Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Random Things

Over the weekend, our vacuum cleaner vacuumed its last rug. We've had it since we got married (2001), so it had a pretty good run, considering that "they don't make things like they used to". I'll be looking for a replacement, next time I'm out shopping. After talking to Mom about her new vacuum cleaner, I think I'll probably get a bagless machine, this time around. (Not having to buy overpriced bags does have its appeal.)

. . . Probably nothing says "You're Getting Old and Boring" more than feeling excited at the prospect of a new vacuum cleaner. . .

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Speaking of the vacuum cleaner, over the past few days Donald and I have both accidentally referred (a few times) to both it and the dishwasher as "the lawn mower". There must be some deeper meaning to this odd occurrence, though I don't have any idea what it could be. It is fortunate that no-one was around to see us when I did it, the last time, because we both burst out laughing and would very likely have seemed to have lost a few marbles.

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Here are a few bits of news from Sweden:

Donald's farmor (father's mother) was recently in the hospital for surgery, but she's doing better, now.

Donald's parents have redone the cabinets (and a few other things) in their kitchen.

This has been a good year for chanterelles. Ingela and Britt-Marie picked over 30 pounds of them on one outing! (I'm not sure how many pounds would be average, but certainly much less than thirty.)

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I'm over halfway through watching Berkeley Square (since NetFlix finally saw fit to add it to their collection) and have been enjoying it. I suppose it is a little bit "soap opera"-ish, but not nearly as bad (or with such bad acting) as you typically see in soap operas. (Also, it has the benefit of having being finite, unlike real soap operas, which just drag on forever. You can't tell a good story without giving it some sort of conclusion, whether happy, sad or indifferent-- something the inventor of soaps must not have realized. . .) Of course there are much better sets and costuming, too. (Nineteenth-century clothes were so much prettier to look at than what we wear now, however impractical or uncomfortable they may have been.)

So far, only one scene was actually painful to watch, in terms of bad writing and/or acting. (Um, there's a big SPOILER coming up, here. . . SPOILER ALERT! I repeat, SPOILER ALERT! Skip the next paragraph if you don't want the series ruined for you!)

I'm thinking of the bit where Bertie's telling Hannah that she should have saved Charlie (Charley? not sure how it's meant to be spelled. . .) and somehow or other she's supposed to just blurt out the truth (that she has a son of her own). It just felt odd-- more forced than how things would naturally progress. Like the writers needed something to make Hannah tell Bertie about the baby, and this was the best they could come up with. I'd have to watch it again to decide whether I'd lay more blame on the writers or the actors.

Of course, you can't expect perfect acting from a child, and apart from that one scene, I have to say that Bertie is one of those rare "TV kids" whom I like and feel motherly towards. So many TV kids are just bratty or sickeningly "ooh, I'm SO blatantly (falsely) cute that you HAVE to love me-- So there! :P". This one's actually quiet and polite, and he has that starved-for-affection look (emphasized by such big eyes). Definitely more appealing than most of the children I see on TV and film.

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I've been taking a break from news, again. I can only take so much of it before I'm fed up. When it begins to have a negative impact on my state of mind (not to mention my blood pressure), it's time to take a vacation from "big news". After all, it's not like I can do anything to change the country or the world, right now, beyond what I'm already doing. It's frustrating, though, that the. . . I'll let you supply your own word, here. . . keeps cropping up on blogs and other non-news sites. It's nearly impossible to really block it all. Sometimes I feel that there are just one or two politically sane people on the Internet!

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On a related note, I'm tired of doom and gloom.
Honestly, World-at-Large, I just don't want to hear it.


Partly, because I don't think things are as bad as some sources would have us believe. Maybe I'm wrong-- or maybe there'll soon be all kinds of horrible everywhere you look-- but for now, I don't want to hear about it, read about it, or-- least of all-- think about it. Unless and until there's something I, personally, can do to improve things, leave me in peace, thanks-so-much.

