Saturday, January 31, 2015

Oh Well...



A night and as early morning filled with down-pouring rain has once again slowed the beginning of Eva's joyful day of running of laps around the swimming pool. She is currently lying at my feet and taking a short nap.

Maybe the rain will stop before long. It is hiding the mountains in an all-inclusive  mist of low clouds at this moment. And the pool's surface has risen almost to the overflow stage..

Later... Just Before Noon
(Click Pic For Full-Size View)


While searching through the various Writers Guidelines pages on the Internet, I read one that made me think about racial discrimination. It was in:


What I viewed and thought of as discrimination appeared in the first line:

This competition is open to African American poets only.

Hm... I wonder if I am being overly judgmental.



Friday, January 30, 2015

Rain, Rain..



It rained most of the night and was still raining at daybreak when Eva needed to go out and do her morning business. She picked the times well, choosing her forays into the downpour at those instants when the rain  let up. Sometimes she reveals remarkable intelligence.



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rainbow To The North



Early in the morning, just a little after daybreak, a partial rainbow appeared over the Santa Catalina mountains a bit to the north of the house. I pointed it out to Eva but it seemed to be either invisible or inconsequential to her. She did notice a bird flying over the pool though and proceeded to chase it away with a series of loud, throaty barks.

(Click for full view)


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Rise And Shine



Eva woke me up this morning barking continually. I knew immediately that this meant M and J had left the building, as J would have silenced Eva as soon as the barking started. So I got out of bed and checked the time. It was 5:39.

Eva must have heard me stirring around because she went silent. I could then hear the distant barking of neighborhood dogs from outside and the yapping of nearby coyotes.

After donning my clothes I went in and released Eva from her crate, where she had been confined for what must have been merely a few minutes since M and J had departed for the airport.

Eva can be the most efficient of alarm clocks.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Coming Week



I am having trouble with my computer.  Something to do with the browser... I think.

I will be leaving home this evening to spend the coming week with Eva. I am looking forward to conversations with her. Perhaps I will learn something valuable that I can use to lift myself back into the sphere of the living and the enthusiastic.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lies, Damned Lies, And Assorted Other What-Nots



Last night I tuned into the PBS coverage of the State of the Union address and watched the somewhat royal entrance of the capering, good-humored semi-emperor. I watched Obama handing out hand shakes to all the glad handing males and watched him bestow kisses on all the simpering females in attendance. And I listened to his first opening lies... Then, just as John Kerry leaped to his feet to signal the audience that it was time for a standing ovation, I switched over to my Amazon TV FireStick and pulled up the opening of Episode number 1 of Season 1 of The Sopranos. I watched three episodes of that Season before returning to regular TV. There I watched and listened to a well-known NBC Newsman as he wrapped up the evening's happenings.

Then I wrote the above so I would have it ready to transfer to this morning's blog entry.

Then I brushed my teeth and retired to my bed and opened my Kindle to an interesting little Stephen King tale.

One must search with studious diligence to find sometimes a single grain of truth in this most incredibly mendacious of eras.


This Is Who I Am

Tuesday, January 20, 2015




I wonder how many people actually watch the State of the Union nonsense.


This Is Who I Am

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Headin' Home



If all goes as planned, I will be going home this afternoon.



Friday, January 16, 2015

Just A Brief Note



Wednesday night was filled with the wails and moans of winds from the East, and then that same wind most of the day on Thursday carried hordes of mini- leaves, twigs, and small seedlings onto the surface of the swimming pool where they congregated in slowly drifting groups around and around until I managed to skim them up and deposit them outside the fence. It seems that today that wind has become nothing more than an occasional wafting, mild breeze. And the temperature is forecast to be in the 70's for the rest of the week.

On the 15th (Thursday) I mixed Eva's monthly dose of worm medicine in with her breakfast and then watched her throughout the day. Aside from a seeming sluggishness in the morning I noticed no other harmful effects... no retching no yakking nor other signs of discomfort.

Eva's a good girl.



Tuesday, January 13, 2015







Monday, January 12, 2015

House-Sitting Again This Week



Eva was disappointed this morning because when she went out for the first time it was raining and she got wet. She wanted to come back inside as soon as her pressing physical needs were met. I decided it had been raining for quite some time while I sleeping since there was a lot of water standing outside the back fence, out in the scrubland.

