Updated: 2/4/2005; 8:32:05 AM
3rd House Party
    The 3rd house in astrology is associated with writing, conversation, personal thoughts, day-to-day things, siblings and neighbors.

daily link  Sunday, December 12, 2004

Hint hint... over HERE

Hey, y'all. I see by my site meter that some of you are still arriving at my new home via my old dead deceased defunct moribund inoperative extinct ex-blog site here. Please, UPDATE YOUR LINKS! My new site is: http://3rdhouseparty.typepad.com/blog/

Thank you. :-)


daily link  Thursday, November 18, 2004

New Blog Home at TypePad

Hi all,

I've moved to TypePad: http://3rdhouseparty.typepad.com/blog/

Please join me over in my new space and update your links. As with any new home, I expect a few odd kinks will be discovered as I continue to unpack. But I'm moved in and ready to invite friends over to hang out in my new digs. Come on ovah!



Having a Cow

I was just doing my lunch dishes, including washing my soup bowl and my spoon rest, when this little scene struck me funny (that's my cow spoon rest enjoying a bubble bath):




I've been extremely irritable the last couple of days. It must be my computer difficulties (more later). I've also been getting calls from my parents - my dad is having a hard time with my mom, yet he's reluctant to move into a continuing care retirement community. He likes his home, which I can't blame him for. I asked him about bringing in a caregiver - he'd mentioned that a neighbor told him of someone who did that. But he said this woman wasnít around anymore. "So I guess thatís out," he said, with finality. I suggested she's probably not the only caregiver on the face of the earth and maybe he could find someone else. I guess I need to do some more research myself.


The approach of Christmas is upsetting my mother. She wants us all to be together. Anyone around for the story of last year's torturous holiday at my brotherís will understand why this is not going to happen this year. Anyway, Iím taking care of my housemate's dog over the holidays, so I can't leave. [I  should explain that my parents will spend Christmas with me, as they have been doing for years except for last year when we all flew to my brother's. However, they may fly to MI the week following Christmas to visit him and his family.] My mother refused to accept dog-sitting as an excuse, so I told her I had way too much work. Last night my dad called saying she was inconsolable. I told him I'd try to go up tomorrow or Saturday. She called me today, to my cell phone for some reason. "I know it's boring up here, so I donít blame you for not wanting to come up..."




The good news is I finally cleared one big technical hurdle. All it took was one tech guy at my ISP who had experienced my problem and had a fix. I talked to six other tech people, at my host provider and my ISP, who couldn't help me - and I spent hours on the phone with them.


I was unable to access my business website, my hoster's site, nor my business email - which is bad since, um, my clients kinda have to reach me. None of the computers in my house, I discovered, could access any of this, though we could go everywhere else on the WWW. Turns out the router needed to be reset. Simple as that. As the tech guy explained it, something about the cache getting changed. (Found a tidbit here about "an old route-cache entry exists pointing to a route that no longer exists.") Gak.




Iím also getting ready to launch my new blog home. I'm having trouble getting the content from here moved there. I imported it, but it's full of gunk and needs to be cleaned up. However, I think I'll launch anyway and clean up the old posts over time. Stay tuned for an official announcement!


daily link  Wednesday, November 17, 2004


I was just out walking when I saw a couple of intruders fleeing from someone's backyard - two white-tailed deer, the second one hopping the four-foot fence like an Olympic hurdler. They filed out through the camouflaging gray-brown thicket, white tails waving 'so long!', then they were gone.


Their tails seemed exceptionally fluffy and I wondered if I hadn't seen them that close before or if they grow fatter with the cold weather. Last week when I walked by the Tower Hill Farm, the horses' coats had turned into wooly thick blankets. The foal born in the spring trotted over to check me out and nibble at my fleece jacket, while the couple of mares eyed me and continued chomping grass. One of them was sporting inadvertent forelock decorations of well-knotted-in burrs.


Apparently it's deer mating season in this area. Here's some information I found online:

During September, deer molt to a highly insulative coat which consists of a dense layer of fine woolly hair under a layer of long hollow brown, gray, and white guard hairs. The guard hairs can be erected to form a very thick insulative coat, which protects against the cold winds of winter. [link]


Whitetail deer are the most nervous and shy of our deer. They wave their tails characteristically from side to side when they are startled and fleeing. They are extremely agile and may bound at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour through tangled terrain in a forest. [link]


The winter coat of the northern deer has hollow hair shafts, which fill with air, making the coat so buoyant that it would be difficult for the animal to sink should it become exhausted while swimming. The White-tailed Deer is also a graceful runner, with top speeds to 36 mph (58 km/h), although it flees to nearby cover rather than run great distances. This deer can make vertical leaps of 8 1/2 feet (2.6 m) and horizontal leaps of 30 feet (9 m). [link]


daily link  Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Random sampling of frustrations

This morning I dreamed I was crouching beside a high fence and I had my fingers under it so I could just touch the fingers of M, who was on the other side. I couldn't really make him out through the little slats in the fence, and he wouldn't come out, hiding himself, grasping only my fingers in his, a few interlocking knuckles, as if a handshake with palms touching would be too intimate. It made me sad. Or I was sad and so I dreamt it.




