Wednesday, August 27, 2014

One of those days

It's been one of those days. 

I broke my arm. 

I got laid off ( hopefully temporarily).

And my cell phone is in three pieces. 

Can I request a do over?!?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

feeling the age

This month has been very nostalgic for me as i started college 25 years ago, which seems strange since i remember with absolute clarity going to St Pete Beach on the first night and watching the Perseid meteor shower hip deep in the Gulf of Mexico. There are two friends of mine that i met that day; i have now known Skip and Greg for over 25 years. It boggles my mind.
Even weirder is that today is a double birthday in my family: one of my nephews is 30 and one of my great-nieces is 9. I remember that boy being born; he was my first babysitting job. How am i even old enough to HAVE multiple great-nieces, much less one that is almost in double digits?
It seems crazy  to me today.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

there is hope and then there is folly

This tree "lives" in the sunroom at a house i often sit:

Really, homeowners?

Even I would have to admit that this plant is beyond saving and i keep flowers until every single petal and leaf has fallen off.
You are friendly, intelligent and have great taste in nannies.
Let the tree go.
 Let it go towards the light.
That tree is nothing but sad and painful to look at, which is a problem given that it right next to the tv the gets streaming Netflix.
It's okay.
I'll get you a new tree.
A tree with branches and the ability to photosynthesize.

Sad stick in a pot.
Bare, save a green cone cap.
Mayhaps you'll rebound.

Friday, August 15, 2014

attack of the cherry tomotoes

I enjoy working the land with my farmer BFF.
On the phone.
In the divine not-garden of my apartment.
Just 2 days ago i was helping her weed lima beans while painting my nails that stupid not-as-blue-as-advertised color.
Kudos to everyone who grows their own fruits and veggies and herbs or cultivates lovely flowers and bushes and bonsai. You people are amazing.
Growing things is not for me.
I vastly enjoyed a Chia Pet once, but that is the highlight of an otherwise bleak botanical history.
We already know that biting, stinging and/or blood-sucking insects are an issue for me.
Plus my ghostly pale to lobster red in 10 minutes or less complexion.
And the heat.
And the dirt.
And the back-breaking work.
Lordy, the WORK.
But tonight i stumbled upon yet another reason i shouldn't garden:
 the plants fight back, people!
The house i am currently sitting has an herb garden in the back and a lovely veggie patch on the side, both of which i have been faithfully watering, which is the one bit of gardening of which i am capable.
The garden is growing right along, bursting with produce.
The cherry tomatoes in particular are really producing lots of fruit; so much in fact, they were starting to look like clusters of grapes. I have been waiting for them to become red, but finally realized that these must be an orange variety as none turned red and the orange ones were so ripe they were falling off of the plants.
So i, as a good and industrious housesitter decided to pick them before they rotted.
It is all about the preparation, people.
I waited until the sun was below the houses, wore long pants and had on my wee mosquito fan.
I was safe to go into the garden.
The tomatoes were so plentiful and ripe that if i pulled one, ten more fell off the vine into vast squash vines that assured that the renegade tomatoes would never be found. A-ha! Holding my container under clumps of 'matoes meant that gravity did most of the work.
There is chicken wire around the patch. My people mcnugget-sized stature (totally saw that on a shirt that made me cackle with glee) was not aiding in the process of picking over the wire so i pulled it aside and entered the lion's den.
Man, there were a LOT of ripe wee tomatoes (too bad i don't really enjoy eating them) and even two impressive zucchini. I was just going about my merry picking way imaging how astounded and proud Rea would be when i told her i worked the land and how the home owners would be pleased as punch to come home to their own fresh harvest when i noticed it.
The backs of my hands were starting to itch a little.
Then they were starting to itch a lot.
Then, cheese and crackers, what is wrong with my hands?
I finished picking everything i could reach without wading into the vines themselves and ran into the house balancing the container full of 'matoes and giant zucchinis on my forearms.
Produce goes flying into one sink as i hit the water and start scrubbing my hands and wrists in the other (don't you love double sinks?) with the closely available Elmo Cherry Berry liquid soap.
Some chemical naturally occurring in the plants (as i know there are no pesticides, etc being used on this garden) was making me itch like mad and break out in crazy red patches.
Damn you histamine! 
Double scrubbing calmed my skin down enough for me to be able to rinse all the veggies and get them spread out on the counter to dry.
Then it was benadryl time both topically and internally.
Yes, my friends, i am actually allergic to working the land.
To paraphrase Dr. Ellie Sattler in Jurrasic Park (both the book and the movie): Plants are living organisms that will defend themselves, aggressively if need be.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

