As the winter of 2004-2005 winds down here in Madison, the rhythms of our lives are changing.

Dalla’s Spring Fur Explosion has begun in earnest. Usually, this means our house is absolutely coated in dog fur for several weeks. This year, we’re taking a different tack. In addition to brushing the dog regularly, we’re also vacuuming the dog. We use a canister vac with an upholstery attachment. If we’re careful to keep the attachment from sucking up skin instead of fur, Dalla really gets into the whole affair. Sarah and I have been planning our gardens. We applied to get a plot in a local community garden since there are very few (read: none) good spots in our yard for a garden since almost no location gets what would be defined as “full sun.” If we don’t get a plot in the community garden, we have a contingency plan that involves a raised bed, some tilling of new gardens, and plenty of hope.

Ira should come out of the fridge tomorrow into his cleaned and renovated indoors tortoise house.

Of course, with the weather we’re having, I might just put in outside for a few hours. Today we had highs in the mid-sixties and tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer.

I pulled out the grill tonight and dinner (a chicken) is roasting away on it while I write this. It will be very good to eat grilled foods again. The broiler is a sorry substitute for a good charcoal grill.

Recently, I ordered two pairs of blue jeans from LL Bean, my blue jean supplier of choice for the last ten years or so. However, LL Bean seems to be following the trend of making blue jeans bigger. That is, a 34” waist is no longer truly 34”. I first noticed this with a pair of Lands End jeans. I got a 34”x34” pair as a gift. That is the same size I’ve been wearing for the last ten years, and it is the same size I recently ordered from LL Bean. Apparently, the inch the folks in Dodgeville, WI (where Lands End is based), and Freeport, ME, use a different inch than the rest of us. In both cases, the jeans are noticeably bigger than they used to be. It like they started making 35” or 36” jeans and marketing them as 34” jeans to make people feel better about getting bigger.

My fantasy baseball team drafted last night and I got a variety of players from the Minnesota Twins, which made me happy. I like to have players on my fantasy team from my favorite team in real life. That makes it easy to cheer for both. Like last year, I held to a hard and fast rule against drafting any New York Yankees. There are plenty of suckers to draft those bums.