Well, One Thing Went Right

It’s been a rough couple of days. Wednesday afternoon we took our Xterra to the dealership to get whatever was tripping the “check engine” light repaired. Early Thursday morning we found out just how much that was going to cost. So much that they made my husband come back in and pay a deposit before they would order the parts.

Then on Friday afternoon we met with a real estate agent to talk about listing our house here. We found out that not only is it worth less than we thought, but she highly recommended we get it listed by March 1st. Gulp. Right after we finished that meeting, the dealership called to tell us the Xterra was ready to be picked up.

So we do the car shuffle and then head to a late lunch followed by a much needed gas stop. Meanwhile, I get a call from our builder following up on an email they had sent a few hours earlier regarding our flooring. One of the estimates was nearly double what they projected, so they were scrambling to come up with more cost effective alternatives. Unfortunately, nothing they proposed would save much and it would compromise the aesthetics of the house.

It wasn’t really a happy phone call. There might have been some harsh words exchanged. Meanwhile, we were driving the car around to get some miles on it before taking it back for the emissions test. My husband went to do just that today, while I spent a few hours taking everything out of our storage locker so we could pull out the hardwood doors we salvaged from my dad’s house when it was demolished. The only good news – the Xterra passed the emissions test and we can now renew the tabs. Finally, one small victory.

Don’t Drink and Shave

Monday morning we dropped the furry little beast off at the kitty condo for his boarding stay. Our flight to Phoenix was yesterday morning, so naturally I spent all day Monday power cleaning while we were temporarily cat-free. I actually accomplished more than I thought I would, so I was feeling pretty smug about it. I waited until after dinner to shower, since I knew the cleaning would leave me sweaty. Of course I had some wine with dinner, so by the time I got into the shower, I was feeling no pain.

Until I shaved my legs and learned an important lesson. It’s a really bad idea to shave after drinking. One half-assed swipe at the back of my calf left a trail of blood running down my leg. I never knew that a razor could qualify as heavy equipment. I won’t make that mistake again. It looks like really bad road rash. I guess I should be glad it’s too cold for shorts in Phoenix right now.

Speaking of Phoenix, we got to watch a drug bust in the parking lot of our condo complex right after we arrived. At first it just looked like a resident reporting an abandoned vehicle to the police, something that’s happened before. Nope, there were two people apparently living in the car and we later saw both of them handcuffed and sitting on the curb with what looked like a crack pipe on the hood of the car.

It made for an awkward exit from our garage when we left to head for the DMV. The police officer very nicely asked if he needed to move his SUV for us to get out. We just noped right out of there. Our first errand of the trip was obtaining a temporary permit for our Xterra so we can get it repaired and emissions tested without risking a ticket for expired tabs. That proved to be relatively quick and painless. Let’s hope it’s setting the tone for the rest of the trip.

Statistics for 2017

My apologies for yesterday’s rant. I just needed to get a few things off my chest before closing out 2017. I will do my best to maintain a more positive attitude in 2018. What I won’t do is commit to posting something every single day. It was a good challenge, but some days the pressure was overwhelming.

Here are some fun statistics for the year.

Total number of posts: 365 (duh, one a day). This blows away my previous average of just under 150 per year.

Total number of photos posted: 898. This is completely off the chain, as it very nearly matches the total number of photos I posted in the previous seven and a half years.

I will guarantee those are records that will stand unbested for eternity. I’m starting off 2018 with what is likely to be an extended break from posting. Now, if you’ll excuse me, Netflix awaits. Happy 2018!

The Last Post of the Year

Not with a bang, but a whimper. I guess I should have saved a couple of really amazing images for my final post of 2017. I didn’t. What I have left is just a couple of dead plants from the Minnesota Zoo. Nothing special, nothing extraordinary. I’m tired and my creativity is at a low ebb right now. I feel like I should be doing something.

And yet I’m bored out of my mind. I’m speed reading novels and binge watching Netflix. I haven’t worked out for almost four months. My stress level is through the roof and I’m back to the weight I was at before I started working with a trainer over five years ago. Our new home is scheduled to be on a tour in just over five months and a ridiculous amount of work remains. I feel like I’m losing my mind on a daily basis.

I have a cat that alternates between sleeping on my lap and trying to take a chunk out of my arm. I’m eating junk and drinking alcohol as a form of self medication. I have no one to blame but myself. End rant. Begin new year.

Last Black & White for 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, I’ve got just a few more images to share from the year. Today it’s some black and whites from the Como Conservatory. My mom and I never did get back for the holiday flower show, but I looked at the description for the winter flower show and it sounds interesting. So we may need to hit that later in January. Right now it’s just too cold to go anywhere.

