Archive Page 2

Office Creativity

the binding

Some days in the office, as the clock ticks towards 5 pm, and the air is quiet and still with everyone out on vacation, I raise my head and look about me to gaze upon the kingdom. I keep 2 live plants in my cube, and some silk plants as well. My coworker Bill probably does a better job than I of keeping the live ones in that state. He’d pointed out to me the other morning that one of them needed pruning. As I gazed about I saw the plants and realized that they needed more than pruning. They need support and they really need more soil in their pots. There wasn’t much I could do about adding dirt at that point but I thought I could at least make them stand upright.
securing the knot

My office appears to be empty of anything useful in staking a big plant. No rulers, no sticks, no rubber bands, no string – pretty much nothing that can be utilized as garden implements. Where there is a will, there is a way. I can be very determined.
tacking it to the wall

I was ransacking the drawers and shelves trying to find something string-like to tie the plant together. Nothing until… AHA!!!! Look at THAT!! A PHONE CORD! It was huddled in a corner of my desk, doing nothing, feeling neglected and useless. It was meant to work with a headset but the headset was missing a vital part, so nothing ever came of that project. A phone cord is long, pliable, and strong. But how would I pull the looped cord so that it pulled the plant upright? I have THUMBTACKS!!! Hmmm. The pressure from the plant will probably pull out a thumbtack, and I’m not sure if the tacks will hold the thick cord. Bingo! I have lots of twisty ties from cables in my desk. Make a loop with the twisty tie and tack THAT to the wall. And use LOTS of thumbtacks. Even so, additional reinforcement would be good in case thumbtacks begin popping out of the cubicle wall. Scotch tape. I have tape. One last touch – the binder clip to keep the knot in the cord. *grin*

Now if I can only remember to bring in some potting soil.

office support

Focus on the Positive

Some days it’s just very very difficult to remain upbeat. On those days I look for the brightest possible spot and stare there, whether literal or figurative. This morning’s bright spot award goes yet again to the mandevilla. 🙂 Look at that plant grow!! Not sure where it thinks it’s heading – I may have to string some rope to support that top tendril.

IMG_1592

Making Do On the Lunch Hour Walk

lunchtime lake

I like to get out and take a walk at lunch when possible. I’ve done that at every location I’ve ever worked. Before my current location, I worked in a very nice office park. There was a lake, the lake had turtles, wading birds (crane, egret, whatever it was), lots of green grass, pebbled paths for pedestrians, and of course wonderful coworkers (I have to put that in – I know some of them read this *grin*). Not only was it lovely right in front of our building, but I could walk through the trees behind our parking lot into another area with paths and trees. It really made for a lovely stroll.
IMG_1595

Well, nothing lasts forever. It wasn’t wedding bells that broke up the old gang but cost efficiencies. First they told us we should/could all work from home and they closed the office. (I don’t LIKE not having a place to be with my coworkers so I kept nudging and nagging until I got an assigned desk in a new location, close to my home.) Shortly after they kicked everyone out, they decided that everyone had to be co-located. I was already relocated, but the rest of my group would be relocated to another state. As you might imagine, by now most of them have relocated to other companies or retirement.
IMG_1596

I, however, continue to work and continue to come in to the office (a lot, if not always). I still like to walk at lunch when the weather and my schedule permit. But the current scenery is a far cry from that to which I’d become accustomed. (Speaking of cries – remind me to come back to THAT.) As you can see from the photos, I walk around the parking lot. Yes, I walked around the parking lots before as well, but they were surrounded by lovely trees and green grass. This parking lot is surrounded by fences and warehouses and storage facilities. The parking lot itself could serve as a set for a post-apocalypse movie. I mean – LOOK at the plant above. Doesn’t that look as if it has been exposed to some kind of radiation? It certainly does not convey an image of health and serenity.
IMG_1599

