Friday, May 25, 2007


I got in my car this morning and noticed there was some sort of bug on the inside of the windshield. Upon closer inspection, I discovered it was a baby praying mantis and it was eating a fly!

While I thought it was kind of cool that I had a praying mantis living in my car, I was initially wondering how the heck it got inside my car. Then I remembered I had been mowing a lawn a day earlier and the lawn mower was still in my car. (It's one of those spinning blade push-powered mowers that don't use any fuel other than human enegy, so there's no awful gas fumes.) Best I can figure, the praying mantis must have hitched a ride in the grass clippings that were stuck to the mower.

I was ok with the praying mantis hanging out in my car, up until I was on the highway and noticed the praying mantis started jumping around on the dashboard. I then realized it could move pretty fast when it wanted. Not that I was afraid of the thing - it's only about 1.5 cm in size and I could crush it like... well.. a bug. But crushing it was actually my main concern - I didn't want to lose track of where it was an accidentally squash it.

Fortunately, for my 1/2 hour drive in to work it kept to the dashboard area of my car. When I finally stopped the car at work and opened the door to get out, the praying mantis decided to hop out too - right into the door jam area patiently waiting to be squashed when I closed the door. So, I then had to find a piece of paper to shepherd the thing fully out of the car. I finally got it to climb on the paper and I dropped it off on some shrubs nearby. Hopefully it likes its new home.

Here's a picture to give you a sense of how small the thing was - note the car air vent on the right hand side of the picture.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


No, the title doesn't refer to lowering one's standards - it refers to me finally settling in at my new condo. I still have a lot of unpacking and painting to do, but the bulk of the work is done.

When I first moved in but hadn't yet moved all my stuff from my old condo, I made the mistake of forgetting to bring my silverware. I had brought food, but had nothing to eat it with. Fortunately, there's a Stop & Shop just minutes down the street so I was able to pick up some needed utensils. I didn't want to buy a box of disposable plastic eating utensils (that would be wasteful!) so instead I found what I needed in the baby aisle:

Yes, they're tiny reusable little plastic forks and spoons. I figured they'll also be useful for hiking since they're so small. The only drawback of them is the spoons are so small I would only get a tiny amount of milk in the spoon when eating breakfast cereal. But it was definitely better than nothing and I wasn't about to drive 40 miles to my old condo late at night just to get some spoons and forks.

Here are a few pictures of the condo before I started painting - all the walls were initially white. Keep in mind the ceilings are about 15 feet high, although a lot of the pictures don't show it.

This is the kitchen.

This is the dining and living area (most of the dining area is out of view to the left of the pillar).

This is the entrance to the dojo room:

And this is the room that will be my dojo. The bed is no longer in this room - pretend it's not there.

In case your imagination isn't so good, here's another view with the bed gone.

This is the master bathroom. I get one sink for each hand! I find I tend to use the sink on the right most of the time.

Here are a few pictures of what the place now looks like painted.

And this last picture is not a picture I took, but is something I found on my camera. Apparantly while I was out there was some sort of Star Wars person sneaking around among the boxes in my condo and someone mysteriously caught a snapshot of him/her/it using my camera. Weird....

The great Internet time sink

Sometimes I think I'd be better off without Internet access. I figured I'd pop online for a minute to check my bank account to see if a check cleared. I have my web browser configured to give me a quick summary of news headlines as the default, so as soon as I opened up the laptop, I noticed some distracting headline in the news. A few minutes later (after reading the news article of interest) I'm staring at my computer trying to remember why I turned it on. I know there was a reason, but I can't remember it any more. Oh yes - my bank account. So I check my bank account and then remember one of my nieces had recently sent me an email with her blog address so I figured I'd read it to see what she's been up to. Well, it turns out her blog is on MySpace and is flagged as private, so if I want to read it I have to subscribe. So, I create a MySpace account (yes, I really didn't already have one) and spend ten minutes waiting for the confirmation email so I can use the account. Then I remember my nephew who is in the Army and is serving in Iraq right now also has a MySpace account. So I track him down and read his current take on life (not too cheerful) and discover through his list of friends that a whole bunch of my relatives also have MySpace accounts with tons of family photos and comments. It's like this whole other secret society I didn't even know about - I feel totally out of the loop. And I really get a chuckle out of viewing my MySpace profile when it currently says "You have 0 friends." Thanks for the words of encouragement MySpace!

So, the point of this ramble is my quick "pop online for a minute to check my bank account" turned into a two hour excursion.

Yeah, I know. I've got a monkey mind. I'm working on it... But it wasn't a total waste of time. I did learn a bit about my extended family.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Busy painting

Yes, I'm still alive. Sorry for the lack of content (for those of you who check in occasionally looking for something new). I'm all moved in to my new condo and the old place is officially sold and gone. I've now been spending just about all of my free time painting at my new place and at a friend's soon to be purchased condo. I've been painting so much now that when I go to sleep I dream about painting. And they're not even interesting painting dreams - just totally mundane dreams about painting a wall.

I'll try to put up some pictures of my new place soon.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Update from Iraq

I just received word that my nephew was involved in yet another road-side bomb incident in Iraq this past week. Fortunately he is ok. Unfortunately, a friend of his - Jerome Potter - was killed. You can read about the soldier here.

It seems every day I hear news about soldiers being killed in Iraq. The news is so frequent it's possible to let it just blend in with the expected normal day-to-day news chatter, failing to keep in perspective that each and every one of these losses of life represents a heart-breaking ripple for the families and friends of the departed.

Hopefully this war will end soon.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Poor planning

While packing up some boxes this morning, I glanced out the front window and saw this:

A swan has built a nest right outside my living room window! There are even a couple eggs already in the nest. It's a bit poor planning on the swans part. I know I'm moving away and all and they're eager to take advantage of the vacant space, but the spot they picked it a poor location. At high tide the whole area ends up underwater! I would have thought the swan would know that. I don't think the eggs are tolerant of the cold water, but I suppose the swans have more experience at this stuff than I. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Here's another view of the area (from my upstairs bedroom window). It's looking straight down on the area. The whole grass area usually ends up underwater at high tide - and it's a near full moon today, which means an even higher tide than normal. In this picture, the nest is on the left edge.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Tomorrow (Friday) at noon I have the closing on my new condo. I've been going a bit crazy the past few weeks trying to get things squared away, hence the lack of any new items here. The date seemed to come up fast, yet I didn't have the final confirmation on everything until a few days ago, so I was hesitant about doing too many things until I knew everything was a definite go. Now this week I had to schedule switching over the utilities and moving my Internet service. Because I had to wait so long before scheduling things, it looks like I'll be without Internet access at home for a few weeks. Apparantly no one else in the building has ever had DSL service before, so it'll take a while to get it set up. The current schedule from the local telephone company says it will be activated on May 17th.

Don't expect to see much new material here for a couple weeks.