Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Spite Fence

Yesterday was spent working on a spite fence for two neighbors who are having property wars. It's turned out really nice. It made me think of the dichotomy of wood and relative richness of the people buying it.

The rich people always buy the really expensive, luxurious woods, like red cedar and mahogany. Then they usually want it painted over. Uusually in a boring, hideous white. The poorer people buy the cheaper woods like spruce, then want it to be finished with a stain that makes it look like the more expensive woods. This fence is made of yellow pine and has a finish that's supposed to make it look like redwood.

Why can't the rich people showcase the natural wood beauty? Why can't the less rich just paint it a rich color instead of trying to fool people with a stain? It drives me up a wall. It's a classic example of people never being happy with what they have and always wanting the other thing. Hey wait a second, I resemble that remark...

Top Ten Words

Webster's Dictionary came out with a top ten list of their favorite words. They put my personal favorite word at the very top of the list. Woohoo! Let's hear it for defenestration!

Top Ten List

I'm suprised that I didn't know two of the words. I guess it isn't often that I call someone a flibbertigibbet. Maybe I should start...as long as they're not bigger than me. Otherwise I'm sure to become kerfuffled!

Monday, June 28, 2004

Angst and Longing

I'm restless again.

I taped a map of the United States to my wall and threw an X-acto knife at it. (We have no darts) It landed at the intersection of routes 200 and 59 near Jordan, Montana. I looked up some factoids about the town.

I feel stagnant. Sure I'm doing a lot of things (House, garden, van, carpentry), but it all seems so stale at the moment. I've been very depressed for the past year, off and on. It seems like lately no matter what I do, I'm never happy. I used to be so perky! What happened?

I was rooting around in my room today when I found a letter I had written to myself 3 years ago. It was kinda nice being so young. All of the money I earned was my own. If I wanted something, I bought or did it. I was richer then than I am now, even though I make more money. I saved enough money to build a house, for crying out loud! Nowdays I'm trying to save for an addition so I can have a real bed and bathroom, but all my money gets spent before I even see it. Time to go marry some loaded old guy who has heart problems.

Mr. X isn't old or loaded, and he's in great shape. (You should see the pictures of his chest...) He's part of the many reasons why I'm restless. He's outdoorsy, has a killer wit, and is probably one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. He's one of those people you could easily talk to for days on end with if you were stuck together in a tiny tent in the middle of a snowstorm. I find myself falling for him more every day. But he lives more than 8 hours away. Grrrrr!

I guess my underlying problem is I know my life has enormous potential, and I'm not living it to the fullest. I know I'm going through an angst-ridden phase that most people experience and that it makes life a lot better in the long run once things get figured out, but dangit, it still sucks at the moment.

I'm also being forced to grow up now that we have Sam living with us. I can't be the baby and have mom pay attention to only me anymore. I actually have to share. The horror of it all...

Another thing that's bothering me, (Hey, I'm on a roll!) is the fact that I'm wicked out of shape. Last year at this time, I was in the best shape of my life. When I woke up today after the weekend of backpacking, I was creaky. Creaky, dammit! I wasn't able to spring out of bed. I was actually sore. The highest milage I did in one day was 16.7 . Last year I did 38 and hardly even felt it.

As long as I'm talking numbers, I'll also confess...I hit over 200 pounds this year. I'm going to blame it on being at Job Corps and sitting on my butt all winter. I went to a Doctor appointment with mom the other day, and I'm only down to 192. I never ever pay attention to my weight, but that freaked me out.

Hmm, lessee if I have anything else to complain about... Hmmm, nothing that I can think of. I feel much better now. :-)

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Other pictures

If you scroll down to October 11th, 12th and 13th on my Long Trail journals and pics page, you can see pictures of things I experienced this past weekend. The beaver pond with autumn colors is the same one that looks so green in the recent pic.

Long Trail Pics


How could you resist a trail called Wampahoofus?

Pictures From My Backpacking Trip This Weekend


Me on top of Mount Mansfield


Taft Lodge, where I stayed last night


People hiking over Mount Mansfield


Foliage around a beaver pond in the rain


Dusk comes over the mountains


What I take backpacking. The red thing is my sleeping bag, the black thing next to it is my shelter.


Beaver Pond

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Where Is Heather???


