ellyssian: (Default)
I really have to get to bed earlier.

With that... good night! =)
ellyssian: (Default)
Now, with bullets!

  • [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas just practiced him some parallel parking, so he should be all ready for the the driving test middle of February
  • Rachel has taken up sewing as a hobby, and does repairs in addition to beanie toy & cat toy projects
  • Rachel has also been organizing a bunch of the brown belts into a cleaning company, so they can take care of the floor and mats
  • Mr. B is convinced that, like his two older siblings and his 'elf, Aqua Energizer was also manufactured in mom's belly
  • I wrote a couple of bass riffs for a new song, and [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas has the start of the piano part
  • I haven't been playing the bass enough, and so, after a quarter of the slap parts to 5 on Reserve, my fingers gave up, and now my index and middle fingers have nice, red, pouffy bits
  • Wrote some on the company blog yesterday
  • Thinking about my uncle yesterday, I looked back over the posts from this time three years ago, and realized I still haven't replied to most of them... and that some of the people who expressed sympathy back then aren't on LJ anymore, or worse, aren't even alive now...
ellyssian: (Default)
I'm down about twenty pounds from where I'd been averaging - about thirty-five/forty from the all time high I hit while sitting at a desk. Pants that were a bit too tight are just right. Of course, I still have thirty-five/forty to go to where I'd be happy; about sixty to where current medical science thinks they want me to be (which means you'd be able to count internal organs easily due to the skin stretched around them - I've been that weight before and you can see behind the ribs! =) I suppose I'll need new pants at that time, either that or I'll suddenly be in fashion with the droopy drawers crowd. I think I'll opt to tighten the belt and, when needed, buy some pants with smaller waist sizes.

I had a tick on my sunglasses yesterday. Talking to the client and then, poof, there it was, center of the lens. They may not be able to fly, but they can teleport.

My skin is taking on the deeper darker tones that it used to every summer, none of this programmer-pasty-white. This is, of course, not a good thing health-wise, but I expect it's enough to make those who pay to get zapped under lights jealous.

I'm able to get on, off, and around the truck - i.e. ducking under the ladder rack bars - much easier. Flexibility is good, and its really been about a dozen years since I had it; that stint with the chiropractor 11-12 years ago stopped progress short, took it back a few steps, and a decade of the aforementioned desk-sitting didn't help, no matter how much I stretched morning and night (and when I could during the day).

Physical strength is also coming back now that I'm using muscles for something besides typing. My biceps won't win any prizes for their diameter, but they're bigger than they have been.

Of course these are all minor changes, and there's a lot more that will result from longer hours of doing this stuff. Anywho, the builder's supply store is open now, so I'm off to work! =)
ellyssian: (Default)
Why yes, I am about to head out into the rain for a day of digging up hostas and peonies and yuccas and lillies oh my! And, yes, I'd like to get the posts out in the morning so people actually see them, so poof, there they are, all at once! =)

The rain, by the way is a mixed bag:

GOOD: Far less, if any, yellow jackets! And those that are around are generally mellow to the point of comatose.
BAD: This cold and cough keep hanging around due to a cold soak every few days.
GOOD: Stuff lifts up out of the ground a lot easier when the ground is wet.
UGLY: The horticultural equivalent of mud wrestling.
ellyssian: (Default)
Monday's Thirteen is up - had it ready on Saturday, but I wasn't around this morning to post it! Here's why.

Lots of other stuff going on - cruise back to this Saturday post. Mostly good stuff, but one big bad one there at the end.

Unbelievably enough, I also managed to complete enough reviews to get me from here to Friday and a bit into next week. Now there are two challenges - first, finish more of them so they don't drop off suddenly next week; lastly, wake up earlier so I get a chance to post 'em! =)

