More bee drama

Remember last summer, when we shucked out $800 and pretty much went through hell and back trying to move our hives all over the yard to get the city off our backs after some jerk called to gripe about our bees?

Remember when I said that I really hoped the guy behind me was responsible for the visit from the city inspector, because the changes we were required to make pretty much ensured that his backyard was going to look like O’Hare International Airport, what with all the hives now facing his property and the big ugly privacy fence guiding them over there?

The guy outed himself today by taping a little handwritten nastygram to my front door, telling me what a horrible neighbor I am because my honeybees are drinking all the nectar out of his hummingbird feeders and scaring his dog away from its water bowl.

I would like the record to show that the letter I am sending back to him does NOT say, “Baaaaaaahahahahahahaha!”

But really:



Pollinator pix

Earlier this summer, a colony of paper wasps took up residence in a corner of our porch between the front door and the bay window. We probably wouldn’t have noticed them if one of them hadn’t bumped into Ron as he was on his way into the house.

I’ve had less-than-pleasant encounters with wasps, but this one was so docile and so nonchalant about the inadvertent collision that we decided to relocate the nest rather than destroying it.

I did a little research and learned that you can’t relocate a wasps’ nest. If you take it down, the babies die.

I didn’t really want to kill pollinators — especially polite, docile pollinators — so I made a deal with them: If you don’t sting me, I won’t destroy your house and murder your children. Seemed fair enough.

The wasps have kept up their end of the bargain all summer. They’ve also done a fine job of discouraging door-to-door salesmen, which is especially nice in light of the fact that there have been some instances of “salesmen” casing houses and then coming back to burglarize them later.

We basically have a dozen small ninjas guarding our door. They just hang out and raise their babies and keep an eye on the front yard. We’ve grown rather fond of them.

Photos below the fold.

Continue reading Pollinator pix

New perches

I finally got around to painting and installing the shelves I bought for Walter earlier this summer. He was a little uncertain about them:

Uh-oh. I dropped my cookie.
Can’t you just get it for me, Mom? I don’t want to jump down there.

It has not yet occurred to Walter that if he climbs the shelves, he might be able to reach that still-unfinished tribute to Bob Cassilly hanging from the ceiling. I think once he figures that out, he’ll be all in.



The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Women

NOTE: This entry was inspired by my increasing frustration with the tendency of many young women to embrace and pander to the kinds of stereotypes that ensure they will never be taken as seriously, paid as much, or treated as well as their male colleagues. Many of my former students will be starting their careers in the next few years, and I don’t want to see them fail. This riff is for them. I hope they will find it useful.

The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Women


Habit 1: Baby-talking around men. I realize we can’t all sound like Lauren Bacall, but when you deliberately talk from your soft palate instead of your larynx, you are sending the message that you are small, immature, and vulnerable. This could attract a knight in shining armor, but it’s more likely to attract a predator looking for a weak-willed woman he can control easily. If a guy finds your fake baby voice sexy, RUN, because you do NOT want him living under your roof when the FBI raids his computer.

Habit 2: Playing stupid around men. Every time I need a man to take me seriously, I have to start by proving I am not the idiot you pretend to be. Stop it. Real men are not intimidated by bright women. Behaving like an intelligent, responsible adult will not keep you from finding Mr. Right — but it might keep you from wasting time on Mr. Condescending, Mr. Insecure, and Mr. Insufferable.

Habit 3: Inappropriate attire. I started to write a long riff about this, but the bottom line is: Quit dressing like a hooker, and quit doing stupid crap like wearing stiletto heels to the ballpark. It doesn’t make you look hot. It makes you look like Snooki.

Habit 4: Duck face. JUST STOP IT. If you’re old enough to vote, you’re old enough to know that you look like a conceited bimbo when you purse your lips and leer into the camera. Your future employer is going to Google you. Do you really want this to be the hiring manager’s first impression of you?

Habit 5: Passive-aggressive behavior. If you have a problem with somebody, confront that person directly. If the problem isn’t important enough to merit a confrontation, it isn’t important. Period. There is no situation in which passive-aggressive behavior is acceptable. It is always immature, self-serving, dishonest, and cowardly — which is precisely how you will be perceived if you do it. Don’t.