Heather and Sam enjoying a COLD swim in Cranberry Meadow Pond


Are you strung out....waiting for a personal letter or blog update? Well, Heather is off hiking the Long Trail for a few days. This has been posted by Wendy-mom :-)

Friday, June 25, 2004

Moose Cheese

Did you know it takes up to two hours to milk a moose? Here's a farm in Sweden that makes moose cheese:

Moose Cheese

I wonder what it tastes like?

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Painting and other new things

Today marks the day of finally getting everything in my house primed at least once. Woohoo! I need to do some touch ups tomorrow, then I'm all systems go for the colors.

I've been busy out working in the garden. We hardly grew anything last year due to Mom being sick and me doing other things, and it made the beds quickly become overgrown. It's been a veritable war getting rid of the mugwort, witchgrass, and even the trees that have grown up in the middle of the raised beds. Some of the beds haven't been turned over in at least 3 years. They're a real joy to work on. :-)

The tomato plants have little fruit on them already, and the peppers are looking pepper-like. Pretty soon it will be time to pick the garlic scapes and fry them in some oil.

I'd like the garden to look decent at least by the end of the summer. :-) I weedwacked around the blueberry bushes two days ago. It looks to be a bumper crop this year. Mmmmmmmm. One of my favorite summer treats is frozen blueberries.

I haven't been working on my van lately. The manual I have is great for explaining how to do things, as long as you know what car parts are named, or roughly where they're located. To replace my belts, I need to locate the nut on the alternator. I don't know what an alternator does, let alone where it is on my car. Baby steps. Must take lots of baby steps, and eventually, I'll get there. :-) I still haven't changed a tire by myself...

Once I replace the belts and hoses and do a few simple other things, I'm taking it in to get inspected. If it needs brake work, I'm going to let the garage do it - as long as they let me scoot under the chassis so I can watch.


A Trio Of Pictures


Tree trunk against the sky


Tree Frog with suction cup feet


Bryce Canyon Hoodoo Spires

Monday, June 21, 2004

Heather's Hair


Mohawk


Devil Horns


I finally got the camera card to cough up its pictures from our trip home from Arizona. Woohoo! Within the next day or so I'll get them all posted.

The pics above are proof of what my hair does when I don't wash it for a few days. These were taken somewhere between Colorado and Kansas. I tried to go into stores looking like this, but mom squished my hair flat just as we went in the doors. I got a lot of interesting looks while zipping down the freeway.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Gone Swimming

I took Sam for a swim yesterday at the pond across the street. On the way, we saw lots of butterflies:



We've never seen another person at the pond. We know the owners swim in it though, because every time we go, the trampoline is moved to a different spot on the dock.



Thursday, June 17, 2004

Clergy

Speaking of religion...one day when I was bored, I became an Ordained Clergy Person. I just couldn't pass up the "Ordain Me" button.

Spiritual Humanism

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Religion

I came across an entertaining religion website. The article that caught my eye had this quote from a Minister advising young brides:

At this point, dear reader, let me concede one shocking truth. Some young women actually anticipate the wedding night ordeal with curiosity and pleasure! Beware such an attitude! A selfish and sensual husband can easily take advantage of such a bride. One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: GIVE LITTLE, GIVE SELDOM, AND ABOVE ALL, GIVE GRUDGINGLY. Otherwise what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust.
http://www.libchrist.com/bible/1894.html


We're supposed to be visited by the Mormon missionaries tomorrow. I just found a Mormon guide on how not to masturbate. My favorite suggested technique?:

Be outgoing and friendly. Force yourself to be with others and learn to enjoy working and talking to them. Use principles of developing friendships found in books such as _How to Win Friends and Influence People_ by Dale Carnegie.

http://www.libchrist.com/bible/mormonmasturbation.html

Sunday, June 13, 2004

I'm so happy!

Yay! I changed the battery cables in my van from one style to another, and didn't hurt myself. A miracle! :-)

They're now the kind that screw into the side of the battery, rather than the kind where you slide clamps over the top posts.

My hoses are supposed to come in on Monday. I hope the weather holds long enough for me to install them and the two belts. Oooh, this is so exciting!

Heather's Destruction




I've been tearing apart my house for fun and excitement.

Since the foundation is still so new, it's in the settling down phase. This winter the settling created small cracking where my sheetrock seams are. I slathered on some paint stripper, scraped the paint and majority of the joint mud off, then sanded it nice and smooth. Soon I'll reapply the joint tape and slap on some new mud.