I would like to write some more here but i really don't feel like thinking at this moment.

Maybe later in the day.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Guest Blogger 1/11/2015

Loose Ends

Your computer isn't broken; I haven't Driveled for awhile. Even today, I don't have anything really exciting to talk about, but I want to tie off some loose ends.

I know I've needed to do this for awhile. But, as sometimes happens, days pass without the slightest desire to write (more so when Harry is home a lot as he has been) and then one morning my muse smacks me upside the head instead of allowing me to snooze more. Then I must get up and put down whatever writing thoughts won't let me be. So it was this morning, and here are those thoughts.

The septic system was finally replaced a few weeks ago. The same guys who came out and rescued me after Drivel: Bahamas by unclogging my plumbing came and tore up the back lawn (it was weeds anyway) by driving a series of ever-bigger trucks back there. First, a backhoe dug a hole down to the tank. (The old septic tank was not much bigger than a coffin, surprisingly.) Then a pumper truck emptied what it could (some of the mess in there was sludge from having so much dirt fall in). Then the backhoe crushed the old tank, and dug a new hole, using the dirt from that to fill in the old tank's spot. Then the mothership arrived with the new tank. Wow! What a big tank and what a big truck to get into our little back yard. After everything was in, they brought in a dirt truck and used the backhoe to remove the excess dirt (the new hole was bigger - much bigger - than the old hole) as well as the mountain we'd had in front of the aviary for years. The back yard is now flat - and mostly bare dirt.

The septic system had been crippled for quite awhile, since we noticed that one of the covers had fallen in. Our constant stream of storms has kept the backyard too wet to allow the trucks access.

The generator was hopefully fixed yesterday. We won't know for sure until the power goes out for real, which may very well not be until rolling blackouts in mid-summer or we get violent winter storms.

It's been broken for longer than the septic tank (Drivel: Memory Pool), and the shop we bought it from has done some excellent work on getting it fixed under warranty, even though it had been in service for two years. The hours on it were minimal and it should not have died.

The repair guy replaced some part in the motor, first. That wouldn't work. So he got a different part (each of these steps took days or weeks and I may have them slightly out of order), and that made the motor work but it wouldn't power the house. So he got a different part and that one turned out to be totally wrong for our generator. He got the right part, and it still wouldn't power the house. So then he started getting parts for the generator. Eventually, all the parts meshed and yesterday the motor ran and the generator powered the house when the electric house switch was turned off. So next outage, we should be good to go.

For my death threat from Drivel: Bahamas, I guess that one's still loose, as I'm still around. I had the cops out to report it, based on the goading of one of my coworkers. Two policemen showed up at the house and asked a bunch of questions: Had I pissed off my boyfriend? Did I have any known enemies? Did I have that kind of money available? Did I feel threatened?

Well, no. I felt kind of stupid, really, talking about spam email to these obviously bored cops. At least I did until I'd answered no to that last question. Then one of the policemen pulled out his billy club. For a brief moment, I felt very threatened. What if they were in on it? What if it was all real? What if these guys were the hired guns? AAAAaaaaah! And then the man took his radio out of his belt, too, talked into it, and put both things back. The feeling and thoughts faded and went away, but that bugged me for awhile anyway. Why did he take his club out? (Later I told someone at work, who told me the belts often don't have enough "give" for doing things and he probably took the club out to relieve that pressure so he could get his radio out. Oh.) I decided I watch way too much cop drama on television.

Shortly after the police visit, a story hit the papers about this email scam and it turns out I'm cheap; some of them were asking for $100,000 and my "contract" was only $15,000. Sigh.

Let's see, what else is loose? Oh, yes, the shrimp from Drivel: Dangerous Living has disappeared. I didn't notice exactly when, but sometime he was no longer in the aquarium. No doubt he was lunch for the anemone, his best buddy.

The clicker search is still ongoing. I cannot tell, since the stand shift (Drivel: Moving Day), exactly where the noise is coming from and it occurs less often, but the clicker is still alive and well in the tank.

I think that ties up anything dangling. If I missed anything you're dying to hear about, let me know. And as a bonus, here's one that wasn't dangling at all.

