Whack-a-Mole

Last spring, as the snow receded from our yard, we noticed some little trails leading from under the deck to various shrubs and areas in my garden.  As we moved toward summer, we started seeing little guys running through the complex trail system.  My husband called them meadow mice.  I called them critters.  My son called them targets for his pellet gun. My neighbors called them vermin and had Orkin spread poison around their yards to kill them.  Then my pug called them a snack.  Yuck.

This year, the guys are back en masse.  Not only do we have trails around our yard, but they gorged themselves on grass roots all winter and left piles of dead grass all over the place.

Something is out of balance in our micro-ecosystem.  We think it started when the foxes disappeared a couple of years ago.  We liked the foxes.  They had a den just around the corner, where their babies were born every year.  We used to watch them wander the golf course fringe behind our house, stalking and then jumping on unseen prey.  And then we noticed that we hadn’t seen their bushy tails in quite some time.  Our neighbors noticed, too, and we began to speculate as to where they went.  Mountain lions?  Construction on the 17th hole that spooked them?  Certainly no lack of food …

So, now we have critters.  And they eat my flowers.  They taunt us, flagrantly chewing away on the young green leaves.  My son is doing his best to take them out with his arsenal of pellet guns and compressed air-propelled BB’s.  But I fear that for every one he manages to eradicate, seven more are born in little dens tucked safely away under the bushes.  I really hate the idea of poisoning them, and I hope our neighbors lost Orkin’s number.  It just seems like a mass murder of the little beasts will send us even more out of balance.

We did see a fox a few times this spring.  Maybe it’s a momma hunting for her kits.  I hope she likes it here and gets really fat on our abundance of tiny rodents.  She’s a much more effective hunter than the pellet gun toting kid, and a lot less noisy.

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Speaking Emoji :-)

persons-0008Do you communicate in emoji?  Do you put little faces and dancing people in your texts?  Do you wish you could speak in emoji as well?  If your friend tells you she has had a horrible experience at the dry cleaner, do you want to be able to eliminate all those pesky words like, “Oh my gosh, what a jerk!  I can’t believe he wrecked your dress and won’t give you your money back.  That’s outrageous!”?  Wouldn’t it be much easier to say:160x160x34-angry-face.png.pagespeed.ic.10pTk_Rhec

I am a lover of words.  A wordsmith by trade.  A reader of books, for goodness sake.  I used to think that people who texted little sailboats and hearts were being a bit ridiculous.  I mean really, what is that about????  Are you 12????  But then, when my phone’s texting keyboard presented me with a menu of emojis, including little pictures of palm trees, I could resist no longer.  So much can be conveyed so quickly, and often better than mere words could.  Emotions require a lot of describing, but a smiley-face with a kiss is quick and to the point.  And a lot of fun.

I still have some uncertainty with this new language.  What about grammar and punctuation?  Do you put a period after the angry face if it comes at the end of a sentence?  Or is it, itself, the punctuation, used in place of an exclamation mark?  Some images, strung together, can read like a sentence.  Is it OK to insert words amongst the footballs and beer mugs?  Or should they be left to stand alone, speaking for themselves in their own cheesy language?  Is it sometimes bad etiquette to communicate with emojis, or have they passed from novelty into general acceptability?

Perhaps this is all just part of the disintegration of our society.  As we replace letters and words with pictures, we regress back to the language of cave drawings (which, frankly, are beautiful artistic works, and therefore have a huge leg-up on emojis … ).

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Tiny Nation? Can We Get A Tiny Costco for That?

Tiny houses are now all over the design network channels.  I watch with fascination as people build them and shop for them and live in them.  I love the concept of living tiny. I think I could actually do it as long as we can put a giant storage barn behind the tiny house for all of our stuff.

I also love Costco.  It’s been over three years since we gave up our membership and I still hanker for those Sample Sunday trips.  I miss wheeling warehouse flats down those giant isles and grabbing packs of 12 toothpastes, salsa by the jug and giant plastic-wrapped cubes of toilet paper.  Costco’s smoked salmon was awesome.  And we’d always peruse the books and socks, wander down the auto care and TV aisles for no particular reason and circle around one more time for seconds on the best samples of the day.  And then we would write an enormous check and cram all that stuff in our giant automobile and pile it into in our pantry when we got home.

We finally cut the cord when there was just no more room on our shelves and it occurred to me that our little family of three just wouldn’t get through that gallon of soy sauce in our lifetime.  To this day, I have giant Costco containers of ground pepper and cinnamon.  Maybe I should check the expiration dates ….

IMG_1239I propose that Costco join the tiny nation.  Instead of multi-packs of Newman’s Own salad dressing, sell shrunken-sized bottles for those of us who aspire to live small.  But, you know, you can still let us wander down giant aisles with a wondrous variety of things we didn’t know we needed and give us samples of yummy things.  Just let us buy in a quantity smaller than what could feed the entire church congregation on Easter Sunday.  Please, please, please.  I need that tasty bite of tapenade on a rice cracker.

In Snowy Love

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The snow is here.  Smiley Face.

Starting in August (no joke — I have a friend’s Facebook post to prove it), people around here anxiously await the arrival of snow, crossing all of their fingers and toes for huge quantities of the fluffy, white stuff.  They love it so much, they give it cute nicknames like POW POW and gnar gnar.   Champagne powder.  White gold.

Growing up in the mid-west, I hated winter.  It equated with a grey, damp cold, the sun hiding behind thick blankets of clouds for weeks on-end.  Every so often, I had to chisel through inches-thick ice to get into my car.  Yuck.  I was not a skier.  I was not a snowmobiler.  There was nothing to redeem the downer of all seasons.  In college, my roommates and I escaped the nasty weather and went to Florida for spring break.  Even though it was 60 and cloudy, we stripped down to our suits, our white skin blinding the coat-wearing retirees walking the beach.

Upon moving to Colorado, I found that winter could be something other than horrible.  For one thing, the sun shines more in the month of January here than it does the entire year in Michigan.  Even if it snows for a couple of days, warm rays break out afterward and make the whole white wonderland sparkle.  Once exposed to skiing and snowshoeing, winter took on a whole new meaning.  I started to like it.  I may still have some preference for summer, but a blue sky day skiing powder is definitely up there on my list of the best ways to spend a day.

And so, our warm and dry Autumn this year was a little concerning.  As road bikers gleefully pedaled along Highway 6, I heard myself saying some surprising things like, “Boy, when are we going to get a good storm?”  And then the cold came.  Ridiculous, nasty, January-worthy, single-digit, brrrr.  That cold was not welcome.  Not the sort of storm I had in mind.  And then the snow came.  And it came in feet.  Just in time for Vail’s opening weekend.

Sunday was a rare day off from race training for my son, and we headed out for some quality family time on the slopes.  Riding up the chairlift between my two guys, the snowflakes fell thick and heavy and plentiful.  Heading down the hill, the Kid ducked into the trees and as my hubby and I found our ski legs again, a grin spread across my buff-bundled face.

The snow is here!

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