One of the neighboring facilities is a warehouse with large openings for trucks to back in and unload. Unearthly pterodactyl-like screeches sound irregularly from that facility (okay, I don’t KNOW that they are pterodactyl-like sounds but they sound the way you’d THINK a pterodactyl would sound). The sounds are triggered by sensors in order to keep birds from flying into the warehouse. I have no idea how effective they are as bird-deterrents but they enhance the post-apocalyptic sensation wonderfully. I debated recording it for you but that required more patience than I had. 🙂 Not to mention that I didn’t want to stand around too long and become pterodactyl lunch. Maybe they aren’t recordings.
IMG_1597

But still, I get outside and I do get to walk, and there are some interesting leaves. In the spring there is even a row of day lilies along one of the sides of the building. I have no idea what trees are shown in my photos. I know that one of those things looks exactly like the enormous 12 foot tall weed growing outside my dining room window. I usually try to pull it before it reaches the berry stage but I gave up on weeding this year. Can any of YOU identify it? I don’t know what the fern-y tree is either, but I like the pretty orange things on it (seed pods? leaves?). I walk up and down the aisles of the lot, looking at the cars, trying to find attractive distractions. To date my best distraction from the walking and the post-apocalyptic blues has been YOU – I write posts in my head until I get back to my desk! Thanks for reading!!!! 🙂
IMG_1598

Rock n Roll Time

IMG_1560

There really is a difference between hearing music live, and hearing recorded music. I’ve mentioned in the past that I love being in high-energy crowds. Whatever is the music equivalent of a vampire, I am that. I feed off the energy. Yet getting to the crowd is often complicated enough that I pass on the opportunity.

Back in the spring on a day I was feeling a bit low, I saw an advertisement for an upcoming Heart concert. I clicked through and saw it was scheduled for a venue about 90 minutes away, it was a double-bill with Joan Jett, it was my birthday week, and I love Heart’s music AND Joan Jett’s music. I had no idea who’d want to go with me, but I bought 2 tickets. Not only 2 tickets, but I made sure they were center seats, under the roof (it was a pavilion venue – BB&T Pavilion in Camden). And then I pretty much forgot about it.
joan jett and the blackhearts

Well last week was birthday week (as well as kidney stone week) and the concert was Friday. I invited my sister to use my other ticket and join me and she agreed. Outdoor venues are tricky – you never know if the weather will cooperate or not. Even if you are under the roof, it it’s raining the air is uncomfortable. I’d never been to BB&T so I tried to get as much information online as possible. Well. I guess it’s true that mostly cranky unhappy people post reviews. “Too Expensive” “horrible view” “traffic was ridiculous” “I’ll never go back”. Oh dear, too late for ME – I already bought my tickets AND my VIP parking. I’ve reached the point that if I’m going to treat myself, I’m going to treat myself and I’m not going to park a zillion miles away and hike in.
joan jett aug 2019

The more I looked at the pictures, however, and read reviews, I realized that the complaints were nothing more than what I consider to be realities of concert going. Yep, the prices for EVERYTHING at a venue are outrageously expensive. Part of how they make their money. Yep, trying to get hundreds of cars (if not thousands of cars) out AFTER the event means you WILL be sitting there for a good 30 minutes or more before you should even try to start your car to move. That’s why you bring enough food to tailgate before AND after. 🙂 (And of course you go in your red convertible which makes everything better.)

My brother-in-law packed us a fantastic tailgate: home-grilled seasoned chicken on home made flat bread, and his delicious macaroni salad. We each brought our drink of choice (vodka & tonic for my sister, wine spritzers for me). I had brand new chairs-in-bags and a brand new pop-up table in a bag. My cooler is always stocked with paper goods, plastic wear, cutting knives and napkins. I always have my Swiss Army knife. I packed a cooler of ice cubes and a bag of limes. We were good to go!
tailgating at bb&t

