Quote of the Moment

"It's never wrong to hope, Byx," said my mother. "Unless the truth says otherwise."
- from Endling #1: The Last, by Katherine Applegate

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Lions of Spring

The weather's warmer, the grass is greener, and roving prides of dandelions raise their heads to the sun in lawns across the Northern hemisphere.

Yes, it's springtime once again.

Well, it's been a month - about time for an I'm-not-dead-I'm-busy post in the off chance anyone wanders through.

At the tail end of March, my sister and I waged a fierce and heroic battle against an overgrown juniper at our grandfather's house.  Much like the hydra of legend, it seemed to keep sprouting new limbs to thwart us... but, in the end, we emerged victorious. It just about did in our poor electric chainsaw, though...
This is what's left; the stumps are roughly 5-6 feet high, to give an idea of scale.  And the greenish lump along the back is a large section of juniper over half the size of the pile above.  We both know there wasn't that much tree up there when we started cutting.
We also got through another Easter. This year, instead of eating in an empty house, we went up to my aunt's place. Grandpa was a little off, but otherwise it went well enough for a family gathering, I suppose. I spent a fair portion of the gathering hiding behind my Kindle with headphones; I find family gatherings go better when I'm invisible. (What can I say? I'm not a social butterfly.  I'm also dull as dirt.)
With the improving weather, I've been able to get back into my walking routine. It's better exercise than pacing around the house, and I don't get snarked at by annoyed relatives. Down on the swampy end of my walking route, a pair of mallards is - once again - showing signs of trying to set up housekeeping. Pretty much every year they try. Pretty much every year, at least one of them ends up on the wrong end of a steel-belted radial; we have a fair number of would-be NASCAR drivers whipping around that corner. But that just opens up the space for another pair. (I wonder if it holds the same attraction for ducks that haunted houses with histories of bloody tragedy seem to hold for humans, at least in bad movies; how many bodies have to pile up before someone clues in that it's a bad place to live and bulldozes the damned place?)
I've also - slowly - been getting back into a creative groove. For the first time in too long, I have a painted drum in the works. It's a frog for one of my sister's woodcarving teachers, who suffered a stroke that knocked him out of commission until at least fall. It's been fighting me, but it's coming along. (The above picture is not the one I'm using. It's a frog from one of Mom's backyard ponds. Not the brightest bulb in the frog world, really - I literally almost touched the idiot with the camera while taking the photo, and he didn't move. By now, I'm sure he's made friends with a local owl.  Maybe frogs and ducks are related... or it's something in the water that inhibits self-preservation.)
Speaking of the workshop, I finally got myself a good drawing surface for the place: a portable drawing board that can be raised to an angle or lay down flat (for when I want to do non-drawing things on it; I have too little working space to dedicate one area solely to drawing.) It came from Hobby Lobby, a national craft chain that's finally creeping into the Pacific Northwest. Today was my first trip to the place. It's definitely more of a craft store than Michael's, but I was frankly expecting more. At the very least, it would've been nice if they labeled their aisles in some meaningful fashion, instead of expecting customers to wander aimlessly until they stumble over what they want. But they had my drawing board, and it got me out of the house on a sunny day.

Well, that's about it. Just thought I'd keep the place from getting too lonely, and perpetuate my self-delusion that I actually do things worth posting about.