Monday, October 6, 2014

iPhone 6 turns lapdog into ferocious beast

Or something like that...

Taking inspiration from Goliath, hope you take a big bite out of Monday.

Or, take a nap. He's very good at naps.


Other posts you might like:
A stinky start to 2010, aka Goliath's worst day ever
Apparently I'm a bad dog mommy
Pug overload
If I had a billion dollars

Saturday, October 4, 2014

It's FIXING the little things in life that matters

For weeks, I stared at the seed packets on my kitchen counter and thought: Yeah, I should plant those before any hope of a Fall garden is gone. But did I? No, not for awhile longer yet. The seeds languished on the counter, occasionally getting splattered with dinner ingredients and at least once, falling off onto the tile floor. (Luckily, that packet was not open.) I don't know why I was surprised that when I finally planted the damn things (also freeing up counter space), I felt so stinkin' happy. What little things do you want to fix right now?
Want to be happier? Fix the little things that bug you.

I thought about this last week when I finally wiped down the mud spattered, oil fingerprint laden, spider web coated door that leads from the garage into the laundry room. It had been bugging me for awhile (awhile being the last 10 months or so). In and out of the door half a dozen times a day or more, I'd look at the mess and think "Hey, I should clean that" but when carrying groceries, work stuff, whatever, I just never made time.

And then I remembered a tidbit from a grad class I audited at ASU a few years ago. The class was all about happiness and well being (yes, I know, a graduate course about happiness--delightfully novel). Among other things, we discussed how to increase personal happiness levels. While working on my dissertation at the time, I expected (and experienced) dismally low levels of overall life satisfaction (dissertating is no spring picnic, people), but one thing really stood out: An easy way to increase happiness is to take care of life's little annoyances.

The dirty garage door? It bugged me every. single. day. For TEN months. And when I finally did something about it? Relief. I no longer see the door and it no longer annoys me. Magic!

Lately, life has felt crazed again with job hunting, teaching, work, book proposal writing, studying for my private pilot's license, etc. So today, I walked around the house and fixed three more annoying things. (Let's see if Mr. T notices that there are no books on the kitchen counter anymore, or that the crumbs in the kitchen drawers are missing, or that the Japanese Maple branch that stuck out into the walkway and hit people is gone.)

These little tweaks took just a few minutes and I'm SO excited to have them out of my consciousness (for awhile anyway, crumbs and tree branches will come back, of course).

What little annoyances do you want to take care of today?


Other things you might like:
Stop bright-siding me
For the love of pumpkins
Soul restoration
"Heartless, heartless Christmas witch"

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday 13: Confessions, volume VIII, the Fall edition

For the first time in months and months, I woke up to the sound of rain in Sacramento. Aside from a smidge bit of drought relief, the rain put me into a Fall state of mind. So, for Thursday 13, a few Fall-themed confessions...

1. I hate Fuji apples. They are the woefully overused variety of the apple kingdom and I refuse to eat them. All hail Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Jonagold!

2. I maintain a pumpkin fetish. And so I put them everywhere. Decorative stakes in the yard. Wooden carvings on the front door. In groups and piles around the house. Fresh, paper, plastic, wood... Love them all.

Related: For the Love of Pumpkins
3. Fall decorations are almost as much fun as Christmas. Almost.

4. I suffer from oak tree induced rage. And it becomes more pronounced this time of year. Yes, they're beautiful, majestic trees, blah blah. And they make beautiful, majestic piles of leaves and oak balls and acorns. For MONTHS. And that's not all. They also drop acid (literal drops of paint and plant killing acid) and caterpillars to eat my garden plants. And those acorns? The ones squirrels half-eat and then bury? They sprout baby oaks everywhere. Argh.

I've collected two bucketfuls this month. Anyone need acorns??
5. I cook soup to conjure Fall weather. It doesn't really work, but I try!

6. Planting seeds, does however. It never fails, the minute I put out seeds in my garden, a rain storm will kick up (like today's blessedly beautiful rain in Sacramento). Therefore, I must plant seeds every day, right?

7. I love a good Halloween party. And it occurs to me, I haven't been to one in years!
Ah, grad school nerds in costume. Yours truly was Katy Perry-as-Elmo (see more here).
8. I miss Trick or Treating. Dressing up. Walking the streets with other goofy costumed kids. The secret thrill of finding the holy grail house with full size candy bars. Those were the days.