Getting down to Camden was not a problem – no traffic on the NJ Turnpike for a change. Our biggest issue was finding the correct place for VIP parking. We waited in a parking line to get into the venue parking, only to be told we were in the wrong lot. We needed to go out and go right-right-right to get to the VIP parking. 🙂 We found the lot and asked WHERE the venue was in relation to the entrance to the lot. The attendant pointed over to her left, said we could park anywhere. I headed left and there were LOADS of spots. This concert was obviously NOT a sellout. We picked a spot next to a no-parking area so we’d have room to setup our tailgate. It was lovely. The online descriptions of the lot indicated it was across the road from the venue. The “road” was barely a road – it was more a driveway. It was a very short walk, probably the closest we have ever parked to a venue. (Yes, it was expensive, and yes, the people parking for $10 less were parking in the same huge lot we were but on the other side of the orange cones. So what – it was one less worry for me in my planning.)
Heart Aug 2019

We had a lovely tailgate and then headed in to the venue. It was very much like the pavilion up on the Garden State Parkway in Holmdel, NJ, where we’ve gone many times. This one was better, however, because the concession stands were INSIDE, which meant air-conditioning as well as protection from the rain if necessary. The drinks were extremely over-priced but of course I indulged in the summer cocktail special. It came in a BLINKING GLASS!!!!!! How could I resist? Obviously I couldn’t. 🙂 The only disappointment was the lack of anything that could be considered dessert – we’d forgotten to pack any cookies. 😦 They won back those ‘points’, however, at intermission when they changed the men’s bathroom into one for the women and directed the men to the facilities outside. *grin* They said the ratio of women/men was so skewed they knew they had to address the matter. 🙂
Light up glass

The music was, of course, fantastic. Despite stating that I wouldn’t take any pictures because they never come out well, I took pictures. 🙂 I took videos of some of my favorite songs. The opening act was Elle King (you know – EX’s and Oh’s). The sound crew did a poor job. My sister and I both stuffed tissues in our ears because it was so loud and almost distorted. (Ah yes, we ARE getting old, how tacky of you to mention it.) Joan Jett and Heart both had much better sound quality and no tissues were necessary, thank goodness! 🙂 There were many open seats in front of us so we had great sight, except of course for the couple 2 rows ahead of us who NEVER sat down. *grin* We shifted over so my sister could see something besides their backs. I love the light shows. 🙂 The music is great without a light show but I do like bright shiny glitter and light shows are that and more. There was also a bubble machine at one point.
Heart 2019

Leaving WAS a bit of a nuisance. We did sit there the expected 30 minutes waiting for the line of leavers to lessen. Once we joined the departures it was probably only another 15 minutes of moving forward slowly. The annoying part was the inability to get back on the road we used to get there – Rt 38. We were blocked from that direction and had to keep going south onto Rt 676. I have to say that I absolutely loath trying to drive around Philadelphia and Camden – it’s a real form of torture for me because the roads are terrible, they all merge, the signs are terrible, I don’t do enough driving there to know the secrets and you just can’t get THERE from HERE, no matter the ‘there’ or the ‘here’. We ended up driving south for easily 15 minutes or so before we could finally hook up to the road that would go north. I find that annoying. I suppose it’s possible that as far as TIME goes, it took the same amount of time as I’d have spent on Rt 38, but it’s the PRINCIPLE of the thing, you know???? I want to go where *I* want to go. 🙂

All in all it was a great birthday present – great music, great company, great food, AND a blinking cup souvenir!!!

Balancing Act

IMG_1588

I have a dead tree behind my garage. It sits right on the property line, between my garage and the garage behind us. I got an estimate for taking it down. In my town I need a permit to have someone take down a dead tree (even one that is a hazard to property). It turns out that because it is on the property line, I need the permission of the other landowner. I left a note saying the tree was dead, I’d contracted to have it removed, I wasn’t asking for money. I got a voice mail asking me to please NOT remove the tree until after July 31. She was selling the house and closing was July 31 and please contact the new owners after that date. She didn’t want to risk something going “wrong”. I said fine, let’s hope the tree cooperates with that timing. So I’ve been watching the tree for over a month, picking up branches after rain storms.
IMG_1602