In other news, hundreds of pounds of stone conspired against me today, but that might have been on account of me moving them from one side of the property to the other (only a few thousand feet or so).
ellyssian: (Green Man)
  • Jeet Kune Do workout
  • plan out stone working table
  • start up some laundry
  • check local masonry supply shop for canvas sand bags (negative) and rebar cutters (negative)
  • swing by 84 Lumber to pick up wood for table; check for 6" PVC pipe for truck rack (negative) and rebar (#3 too short; #4 & 5 good length, but would need cutter and bigger holes to drill)
  • swing by Marzen's Feed & Hardware to pick up the latter, for the table, of course; get invited up to the fire station for show & tell
  • eat lunch (grilled ham & muenster; thought we had swiss, we were out; no pickle, no chips, just samwich)
  • go to client's place to review plan and determine what changes are needed
  • drop by Hawk Valley Farm to get mulch and compost priced out
  • eat dinner (a half hour/hour early, but we were hungry after small lunch)
  • stop by builder supply on way back; find good railroad pick (no plastic on handle!) and lots of useful tools (for future reference), also, they have rebar and cut it to certain sizes; out of #3, but have it coming in before I'd need it, so it's all good
  • fuel up ($74 & change almost fills one of the tanks!)
  • swing by fire station as they gather for weekly meeting, guided tour of the truck to the guys looking into getting a new brush truck
  • couple of movies and do some more laundry
  • clean toilet
  • write this up instead of going to bed, like I should be doing
  • ready library books for drop-off tomorrow
  • ready doc for accountant for drop-off tomorrow
  • ready brain to get [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas to dentist late AM, fed afterwards while driving him to college (and hoping he actually gets done in time; we've got almost two hours between start of appointment time & start of class; about 30-45 minutes of driving between them)
  • ready brain to get everything together so I can work in the office at the college
  • ready stomach to come home and eat steak tips and baked potatoes for supper tomorrow
  • ready brain to get things ready for the rest of the family to return Wednesday
ellyssian: (penguin)
Forgot to mention, some time last week I started learning contact juggling (see dot com for info and a great intro tutorial, see also dot org for a forum with tons of info I've barely even begun to look at). "But doesn't he have enough to do?" you may ask, and the answer is, "yes, lots, tons, and so on." However, I've been a fan of Michael Moschen for a long time, and it does provide a nice bit of cross-training for the martial arts - some portions of the Butterfly, for instance, are identical to blocks and strikes in various arts, only you have a ball providing a focus point. That, and, starting out, I'm getting a good aerobic and stretching and bending workout chasing after the ball...

There's been two updatia posts over the weekend, the public one in which I don't give a heckuva lot of info, and, in fact, had intended to include the whole bit above, and the locked down one, which talked about some stone work and some other things business related.

Speaking of which, today will be busy: I have to pick up some wood to build a stone working table, pick up a 6" pipe for the truck rack (I have end caps; the pipe will hold long materials), and check out the masonry supply shop for canvas sandbags and other tools. I'm wrestling with the need for a rebar cutter, but first I have to find a supplier of rebar - the Lowes website has rebar, but none of the local stores (30-40 miles) carries it; the Home Despot website search for rebar returned toilets, televisions, stereo systems, lawn tractors, and ATV accessories. For those completely unaware (which would quite obviously include Home Despot staff), rebar is a bit of steel bar used for reinforcing concrete and other masonry projects. You really couldn't find very many projects where a wide screen television or a lawn tractor would make a suitable substitute. See, the steel is there to provide torisonal strength. Concrete does great with the compression strength, but can't handle torsion. So you add the rebar - which contracts and expands in a similar manner to the concrete, so the whole structure doesn't rip itself apart when temperatures change. Now, not only are the other items much more expensive (20 feet of widescreen LCD - that's gotta be more than the $3 I've seen listed for rebar), I think they'd fail if concrete was poured on them. There's too many gaps in them, so that would create pockets of air (or, in the lawn tractor's case, possibly gasoline-filled, which creates an additional set of problems) and would weaken the structure. That, and they all perfectly fail at the one-rod-stuck-through-a-bunch-of-rocks-to-keep-them-together task for which I need them. For one thing, I don't think toilets or stereo systems come in four foot lengths, 3/8" of an inch in diameter.

So, yeah, rebar, a basic building block of the construction trade, can not be found on Home Despot's website, yet they are apparently stretching beyond the appliance angle (which makes a bit more sense for remodelling projects) to become an electronics store as well. I'd think that takes up valuable floor space and changes the requirements for the expertise (if any) you're looking for from the sales staff, but, hey, it's not my business. That, and it might give the local shops (if they haven't already been pressed out of existence by the buying power of the big chain stores) a niche to work in.