9. Kids need at least two pieces of candy. Trick or Treat calorie economics says Shawna needs no Halloween candy in the house. Therefore, kids must take at least two. And by the end of the night, two whole handfuls. And one lucky kid will get the rest of the bucket before we shut out the lights. (Did I ever tell you about the time I bought Halloween candy at the end of September and then had to rebuy it at the end of October? No wonder my pants never fit.)
Second from left, my scarecrow shame.
10. I still haven't forgiven my mother for the Scarecrow costume. While my little sister got to be Dorothy, with her red sparkly shoes, yours truly trotted dolefully around with straw exploding from every crevice. My mom and the gang at Hoshall Salon and Spa in Carmichael had chosen Wizard of Oz for their Halloween theme, and while even my mom got the cool Tin Man costume, tween Shawna suffered in the least cute costume EVER.

11. Goliath gets a costume. For a minute, anyway. Last year, he was a bat for about 35 seconds before shaking off his ears. Mr. T threatens to report me for animal cruelty, but I can't help it that I find dogs in costume hilarious.

12. I haven't been to Apple Hill in eons. About an hour up the road live lovely apple and berry orchards where thousands flock every Fall for crafts, apple fritters, cider and the like. Although the idea greatly appeals to me--apple donuts, man!--I can never bring myself to actually make the drive and battle the tourist trap traffic.

13. I'm more than a little excited for Fall TV to be back. T-9 hours until Scandal! That is all.

Any Fall-ish confessions you'd like to share!?



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

For the love of pumpkins

"I love you!" I shout to Mr. T, jumping into his lap and planting a noisy kiss (or seven).

"Why?" he asks, barely containing the impulse to wipe his face.

"Because you tolerate pumpkins!"

"I hate pumpkins," he replies.

"No, you LOVE pumpkins," I counter.

"Okay, I love pumpkins," he mumbles, trying to get back to Grand Prix.

And that is why I love this man. For humoring me as I pull down bins of plastic and paper pumpkins from the attic and plaster them all over the house. And for only giving me a mild amount of grief about it. (He's saving the real grief for my 17 boxes of Christmas!)

All this is to say: HAPPY FALL, PEOPLE!


Somewhat related posts:
Chicken-flavored patriarchy
Love in the little moments
"You're kissing me on purpose": Laughter, the key to a happy marriage and life
Early Fall Snapshot 2012
A grateful heart: A marriage full of playfulness and joy

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday 13: On my mind

Played grease monkey with my father-in-law last month as he taught me
how to conduct the annual inspection of the Cessna 182. Surprisingly fun!
With summer wrapping up in just a day or two, I've been taking stock, a brain inventory if you will. Aside from the usual concerns--money, drought, what on earth to cook for dinner--a lot has been weighing on me. So in what feels like a "Throwback Thursday," activity, I made a nice Thursday 13 list to share the top things bouncing around in my brain.

What's on your mind lately?

1. Flying. After getting the annual inspection complete in August (a post about my month as a grease monkey is almost done!), Mr. T test flew our Cessna 182 last week. Now I've got to get back into my flight training, take my written exam (ahem), and practice, practice, practice for my checkride. Hoping to get my private pilot's license done this Fall.

2. Grub murder. While digging up my dead summer garden in preparation for fall, I noticed something strange. A lot of strange somethings in fact. Oddly translucent and shiny curled up worm things with blueish noses kept coming up with every handful of dirt. Luckily they didn't squirm much which cut down the ick factor. But I wasn't sure... friend or foe? Turns out, I have a giant grubby will-turn-into-root-eating-Japanese-beetles foe. So I've been on the hunt for organic weapons (it's my veggie garden, after all) and recently ordered some Milky Spore powder. I'll let you know how it works.

3. My blogging empire. Last month I launched my revamped professional website (check it out!) and I'm in the process of building a new all-things-aviation spot and a revamp of The Blue Muse. But man is it slow going!

4. Mike Brown. Yesterday students at Sac State held a demonstration outside of the library where I teach, protesting police brutality. I couldn't stay long since my back-to-back schedule leaves little time for delay, but I was struck by the group's passion and commitment to speaking the names of the recently dead. I couldn't help but think again how much America needs more empathy.

5. Job hunting. My third round on the academic job market is starting to commence, and I hope and pray this third time is the charm. I welcome any good juju, prayers and positive vibes.

6. Election season. Is it November 4 yet? I'm already tired of hearing political campaign ads, phrases like "power grab," and other unkindness. And we've still got seven weeks until the election.

Look at that cuteness!!
7. Lady A. Okay, can someone tell my niece to slow down?! She's seven months old and already pulling herself up, crawling, and pushing up teeth. Nothing makes time fly faster than watching a baby develop.

8. Nerd work. The fabulous news? One of my favorite academic articles will be published in a few months, and my friend and I just resubmitted a cool paper. Have things "out" and "done" feels so good but those accomplishments are dwarfed by the looming to-do list. As always.

9. Flagstones. In a few weeks, we'll be completing another part of the Back-40 Revamp! Flagstones, flagstones, everywhere.