Habit 6: Gossip and backstabbing. Ownership of a uterus does not obligate you to make up crap about your enemies, complain about your colleagues, or revel in other people’s misfortunes behind their back. You can damage an enemy’s reputation with gossip — but in the process, you reveal something about yourself, and it’s probably not something you want people to know.

Habit 7: Whining. If you are being asked to do something immoral or illegal, report it. If you are being asked to do something unpleasant or inconvenient, either suck it up or look for a new job. Either way, don’t whine. Whining doesn’t help. It just irritates potential allies and makes you look unprofessional.

— Emily

Fun with filters

So Ron and I went to the last regular-season fireworks night of the year tonight at OneOK Field. Drillers lost, but when the ushers handed out what they referred to as “3-D glasses” (which were more like taleidoscopes), inspiration struck. Prismatic film, as it turns out, makes a pretty sweet filter for an iPhone camera:







Bonus: Troy Tulowitzki and Jason Giambi were making rehab starts with the Drillers tonight, so we got to see a couple of big-leaguers play with our usual guys.

Hope your Friday was good, wherever you are.


Folk Thursday: Melanie at Woodyfest

This was easily the best part of Melanie’s set at Woodyfest. The rest of the performance was kind of so-so (too much new stuff, not enough classics), but this was fun — just Melanie being Melanie, in all her crazy joyful glorious childlike hippie splendor, merging two songs everybody knew and loved, and just generally jacking up the space-time continuum for about eight wonderful, surreal moments on a warm summer evening on the outskirts of a little town in Oklahoma.

This was one of those experiences I am pretty sure I will be taking out of my memory and looking at on bleak days when winter comes and I need a little sunshine and hope and happiness to warm me.



Ron found this little guy today and took his picture before releasing him. Isn’t he cute? I love his eyes. He looks like an anime version of a lizard. We think he’s a juvenile Mediterranean house gecko. Apparently they’ve been coming up from Texas in recent years, although they usually don’t make it this far north. Considering our climate the past couple of years, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to find tropical species in Tulsa. We’re getting a lot of Texans around here — armadillos, cow killer wasps, and the rumor in beekeeping circles is that a few colonies of Africanized honeybees have found their way into southern Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, the paper wasps on our front porch appear to be thriving. We considered removing their nest when we discovered it next to the door, but there’s not really a way to relocate them without threatening their survival, so I made a deal with them: You don’t sting me, and I won’t destroy your house and kill your family. So far, that agreement seems to be working. I’ll take down the nest when the season ends, but in the meantime, I see no reason to disturb them. They aren’t hurting us, and they’re a good deterrent to door-to-door salesmen and con artists.


Vegan recipe: Quick potato soup

Free bonus post today because I made something awesome out of odds and ends I had in the fridge, and I don’t want to forget the recipe:

Vegan Potato Soup

Baked potato, diced
1 c. plain soymilk
About 2-3 tbsp. vegan cream cheese
About 2 tbsp. vegan margarine
Chives to taste
Handful of Daiya vegan cheddar shreds
Croutons (optional)

Mix potato, soymilk, cream cheese, margarine and chives in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until heated through. Dish into bowls and stir in a handful of vegan cheddar. Top with Bac-Os and/or croutons and serve.

Note: This is not diet food. 🙂

Daybook for Aug. 8

For today…

Outside my window… a humid evening.
I am thinking… that I would rather be watching a baseball game right now.
I am thankful for… the improvements in vegetarian convenience food over the past 20 years.
From the kitchen… five-layer Mexican dip with chips, refried pintos, salsa, vegan cheddar, and guacamole.
I am wearing… jeans from Drysdales and a Tulsa Drillers T-shirt with Willin Rosario’s number on the back.
I am reading… nothing at the moment, but I’m about to start Chasing the Rising Sun, which is about the history of the song “The House of the Rising Sun.”
I am hoping… that whatever Songdog is eating at the moment did not come out of Walter’s litterbox.
I am creating… ads for work.
I am praying… to know that as a reflection of divine Mind, I never lack inspiration or ideas.
Around the house… peace and quiet.
One of my favorite things… Clif Bars. I practically live on those when I’m busy. Bonus that I can buy them for a dollar each from the vending machine at work.
few plans for the rest of the week… design some ads; work on stories for the Southwest Tulsa Bell; catch up with a friend while giving a Route 66 tour in the Dreamcar.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


This was part of the aftermath of the wildfire near Luther. The ash under those charred trees looked like snow.