Oh, in yet other news, this is Jeet Kune Do week, which includes some light sparring. [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas has decided I'm more dangerous without my glasses - apparently I can land a lot more blows when I can't see. I blame the "I can't see; must flail!" impulse. =)
ellyssian: (Default)
Justin and I are making fajitas. The pico de gallo is chilling. Yum, for the scents of roasted peppers, garlic, and onion! We're watching the Deadliest Catch on Discovery (Deadliest Catch weekend!)

Earlier today, we went to Flow for some delicious local food - I'll do a full review, but in the meantime, go there and eat. It's good. If you're not near Jim Thorpe, PA, you need to come and visit and eat. I suppose distance might negate some of the eating-locally-grown-&-raised thing, but if you're in the area to visit, you should definitely stop by.

Deb, Rachel, Mr. B, and [livejournal.com profile] patrixa left for NC yesterday morning, and are now at my dad's mom's place.

And I think that's most of the news! =)
ellyssian: (Default)
First up, for those who don't stay up late or scroll way back through lots of stuff, Episode Six of Monday's Thirteen made it up with nearly two hours of Monday left to spare. And today, when updating, it lost the icon and the subject. I think it might be an issue with the older Safari down here. Anywho.

Saturday, there was volunteering and some work - details posted soon. Sunday was Easter festivities - details posted soon, pictures posted here, here, and here.

For the last month or so connectivity has been iffy and getting progressively worse. Thursday was Almost Dead, Friday was Mostly Dead, Saturday was Buried, and Sunday was Unplugged, until late in the day when I found out what it was. Maybe.

Monday, which gets lumped into the holiday weekend, involved Brandonisms and the installation of a new lawn ornament.

Today will involve some online work for the business that I wanted to do last Friday and much of the same for the household which was also supposed to be done Friday. Oy. It will also involve chainsaws and removal of aforementioned lawn ornament.
ellyssian: (Default)
Last week's edition of Monday's Thirteen went well - nine out of the thirteen quotes were guessed correctly! I'll get this week's edition of the game - which inclues three leftover quotes in the brand-new "Sudden Death" category. Guess one of those, and you'll get instant gratification (as soon as I confirm it! =) and the quote will be closed and done with. Hints and additional quotes will appear every day until those are correctly guessed.

I posted an example one of Mr. B's monologues on Saturday - this one shows the thought process involved in finding hiding places. I posted some big news on Friday night - Green Man Enviroscaping LLC is now my full time gig. Or, it will be once I hire myself. =)

Justin and I assembled, under Mr. B's watchful supervision (when he wasn't looking for hiding places or chasing away bad monsters) a Model 78, which will, provided rain holds off, get put to use this week in establishing a meadow. We also installed a brush blade on the big trimmer.

Saturday morning, we plowed the Kittatinny access area for the Lehigh Gap Nature Center. This was Justin's first time seeing the stacking of snow - there hadn't been enough for that on the other times we went out. When we got back, we shifted the cars out of the driveway, and then Justin brought Mr. B out so he could watch me plow the driveway.
ellyssian: (Green Man)
Now I'll have to see about getting the company I own to hire me... =)

I'll have to go up before the entire board for the interview process... that'll be rough. I know so much about me already, I'm really not sure what kind of questions I should ask myself...

Big step. Many appointments coming up. Need to get everything ready to go because it's showtime...

In other news, I'll be giving my car some much needed R&R on Monday. Put winter wipers on. Leave it at the garage until it has good oil and working turn signals. 60-70 miles a day, five days a week for five years is enough to wear out any piece of machinery. Maybe even get the check engine light fixed, for once.

This weekend, much to do. It looks like a good chance for plowing tomorrow morning. Have to assemble the wheelbarrow. Put the brush blades on the heavy trimmer and the split-boom trimmer. Need to assemble the new spreader, give it a quick trial run in the snow and see how it does. The old one - maybe 20-30 years old? - is too fragile now, and it would slip way too much. Also, it's a drop spreader, and much lower to the ground than this one. The new one has big ol' pneumatic tires instead of solid plastic ones. Both those will factor into how good it runs on snow in general and in this meadow in particular.

