The Girl makes some of the funniest faces sometimes. This was last week at Reedy River Park.
Shortly after this, she took a tumble.
I recently reclaimed our backyard from a group of yellow jackets. In reality, they really had only taken over a small portion — they were in the corner of the yard, and we have a big backyard:
We have big plans for the backyard, but there’s so much work to do in the house that I seldom get outside to do it — and “it” is truly overwhelming.
But I can’t get outside because of all the problems inside. This week, the guest bathroom sink decided to develop a leak. Rather, three leaks. I fixed two of them, but in the process of fixing them, created the third.
The whole problem (taking all three as one larger Problem) is that whoever did the plumbing the first time had never heard of Teflon tape, hence everything was simply screwed in place and waiting for a leak.
It’s indicative of this house — most things seem to be done backwards. For instance, the insulation throughout the house is put in backwards, with the vapor barrier facing the crawl space instead of the floorboards. I can’t figure out how they did that one, since the vapor barrier has “This side to living area” printed in bold every six inches or so.
But it gives me plenty of little projects…
Ahmadinejad is indeed a nut:
Not since the prime minister of the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada presented an address claiming that UFOs posed a mortal threat to the future of mankind has the United Nations been treated to such a bizarre spectacle.
Many people believe the greatest threat to world peace concerns Iran’s nuclear programme, so there was understandably great interest at this week’s general assembly in New York when the country’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, took the platform.
But instead of seeking to reassure delegates that Iran’s nuclear intentions were purely benign, Mr Ahmadinejad took advantage of his official visit to a country deemed – in the lexicon of the Iranian Revolution – “the Great Satan” to embark on a discourse about the wonders of the 12th Imam. (Will the 12th Imam cause war with Iran? – Telegraph)
It appears that he may be wanting war as much as any warmonger Christians — those hoping to hasten Jesus’ return — here in the States.
On May 7 and 8, 1945, the Allies celebrated their victory over the Third Reich. In London, millions gathered in a near-carnival atmosphere to mark the end of a long nightmare.
While our celebrations were nearly so huge, K and I did exchange a laugh over the end of the Yellow Jacket War this weekend, after the last pockets of resistance were flushed out and destroyed.
I went down Saturday morning about nine, just before mowing, to see if I could root around with a shovel and find the nest. I’d been making daily observations at dusk the whole week and had not seen a single infantryman (infantry-wasp?) in that period. Just to be sure, I’d doused the area liberally with more wasp killer.
In short order, the tip of my shovel turned up the yellow jackets’ lair…
And it was absolutely covered with yellow jackets.
The shovel fell with a thud as I sprinted for my life. Not literally, for I’m not allergic to them, but their stings do indeed burn. I soon realized that none were following. “Perhaps these are specialized workers who aren’t as aggressive as those who hunt and gather — and defend,” I thought. Deciding to take a chance, I crept back down the hill in the early evening and found the nest still covered. I gave them a shot of bad medicine (you had to know that was coming at some point), ready to run. Yet none attacked.
There’s something perversely satisfying about holding a significant portion of your enemy’s entire base in your hand…
(“That looks burned,” some might think. Indeed. When I brought the nest in, I noticed that there were a couple of larvae still wriggling about. “Immolation is the only sure method,” I muttered — rather, “I guess I’ll have to burn these suckers” — so I took the nest out, put it on several layers of aluminum foil in the driveway, sprinkled a few drops of gas on them…)
T. S. Eliot was spot on:
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
It wasn’t much help considering the next part of the stanza:
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have three different names.
We had a difficult time coming up with one name for the cat we rescued from the shelter. A white and gray three-year-old, he’s playful but maturing.
I consulted Eliot:
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey -
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter -
But all of them sensible everyday names.
None of those names pleased us, though “Bill Bailey” would have been appropriate, I though. I went to a site that’s supposedly specifically for the Naming of Cats. I randomly chose “M” and here’s what I got:
I closed my browser with a sigh, realizing we’d be going it alone.
While we could just throw any old name on a dog and it would stick, we knew we couldn’t just go with any old name for a cat:
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum -
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
And being a household with Polish roots, we wanted something that worked in both cultures.
If only we could have asked the cat:
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover -
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
We finally decided on “Basza,” pronounced “Basha.” But there’s a twist. A caveat, so to speak. The sh sound is not what we normally use in English, which is more like “Basia” in Polish, a diminutive of “Barbara.”
The average American ear probably can’t hear the not-so-subtle difference between the Polish sz and si. Both of them in English would be most closely approximated by sh, but that is only how the si sounds. The sz is much harder than our sh, deeper in the throat, with the tongue farther back in the mouth than si (e.g., our sh). I know it took me a long time to get the difference, and longer to get to where I could pronounce the difference. And still, I generally get lazy and pronounce all my sz‘s and si‘s like sh, even though I know better.
Still, Basza won’t be going to school, so we don’t have to worry about teachers and other kids mispronouncing his name, as we will with L. And visitors will only be corrected once.
Of course I videoed some of the battle. Let’s hope the music is synched…
“We need to get a dog. L is growing fast and we should teacher her that she’s not the center of the universe,” said K. Or something like that.
“Dog equals lots of work and time training, lots of money getting some sort of barrier device installed, lots of time cleaning up accidents, lots of barking, lots of walking at inopportune times, lots of ‘lots’ we don’t have lots of,” I responded, only not nearly so cleverly.
We agreed on something of a compromise:
He’s a three-year-old abandoned sweetie who’s obviously been around a lot of children: he’s as patient with L as any parent could want. Sure, he has his limits — then he just gets up and walks off…
I just love that six, eight weeks after we bought our house, the Fed lowered interest rates by half a percent…
L turned nine months today. We spent a few moments watching videos of when she was learning to sit and learning to crawl; now, she moves rather quickly, not to mention enjoying things that were impossible a few months ago:
We spent the afternoon wandering around Cleveland Park, and as sometimes happens, I’m in some of the pictures.
More pictures are at our Flickr account.
The girl has been crawling for some time now, but since we’ve moved to our new house with hardwood floors throughout, she’s adapted her crawl so it’s less painful.
Last weekend, I was raking leaves in our backyard, a sizable space that hasn’t been properly maintained for years. It’s a wilderness — in more ways than one, I found out. While raking, I felt a sudden burning sensation on my left wrist. I looked down to find a yellow jacket squirming around, getting ready to hit a second time. Of course, at the moment I didn’t realize it was a yellow jacket. I stood there looking at it, thinking, “How odd. And how painful.” Suddenly, in my left shoulder I felt another, then another sting. The fascination quickly subsided and I began walking away, then running when a swarm began forming around me.
Yellow jackets like to build nests where they won’t be disturbed, I read somewhere on the internet. That’s a perfect description of our backyard — a place a yellow jacket wouldn’t be disturbed. Until the new owner goes out with a $40 monster rake he bought for the express purpose of dealing with the four to six inches of leaves in the backyard.
Fortunately I only got hit four times. One almost got me above the eye, but somehow I managed to evade him.
Yesterday, I decided to seek revenge. But first some precautions:
Armed with Ortho Hornet and Wasp Killer (because yellow jackets are really just wasps, and so are hornets for that matter), I approached the nest carefully, fired a test shot to the side, then attacked.
Then they attacked.
“This stuff is supposed to kill them on contact,” I thought, running up the hill toward the house.