10. Scandal. Cannot lie, I am counting minutes until Scandal comes back on air. Ever since seeing Kerry Washington at BlogHer this summer, I've been jonesing to find out what happens next!

11. Pants season. Super excited for Fall weather to finally arrive (please, come on already!) which will mean jeans and sweaters and cozy things. Fingers crossed that the pants I haven't tried on in six months still fit!

12. Acorns. Approximately 10,000 await in my backyard. Along with a bazillion oak leaves.

13. Christmas. Don't hate me. Just 98 days between us and Christmas. CANNOT WAIT!


Other Thursday 13s:

My favorite weekend of the year: The Reno Air Races

Grumman F7F-Tigercat "La Patrona" formerly known as "El Hefe" and ALWAYS "Big Boss Man" to me.
It's the rumble of history overhead. The thrill of neck-and-neck competition. The smell of avgas and desert. As I penned in my Ode to the Reno Air Races five years ago, there are fewer things I love more than a weekend full of fast flying warbirds.

This year, for the first time, we kept our visit confined to the pits (instead of the grandstands with the masses). We hung out with some of our racing friends and I enjoyed listening to race strategy and the eternal quest to get even one more ounce of power.

Although both of my favorite birds--Unlimited Gold racers Rare Bear, a Grumman Bearcat, and Strega, a P-51 Mustang--bowed out of competition due to engine problems, I still loved every minute. And here are a ton of photos to prove it!

Sport Class guys out on the ramp.
Kevin Eldredge won top spot in the Sport Class Medallion race on Saturday. Eldredge is used to going a heck of a lot faster though, as he also races the Relentless NXT.
The Medallion race was created for the "slower" sport racers, including many like our friend Scott Pruitt in stock Vans RV aircraft.
Some wishful thinking.
Melissa Pemberton flying aerobatics while her hubby Rex Pemberton worked the wing suit.
Unlimited Silver race. From left: Grumman Tigercat, P-51 Mustang and Corsair.
A pair of pretty evenly matched Seafuries.
One of a handful of flying Tigercats.
Folding up that 51 foot wingspan.

Sport Class Silver Race on Saturday. The coolest part? The top two finishers (before a penalty anyway) were women which I don't think has ever happened before at Reno.
Race winners get to ride the vintage firetruck across the show line and wave at the crowd.
Saturday's Unlimited Gold line-up with Race 77 and Race 7 being my favorites.
I still hold out hope that Rare Bear will win again.
Saturday's Unlimited Gold insanity between Strega (red/white P-51) flown by Tiger Destefani and Voodoo, flown by Steven Hinton. Tiger nosed ahead by 12/100ths of a second but was disqualified for flying too high. Boo. Even worse, he blew up his engine and couldn't race on Sunday.
T-6 in the morning light.
For the first time in years, we got to the Reno Air Races early enough to see the biplanes race. The yellow Pitts Special is flown by our friend Jeff Rose.
Practically life sized. Those biplanes are TINY.
No offense to jet lovers, but the Jet Class is my less favorite race to watch.
T-6 Texans.
My favorite spectator. And his little dog, too.
Sport Class Bronze Race.
We joined the crew of Race 49 for Bob "Nasty" Mills. He got so close in his Bronze Sport Class race, finishing fourth.

For a few minutes, I thought we'd see rain but no luck.
Mike Mangold, if I'm not mistaken.
The F-22 Raptor flew a demonstration that blew my mind.
The F-22 moves in ways that just don't make sense. 
F-22 Raptor underbelly

Heritage flight with a P-51 Mustang and F-22 Raptor. Pretty incredible the difference a century or so makes in air defense technology. I'd still rather watch the P-51 though.
P-51 Mustang and F-22 Raptor.
Rare Bear pulled out of Sunday's race within the first couple laps. 
Sunday made a sad story for Precious Metal, a P-51 Mustang with a Griffon Rolls Royce engine and contra-rotating props. After a heroic 11th hour repair, Precious Metal came up from the back of the back to finish third only to find out later a line judge disqualified him for supposedly busting a show deadline. 
Sunday's race ended with Steve Hinton winning his sixth title in Voodoo (not pictured).
Mr. T and Bill Beaton who raced his modified Harmon Rocket.
Yours truly on the firetruck for the third time. (SO COOL!) Hopped on with friends of Kevin Eldrege (in the cowboy hat). 
Fire truck ride down the show line.
Early a.m. ride meant the stands were still filling up.

The Bear Cave.

Mr. T's birthday always falls during the Reno Air Races which makes for a great excuse to celebrate extra!

Related posts:
Ode to the Reno Air Races
Mourning the 2011 Reno Air Races
Photos of the 2012 California Capital Airshow
Flying history: Buzzing around in a Stearman Biplane
Flygirl in Training: First time flying left seat