31 May 2013

Of Porcupines And Salty Cars

The Reverend B. and his lovely wife and daughter were in the neighborhood this week, and since we haven’t seen them in over three years, we went to visit them, of course. He is not really a reverend; we call him that because he married us. And they weren't really in the neighborhood either; we met them in Wilderness State Park in the lower peninsula of Michigan, well over four hours away. But it is a lot closer than Seattle so we happily crossed the scary bridge and ventured downstate to spend the night in a cabin with no electricity and no plumbing. We felt right at home. We could have done without the Washington weather, though.

Lower Peninsula May 2013
Lower Peninsula May 2013
Lower Peninsula May 2013
Lower Peninsula May 2013
Lower Peninsula May 2013
Outside the cabin, next to the outhouse, was a strange rectangular box, about two and a half feet high, with swinging doors on one end but no cover. It looked like a small hockey rink that could hold one car. We all wondered what it was. On the way back home, when we dropped off the key at the park’s headquarters, Ryan asked about it. It turned out to be a porcupine protection box. The creatures come out in the spring and are attracted to the salt on the undercarriage of parked cars. They can do quite a bit of damage we were told. We just laughed and drove away.

But then the car maintenance light suddenly came on.

Followed by the cruise control failing.

The left headlight no longer works.

Neither does the right rear light. 

Coincidences? We don’t think so. We made it home safely despite the car slowly coming undone. But we are not laughing anymore. @#$%^&* porcupines! 

26 May 2013

Animal Planet LIVE

It’s Memorial Day weekend and we have all gathered at my parents-in-law’s house. The long, snowy winter has added some extra inches to the water level in the lake but it’s still a long way off from what it once was.

As usual Lola and her cousin L. were hunting for frogs down by the water. Despite the very loud croaking we hear at night, there were not that many frogs to be found yet, just dozens of ticks.

At long last the girls came back with one frog, a lovely green specimen.

Frog meets snake

What they also found was a garter snake. It was a decent sized one, about three feet long. After it was admired by all, the girls took their temporary pets around the house while the adults remained behind on the back deck to relax a little, enjoy the sun, and watch Ryan and his brother put the dock in the water.

Frog meets snakeFrog meets snake

Queue blood-curdling scream. The adults jumped up as one and ran to the front of the house, trying not to scrape their bare feet on the gravel path, fully expecting to find massive amounts of blood. Fortunately none of the children were injured. The same could not be said for the frog, however.

It seems the snake and the frog met, and the snake did not play nice.

Frog meets snakeFrog meets snakeFrog meets snakeFrog meets snakeFrog meets snakeFrog meets snakeFrog meets snake

It took the snake about ten minutes to devour the frog in its entirety. After recovering from her initial shock and horror, it was she who let out the ear-piercing scream, Lola returned to the scene of the carnage, curious and fascinated although still very upset.

Frog meets snake

“Thanks for the free lunch. See ya..!” And off it went, full belly and all, back into the woods.

Frog meets snake

21 May 2013

Summer Evening At The Ball Park

Yesterday was the Rangers’ first baseball game of the season and they played well. Sadly they lost. But Miss Lola got a hit without having to use the tee. Proud parents of course, but the slugger herself was not impressed.

“I have done it before.”

Must be her number. It was hot, the mosquitoes were atrocious, but the smell of brats on the grill and the crack of the bat hitting the ball made for a perfect summer evening.

Ranger Game

Ranger Game (2)

Ranger Game (4)

Ranger Game (1)

10 May 2013

Kitchen Progress Report

Two years ago, when we bought this house, we started on the kitchen as our first project. It didn't go quite as fast as anticipated. In fact, after we ripped out the dropped ceiling, painted the walls and the kitchen cabinets, and learned a valuable lesson in the process (never again will we paint cabinets!), things came to a complete standstill. We replaced the refrigerator and the dishwasher last year but that was about it.

Two weeks ago we decided it was time to finish this project. Light fixtures were swapped out, outlet covers renewed, a new stove brought in, and for the finishing touch, the floor was redone. The eighties brown polyester paint-stained carpet was ripped out and replaced with lovely old-fashioned black and white tile. It fits the house perfectly. Behold our new floor. (Please ignore the mess. Just look at the blocks, mesmerizing aren't they? And the pretty orange fridge.)



Of course there is a downside to having a nice floor, isn't there always? No longer can I just sweep crumbs and such from the counter top onto the floor and call it a day. I actually have to bring the mop out on a regular basis. A small price to pay, I say. Happy weekend!

03 May 2013

Of Aliens And Citizens

I have a new job! And a fun one, too. The technical college in the area, together with a local literacy organization and a nonprofit agency of the diocese, has received a federal grant to assist permanent residents in becoming US citizens. They need a coordinator to market the program, keep track of the applicant progress data, and run quarterly reports for the government. Who better for the job than your friendly resident alien? Thankfully, the college thought so too.

And so I make the trek south three days a week. It’s a great program and I really enjoy being part of it. Permanent residents who are interested in becoming citizens are offered assistance with filing the naturalization application, English language and US civics classes, and the possibility to practice citizenship interviews, all free of charge. As the coordinator who navigates between the three partners and the applicants, I hope to meet many interesting people on this road to citizenship.

02 May 2013

Spring Thoughts

My living room window is covered in peck marks, made by a robin that wanted to come in last Friday. All day long she flew up in the air and knocked on my window. There is a Dutch children’s song about just that: “Little robin flies into the window, peck, peck, peck. Let me in, let me in.” It was highly amusing. When I wondered on Facebook if I should let her in, someone suggested she wanted to let me out.


It’s so unusual to walk outside and be enveloped in warm air. We went from freezing temperatures to high seventies and eighties practically overnight. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but the transition is rather sudden. But oh, how glorious to go out barefoot. Alas, tomorrow the temperature drops again.

Every day on my way to work I notice the trees are a little greener than the day before. There is a subtle hint of green on the branches right now, which I am sure will be more pronounced tomorrow. Our lilac literally burst into leaves yesterday. It is full of buds, ready to become gorgeous and fragrant purple flowers.

The mini crocuses I planted last fall have come up and they look so lovely. There are flowering daffodils by the side of the house that I did not plant. They just showed up. The rhubarb is pushing its way out, and the catnip is going strong. Ryan and Lola have cleaned up the Lily-of-the-Valley beds.

It is finally spring.

01 May 2013

The Rookie

She was reluctant at first when I asked her if she wanted to sign up for summer baseball here in town. But then one day she hit the ball just right during t-ball in gym class. That felt so good, she wanted more. There are not enough kids to form a t-ball team but she was welcome to join the coach pitch team. And so she did.


She is the youngest by far, throws like a girl, and is easily distracted (“What’s that on my shoe?”) but she’s doing it. She did not let that baseball that hit her square in the forehead on day one deter her either. Good girl!

Related Posts with Thumbnails