I've had several good phone conversations with TO now and I'm looking forward to meeting him. I talked to my astrologer today on the phone and asked for her take on things. All my Virgo and Leo meet my opposites in his Pisces and Aquarius. Could be very good, could be a challenge. But of course these are not necessarily mutually exclusive. He called tonight and we had another good conversation before his cell phone cut out.




A booby prize behind every door


I spent the morning on the phone first with tech support for my website host (for my business), then with my ISP, then back to my website host - all to try to figure out why I can't access my business webmail nor my website itself. I can reach everything else on the entire World Wide Web, but my hosting company insisted it must be my ISP or my computer (haha - same problem on my laptop as on my desktop - guess again!). It has yet to be resolved. Plus they had me delete all my cookies, which has since caused me no end of hassles.


I spent another hour on the phone with Dell support trying to deal with a couple of laptop issues, also not resolved. Later I was on hold for an hour or so for Symantec support to straighten out a download issue (resolved! yay!). And I exchanged a couple of help tickets with TypePad support as well. Last night I tried to export this blog and import the contents into my new TypePad blog with disastrous results. All the html coding came in as garbage and I had to manually delete an entire year's worth of posts from the new blog. At least I learned one thing - set up a dummy blog before trying this again so I can delete the whole damn thing if needed. This is not yet resolved either, hence the delay in publicly launching the new blog site. But they seem pretty helpful, so I'm optimistic. [Meanwhile, I just had to go back into this post and replace the ?'s that Radio exchanged for all my apostophes.]




Now I'm going to go watch my telenovela, barring Univision technical difficulties. I'd put a link up, but I can't seem to access the Univision site tonight. Par for the course.


daily link  Monday, November 15, 2004

Autumnal Striptease

Slipping free of their leafy cover

the trees show so much limb

the embarrassed birds fly south

abandoning imprudently exposed

summer nests for the modesty

of the Bible Belt.


Gleefully the impudent shrubs

flaunt their berry-studded undergarments

while the deciduous luxuriate

solely in strands of ruby holly

and strategically placed bittersweet.

Sporting mistletoe crowns

strung with poisonous pearls

they invite the kisses of jack o'lanterns

that watch leering from the stoops

wizening into themselves

dying happy.



No inhalation but inspiration

My friend T had a dinner party Saturday night - several people I used to work with and a couple of spouses. The time seemed to fly by. I ate way too much lasagna, drank too much wine (but at least I passed on the weed!), and then ate too much brownies and ice cream. M's husband fell asleep by the fireplace and I think I could have easily done so, too. We joked about partying while middle-aged. T is pushing 60 but has at least twice the stamina I have. MJ is planning for her 50th in February. I was the youngest. On Sunday I felt like the oldest. I didn't sleep well, probably from the caffeine in the brownies. So I got up very early and spent the morning futzing around with my new TypePad blog-home-to-be.


Late in the afternoon (after a nap), I met my friend Lori at the Saxonville Open Studios event. I only had about 45 minutes to look around since I got lost on the way, but since there are only about 15 artists working there I managed to take in most of it. Like just about all of the artists' studios I've been to in the Boston area, this group is located in an old mill building. The artists donít reside in this one, as in some others, but it looks like great work space. I really liked a lot of the work I saw, particularly Emily Rubenfeld's fruit and Anne Gilson Haney's playful collages.


Lori bought a couple of prints; she's still getting settled in her house and just finished renovations, so she's in the mode of decorating her nest. I picked up a tiny fired clay bowl by Kay Jorgenson D'Orlando, whose bio says that she's a "PhD neuroscientist whose artist self emerged recently after slowly working her way out over my lifetime." I also made off with a stack of art postcards, which I love to stick up on my office walls in lieu of the real thing, which I generally can't afford. I do have some nice photographs and prints that an artist friend has given me over the years. And lately I've been "email & phone dating" a sculptor (as yet geographically challenged), so we'll see what creative inspiration he may bring.


daily link  Sunday, November 14, 2004

Moving soon

I've been relatively happy with Radio Userland, once I got it set up over a year ago. But there are things that I haven't liked, including the fact that it's client-based so I have to be sitting at my desk in my office to post (never mind mo-blogging, another story). Glitches have been relatively minor. But this morning my blog suddenly has question marks in place of half of my punctuation - quotes, ellipses, em dashes - all replaced with ? - apparently throughout my entire blog, archives and all. (I went in and fixed them in several recent posts.)