i don't wear green; i don't own anything green

All a girl wanted was a peacock blue nail polish.
Is that too much to ask?
Why does it always dry a different color?
You try to compensate for that, but sometimes you still
end up with this:

All day i lied to myself that it was a deep blue teal, but that, that is a green teal.
Even the added sparkles didn't help.
And when sparkles can't help, the situation is hopeless.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"i'm being chased by a snake in a fur coat"

I have never seen a dog chase its tail in real life.
I always assumed that it was one of those things used in cartoons and comics that doesn't actually happen.
This morning i was enlightened and delighted.

BTW, the title of this post comes from my all-time favorite Garfield comic strip.
(i think somewhere i still have the original that i clipped out of the paper when it was first published in the early/mid-80s)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

what happened to the left side of this tree?

There are no damage marks.
No broken or missing limbs.
It looks like it just grew like this.
Nature, you're crazy.

Monday, August 11, 2014

a Niki's-eye view

Sometimes we miss the most obvious things.
Often, when i upload pictures from my camera, it seems like the images don't look like my memories, especially the ones taken outside.
Well duh, Niki; you were wearing sunglasses when you took the pictures.
I realized that last week and decided to take a few shots though my lenses to capture what i was actually seeing.

Friday, August 8, 2014

always keep a quarter handy

 Driving through the neighborhood today i saw a lemonade stand.
A full-blown, plastic tablecloth over wood and cardboard, hand drawn sign, lemonade stand.
You never see those any more.
I love lemonade stands.
I love the sincerity of a kid on the corner who believes that they can make it in this world one quarter at a time.
I love that it smacks of summer.
Rea and I once decided that we were going to make a fortune with a lemonade stand. Until, alas, we realized that we had no lemonade. But belief in an idea is hard to quell at that age so we sold grape Kool-Aid instead.
When i see a lemonade stand i have to stop. I mean, when else in your life can you make someone really happy with 25 cents?
I drove around the block, pulled up alongside the stand, hit my hazards and jumped out with that precious quarter. He smiled and said thank you; his mom smiled and waved from the porch while i sat in my car and gleefully drank what had to be the worst lemonade ever made.
Best 25 cents i spent all week.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


I haven't changed my quote for quite a while because nothing jumped out and spoke to me when i flipped through my commonplace book.
{and, mayhaps i couldn't find my commonplace book for a goodly amount of time}
       Anyhoo, i've been doing a lot of cleaning and purging and rearranging as i prepare the studio to offer classes, running across pieces of my past that make me laugh, cry and feel bittersweet.
This evening i found a quote from Martha Washington that i'd scrawled on a receipt at some point which never got copied into the book. It captures how i feel at this moment:

I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.

I will not claim that it is always easy to look for the silver lining or keep your eyes open to beauty when you are surrounded by bleakness or filled with doubt, but it is important to me to always at least try.

Monday, August 4, 2014

defacing private property is wrong

...but sometimes downright cheerful.
the happiest paper towel holder in all of the public restrooms in the world

Sunday, August 3, 2014

what's happening in the Nikiverse right this second?

In a lodge named Michigan outside of Gettysburg, Ron is improving a blues song inspired by me called, Stubby Fingers:

I got stubby fingers;
I bet you knew it from the start.
I got stubby fingers,
And I got them in your heart.
How could i possibly make that up?