Sep 21

Happy Labor Day

Welcome back to you and me. Nothing happened here last week because … well … you didn’t miss much around here. It was the second week of classes, and, as ever, the first few weeks of classes are hyper-charged. If anything, the post-lockdown might make that period run even longer. Typically it’s a two week rush to find a semester’s cruising speed. Looking at the upcoming calendar, the ops tempo isn’t evening out for another week or two, though.

Meaning things might feel like they’re running at a normal speed … as we approach October.

The most fun things last week, perhaps, were an interview I conducted about two interesting new studies and some television stuff. We had a practice shoot for the sports crew and a big call out meeting Thursday night.

Late that same evening we climbed out of the car after a long drive for a weekend visit with my family.

This was our second visit since the pandemic. And just my third trip, total, since all of this began. We act conservatively and try to stay as safe as possible so we can have visits like that. It makes sense if you’re being risk adverse.

And the trip was nice. We picked up barbecue in Louisville and had a lot more great food all weekend. We sat poolside with my mom, saw my grandfather and finally won a game of dominoes from him, got to hug my uncle. And we watched the hummingbirds dance.

We came back today. If it feels like a full day’s drive that’s because it is. But work calls again tomorrow, and there are cats that need attention. And, since I didn’t give you anything last week, there are extra kitty pictures this time around.

Phoebe is (almost always) a good girl. Except for when she’s on this ledge.

It’s a weird thing, really. “You’re cute, but you’re not supposed to be there. Get down. Wait, let me take a picture first.”

She likes afternoons on the stairs, which gives her some nice indirect sunlight warmth. There’s also a change of temperature near that spot on warm days. Maybe she prefers a half-and-half temperature.

Poseidon prefers tasty snacks.

Again, “Stop buying that! But not before I take a picture!”

He managed to get one out of the box. We think he just likes the crinkly foil. Or likes dropping them on the floor, since we did that a few times.

Phoebe also likes sitting on that box. As we’ve discussed here before, we’re dealing with two cat lawyers. ‘On the box isn’t on the counter,’ is, I’m sure, what’s behind those eyes.

And, also, ‘As you can see, I’m not getting into the treats like he is.’

Poseidon is caught.

And he is notably chagrined.

Aug 21

No splinters here

My lovely bride asked me to make her a computer stand. We settled on a less-is-so-much-more design. So awhile back I trimmed a nice piece of scrap board to the desired dimensions, sanded it to down to 400 grit and, this weekend, she started staining it. Monday I showed you her patent pending dot-dot-stain technique. We put a few coats on Sunday and Monday. Yesterday she attached the legs and put the thing into practice. This is what it looks like this morning.

To personalize the project, I stamped a little love note into part of the board. And now everything is the right height for when she wants to stand up to use that machine in her home office.

I tried standing up in my office office. It just seems silly and boring.

Today, I do my best writing and reading and emailing while sitting. Now, back in my broadcasting days, I did my best work will standing. Maybe I should have a movable desk in a studio set-up.

Or a split level desk! With risers! And wings!

You can see how this could get out of control. (My first desk did.)

I’ve got a list of other projects to attend to and finish, before even drawing up plans on another one. Miles to go before I sleep, and so much sanding to be done, as they say.

Elsewhere, today was quiet. Spreadsheets and email and heat indices well over 100 degrees. The heat is supposed to break tomorrow or Friday. Or maybe by the weekend. Until then, hydrate much, sweat as little as possible.

May 21

Some pretty weekend photos

Just filling a normal Tuesday. I did work stuff and taught a student some stuff and wrestled the email beast to the ground for another day and wrote a bunch of tweets and edited some audio and those pictures are sounding pretty good right about now, aren’t they?

So here they are. This is the creek. Looked a little low, but otherwise fine, on Saturday:

And we had lovely weather on Sunday afternoon, so we sat on chairs on the deck and read and watched the birds go by.

The red-headed finches, we noticed, run this joint.

We have an excellent anti-squirrel device on our bird seed holder. Now if only the birds were neater this guy wouldn’t be setting up camp.

Also, why do we call it bird seed? If you plant it they don’t grow into birds.

I said, Mr. Goldfinch, the seeds don’t grow into birds.

We have some nice cardinals around here.

And two chipmunks living in the yard, as well.

The male cardinal is a social butterfly.

A quick search suggests that sentence has never been published on a webpage crawled by Google’s spiders. I wonder if this is the same cardinal. I don’t have a learned enough eye to know.