To continue this fragmented style of post, I installed the Slushbusters. Had to warm the truck up for a while - the adhesive likes to be above 40 degrees when first installed. So I sat around, listening to tunes and waited. The supplemental heater really, umm, heats things up, so it wasn't that long until I could pop on all the lights, squeegee the window dry, and install the strips. Gave it a few test runs and I think they'll work. We'll see if it's still snowing tomorrow morning!
ellyssian: (Default)
I haven't written much poetry - or fiction, for that matter - lately. Too much going on to get the moment of quiet needed. Or, usually, the many moments. The writing goes by as fast as I can type, but sometimes I have to sit and wait around until the muse starts dictating the work to me.

Anywho, on that note, I started posting some older pieces that haven't appeared in this venue. Unless I forgot to tag them, of course. I started things off with rusalka, one of my favorites, and in rather dubious honor of the delisting of the the grey wolves, I posted Vanishing Point. The latter piece is older than Justin.

I posted the wrap-up for last week's game of Monday's Thirteen, exposing the four correct answers. I'll be posting the new edition for this week in a few moments.

Yesterday I made some changes to the Green Man Enviroscaping LLC website - there's now a blog in place of the news page and there's a page for job listings, with one open position listed.
ellyssian: (Default)
While yesterday wasn't technically a weekend or holiday for me, I know it was for some folks out there, so here's my annoying, repetitive helpful, friendly summary, mostly on account of neglecting to post it yesterday, presented here with a bonus item of breaking news...

For those who need a regular dosage of The Adurable, I give you some Brandonisms. For those who eat food, I give you Cinnamon Rum Candy Glazed Fish. For those who watch movies, I give you the first installment of the Monday's Thirteen guessing game (You can view last week's meme as the pilot episode =). For those of you who feel passionately about a certain computer software vendor's products, I give you Why Microsoft Products Rule the World.

And, best of all, I include quotes from an article in one of the leading green industry trade publications, in which the owner of Green Man Enviroscaping LLC is quoted regarding the importance of safety equipment.

Which is pretty cool because that particular owner would just so happen to be me. =)

Okay, so much for the summary updatia bits, here's the exciting news: Deb and Mr. B are meeting me for lunch. This is a wee bit out of their way after they drop [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas off at college. Of course, I'd be foolish to reveal the reason for them coming down here - so I won't mention this is the second day I've left my sunglasses in my other coat, or that I compounded things for today by also leaving my house keys and wallet there as well. Ooops.

Okay, so it wasn't all that exciting. I suppose it doesn't come close to matching real, live, breaking news, like that of Castro's stepping down from his presidency, but there you have it.
ellyssian: (Default)
For those who missed my late entry into the game - and I'm hoping that's most of you because I'm not seeing a whole lotta' love there yet - here's my valentine-type thing:

My Valentinr - ellyssian
Get your own valentinr

~ ~ ~

In other news, for those who only read weekdays, I wrote an eloquent and deeply moving two part series on the breathtakingly exciting work that Justin and I did on the truck Saturday and Sunday.

Now, I know most of you are more interested in applicable stuff to your every day life, like how to select a metal file to trim down a weld on a ratcheting spool for your truck rack, but I have to cater to other tastes here as well. For those few of you who like to read about food instead of vice-grips, there's always the recipe-link-filled bit about Rosemary Honey Chicken and other foods. I know it doesn't go into detail about what kind of shovels I prefer to use or anything exciting, but it might be worth a sidelong glance for those few of you who eat food. =)

~ ~ ~

Following up on that, I discovered Brooklyn Bagels and Deli while seeing if there was a viable, legitimate, decent place to pick up a reasonably priced delicious pastrami sandwich nearby. I'm going to give it a shot, but I have to say, their bagels meet with approval.

Sadly, or fortunately, depending on whether the viewpoint is that of my stomach or my wallet, I discover them at the end of my time down here in the Valley...
ellyssian: (Default)
Hmmm, a pre-weekend post first, in which I admit I discuss my ability to count. Moving on to Saturday, Brandon says something funny and my blood pressure takes a nosedive.

Sunday, I go on about the stuff I achieved this weekend - and mention what I didn't, I complain about software design, and, wow, piling up rocks can get pricey!