After getting everything gussied back up, I'm painting it again. Time for new colors! Mr. X suggested I toss a bunch of crayons into a bag and pick one. I wonder how often paint stores get customers who bring in crayons as a color sample?

I talked to our local Wal-Mart about it. They have this cool machine that digitally reads the color of whatever object you bring in, then tells which colors to use and in what proportions.

Sunday is my favorite day to work on my house. All of the radio stations play different styles of music and I can play it as loud as I want. NPR plays polka. Yay!

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Goings on

I woke up at 5am today to the sound of what I thought was mom pushing the intercom beep button. I stumbled out of bed and almost fell off the loft before I realized it was just the mourning doves outside my window.

Mom, Sam and I packed up early and went to Barre for the annual kids fishing derby. Sam got four nibbles, but no fish.




Only a few kids reeled in fish but everybody went away with a prize.






Sam was the kid from furthest away, so she got the first choice of prizes. She picked out a nifty net.

On our way home we stopped at a few garage sales. I stayed for more than an hour to talk to a guy at one of them. We went upstairs to check out the farm website and for him to show me his. Turns out he had already been to the farm years before!

When he asked me out, I pulled up my boyfriend application and jokingly told him he had to fill it out first. When I got home an hour later, it was already waiting for me. He's the first applicant to actually fill out the references form. He deserves some gold stars just for that. :-)

Sam wore the new dress-up clothes she got at a sale today to bike across the street and go swimming.



When we got to the pond, she did some posing.



I did some posing of my own.


Sheets covering seedlings

I covered these up last night. I haven't uncovered them this morning because it's still in the 30's. Brrrrr!!

Friday, June 11, 2004

My van

It's really hard to kill somebody when you're a carpenter. It takes gross incompetence to build something so bad that it threatens to fall down and squish the inhabitants. Mechanics, on the other hand ... If you leave one clamp undone, the hose could come off, spew burning hot radiator fluid everywhere, get stuck in the fan belt, jam everything and cause your engine to explode. Or something like that.

I'm taking baby steps in getting to know my van. I don't want to make a mistake and end up killing myself. When I told mom this last night, her comforting words to me were along the line of;

"Don't worry, it takes a lot to kill somebody in a car. Why, once I was driving around Syracuse New York, when my entire trans axle abruptly fell out and hit the pavement. Turns out the mechanic had left every bolt but one undone. What I found so amazing was how cheap it was to fix it, considering what a major thing it was"

Gotta love my mom's advice. Like when I called her from the Long Trail to say I had been shot at, and she told me not to worry, because she had been shot at while hiking lots of times and is still here. :-)

I spent a couple of hours tinkering under the hood and getting to know what all the parts are named. I found out I have a v8 350 engine with a turbo hydramatic transmission. I even found my power steering dipstick after a lot of searching. I have to put my entire arm down between the radiator and the frame to get to it.

When I called the parts store today to inquire about prices, he couldn't believe I had a 1975. He kept asking me to repeat the year. It should cost me under $100 to get all new belts, hoses and screw clamps. The hoses all seem to come off easily, but darned if I know how to take off and reinstall any of the belts.

I bought a new battery but have to install new battery cables first. I want to upgrade them into screw-in terminals instead of posts.

So much work to do, so little time! It's pretty cool to finally be learning mechanics. :-)





Thursday, June 10, 2004

Pictures!

I broke down and bought a photo editing program. Hopefully the computer won't eat it. :-)

The program came with a 258 page instruction book. It's going to take a while to learn it! The first two pictures came out good:





And of course, the cleavage shot:


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Woohoo!

I got my paws on a picture of Mr X. My jaw dropped to the floor when I saw it. He's got a really, really, really nice chest! Pardon me while I drool.

Sam and I went swimming in the pond across the street earlier today. She had seen Mr. X's picture and thought it would be funny to take some cleavage shots of myself to send to him.

Since I have no naturally occuring cleavage, the photo shoot was... interesting :-) It's amazing what a well placed halter top can do! Sam thought it was the funniest thing she had seen in a long time. She kept directing me into optimum cleavage poses.

When she was done with that, I took some goofy pictures of us together. I'll post the good ones later tonight.

