Halloween icon
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It’s getting dark. Somewhere, they’re getting ready for the hunt. It’s only a matter of time.

Shhhh. Keep your voice down; they’ll hear you.

The shades are pulled. The lights are off, despite the gathering darkness outside. The gloom deepens.

It doesn’t matter. Even without any signs of life, they will come. They always come, for their terrible harvest of…

Continue reading “Halloween”


Eek! A mouse… I hope?

Tomcat Bait Blocks. I hear they work well... there aren't words for how much I hope so.

I have an infestation.

Not of bedbugs, although these days that’s the thing that leaps to mind first. “She travels, she probably has bedbugs.” No, by grace, I do not have bedbugs. Yet. That we even have to worry about bedbugs in this day and age! How very… medieval.

No, it’s not bedbugs, and since bedbugs are well nigh to impossible to get rid of I will just pause to be extremely thankful. For the lack of bedbugs. Not so much for the infestation I do have.

Mice are an ongoing battle in my apartment life and I’m none too happy about it. Have I forgotten to be thankful for every single day I haven’t had a mouse?

I’m actually afraid it might be something worse this time.

After the last set of mouse attacks, I not only set the heretofore highly effective snaptraps, but I called the apartment, and they set sticky traps and unbaited snaptraps and left mouse bait and resealed some of the gaps between the walls and the floorboards. None of their measures did much. The snaptraps on the other hand, seemed to work pretty well.

Yes, I kill the mice. Don’t judge me. There aren’t other viable options here. If you would rather have them in your house, feel free to call the pied piper and lead them happily away from my place. Until then, don’t be haters.

And no, I don’t have a cat. They recently lifted the rules here in the apartments and for a ridiculous monthly fee I could have a cat… Continue reading “Eek! A mouse… I hope?”


A lot of nothing to say

lápiz, pencil
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Warm greetings. Various iterations of questions on your well-being, your family, your work projects, your general satisfaction and/or happiness. Platitudinal not-really-updates on what’s “new” with me. Vague generalizations about my life/work. Meaningless self-reflection on recent travels and random musings about potential future trips. General blather. Self-deprecating humor. Brief quips. Acknowledgement of our respective time-constraints. Carefully worded well-wishes. Friendly closing sentiments.


When the neighbors cook

A bulb of garlic.
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I’ve had 3 sets of downstairs neighbors since I moved in here. All nice enough people (as much as I knew of them) in their own ways.

But their cooking… well, that’s always been an issue.

My first neighbors were very nice, and older than dirt, and tended to cook a lot of dishes that included cabbage. Not exactly the most delicious smell to walk through on the way in the door after work, but it is what it is.

My next neighbors kept to themselves for the most part. If we had occasion to pass we would be friendly (but I noticed that they preferred not to bump into each other). They used a lot of onion and garlic and curry in their cooking. On my way in from work in the evening, their cooking dinner might make my stomach growl… but to be honest on a weekend morning, the pungent smells would often make me gag. I much prefer the scent of hazelnut coffee and perhaps a hint of cinnamon.

My new neighbors… well, I haven’t actually even bumped into them since they moved in. I hear them down there from time to time, but so far we haven’t gotten to know each other.

But they cook. Oh my, do they cook.  What wafts up to me is positively delectable.  It’s enough to make me hungry even if I’ve just eaten.

How many calories are in a sniff of whatever-that-is, I wonder.


Email is eternal. Or close to it.

Mail blue
Image via Wikipedia

I know someone who changes their email address every few years (sometimes more often). He tends to use the email provided by his ISP, so every time he changes providers or moves, he has a new email address.

I think that this must make it really easy to wipe the slate of ones life every so often, and divest oneself of unwanted contacts.

I also think this must make it very hard to maintain any kind of consistent email history.

What? I’m not the only person who keeps old emails. I know I’m not the only one because a friend of mine was weirded out not too long ago by someone (other than me) being able to pull up and send over a particular email from untold years before.

Of course I’m not the only one. Over the years since I first opened my current email account – almost a decade now – they have continued to expand online mailbox server space to the point that if I actually wanted to keep all the spam, hoaxes, chain emails and advertisements that I receive, I totally could. There’s really just no need to clear things out, other than according to our own sense of “inbox housekeeping” – especially since I make good use of filters and folders and flags. (Oh my!)

OK, that can be pretty alarming, even to me. Not even thinking about the way that emails are stored on host servers long after we delete them… it’s a squidgy feeling to think that what we write is still “out there” – that in fact the stuff we put “on paper” might have a lesser shelf-life than the flotsam we toss out casually over email.