Some of those links are locked down tight, so your mileage may vary as to your ability to see them. I think that maybe stops one or two known readers from seeing them, as well as casual passers-by. If I have any of those. So, yeah, not so much on the high security. =)
ellyssian: (Default)
First, Justin and I did stuff and some top sekrity type stuff, and then, on Sunday, we didn't do stuff. But I did excerise the camera, and I even took it outside. On to the porch. Photographic evidence might be able to be found here and here.

I say "might" because LJ seems a bit iffy today.

For the record, snow continued to fall, and sometime overnight the driveway and roads were lost. There looked to be a good 6-8" on the back deck rails - heavy, wet snow packed down nice and tight. These rails were cleared yesterday while the kids were out playing. They had 3-4" of snow on them at the time.

Although the house had power when I left, it doesn't now, and I haven't heard from them yet. Rachel had a two hour delay, although districts just up the road were closed.
ellyssian: (Default)
I had posted some of these updatia type things over the weekend - a time when some people allegedly don't read up on LJ.

So, for a limited time only1, you can see the collected updatia of this past weekend, right here, with a handy, summarized group of links. Some of these entries are friends-only for various reasons, but the summaries are rated mostly safe for all ages (with a disclaimer regarding humor or lack thereof).

I took a serious beating over the weekend, although much of it might be termed "enjoyable." First, as I was recovering from a mental beating at the hands of incompetent vendors carrying out the bidding of the state legislature here in PA, I had my head stuffed into a 3XL helmet, my body wedged into a slightly smaller space than it would prefer, and I then proceeded to pilot my scrunched body around a series of acute angles at 45mph. My arms were nearly ripped from my body by the attempts to aim myself in the right direction, and I probably lost a few pounds in sweat. This was good, because I think the weight loss improved my best lap time by about 10 seconds for each of the three heats, to come in solidly dead last most of the time. See here for detail, more or less.

I spouted poetry later on Friday night, and It Was Good. No - Great. Greatest Hits, more like it. Been too busy to write new material, so in with Ye Olde. Had fun anyway. Woke up cold and getting colder, as power was dropped for at least 5 hours on Saturday morning. Only way to judge is that it did get colder as time went on, so it might only have dropped shortly before our 5am reference point. More on that, plus Rachel & Soccer and Justin & Music.

Sunday, Justin and I started to disassemble a tree thats about 80' tall, although we were only dissecting bits that were about 60' off the ground, for the most part. Some limbs are starting to rot through - some have already fallen all around my car, and I'm not about to let the poor, dead thing have any more time to practice its aim. Anywho, we took down a small portion of it, and more will have to wait for the weekend and a little daylight. We joked that when we're done, we'll be Olympic-level athletes, but, realistically, we'd probably need to take down another two or three trees to get to that level. All that stretching and pulling and tugging on ropes has definitely compensated for the scrunching and bending and folding on Friday, so I definitely feel like a Norse god - yep, I'm Thor. Play-by-play here.

1: This Omnibus Edition of Weekend Updatia will expire when it's deleted, LJ croaks, the infrastructure in the country is destroyed via thermonuclear war leaving a few survivors in a post-apocalyptic condition similar to that made popular in so many 80's stories, or until entropy wins and the universe kicks back and chills for a while, which every may apply first. Some conditions and restrictions may apply, please see your dealer for details.
ellyssian: (Default)
Poetry was Friday night.

Keep forgetting to mention that.


[livejournal.com profile] nightwind292 - the evening of the 2nd Friday of December, care to join me for some fish & chips at Granny McCarthy's Tea Room prior to poetry at the Moravian Book Shop? Any one else who can get there and wants to come along, let me know - the meal will be about $15-20, depending on what you get to drink/extras; the poetry is free.

~ ~ ~

Yesterday we did Not Much.

Woke up at 5:30am to icy cold air and complete darkness. Don't know how long the power was already off - at least at a half-hour, as Justin had accidentally left his alarm clocks on, and only the battery powered one went off. I woke Justin for some back up as I verified we weren't on (lack of electrical) fire, or some other mischief. A quick look out the front windows revealed a distinct lack of the one inch of snow we were allegedly supposed to wake up to and a distinct lack of any light in the neighboring houses, another look out the back showed that the outage was Mighty Big, as the folks across the way were also in the dark, and their fortunes and ours usually differ as far as PP&L and uptime is concerned.

