"Some calls it madness...I calls it HiDeeHo." - Cab Calloway
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Thursday, July 15, 2004


I have a really bad habit of leaving my headlights and dome light on in my car. I've killed my battery so many times, it's pathetic. Matter of fact, I did it again 2 or 3 days ago. I tried jumping it off a little portable charger thing my dad got me for just such occasions, but to no avail. The bastard wouldn't hold a charge. It was dead.

Now I know how to replace a completely discharged battery. I just did it. All by myself. I took out the battery that had been in there since 1998 (bolts rusted and all), stuck the new one in, hooked it up and voila!

It's not even as complex as changing one's oil, which is pretty easy. But still...I'm rather proud of myself.

Self-sufficiency, thy name is mine.

posted by Julie Neff  # 7/15/2004 11:38:00 AM


Yesterday, for the first time in a few months, I went to the Kettle Moraine State Forest HQ for a walk. Some discoveries I made while traversing part of this land I've been walking on for 20 or more years include the following:

1. A profusion of baby toads, so small that they could sit on a dime and have room. I had to walk very slowly and carefully lest I smoosh them, and I probably did smoosh a few even so.

2. A profusion of the multilegged wiggly creepy-crawlies that children are alternately terrified of and fascinated with. Also tried not to smoosh them. How would you like it if a giant came into your house and stepped on you?

3. Because of our heavy rains and mostly normally cool nights, there was more than a profusion, more than a crowd or a host...let's say a RIOT of fungus, some of which I have never seen out in nature. There was white and purple coral fungi, Smurf-hourse fungi, oops-someone-spilled-some-Jello fungi, tiny green and brown fairy umbrella fungi, body-part-mimicking fungi (ears and fingers and suchlike), bright pink tentactle fungi, the usual shelf and bracket fungi, and something that looked as though a crop of fluffy white stuffed animals was coming up from under the leaf litter.

4. Repel Sportsman Max bug spray with 40% DEET is tha bombass bug spray, yo.

5. The woods were nearly silent, with the exception of the breeze rattling the branches and, out on the grassy areas, the sounds of cicadas and crickets. Rarely would a robin or something chirp. Very stark contrast compared to last time I was there, early May or so.

6. In one of the grassy areas near a little pond, I found a group of 12 cranes, just standing around, occasionally snapping something (probably baby toads) up out of the grass. I didn't even try to pass them - I just backed up and turned around. Some were smaller, but they all looked like they were capable of flight. Have you ever been near a 4-1/2-foot-tall bird with an 8-foot wingspan when it's taking off? Okay, now try 12 of them. Sorry guys (and girls), didn't mean to interrupt.

7. Last but not least, in accordance with the soil moisture and the availability of coniferous tree roots, Monotropa uniflora, aka Indian pipes. Finding a patch of these makes me all giddy, I can't imagine why. They're not particularly rare, but since I first stumbled upon them when I was a kid, they make me think of ghosts and things of that sort.

Now set all this on a alternately cloudy/sunny, slightly breezy 70-degree day under a canopy of green. Sigh. Yes.


Fahrenheit 9/11 was certainly interesting. Michael Moore may have his shortcomings, but he is not lacking in cojones.


Dang, has it been another year of this blog? Well, shucks.


If it's July 15, that must mean it's my mother's birthday. I hope she manages to have a decent day in spite of it all.

posted by Julie Neff  # 7/15/2004 06:50:00 AM

Tuesday, July 13, 2004


My uncle Harry died last Friday. He did get a nice write-up in the paper, though.

It occurs to me to wonder, when people I know die, what my obit or write-up on a local paper will be like. Not that snarky one I did earlier, either. Hmmmm...

posted by Julie Neff  # 7/13/2004 09:02:00 AM

Sunday, July 11, 2004


Yesterday, my mom, dad, Morgan and I went to a fundraiser picnic dealie for Russ Feingold, a very Democratic senator. He's best known outside Wisconsin for opposing the Patriot Act. That was a brave move, n'est-pas?

Needless to say, we jumped on the opportunity to schmooze with him for a contribution to his campaign. Josh, sadly, had to work. I'm sure he would have bent the senator's ear for a minute or two, at least.

Some people (first names George and June) hosted this event in their gardens - very very very nice gardens. There was a pond with lilies, a fountain and frogs. Morgan spent most of her time eating cookies and watching the frogs.

Mr. Feingold gave a brief speech, wherein he thanked us and the hosts for the event, reminded us how EXTREMELY important it is to vote (considering that Democrats in this region of Wisconsin are as rare as carpaccio); what a bunch of lying, cheating schmucks the Republicans are (which was roundly cheered and clapped); how he's sure that both Kerry and Edwards (whom he knows personally) are ready to be president, unlike our incumbent; finally, to please let him keep his job. Well of course.

While we were queued up for some food, he did the hand-shaking 'hi howyadoin' thing. My mom grabbed him, handed me the camera and this is the result. She was nervous. Can you tell?

I on the other hand was cool as a popsicle. I quite casually introduced myself, upon having my hand shaken, as "anonymous." I had no name tag. Chuckle, chuckle.

Apparently his daughter is dating a second cousin of mine. It's a small world after all.

posted by Julie Neff  # 7/11/2004 02:47:00 PM


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