There’s untold minutia that I have no need to access, that’s only “saved” by inertia. I very rarely go back and access most of my old email, honestly. How often does one need to know about the details of a dinner party that took place in the spring of 2006? Closely approaching zero, I would guess, unless some kind of crime took place at or directly related to the party itself.

But I do go back to some of it. Every so often though – probably more for worse than for better, since there’s no way back to that window of time – I stroll digitally down memory lane. We are so out of touch now that it’s almost impossible to imagine, but there it is spelled out over hundreds of bits and bytes: once upon a time, we were friends.
If I didn’t have this proof, I would doubt my memory of it.

At the end of the day, “doubting my memory” is exactly why I have saved and flagged the majority of the emails I have. I can’t tell you how many times it has come in handy to at least be able to look back at the confirming email from a vendor to see what I used for a login ID. Too many sites, too many combinations… some reference material is handy.

Even beyond that, though…. I find it helpful to save the compliments, the pep talks, the encouraging words. All the things that don’t register in long-term memory for me… that sometimes don’t get recorded at all. In print, at least they stay.
I don’t remember now what kind words that person said to me on that phone call that time – the quicksand of my broken memory swallowed it even as it was still coming out of their mouth (though had they been criticizing I’m sure I would have remembered it forever). But I can still know what positive things this person wrote me the day before I started my “new” job, back in 2005.
And on the days when I need that pep talk again, there it is, easily retrieved. Thank God for email.

iTunes Access WIN


Updated photo of new signage at 1 Infinite Loo...
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In the interest of fairness (and full disclosure), I’ll just stop to tell you that this morning, it literally could not have been easier to get into my iTunes account. The reset process worked fine, it was easy, and in total keeping with the expectation people generally have of Apple as a whole. Smooth sailing. Color me happy. 🙂


iTunes Access FAIL


I am locked out! (Image via Wikipedia)


I recently had to replace my computer. The old one… well, after 10 years (which is like 100 in computer years), it was terminal.  But I did manage to move my iTunes library to my new computer prior to its final demise.

So far, so good. That will save me a lot of hassle in re-loading every CD I’ve ever owned.

Hmm. But I need to authorize the new computer to access my old iTunes account. Otherwise any song I have actually purchased from iTunes can’t be played.

Problem. I don’t remember my iTunes password. At. All. (OK, my bad. Sure. Thank goodness there’s this handy “Forgot Password?” link.)

Problem. When I click the “Forgot password” link, I keep getting an error that…”The connection has timed out. The server at iforgot.apple.com is taking too long to respond.”

Wait. Check router, modem and internet connections. Verify other pages load just fine. They do. Hmm. Try again. Wait. Try again. Rinse and repeat. Get increasingly ticked.

Problem. When I go to the Help page to try to get some help, or at least let them know that the “forgot password” page isn’t responding… I select that my issue is “forgot my password” and the first thing it does is …

Ask me for my ID and password.  WHAT THE…?

Problem. If I try to continue without logging in (supposedly an option, and the only one in light of the issue), I get a NEW error, saying that my connection was ended.

Dear iTunes,  I had not yet been won over to being an Apple devotee. At this rate I will not be getting there any time soon. Just saying.

Grr. It’s too late to fight with this any more. I’m just SURE it will all be better tomorrow.


Did it happen overnight?

A colorful sky is often due to scattering of l...
Image via Wikipedia

The leaves have started to change. On my way home from work yesterday, I noticed it. Not just faint green/yellow tones but orange. And red. It’s not widespread yet, but where it is, it’s bright. Unmistakable. And it made me wonder, as I drove home under blue skies giving way to swaths of pink and purple, whether this was a sudden thing. Whether perhaps it started just that very day. But that can’t be, can it? No, more likely it’s that I missed it starting, while I was traveling, or in the week that followed when I found myself driving home in the dark.

Colorful leaves. Colorful skies. Lovely night. Wishing you all the beauty of autumn, in your corner of the world.


The grass is always greener

Potted Grass
Image by averywehner via Flickr

I once knew someone who grew grass in their office.

That’s not a euphemism. I mean actual grass. In a planter. They sell them. It’s quite the thing.

I never asked about it, but a mutual friend/colleague told me that it was meant as a reminder. With apologies for my inexact memory, it was along the lines that just as grass will grow if you take good seed and provide it with good soil and light and water… people will grow if you give them what they need as well.