Our computer has been going on a file deletion rampage. It won't install any new programs, and it won't let us open or reinstall old ones. Our photo editing program went AWOL so I tried downloading a temporary one. The computer ate it. I'm about ready to spring for the $100 kind of photo program you buy at Staples ... not the cheap, easily coruptable kind you get bundled with other software. Staples is open until 9pm...Where's my credit card? Until I can fix the computer or get a new program, you don't get to see any more pictures.

In other news, Mr. X has a really nice chest. :-)

What I've been doing

The garden is really starting to come together! I've been working on it almost nonstop for the past week. I haven't even been coming in at night - I pitched my tent between the raised beds and have been sleeping out there. It keeps the deer from eating all of our tender seedlings.

Yesterday almost broke heat records. Our thermometer said it was 91! Zeke and I took a break to go jump in the lake.

Lots of interesting things have happened lately but I can't get my brain to properly coagulate and form them into the appropriate words. I'm a bit fried.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Heather's World Cast Of Characters

I recently received a letter from a woman in Norway. It made me realize that some people reading my blog might have no idea who some of the people I'm talking about are. Below is a list of names and short descriptions of said persons. I hope it makes everything easier to understand!


Wendy
In addition to having the illustrious job of being my Mom, Wendy is a talented chef, gardener, and maker of "Heather's To-Do" Lists.


Peter
A carpenter by day, a teller of far-fetched trivia by night. He's not my biological dad, but he and Mom have been together for 17 years.


Sam
Also goes by the name Samantha and Kidface. She's my 9 year old cousin from Arizona who's staying with us for the summer. Her mom is my Aunt Liz, and has a younger sister Charlotte and dad Eric.


Mr. X / Big Daddy
I couldn't decide which code name to use, as they both make me smile. This is the guy I like, and think should be prohibited from wearing a shirt in my presence.


Zeke
The adorable family pet. He's a certified service dog who helps my mom Wendy get around. He likes long walks, leftovers, and chewing on stuffed animals and boxes.

The Evil One
Its real name is Indy. She's a tuxedo cat who enjoys chasing the nice kitty, eating mice, and acting like a fool under the influence of catnip.


The Nice Kitty
Aleka is a pudgy orange furball who adores belly rubs, sunny windowsills, and the warm spot on top of the computer monitor.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Projects

Mom turned to me and asked, "So, when are you going to finish your kayak so we can go do fun things with it?"

I replied, "I dunno...I'm trying to keep it to just one project at a time"

Mom and Peter looked at each other, then started snorting and laughing hysterically.

"Which project is that...the fixing your van? Siding your house? Revarnishing your kayak? Working in the garden? Sanding the seams and repainting your house? Earning money as a carpenter? "

Maybe they have a point. I still think variety is the spice of life.

Short article on Perfectionism

I always think of this story when I'm at an ATM.




April in Maple Corner

The picture is of our neighbor skiing off his house roof a couple of Aprils ago. It wasn't that many days ago that we still had snow here. Some years we've had 5 feet of snow until the 1st week of May.

Everybody in town agrees that the grass this year has grown the fastest they can ever remember it. It's taking over!

The weather was very bipolar today. One moment the sun shone and the birds sang - the next, roiling black thunderclouds slid over our mountain range and pelted everything below in rain and pea sized hail.

I weeded some more tires and put bucket loads of compost in them during the sunny breaks. When it rained, I helped mom clean out the greenhouse.

I puttered around in my van after supper. I'm slowly evicting all of Peters stuff that found a home there while we were gone. I want to tidy the place up and get everything set to go for the big day when I finally get it on the road.

I'm going to put together a small scrapbook to keep in the van, showing its progress from rusty pile of metal in the midst of weeds, to the glorious red adventure mobile it is today.

I found my little smiley face antenna topper and stuck it back on. The foot shaped gas pedal is just itching to get used. The disco ball is around here somewhere...

Woohoo!

I just got off the phone with our car insurance agent about adding me to the policy. The original quote was $735.08 a year.

If I complete a month long safe driving program offered by the company, it gets lowered to $630. If I'm a student with a B average, it comes out to $570. If I cough up half of the yearly amount all at once, they take $18 off. Now to just find the money to pay both the insurance AND the car repairs. :-)

I called up a couple of fix-it places yesterday. For a complete tune-up, totally new brakes (Shoes, rotors, etc), totally new exhaust system, transmission flush and all new belts and hoses, it comes to $1250. Hopefully I won't really need all of that.

When I called the DMV to find out what registration would cost me and told him what year it was, he gasped "1975! Wow." He couldn't even find a listing for that model year van. It'll probably be around $80 though.