I’d really love to get out and do more winter photography, but I’m not ambitious enough to face the bitter cold temps. What I need is a fresh coat of snow, followed by 25 degrees and sunshine. Is that asking for too much? Right now, apparently yes. The overnight low was -14 and the “high” is supposed to be -4. Tomorrow’s forecast is the same. I’m not planning to set foot outside until the temperature is back above zero. Brrrrr.

Every Day I’m Shovelin’

Yesterday we woke up to a little fresh snow. We’ve only had about six inches of snow so far this season and typically less than an inch has fallen at a time. Our biggest snowfall was only two inches. It hasn’t been enough for our driveway to get plowed, so I’ve just been shoveling it. And shoveling it. I think yesterday was my fourth time so far.

Looking on the bright side, the normal snowfall total by this date is about twenty inches. I’m trying to convince myself that I’m getting fresh air and exercise and saving money. We only get charged when we get plowed, which is surprisingly rare. Most services charge a fixed price for the season. The pay per plow deal has definitely been working in our favor over the past few years.

I did get my butt out of the house for a short photo op in the backyard yesterday afternoon. I can’t say it was anything spectacular, but I guess dead plants covered with snow is better than nothing. We are getting more snow this afternoon and the forecast is brutal, with high temps staying below zero for the weekend. We ran out for groceries and liquor this morning, so we are well stocked for battening down the hatches. Cue the Netflix.


Minnesota Zoo Roundup

This is the last of my zoo photos for the year. Unfortunately, it looks like my image queue is going to dry up within a few days.

This is the adorable red panda. He loves to stick out his tongue.

I think I have more photos of the panda with his tongue out than in. Still cute every time. Next is a white-cheeked gibbon. I loved the expression on his face and the way his little paws were crossed over the branch. I had to do a lot of cropping on this photo, because even with a long lens, he didn’t fill very much of the frame. Fortunately, that’s not a big problem for photos that are only going to be shared online. I can’t imagine ever printing any zoo animal photos.

I’m rounding out my animal trio today with an American bald eagle.

We got some fresh snow today and there’s more in the forecast for tomorrow. I guess I’m going to have to brave the cold and get outside with my camera. I just haven’t been feeling very inspired lately.

Thinking Warm Thoughts

On Christmas Eve day, the temperature topped out at 22 degrees. That’s the last of the double digits we’re going to see for a while. Yesterday it barely managed to squeak past zero. Ah, winter in Minnesota. So today I’m revisiting San Diego for just a bit. Can you blame me? We managed to have a lovely Christmas, despite the cold, mostly because we watched Netflix and didn’t leave the house on Christmas day.

We made a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, my husband’s favorite meal. This time we stepped it up a bit, cooking a turkey breast and making mashed potatoes from scratch, instead of relying on Whole Foods for the entire meal. Okay, the stuffing was Stove Top and I bought pre-made gravy , but baby steps, okay? We had enough to make a second dinner yesterday. Next time I might try my hand at stuffing. Brave girl.

Just a Baby Tiger

At one of our fall visits to the Minnesota Zoo, we saw a baby tiger. These aren’t particularly good photos, but that tiger cub was so cute.

The baby tiger in our household (aka Ripley) made me think about the one at the zoo. My feelings about being a cat “guardian,” as the politically correct like to say, vacillates wildly from day to day. Last week, on the day I had my mini meltdown, Ripley served as a tipping point. His pitiful crying as I was trying to eat my breakfast (outside of his designated space) literally brought me to tears. I just wanted a few minutes to eat in peace and he wouldn’t even give me that.

Then, the next day, he laid down in my lap and napped for over two hours. He hasn’t spent more than 20-30 minutes in my lap since he was a kitten and he usually ends up biting at me before he leaves. This was a full on, sprawled out, totally relaxed nap. My legs were numb before he got up, but it was totally worth it.

Moments like that give me hope that Ripley might yet settle down and become a more affectionate cat as he matures. As of now, he’s clingy and wants to be around us, but doesn’t really want to be touched. If he just wanted to keep to himself, I would respect that, but the clingy/bitey behavior is super frustrating. I think he needs more turf to roam. He’s probably as anxious as us to move into the new house.

Random Images for Christmas

And now, the end (of the year) is near, and so I need to post some random images. First up, a reflection of a boat mast on Lake Calhoun.

Then I have a beautiful little girl with a pouty face on a train.

An abstract composition from the tide pools near La Jolla, California.

Next is some grasses against the background of Lake Harriet.

Finally, a dead plant on a neighborhood walk and some ferns in black and white at the Como Conservatory. True randomness at last!