We went back to bed and did our best to stay warm as long as possible. Mr. B woke later on, wiggle-wormed too much on Deb, so she sent him in to me, where he did much of the same. Eventually Rachel came in, and we did our best to try to keep Mr. B from throwing the covers off or doing anything else chilly-like. We came up with a song, which we tried to get Justin & Deb to sing: "I want coffee, I want heat, I want running water, I want to eat! Give me 'lectricity, give me 'lectricity, P P and L, give me 'lectricity!" Eventually, after the 321st verse (same as the first), it worked and around 10am-ish we had lights, heat, flushable toilets, warm bread, and hot coffee.

Yeah, need that generator someday soon, and then we can look at some get-off-the-grid solutions.

Rachel had her last day of soccer. It's really a games day, Soccer Olympics, they called it last year. She took home the second place medal this year. Go Rachel! Deb headed down to watch the Flyers fight the Penguins, and the Birds That Can Not Fly lost. We watched LotR: TFotR; Rachel's first time to see it in its entirety.

~ ~ ~

As I was typing earlier, I was listening to Justin playing some Bach as well as some Chopin, Debussy, and Satie stuff I've been throwing at him. I asked him to work on some bits from Mozart and Tchaikovsky piano concertos as well. He's certainly exploring some things on his own, but I want to get a wide variety of the standard piano repertoire into his brains and fingertips as well. His improv is showing improvement as well - as I was complimenting him on one thing he was doing to show me the Dm improv from his piano lesson DVD, he did something different. I noticed he had broken out of Dm a bit, and asked him about it - turns out that he had stopped improvising and started playing Satie and I hadn't really noticed. Kind of sounded like the same sort of thing - just a different key.

Guess that's working, and he's Learning Stuff.
ellyssian: (Default)
Notmuchia might be a better description.

On Saturday, I mowed the lawn. Grilled some sausages that night. Rachel had soccer and karate.

On Sunday, Deb and the kids went down to her father's house to celebrate his birthday. I planted some grass seed on the spots disrupted by the septic cleanout and a few other bare patches. Almost decided to put the work gloves on before seeding, and then decided that would be silly. I now have a ripped and shredded trigger finger. As the trigger is held in place while my right hand spins a wheel to toss the seed out, I thought nothing of it. Didn't notice until I was done. Ouch.
ellyssian: (Default)
The sleep test on Thursday night into Friday morning left me more exhausted than I had thought - on initial reports before leaving the sleep lab I described my current state of being as "awake" and "alert" and "not tired" and "not sleepy".

I was only fooling myself though.

I forced myself to stay up a bit while the guys were working on the septic tank, and then I was out for a nap. Deb drove Justin down to his friend's house in Bethlehem and then went for a night out. Rachel, Mr. B. and I hung out and then went to sleep.

Saturday, Rachel performed at a kick-a-thon to raise money for a local kid and Dreams Come True. Forecasters called for a nice cool day, suitable for a couple hundred kicks, but the sun and clear skies had other ideas, so it was quite hot in the Wal*Mart parking lot where it was held. Rachel got in 200 kicks as well as worked the door to collect additional donations, and then she headed over to soccer for drills and a game against the high school kids that were teaching them. Deb had told her to focus on the kick-a-thon, and she could sit out the game, but she played through it all despite being quite exhausted.

I had some stuff planned for Saturday, but I just hung out with Mr. B - I couldn't get going in the AM, as I was still off-kilter from the sleep study.

Sunday, Rachel and I went to Bake Oven Knob, joined by [livejournal.com profile] noone234, to watch hawks. We saw a few in the sky, and had an enjoyable time up on the ridge, but the highlight was seeing a few birds quite close - the Carbon County Environmental Education Center had brought birds that were unable to be released back to the wild - including Tecumsah and another that you can see if you click through that picture. The pictures of the kestrel didn't come out very clear, so they weren't posted.

I'm still a bit out of sorts, so I'm thinking not everything in this summary makes perfect sense, but I'm leaving it as is. =)


ellyssian: (Default)

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