And, again, every time these little finches come through, whatever birds are here split.

There must be a story there, an ornithological opera of aviary avarice about surly seed stinginess, but we didn’t hear about it Sunday. Unless we did. There was a lot of chirping and birdsong.

Tomorrow: we’ll check in on the cats! And there will be a new podcast for you, as well. And maybe some other things! But you’ll only now if you come back to see.

If you have some more time to kill right now, however, there’s always more on Twitter and check me out on Instagram, too. Speaking of On Topic with IU podcasts, and, oh hey, did you know that Phoebe and Poseidon have an Instagram account? They do. Check them out.

Feb 21

Winter showed up

That was some weekend, wasn’t it? Cold, ominous, and with inexorable weather rolling in for everyone. We had our usual Chick-fil-A on Saturday, a video chat that evening, and took a walk on Sunday just before that weather started making it’s presence known locally.

It came in two waves here. One, last night, with a couple of inches of new snow. This on top of the three or four inches we got last week that never had a chance to melt. And the second wave is coming upon us now, and late into the evening. Forecasters suggest we’ll be getting an inch of snow per hour for a while.

I went into the office today, because that’s what you do. And 15 minutes later the email came down: Work from home, people.

So I left at 2 p.m., because it was really starting to come down. I park in a parking deck at work, and my car was dry, but it was snowing enough to accumulate on the windshield and roof while sitting at a single red light. That, to me, seems like a lot of snow.

So you drive slow, and stay well back. Fortunately not a lot of people were on the roads. I suspect the stay-at-home, the day’s work-from-home and just the wisdom of staying out of this foolish weather kept people safely indoors. Just before I made it to our neighborhood I could see the car ahead of me fishtailing in a roundabout. An ominous sign. After that, three-quarters of a mile, and the treacherous and unkempt roads of the neighborhood, lay between me and my safe, dry garage. So I slowed down even more, because that seems like a thing to do, and Icrept in. You could run it faster. But I made it, just in time to see the birds.

If that cardinal doesn’t impress you, perhaps you’d like to see the eastern bluebird.

We had three at one time, which was a lot for this time of year. These little thrushes should be in the southwest right about now, but they are back, so I’ll take that as a sign.

They come and go through the shrubs and trees and bird feeders. Eventually the bluebirds gave way to warblers.

I would have thought the birds would be all in their nests right now, and building roofs.

The snow makes for a neat backdrop, no?

The cats are doing just fine. They are warm and dry. They probably want to go outside, but I think they’d decide against the idea when their paws got cold. They are lightweights, like me.

They can’t be perfectly untroubled by what’s going on outside. Phoebe is hunkering down, for some reason.

She’s lately developed a new pose that involves swimming over the shoulder.

Poseidon doesn’t know what that’s about, either.

When he’s not traumatizing his sister, or trying to figure out what she’s up to, he’s taking a great interest in laundry. It’s hard to fold sheets when he’s climbing inside of them.

I eventually turned a fitted sheet into a hammock for him and gently swung him back and forth until my arms got tired. I thought it might drive him away, but he liked it. Eventually I set the cat-carrying-sheet back on the floor and wrapped him up inside. You could hear him purring from six feet away. Eventually he climbed out a bit, so I folded the sheets around him. He was perfectly happy to stay like that for quite a while.

Pretty smart cat, sometimes, wouldn’t you say?

Feb 21

Photos to start the week

This weekend we received a red-bellied woodpecker as a backyard guest.

That’s just what they’re called. He didn’t explain the discrepancy. (The red crown distinguishes the gender, by the way.)

Look at this little guy:

One of his friends gave me my best photo yesterday, bird division:

Of course the cats like the birds. They have strategically placed spots with great sight lines of the menagerie taking place just beyond their reach and on the other side of the inexplicable transparent walls.

What must pets imagine of glass, and us?

Anyway, Phoebe is taking a break from the bird watching. She has the most intense relaxation face you can imagine:

Last month we noted that Poseidon likes to watch car chases with us. Apparently they make Phoebe a little more nervous. She couldn’t watch last week’s historic car chase.

Poseidon, meanwhile, has found himself a hammock bridge. Like he needed the help, or a new place to sleep:

Last night he decided to have a bit of water fresh from the mountain stream.

Better than the several bowls he has available to him.

More tomorrow. Check out the Instagram account that Phoebe and Poseidon run. Keep up with me on Instagram, too. And don’t forget my Twitter account.

See you there!