The not-so-new job that I have, with my no-longer-new team, comes with some duties that I don't particularly like. (Don't they all?) One of these duties is rotating the facilitation (leading) of the monthly floor meeting. I did mine about a week ago. I had a Fluff Coordinator, because I don't *do* fluff, and these things are mostly fluffy. Rah, rah, we rock.

Our theme was "Green," and I think we did a good job on it. Being in front of the entire building's population (with a microphone!) was not so bad once I was up there. Before, I was nervous, and after, I was exhausted. Still, it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd expected, and I have a feeling that was mostly because I have such a great team. They helped (not just my Fluff Coordinator) organize, think of ideas, implement, and make sure the regular work got done while I was doing the immense amount of work needed to pull the whole event off.

You know what? We do rock. Rah, rah!

Copyright 2014 Michelle Hakala


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Daylight Saving Time



Arizona would have to conform with the rest of the country and do daylight saving time under new bill...



Wednesday, January 7, 2015




While out walking in East Tucson yesterday I noticed a small vehicle with some printing on its door. The printing was:

Mobile Fingerprinting Services

I thought this was a somewhat novel offering of services, one I had never heard of. So I did an online search and found:

Ink & Roll Fingerprinting

I wondered how much need there is for such a service.


Last night I lay in bed reading a Stephen King novel titled Mr. Mercedes until finally falling asleep at a little after 2 A.M. And I did not wake up until after 8:00. So I am late getting into this blog stuff. It is now almost ten and time to get out there in the cool air for my morning walk.



Monday, January 5, 2015






Sunday, January 4, 2015

Guest Blogger 1/4/2015


Part I:

Wednesday Night

I was sleeping so beautifully.

It'd been a nice evening. One of my friends came over, bringing dinner for us from Boston Market, and then we watched a movie. After she left, I did my evening tasks and went to bed. And I was dreaming of the Bahamas, sultry air and chilled drinks and the waves lapping on the shore...

Wait. Those waves are here.

I awoke with a start to the soft, intermittent sound of water. Tink. Trrtlrrr. Tink.

I stretched and got up, looking at the clock to see that it was 12:24 in the morning. Expecting to find the dog into something wet, or that the cat had managed to turn on a faucet, I followed the sounds into the master bath.

And stepped into a lake.

The master bath floor was awash; the water sounds emanated from the lip of the floor vent in the master bedroom, just outside the bathroom door, and the shower had a merry mostly-silent waterfall cascading into Lake Master Bath. As I stood there, in shocking wet feet, I realized the water level was rising.

Aaaah! The water poltergeist was at it again! I cursed H-2-Uh-Oh and got a bucket and a beach towel. That didn't soak up everything on the floor (but it did stop the water from getting into the bedroom) and I quickly found I hadn't the strength to wring it out, either. So I got another, smaller towel.

That one, too, was unwieldy wet, so I went looking for a hand towel. And as I searched for one, I thought about Physics. A stable body of water cannot overflow unless it has more water coming in. The river doesn't flood unless there's a nasty local storm, or too much runoff from upstream.

Our septic tank has been in trouble for about a month, since we discovered one of the covers had fallen in. The tank is apparently the original one that came with the house and is made of wood. It's beginning to crumble. We had a septic place out and they will replace it - when the ground dries out enough to support one of their trucks. Since we've had so much rain since then, there's been no chance to do that. Today (er, yesterday) was the third sunny day in a row and that's been a long stretch compared to what we've had. The ground is still not dry enough.

But even so, unless more water was coming in, the tank shouldn't be backing up. And the water in the master bath didn't smell bad, either.

I looked outside through the master bedroom window. No, it wasn't raining.

I followed the hidden-underground pipe trail. The bathtub in the hall bath had standing water in it, about six inches deep. I set the stopper to closed. The sink was fine. The kitchen sink was fine, too.

Aha! The garage sink was about half full. This one holds a *lot* of water. The water softener must have cycled, sending its weekly overflow into that garage sink. (I certainly wasn't doing laundry or anything in my sleep! Who does laundry while they're in the Bahamas?)

