System where I work and the good folks there want us to all learn and play with new technology. So, I already had the blog so posting was just like half the task for this week.

But, I think this is an ideal time to air out my ambivalence, hesitance and, okay let's face it downright indifference at times to all these new things to do on the web. I hope my honesty will be at best refreshing, and at worst (I'm trying to avoid at worst) revealing me as a sham of a young librarian who should be as gee whiz gadgety as they get.

Okay, let me back up. It's a bit of a running joke between me and my friend Beth Gallaway about my so-so attitude about every new little whatchamacallit that comes down the pike. Beth will send me some link to some thing, link ning or twitter or you name it and invite me to join. Sometimes I do, I create an account and then I never go back to it again, or I just never create an account. Beth's aware of this, so I don't feel so bad admitting it to God and everyone else on the web.

It's the same ambivalence I feel when I go to a conference and the inevitable technology session listing the things I should be doing right now and something inside me just kind of sighs.

I'll use this blog as an example.

Just as I was posting a picture, recently taken at the beloved Champaign County Fair, I scrolled down the rest of the screen to find that I have failed to fill out most of the profile thingys like favorites/interests etc. I looked at the boxes and something inside of me sighed (hey, I'm a writer I do a lot of internal sighing). I mean, I have already filled this stuff out on facebook and myspace and here it is on blogger.

And maybe that's what my internal sighing is really all about. There's just so much. MySpace? Facebook? Or some other new great thing everyone is on. Shutterfly? Flickr? Photobucket? Photobuquette? (that last one is a joke).

I have like, four email addresses, not counting the gmail I use to get into this blog, which, I never look at. One for ebay, one for work, personal and work-personal.


And see here is the thing, when I go home, I don't go on the computer. It's not that I have like some deeply held principle to not be on it...technically I am when I am writing (technically it's not writing so much as inputting my longhand writing) and working on my photographs.

But when I come home, I just want to do other stuff that I enjoy. Ideally I suppose, to fit the mold of the young librarian gizmo wonder gal, I would enjoy doing all these techno things at home. But I'd rather not. I'd rather:

Be outside, working on our yard (read mowing, watering trees, general upkeep)
Be outside at my parents house, eating dinner on their deck or playing with the dog or hanging out by the pond or
Be outside at the really cool place my Dad works, climbing up in treestands taking pictures of nature and wildlife.

I'd also rather be:
refinishing furniture (although I don't do this one so much anymore)
working on stamp art (newer hobby)
working on fabric painting (so new I haven't started it yet)
watching stargate atlantis with andrew
putting something in the bread machine
making cookies


going to a wood turning class


running the 5,000 errands one needs to do when working full time, like

taking the recycling in becasue your rural county, God love it, doesn't have curbside pick up

paying bills (yes, I know I can pay them online...)

getting groceries

getting tires rotated (try doing that online)

picking up presecriptions, drycleaning, taking cats to the vet
dropping off goodwill stuff


Look, I'm not trying to argue that my life is some full vessel of excitement and glamor, or that the activities that I enjoy doing are superior to posting on a blog every 6 hours or twittering or playing an online game--not at all!!!

What I am saying is everyone has a limited amount of time in the day. We all have to make choices. I generally choose to minimize my tech use compared to some folks I know to do other things.

But then I feel a little guilty, not keeping up with all the gee whiz stuff.

And the really sick thing is, I've really enjoyed typing up this post so why don't I do it more often?

Anyone want to comment, I'll put this post on the psychologist's couch.

Next Blog: But what about gaming? Aren't you like, really big into that.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

So that's why I didn't hear from you

It's not like I expect you know, a bunch of people to write me about the exciting going on at the scordato grotto like making pot roasts and onion rolls etc. But I talked to a friend yesterday who said I didn't send the reminder link which explains why I heard nary a peep.

Yesterday as I was driving around running errands, I thought of all kinds of interesting things to say in the blog and now, unfortunately, none come to mind. I've put some grass seed down and will put some more down tommorrow before we might get a little snow, in the bare patches or little ravines that didn't quite take. I finally took the Christmas garland off the mailbox and spring is around the corner I think.