It's going to be fun to finally have my own car. I can become a workaholic carpenter! I can go camping on a whim! I can start acting mature and responsible! Uhhhh...maybe not that last one.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Interesting Factoids

Mom sent me a forwarded email. I just had to share it. :-)


Did You Know...

If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.
(Hardly seems worth it.)


If you farted consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.
(Now that's more like it!)


The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.
(O.M.G.!)


A A pig's orgasm lasts 30 minutes.
(In my next life, I want to be a pig.)


A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death. (Creepy.)
(I'm still not over the pig.)


Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour.
(Do not try this at home. Maybe at work.)


The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male's head off.
("Honey, I'm home. What the....?!")


The flea can jump 350 times its body length. It's like a human jumping the length of a football field.

(30 minutes... lucky pig. Can you imagine??)


The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds.
(What could be so tasty on the bottom of a pond?)


Some lions mate over 50 times a day.
(I still want to be a pig in my next life...quality over quantity)


Butterflies taste with their feet.
(Something I always wanted to know.)


The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.
(Hmmmmmm........)


Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people.
(If you're ambidextrous, do you split the difference?)


Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump.
(OK, so that would be a good thing....................)


A cat's urine glows under a black light.
I wonder who was paid to figure that out?)


An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
(I know some people like that.)


Starfish have no brains.
(I know some people like that too.)


Polar bears are left-handed.
(If they switch, they'll live a lot longer.)


Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure.
(What about that pig??)


Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
--Frank Outlaw

Random things about Heather

The clouds exited stage right and made way for glorious blue skies today. I savored the unexpected good weather and cleared 6 more beds and a bunch of tires.

Mom went in to have her blood transfusion today. She said she'd call me right back the last time we talked, so I hung up and waited. When I answered the phone, I did so by saying "Hello..." In a sultry voice. The guy on the other end of the line stammered. I had to quickly explain I was expecting somebody else. That sounded bad, so I explained that it was my mother I was expecting. That sounded horrible! The only thing that would have made it worse is if the guy I have a crush on had been the one calling.

occasionally I'll answer the phone, "Satan speaking, who in Hell do you want?" or "Heather's mortuary, you stab 'em we slab 'em". It weeds out the people with no sense of humor. It's a good first step for people who're calling about being farm apprentices. It's a bad sign if they don't laugh.


Because I have nothing else of note to talk about tonight, I figured I'd list some random things about myself. Nothing like blatant narcissism. :-)

Random things you may not have known about Heather:

1. I had never eaten a corn dog until May of this year.
2. My initials are HAM.
3. I'm addicted to chocolate with orange rind and spices in it.
4. I know how to knit.
5. My favorite book of all-time is "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" By Tom Robbins.
6. I'm an Ordained Clergy Person.
7. My favorite song is "The Obvious Child" By Paul Simon.
8. I harbor a fantasy of Harvard University giving me totally free tuition, books, and an expense account to go on trips with.
9. I don't talk much in real life.
10. I feel like I haven't done much with my life yet.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

What's New

I have written exactly 3 letters since getting home. I'm going a lot slower than I thought. Please don't think I've abandoned you!

Yesterday I became a crispy critter from erradicating weeds and prepping the beds for the third straight day. I thought I had tanned enough in AZ to prevent burning. Nope. OWW.

Mom went in to the hospital to have her blood typed and matched for a blood transfusion in the next few days. She's so anemic that they need to siphon in a couple of bags of packed cells to get her up to par.

While we were out, we picked up a bunch of really nice looking seedlings for the garden. Mom is being very generous with my money, now that I have my own credit card... :-)

Time to be bad and charge some car repairs on my card so I can become a workaholic with a full time job! I have yet to price parts for the things I think I can do myself, and the cost of labor for those more difficult things. I'm guessing labor for what I need done will run about $500.

Time to become a tycoon. Maybe Sam and I can start a killer lemonade stand. Even better, we could become like Homer Simpson and start selling Tomaccos! (Tomatoes with Tobacco genes in them) Billing them as organic Tomaccos could boost the price nicely. Get your daily servings of vegetables and an organic high at the same time!

I think we'll do pretty well until the health department and ATF shut us down. Eww, speaking of health department...they just published all of the scores for resturaunts in Central VT in the paper. It's always the fast food places that have the lowest scores. I'm lovin' it.