It seems that I’ve been watching the wrong tree. I looked out my window the other day and notice that my next-door neighbor’s tree had a cracked branch, and it was resting on my garage and was still partially attached to the tree. We’ve had a LOT of summer rain storms, with wind and driving rain. Between the weather and the squirrels running all over creation, the branch cracked completely. It has begun to shift. The dead leaves end used to rest on my garage roof facing my house. Somewhere in the last few days, when the branch cracked through, it is now balanced on the point of my garage roof. 🙂 I’m watching it. I moved my car out of my driveway. We approach the garage through the side door. You see – until I can get the NEW neighbors to move in and agree to let me pay for taking down a dead tree that threatens their NEW property, there is NO point in my contacting my tree service to say “Oh by the way, I have MORE deadness to remove”.
IMG_1603

You have NO idea how tempted I am to try to knock that branch down. 🙂 I think it would be so satisfying. In the meantime… I wait to meet the new neighbors.
IMG_1587

Local Farmers’ Market

IMG_1536

Many of the towns in our area have a day designated for the local farmers to bring the produce to town. After all, New Jersey IS The Garden State. I’ll tell you right now – I will put out NJ tomatoes against ANY tomatoes in the world – ours are the BEST. Our town has been doing this for several years now on Fridays. The hours have stayed the same, 11-5, but we now have the market from the first Friday in June through the last Friday in November (or maybe it is even the first Friday in December). The vendors have increased as well.
IMG_1534

Besides the great farm produce (and it IS great – at least 5 different farms come in, including organic produce), we have bread, cheese, fish and a knife grinder. 🙂 I think it was last year when the food trucks began appearing. The smells are fantastic and make you buy even more because you get so hungry! Now there are specialty dog biscuits, clothes, vinegars, sometimes one of the NJ vineyards comes by, jams, nuts and spices. For several years there was a mushroom vendor as well, where I learned about many varieties I’d never seen before. And of course the pickle guy, with fantastic pickles (I like half sour) and pickled everything else. Sometimes there is even live music (a mixed blessing 🙂 ).
IMG_1538

But perhaps the BEST part of the market is seeing all my friends and neighbors. I’d been at the doctor’s office (checking up on that pesky kidney stone) in the morning. I headed from there to the market. As I waited for some place to park the car, I chatted with my neighbor from down the block. When I headed to the stalls, I saw the doctor and her receptionist. I heard someone call my name and it was my friend from the other side of town (we’re due to have dinner together this week). Then *I* saw someone and called a name and my favorite veterinarian turned around. I have NEVER been to the market without encountering someone fun. I used to love to bring my dog up there too, because there are doggie water dishes put out by many of the stalls. We often end up with a stuffed bread (mozzarella, spinach, garlic) for dinner on a Friday. Or fresh cheese, bread and sun-warmed tomatoes. It is such a wonderful community event, and positive in so many ways. I think that it might have had a rocky start this year as we had so many wet Fridays (I was too wimpy to brave the rain – for all I know they may have done great 🙂 ) but the last few Fridays have been spectacular. It’s a wonderful way to end the work week – walking up to the market, seeing friends, and coming home with delicious goodies!
IMG_1533

I Haz Butterfly!!!

IMG_1530

IMG_1514 

I went out to water the plants in pots yesterday when a large dark something darted across my vision. It was a BUTTERFLY!!!! One I’ve not seen here before (I have seen Monarchs and white moths). It was huge and beautiful and it was flitting about checking out all the flowers! My garden strategy seems to be working for attracting butterflies and pollinators. YAY!!!!! It hung around for awhile on that dahlia (I guess IT didn’t mind the dark color). I had to leave so I don’t know how long it stayed, but it gladdened my heart for sure!

And PLEASE don’t tell me it is a moth, even if it is. 🙂

IMG_1526


Stat Counter

wordpress analytics