So this morning I went over to TypePad for the umpteenth time and played around with their design tools (which they seem to keep improving) and this time I'm serious! I'm building my new home over there. I know this will be a pain in the butt for people to change my link on your blogrolls (assuming you don't just take the opportunity to clean me off your list) but I hope this will be a one-time thing. I'm still constructing, but should be up soon. When it's ready I'll post the new link.


daily link  Saturday, November 13, 2004


[Grafton Common, Nov. 13]

GAZEBO   IPA pronunciation

A small building, usually in a garden, with a good view.

This word is surrounded by more mystery than an earnest etymologist would like. It appears in 1752 without any warning or antecedent in part four of a book by William and John Halfpenny with the title New Designs for Chinese Temples, an influential work that was aimed at the then new English fashion for the oriental in design and architecture. [read more here]


Like white on rice

This morning everything is covered in a blanket of white. It looks like we got about three inches, enough to cover everything, enough for the plows. And it's still coming down, although the radar shows its giant DayGlo blue and green mass moving offshore soon. It's supposed to be sunny today. Out on my deck, the wind blows swirls of powder every few minutes, like Old Man Winter's breath. Otherwise it falls straight down - like rice, I was thinking. Then I remembered a poem I read a long time ago... found it:

Why We Write Poems


"Ten thousand Chinese have come

to plant rice in New Hampshire."

- Stephen Dobyns



Rice will not grow in New Hampshire.

The Chinese do not know this.


They travel with small white flutes

and are not afraid of winter.


Their hats are silk,

five blue cranes embroidered on each one.


After the arrival, they sit in a field of snow,

share their rice with ravens.


Then they begin to play their flutes.

The music sounds like two sisters


singing of rain forests, the slow ascent

of thousands of cranes.



Ė Mekeel McBride

from No Ordinary World


daily link  Friday, November 12, 2004

Sorry Everybody

This is great. Click on the gallery.

Some of us -- hopefully most of us -- are trying to understand and appreciate the effect our recent election will have on you, the citizens of the rest of the world. As our so-called leaders redouble their efforts to screw you over, please remember that some of us -- hopefully most of us -- are truly, truly sorry. And we'll say we're sorry, even on the behalf of the ones who aren't.


Weather fit for fur coats

Ingrid checks out the first snow on my deck.


Snow business

This is what it looked like at my house when I returned from my meeting today.

I love my clients. This business, media production, attracts the best people to work with. Here's a snapshot of the conversation in a client meeting today (the project manager is the guy I work for, from the media production company; the corporate client hires the production house):

Client:  (to me) You live somewhere out West, right?

Me:  Um, well, west of route 495! Itís out the Mass. Pike, in Grafton.

Project mgr:  They let her out sometimes with the metal ankle bracelet.

Client:  looks puzzled

Me:  Oh, like Martha Stewart, when they let her out of prison?

Project mgr:  Right, Martha!

[brief discussion of Martha and her cell-block Christmas decorations]

Project mgr:  What do you call those bracelets, when youíre under house arrest?

Me:  Itís like a GPS systemÖ

Project mgr:  But thereís a name for it.  Like LoJack!

Me:  Except when itís on a person itís called Whoa-Jack.

Project mgr:  cracks up

Client:  shakes his head

Project mgr:  Okay, where were we?

When there's enough work, it's a great way to make a living.


daily link  Thursday, November 11, 2004

Gifts of spiders and bees

My lunch date today brought me the web of an orb-weaving spider
and two jars of honey from the beehives he keeps in Vermont.


See how to preserve spider webs. Also, Knudsen's Collecting and Preserving Plants and Animals.


daily link  Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Breathless wonders

It began at the vernacular body, one-sentence stories: The time my father got sick of the number of agama lizards that had invaded the compound...

My contribution appears there
with three others, at this count, but I will reproduce mine here:

When I was five and visiting a neighbor we were upstairs in someone's bedroom where there was a gray cat whose long fur I pushed my face right into rolling it back and forth to feel the soft warm fuzziness against my cheeks and forehead and then my nose watered and my eyes puffed up and the whole world got fuzzy only in a bad way and that's how we learned of my cat allergies.

See also:
* Nomen est Numen: 
When we first met we sat half-facing each other...

* Laughing Knees: Damn developers are at it again this time flipping sides...

* Via Negativa: Shall we play Twenty Questions the way we used to...

* Frizzy Logic: Back in the dark depths of winter and despair...

* Numenius: The four of us pursued the fly as it zoomed from...

* Pica: So I'm on the phone with my good buddy...


From the Vineyard


Radar relays

his coded message

from Cape Poge

to East Chop to West


ferries it across

sound and bay

while Mercuryís

impetuous sandals tap


in dreams I toss

tangled in his wake

and on waking sleep-walk

to answer back.

(Revised 11/11/04)


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