Again, I may be waaay off, but I get the impression that the average American lives a life of incredible luxury-- a longer life with more creature comforts and less back-breaking physical toil than the average person living at any other period of history.

Or in other words, things could be a lot worse than they are, or are likely to be, assuming we keep our wits about us. (Now if we could only convince so many others that they need to get their act together, too. . .)

I hope I don't live to regret that whole "things could be a lot worse" line. . . ;o) Seriously, though, I think it's best to keep things in perspective and try to remember the positives of "right here right now". And keep in mind, this is coming from one prone to needless worry!

Maybe that's why everything is bothering me so much. Maybe other people can say "This is bad-- that's worse-- and we'll be lucky if the world's still here tomorrow!" then go right back to Life as Usual with nary a backwards glance. Meanwhile, as a natural worrier, I've taken it all too much to heart and am left to brood over it in the back of my mind for days.

Ugh, time to remind myself again: Every day of life is a gift. Enjoy it while you're here! Leave worrying for another time. (A dose of Pollyannaism to counteract the world. . .)

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Hm. I'm not pleased with the direction this post has taken.
Time for something nice and trivial, right?
But not necessarily positive. . .

I watched the first two episodes of Fringe with hopes that it'd be a fun paranormal escape-- a cross between LOST and the better episodes of The X-Files. (One of the writers behind developed/wrote/had something to do with this new show, too.) As I wrote, I've only watched two episodes, but I haven't been that impressed. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great, either, IMHO. It's probably just as well, though. Maybe I'll spend more evenings reading if there are fewer TV shows for me to keep up with.

On the subject of reading, I'm 100 pages (or so) into To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. I was intrigued by the blurb. Comedy of manners, sci-fi time travel, Victoriana, mystery and romance? Oh, and also throw in references to Three Men in a Boat and other literature? Yes, count me in (even if I'm ten years behind everyone else)! It's enjoyable, so far. I'll be surprised if it's one of those books I end up rereading time after time (à la Jane Eyre, for instance), but I'm certainly finding it a pleasant read.

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Fast forward to today-- Tuesday, Sept. 30th. (Yes, this is another of those "a bit at a time" entries.)

At about 10:30, Donald and I were walking Trixie up to the road to put something in the mailbox. We'd paused for a moment-- probably to coax Trixie to keep walking, because she's still not completely used to the concept of a leash. I looked further ahead along the easement and saw a snake stretched out across our path. (I'm a poor judge of distance. . . It was maybe twenty feet ahead of us? Far enough that we were safe, at least.)

As usual, it took a moment for me to process what I was seeing. I pointed it out to Donald before I'd even fished the word "rattlesnake" from my memory. It was fairly large-- five or six feet long, and pretty hefty-looking, with the unmistakable diamond pattern emblazoned across its rough scales. (It had a rattle, too. Fortunately it wasn't feeling threatened enough to rattle at us, but we saw it.)

It was making its way off my grandparents' property, toward an old fence and the scrubby wooded area beyond, so we didn't think there was any point in going back to call someone about it. (Yes, I mean calling someone about maybe coming to kill it. Sorry, conservationists. Hate me, if you must, but I don't want to lose one of my dogs to a snake, if I can help it. Neither do I want myself or a member of my family to suffer a painful and potentially life-threatening bite because we might get too close to a snake before we see it.)

It was quickly across the road and no more to be seen, beyond the fence, so we cautiously continued to the mailbox. I figured we'd see no more of it-- for today, at least-- but on the walk back, Donald spotted it well ahead of us on the easement. Apparently, it had come back onto the property further south along the road-- closer to our yard. While we watched, it went back through the fence again. I got the phone and walked back out to see if it had come back, but it was nowhere to be seen.

I hope it'll stay that way. . .
But this is still frustrating! I'd been letting my snake-guard down, already. Silly of me, really. It hasn't been that cool, yet, and snakes are obviously still out on the move, around here.

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Well, enough clickety-clacking. Time to get up and do something useful!