Comma, Comma, Comma, Comma, Comma Chameleon

I complained before about Jane Austen’s generous use of commas at the start of Sense & Sensibility, but she’s really outdone herself at the start of Persuasion. There are twelve commas in the first sentence alone.
Not to mention a colon, three semi-colons, and two dashes. I’ll be generous and not include the commas in the citation that completes the sentence since some of the commas are associated with dates.

I’m not sure that such wanton use of punctuation caused global warming, but it can’t have helped.

Categorized as Books

Hurricane Boolie

Right after I posted the picture of Scout in my previous post, I took my headphones off and headed towards the dining room to close the windows and then go to bed. I stopped in the living room when I heard the sound of rushing water. It would have been a pleasing sound to lull me off to sleep had I been camping near a mountain stream, but it’s not the kind of thing you want to hear when you are standing in your house.

I went outside and water was gushing out of the faucet in front of the house. I turned the water off but there was already a pool of water outside the basement window. I grabbed a bucket and scooped out as much water as I could, then ran down to the basement where water was everywhere. I put towels down and spent the next couple of hours soaking up water from a couple of rooms, and then the next couple of hours soaking up water from the one carpeted room. I had a couple of fans running to try and dry out what I couldn’t soak up.

I eventually was so tired I couldn’t even stand and fell asleep right on the carpet. My wife woke me a few minutes later and I went upstairs for an hour of sleep before having to get up for work. I had a conference call with one of our partners in the morning so I couldn’t come in late.

Unfortunately, this sad tale doesn’t end there. My wife discovered this morning that another section of the carpet had gotten soaked, which meant it had been wet for over three days. I blotted up as much water as I could during the day but it may be a lost cause, it may have mildewed already. There are times I have a love-hate relationship with plumbing, but I’d have a hard timing giving it up. I enjoy my hot showers a little too much, not to mention laundry machines and dishwashers.

I suppose it’s home ownership that I really have a love-hate relationship with. The thing I hated about apartment living is hearing the TV of your neighbor because of the shared walls, hearing them walk around their apartment. Just hearing them — I like my quiet. And pet restrictions are a bother too. On the other hand, I hate the amount of time you spend in upkeep inside and outside a house, and would much prefer to spend more time on the trails and less time on the house. It is nice to let the cats run around in the fenced backyard, and perhaps one day I’ll be able to attract a decent variety of birds, so maybe I just need to replace our living plants with carefree plastic ones 😉

As for the cause of Hurricane Boolie, it turns out when I had attempted to power wash the front steps a week or so ago, I had left the spigot turned on — it was connected to a hose and nozzle so I wasn’t too worried about it. But the hose literally just fell apart and that’s when the water started pouring out.

Lesson learned.

Categorized as General

It Was Bound To Happen

While riding the train to work this morning, I was adding a couple of pictures to my website. After getting the second picture ready, I looked out the window and realized I had stumbled into a rift in the space-time continuum. Out the right window was a lush forest, which I don’t normally see on the ride in. A quick glance out the left showed a train platform, which would explain why we were stopped. It slowly dawned on me that I had actually missed my stop and gone one train station too far. It was too late to get out so I waited until the next station before hopping on the next train back towards work. Fortunately I didn’t have any urgent appointments, I’ll have to be more on my toes tomorrow.

It’s the first time it’s happened since we moved here years ago. I’ve come close before when I fall asleep, but I was wide awake this morning, but apparently too in awe of my own photography.

Categorized as General

Here’s To The Next 15

Our cats Scout and Templeton in the picture window of the dining room of our house in the Irvington neighborhood of Portland, Oregon on August 12, 2007. Original: _MG_3623.cr2

Happy Birthday to Templeton! He turns 15 today.

I tried to get a nice picture of him but he wouldn’t pose for me, so I settled for a picture of both him and Scout sitting in our smaller picture window. I’ll try for a better picture later. He’s been hanging out in my office a lot lately, this weekend we’ve spent a lot of time cuddled up and purring. Well one of us was purring, the other was wishing he could.

Austen Powers

I’ve read two books by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (which I loved) and Emma (which I liked). I’m currently reading Sense and Sensibility — and it’s been a strange ride.

On the first page, of the first chapter, I wasn’t sure, but was fairly convinced, that, in all probability, Ms. Austen wrote with a lot, by which I mean an exceedingly large number, of commas. In fact, to be honest, while sitting there, on the train, on the way to Beaverton, I began to wonder, in my heart of hearts, if I could possibly, in any way, finish even the first few pages.

I decided to persevere in memory of Liz and Darcy.

I’m not sure if I got used to it, or if a severe comma shortage hit Britain and she was forced to conserve for the rest of the book, but thankfully I quickly found the rest of the book to be an easier read. But I still found the first half or so of the book to be a struggle — the plot just seemed like P&P and Emma all over again, and I almost stopped reading.

But something happened after the middle of the book and I really started to enjoy the book. In fact, on the way home on MAX on Friday night, I read the book even when I could have worked on my laptop (a sure sign that I’m enjoying a book). I laughed out loud at a number of points and was just really enjoying myself when the train finally pulled into Lloyd Center.

I’m not sure how much of that feeling I owe to the powers of Jane Austen’s writing, but I struggle enough with less happy feelings that I treasure those beautiful little moments on the mountain top.

Categorized as Books

The Fruit of My Labors

When we moved here a few years ago, the backyard was ringed by grape vines. Underneath those grape vines, as tall as I am, were a jungle of weeds. That’s not an exaggeration, it was a mess. As I spent the summer(s) pulling up the weeds, I came across a few small strawberry plants on one side of the yard, either escapees or a mostly forgotten remnant of a previous garden. I decided to save the strawberry plants and they offered up the occasional berry, although the bugs and birds and slugs got most of them. When I removed the grapes, though, the strawberries came into their own. They got bigger and produced more fruit last year, and this year they’ve propagated quite a few new plants (several times what we had a couple of years ago), and the older plants are producing some absolutely delicious berries.

The coneflower bloomed like crazy although they’re drying out, so I’ve started watering them on occasion. I suppose I’ll have to divide one of them before next year as it’s just gone insane with several dozen big blossoms. It’s my favorite flower so I’m happy to see them thriving after they were moved to the backyard. I cut back some of the daisies, they were overrun with aphids in the early summer and didn’t look too good, but hopefully the new batch will fare better now that the invasion is past. Some of the roses are doing great and some are on death’s door, we’ll see how they do.

A hummingbird has visited the back each of the past two evenings, so I suppose I should put up the feeder. I need to get an ant guard for it but for now I’ll put it up without one as I’d like to attract the ferocious little birds. The hummer certainly got the attention of the cats right away, even more than the neighborhood squirrels.

And now it’s getting dark enough back here that it’s hard to see Templeton as he moves about the yard, so it’s time to head inside. Scout has enough white that she sticks out like a sore thumb, but Templeton can really disappear in the dim light when he wants to.