If I didn't empty the garage sink, the water would simply find its way out onto the bathroom floor. I got my bucket and a coffee can and started bailing. One full bucket, and I paused. Today (er, yesterday) I'd received what I think is a junk email saying someone close to me has taken out a contract for my death (one of you, perhaps?). It was to my email address, but didn't have my name, just "What Ever You Call YourSelf" so I think it's junk. Maybe. Sort of. But I kept it in case I should suddenly die and the Feds need a clue. The note said not to come outside after 7pm.

And here I was, way after 7pm, standing in my robe and bare feet in the garage with a full bucket of water and nowhere to dump it except outside. A death threat, and a flooded bathroom. Coincidence?

I stood there a moment, weighing options (not many) and beliefs (was it junk?) and decided to do what I must.

I opened the door and invited the dog to step outside.

He refused to go.

I pushed the dog outside.

Nothing happened to Bounty, so I stuck my head out and peeked around. No black-clad assassins waited for me. So I gathered my courage and stepped out, then dumped the bucket and went back for another.

Two full buckets. Then three, and a fourth. The water in the garage sink went down, and down and down. Finally I was getting only half a coffee can per dip and I expected to start scraping the bottom of the sink soon.

But it didn't happen.

One half coffee can full at a time, I filled the bucket a fifth time. And then a sixth. I began to wonder if I was in a bad horror movie, or a Candid Camera episode. A seventh bucket. The water level in the garage sink was NOT going down.

I took the seventh bucket full outside and dumped it. Then I studied the garage sink. The water was bubbling back in so fast I could see the current at the drain!

So I came in to check the house. The bathtub looked unchanged, which was good because I'd stopped it. But the shower! The shower level had dropped about two inches and was no longer coming over the edge. Apparently I had stabilized the water level, and our house isn't as sloped as I'd thought.

I figured I'd finish the task in the morning, then after the sun was up I'd investigate whether my septic is finally full (after that partial dirt/wood collapse) or if the pipe is clogged. I got a glass of water (why not?) and I went back to bed to try to return to the Bahamas. But I couldn't sleep; this Drivel was running around in my head. So here I am, writing to you what happened. Now I'm off to bed once more and I'll finish my tale for you tomorrow (er, today).

Part II:

Thursday Morning

It's been over twelve hours since I stumbled out of the Bahamas and into Lake Master Bath. The septic tank is not full, but a lot of muddy muck is visible, so I think the entry to it is plugged. I've called the septic company and they'll be out to look at it (and probably snake it clear for now, since they still can't get a truck in to replace the tank) sometime today. I've got a call in to our water softener folk, too, so they can tell me how to turn off the cycling in
case it's a nightly thing (that would be bad).

So for now, it's handled. And this Drivel wouldn't leave me alone until I finished it, so now it's done and I can go back to my business PC and get some work done.

Anybody want a poltergeist?

Copyright 2014 Michelle Hakala


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saturday Morning



"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness..."
Allen Ginsberg Howl!

Using my new Amazon FireStick, I watched a movie titled HOWL!. It chronicled a period of the era in which lived Allen Ginsberg, writer of the poem, with scenes from the poem's obscenity trial. I have nothing I wish to say concerning the movie or the poem, except that one of the statements from an expert witness, a professor of literature, struck me as being a real eye-opener. The statement was: "You cannot translate poetry into prose; that's why it's poetry."

I suddenly saw what I had been missing in earlier personal experiences with trying to understand much of literate poetry... poetry deemed literature, and therefore possessing lasting value.


A gift from one of my sons at Christmas was an assortment of frozen foods from Omaha Steaks. I have sampled all of the various delicious articles: a sirloin steak, a beefsteak burger, a boneless pork loin chop, a potato au gratin portion, and an apple tartlet. What more can I say about that?

There is no sincerer love than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw



Friday, January 2, 2015

Persistence And Enthusiasm



Below is one of the pictures I snapped yesterday while walking on Speedway at the wash running along Camino Seco, across that street from the CVS pharmacy.

Snow On The Mountains
(click pic for larger view)
From Speedway Blvd. & Camino Seco
January 1, 2015 - Tucson, Arizona

Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

For quite some time now I have seen in myself a certain lack (loss?) of the enthusiasm I had enjoyed from an earlier time. And I seem to have just accepted this loss as a part of the process of growing old. But now I am having second thoughts on the matter. How much, I wonder, is the existence of enthusiasm, in the face of old age's piddling pains, tied to and dependent upon one's artificially induced mental attitude?