No great photos recently but soon I think. I was in a blind Wednesday night by a little shallow pond hoping to catch a heron before the sun went down, filling up on Peepers but know luck.

That night Mom called to warn that Dad had already found a tick on his pants. Second week of April and the ticks are out already...great. I saw hardly any wildlife but did find an owl pellet.

Currently I am listening to Animal, Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (in the car) and relistening to Mistress of theArt of Death (in the kitchen) and reading Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters who Ruled's very readable and interesting.

Later, J

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maybe My Blog Isn't Unreadable Drivel Afterall

So I looked up my blog to see, you know, if it was still up there after six months of inactivity and low and behold it was. So I goofed around gmail and actually managed to guess my username and create a password that I swear to God I won't forget. So I'll do a little update here. Hopefully by the end of April I will have some new pictures to share through Shutterfly. I have been doing a lot of holing up and writing this winter so the photography has fallen largely to the wayside. Despite some breathtaking winter scenes, they were never on a day I had off and while I had beautiful commutes, it wasn't like I could stop and take pictures.

I still use the bread machine with some regularity. Andrew is actually heartbroken if I make a pot roast and don't make onion rolls to go with them. He got me this awesome Hamilton Beach nesting crock pot set with three sizes of crocks that are fairly easy to clean. I've been making lots of pot roasts on Sundays and my secret is two cans of beef gravy, a can of tomato sauce and when I put in the vegetables I also put in a can of whole tomatoes...delicious.

I've been making small changes to the guest bedroom which is my writing room. It's coming together nicely.


Tweeker and Molly are doing great. Molly is smaller than Tweek but is heavier and loves to chew things, jump on top of the kitchen cabinets and cuddle at night. Tweeker's latest thing is sitting in between the shower liner and curtain when there is a shower going on.

So this weekend is Easter. We have Easter at our house. It's nice because I have more easter decorations than Halloween and Mom is still busy with tax season. She's bringing a honey baked ham and cheddar scalloped potatoes---are all scalloped potatoes cheesy? I wouldn't know anymore being ragingly lactose intolerant. She's also trying out a new green bean casserole recipe. I am doing baked potatoes, creamed corn casserole, a raspberry cobbler guessed it...onion rolls.

So Saturday I'll spend cleaning cleaning cleaning.

Andrew is in fire school. He's like one of the oldest students but he didn't go before because he's more interested in the medic side of things. He is however, interested in a full time job.

We are ready for weather to be over. Our lawn could use some serious fertilizer and patching. I'll have 8 new pine trees to water this summer and who knows how many orchard trees.

Okay Reader's Advisory Corner:

I got to meet Anne Lamott two weeks ago. She signed my print, audio and video documentary of her Bird by Bird and I cried. Like a flake. She was very gracious and held my hands.

There is a sequel to mistress in the art of death. It's read by Kate Reading instead of Rosalyn Landor but it is still very good and got me through a hellish 48 hours of that mutated cold that was going around in February.

A Dog's Breakfast it's a movie directed by my latest obsession by three degrees, Daid Hewlett, who is on Stargate Atlantis. Andrew prefers Stargate SG1 but I love atlantis. A Dog's Breakfast is a really cute movie. It's kind of hard to find but worth it.

David Attenborough. Oh isn't he adorable when he's like 76 years old and in the middle of a jungle with a critter of some kind. I'm watching all the documentaries of his I can get my hands on. I read his memoir Life on Air and it was interesting, humourous and just a great read. I sent him a fan letter and asked for an autograph. I am still waiting. I'm not giving up. He's very busy and just finished a documentary on cold blooded animals. Besides I got a an autograph from THE Doris Day so why not?

Looking forward to:

From Dead to Worse by Charlain Harris. I'm starting to twitch I want it so badly. If you have not started the Sookie Stackhouse series. DO. Start with Dead until Dark. I have half a dozen colleagues at the library hooked on it.

The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir--her second foray into historical fiction. Innocent Traitor (about the Lady Jane Grey) was fab. So I am looking forward to this.

Bill Bryson's got another dictionary coming out. His Shakespeare Biography was cute enough but I'm more than ready for another travel book from him. Hope to it Bill!

Okay well, there you go, maybe I'll blog next month.