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      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
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Minutiae–the many details of a busy life

Posted by joeabbott on March 21, 2015

imageI’ve been caught up in a dozen activities over the last few weeks … stuff that’s kept my undivided attention, well, divided. What lies ahead is a scrapbook of activities from the many days since my last post.

Of glass and gardens

Last November I spotted an offer to walk the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit with the head gardener from that business and learn about the choices that went into building the flora in that space. I sent it to Suzy, who asked if I’d join her; March seemed a long time away and so I agreed.

Time flew and, as always, it’s hard to break from work but the rewards are many and we enjoyed a fantastic day. Suzy chronicled the tour very nicely in her Chihuly Garden Tour post, here’s a pic from my camera.

Of chicks and chickens

As I’ve said before, when we got chickens we convinced ourselves they weren’t pets. That didn’t mean we treated them differently or give them less respect, but we didn’t intend on building an emotional bond with them. So when did it happen that we did start to care so much about them?

Chickens are much shorter-lived than our cat friends, we’d give them a good life, they’d give us eggs. We don’t cull the flock or “do away with” non-producers … we let them peck about the yard, doing us no harm but neither contributing. We’re good with that. They eat a bit of cracked corn and scratch but what’s the term for something cheap? Oh yeah … chicken feed.

What I didn’t expect was to really enjoy seeing the birds ranging about our backyard, running for the shelter of the cypress trees in a downpour, digging shallow basins for their dust baths, and living a quiet life in our suburban setting.

imageAnd so when one starts slowing down, parting from the flock, and being solitary and unmoving for longer parts of each day … well, you know it’s time. While we give the chickens respect, other chickens do not. The slowing bird will be chased from the food, she’ll get pecked on a bit more, and while I haven’t seen the others intentionally shun her, she gets nothing that looks like sympathy or compassion from her flockmates.

imageSo this happened to one of our oldest birds, who died yesterday. Again, Suzy wrote about her in her post The Golden Star and has some fine pictures. While there’s an overtone of sadness to a hen dying, in this case, whenever we’d come out, the Golden Star would walk over to us and just sit. And so, enjoying Seattle’s crazy-beautiful spring, we’d sit out with her, letting her hop up on the bench between us and we’d all sit. She with her eyes closed, Suzy and I looking over the blessings of our backyard. That went a long way toward me wondering if they haven’t crossed a line toward becoming a “pet”.

But, as one of our old hens passed on, the eight chicks we got (knowing our existing flock was getting old) continue to thrive. They peep and cheep and we sit with them. The sitting with them is our attempt to teach them we’re safe; we mean them no harm. While it’s annoying to have an animal on your property be skittish around you (especially when you feel you’ve done nothing to earn that), there are times you need to handle the birds or get them to come to you. So, we put in the time feeding them treats, touching them, and letting them roost on our arms and legs.

Chickens. I’d never have thought they’d become a part of my life.

Computers and stuff

For the past few months, whenever I’ve picked up my Surface tablet, I’d rage. The WIFI connection seemed spotty, the rendering was dog-slow, and it seemed that every single time I launched it the machine would slow and then tell me it was time to install more updates. Every. Single. Time.

The problem was, I’d grab it just before going to bed. Time to look up some quick stats on the Minnesota Wild … oh, wait, can’t get on the Internet. Time to play a quick level or two of my castle-building game … oh, sorry, time to update. It happened Every Single Time.

Part of that problem is that I only used it occasionally; and so, when I did use it, there was a chance that someone somewhere would have found a way to stop hackers (who don’t take days off) and the updates helped to keep mine mine. I always took updates. Always. I’d rather be inconvenienced than have my data or money stolen.

But what a bother. Every single time.

So it was time to think about a new table computer. Suzy’s very happy with her iPad (wildly happy, I’d say) but I’ve never felt comfortable using it. I don’t like the browser choice, the app selection (while large) is limited to the Apple Store, and I’ve never got the hang of using/liking iTunes. Coming from a guy who learned computers on a Mac, this isn’t some Apple bigotry, just preference.

imageSo while an iPad was out, my other option was to dive into the Android device world. While I suspect it would treat me OK, I just didn’t trust moving into a new tablet ecosystem without ever having tried one. And I did reflect that just about any computer I would get now, would feel a bit slow and doggy in 3 years or so … about as long as I’ve had my Surface.

So, I looked at getting another Surface.

My story would get over-long if I detailed all of it, but the upshot is that I am now the owner of a Surface 3 … and what a marvel of engineering it is! While a bit more expensive than I was looking for, I’m a very happy user. Now I just hope it continues to keep me happy.

Aside from getting a new tablet, we’re installing another router in the house. We’ve always suffered from having a poor signal on the side of the house that’s farthest from where we keep our current router, so now it’s time to just bite the bullet and add another router. The impetus as to why now? Well, my Xbox One in the front room is a victim and we can’t have me going gameless from my comfy chair, can we?

No, we can’t. So, I’ll be spending a bit of time this weekend setting that up and testing it out. Wish me luck … these things always try my patience.

Shop time

While no chickens in the garage has meant better quality shop time, I’m now at the finishing stage of my project and that’s not really my strong suit.

I’ll share more in a week or two on this project … still a bit of a secret … but right now I’m rubbing in oil, sanding out with 320-grit, and laying on a paste wax. The items are coming along nicely.


There’s a lot more going on that I’m not going into … I was out of work sick last week for a day, I’m getting in plenty of game time, and my knee is feeling good enough that I’m starting to get the itch to get out hiking again. Toss in an outing to the Flatstick Pub for a team morale event and nine holes of indoor putt-putt golf, some gaming I’m doing late on Fridays with a coworker, and even Suzy and my quest to find the perfect burger in Seattle. All keeping us busy, all giving us little things to look forward to.

And with that, it’s now mid-morning, time for a shower and to hit the day! Today we will drop off a gift at one of Suzy’s sibling’s house, get more chicken feed, try the Bellevue Burgermaster, get that router setup, and put in more time on that woodworking project! Busy day … time to get to it!


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