I ask: Can enthusiasm be summoned up and put to use simply by the seemingly intangible force of will?

James Whitcomb Riley - a poet from Indiana - once said, "The most essential factor is persistence - the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come."

Can I, then, simply by persisting, by writing even when I feel physically ill, or think I've nothing to say, or bowing to one or more of the millions of other excuses for sloth, eventually bring myself some success in having produced a considerable bulk of worthwhile written works?

It seems as though I might.


If, as long as I live, I merely push myself to persist...

...what have I to lose?


Here is one of the first poem I read, enjoyed, and remember from way back when, from the time I was a wild young brat living in my hometown of Rensselaer, Indiana, where the Little Cousin Jasper festival still occurs each year.

Little Cousin Jasper
James Whitcomb Riley

Little Cousin Jasper, he
Don't live in this town, like me, --
He lives 'way to Rensselaer,
An' ist comes to visit here.

He says 'at our court-house square
Ain't nigh big as theirn is there! --
He says their town's big as four
Er five towns like this, an' more!

He says ef his folks moved here
He'd cry to leave Rensselaer --
'Cause they's prairies there, an' lakes,
An' wile-ducks an' rattlesnakes!

Yes, 'n' little Jasper's Pa
Shoots most things you ever saw! --
Wunst he shot a deer, one day,
'At swummed off an' got away.

Little Cousin Jasper went
An' camped out wunst in a tent
Wiv his Pa, an' helt his gun
While he kilt a turrapun.

An' when his Ma heerd o' that,
An' more things his Pa's bin at,
She says, " Yes, 'n' he'll git shot
'Fore he's man-grown, like as not! "

An' they's mussrats there, an' minks,
An' di-dippers, an' chee-winks, --
Yes, 'n' cal'mus-root you chew
All up an' 't 'on't pizen you!

An', in town, 's a flag-pole there --
Highest one 'at's anywhere
In this world!  --  rite in the street
Where the big mass-meetin's meet.

Yes, 'n' Jasper he says they
Got a brass band there, an' play
On it, an' march up an' down
An' all over round the town!

Wisht our town ain't like it is! --
Wisht it's ist as big as his!
Wisht 'at his folks they'd move here,
An' we'd move to Rensselaer!


Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
--Winston Churchill


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Home Again




This is a view of outside my bedroom window
January 1, 2015

Snow on the ground in Tucson, Arizona


Aging can be fun if you lay back and enjoy it.
--Clint Eastwood

As I was returning from my morning walk to Fry's yesterday I was overtaken by my longtime walking friend, the young and quite comely Ms Mary Ann. She tamed down her usual rapid clip to match my much slower and rather sedate, strolling gait and cheerily sang out, "Gene... it's been a long time." I agreed and told her of my two long holiday trips out to the scrubland with Eva. We conversed as we walked and caught ourselves up on each other's doings.

As we neared my turning point, she paused and said, "Well, it surely was nice to see you again," and she stepped into me and threw her arms around me in a big, tight hug, and she reached up and kissed me on the cheek. I returned her hug with one of my own... and realized that my hand was lower than I'd thought, a bit below her thick coat and grasping her tight dungareed bottom. Of course I immediately transferred my hand upward to carefully pat her on the back in the most friendly manner.

Later in the day Mike came over to help me hook up the toy he'd given me for Christmas, an Amazon FireStick. It's quite an interesting little doo dad. It enables me to stream on my TV simply scads of feature movies, videos, and classic television programs.

So, after Mike left, I selected and watched the black and white movie, Nebraska, starring Bruce Dern as a doddering , often confused , grizzled old man on a ridiculous quest to retrieve a million dollars he had (he thought) been promised to him in a letter from a magazine subscription company. I can see what the movie was suppose to be all about, but in my opinion, it was extremely boring.

And unnecessary.

Who wants to watch a confused old guy going about his muddled, mundane business?

Even later in the day I watched an hour-long segment of the old Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series regarding tribbles.

I enjoyed it immensely.

Then I went to bed... no thought whatsoever to New Year resolutions.


No one can avoid aging, but aging productively is something else.
--Katharine Graham