Friday, April 29, 2005

Beer and Relish

I'm remembering that it was last Thursday that Colin brought in the package that had been left at the front door. As Packages are very exciting things, we opened it at once. I did know what was in it but was very curious. You see, about 2 weeks ago, I actually entered a contest, in earnest. I do not normally do that as, after almost 4 decades of living, I have learned that I never win contests. My sister, Gail, she got all the contest winning genes. The best one that I am aware of was the radio contest she won back in the late 70's or early 80's when the Morrison Fred Meyer closed in downtown Portland ("Items advertised available at all stores but Morrison") The Morrison Fred's never had anything, probably why they closed it. She won a $100 shopping spree, not bad money back then. That was also when Cabbage Patch dolls were all the rage and that winter, they could not be had for love or money. The toy stores sold out with in minutes, that sort of thing. You know where this is going. Apparently, the one thing the Morrison Fred Meyer had was the last Cabbage Patch doll in the state, and Gail walked in and got it, along with some other odds and ends, with her $100.

So, on the 14th of this month, Jamie (sorry, can't link directly to the 4/14 entry, but just scroll a bit) described the radish relish she was about to put together, and as she is such a lovely, generous person (not to mention a gardening demon with radishes coming out of her ears and eyeballs), she offered a jar as a prize for writing some words about radishes. Her husband would be handed the task of picking the winner ("Here honey, close your eyes and point!") and some lucky soul would be spooning this relish on their brats in the near future. It may have been that I just wanted that relish more than the others or that the contest gods finally decided to cut me a break, but last night, I piled the spoils of victory on a good beer brat and sank my teeth in. Oooooh Baby! Good eats. I had seconds. Would have had 3rds, but, well, wanted to leave some for the next day. (Ah, that would be lunch today!) That and the fact that 2 brats really were more than I could really fit in, having to jettison the last part of the bun in favor of brat and relish. I won't tell you that she also added a brownie tart to the package, which I did share with my loved ones, but only because Colin was there at the opening and I couldn't deny it's presence. He proclaimed it the best dessert he's ever eaten, and that's saying a lot, as the kid is no stranger to dessert.

So, my advice? Haunt Jamie's blog and enter every damn contest she decides to run, but remember, I'm gunning for you and aim to play dirty.

On a different but brat related track, I bring you the World's Worst Beer, at least the worst that has passed my lips, and these lips have tasted many a bad homebrew, many from Charles' forays into apartment kitchen home brewing. (When he was bad, he was very, very bad, but when he was good, thatsa gooda beer!) We actually grabbed a 4 pack off the shelf as it said it was a Belgian style beer, and we had an overwhelming craving for more of the incredibly good Belgian Style Triple, which we could not find. We each took a sip, made a horrified face and spit it out in the sink. I can't remember ever spitting out beer. Sour and brown. Truth in advertising. Charles picked up some more of the Good Beer Wednesday, so I could accompany the brats in style. For the record, yes, I love a good hearty beer, nice and dark. Beer that steps up and shakes your hand.

Finally, on something of a sad note, we have a small Christmas tree on our deck, becoming acclimated before we plant it in the yard. Some very silly bird has built a nest in it! The tree is only about 3' high, 4+1/2 if you count the pot. The tree is between 2 sliding glass doors. The dog goes in and out those doors, as do we, several times a day. I think the bird got the message, but not before it had laid a thumbtip turquoise blue egg in it. So now we have a small abandoned nest and egg in our tree. Just makes me rather sad. It does solve one dilemma, as I was not sure how well we were going to keep the tree alive and watered on the deck through the hatching and fledging of the chicks. Guess I'd better get busy and stick it in the ground before another bird-brained bird decides it is a good place to raise her kids.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Someone To Watch Over Me?

Right. First go over to Rozanne's blog and read her entry for today as I unabashedly stole the idea of this post from her. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Ok, back?

Hanging up on the cork board behind my desk at work, is the following letter:

November, 1995

Dear Doctor;

The Portland area will be hit by a magnitude 7
earthquake in the near future.

Prior to the earthquake, or after it, Mt Rainier
will erupt.

It is advisable that you prepare for the earthquake

After the Portland quake, or Mt. Rainier's eruption,
I will contact you again.



I figure it is only a matter of time, Portland being on a fault line. I also worry that, since I've moved from the Portland clinic that it was sent to, after the quake (or eruption), how will T find me again? But then, I figure, as T is psychic, that really won't be a problem.

Joking aside, I've always loved this, as T (no, no idea who T is) is obviously watching my back. Sort of a guardian angel with a tin foil hat. I've carried it with me, pinning it up by each desk I've worked at for the last 10 years and plan to do so as long as I have a desk. It's near my favorite card, the one that has the caption: "She'd prefer to have a female veterinarian" under the picture of a woman with a cat on a leash who is checking in at a vet clinic reception desk.

Can't have too many people on your side, right?

Monday, April 25, 2005


I'm beginning to suspect some sort of nefarious plot.

Let me lay the facts before you and you judge. Be honest. I trust you.

I loves me my gardening. It basically takes the place of organized religion in my life. I dig, plant, rip out the weeds with glee. I think. I drift. I sing 80's songs in my head.

Let's jump in the Way Back machine to our 1st house, the rust red one with the horizontal yellow racing stripe around the middle and bullets in each of the 5 rooms (plus the bathroom). Horrible Bellingham, how I curse you. It was the best of the 3 houses we could afford, fresh out of residency. It did have a yard, fenced, and we had a new puppy, Maia, a German Shepherd. Our beloved friends, Bart and Peg, came up to visit, both skilled at gardening. I had never planted a thing in my life, only pulled a few dandelions in my mom's driveway on occasion. I always wanted to garden, though.

It was fall, and bulbs seemed to be the place to start.

Peg and I started in with the spade and planted a wide assortment of lovelies. Maia watched. We then went in for a bit, silly us. Maia stayed outside and got busy. When we came back, we found she had dug up every one of those bulbs and arranged them by the back door. Such a clever pup, and so thoughtful. We re-planted. She re-dug. We finally broke her of the habit at some point, I believe with the time honored spray bottle, or she just got sick of it. The next spring, she would greet me with a daffodil or tulip in her mouth, bulb attached, of course.

We moved back to Portland and in to our 2nd house. No bullets, no racing stripe. Small bit of garden on mostly wooded lot. Time to get a bit more bold with the plants. I bought seeds and put them in little peat pots. Sounded great, yes? $10 for everything. Can't remember what-all I planted but do remember columbines were among them. I love columbines. They are the 1st to be planted in a new garden. I only love roses better, for reasons I don't understand. Not sensible. For 2 months the kitchen counter was taken over by little peat pots with plantlets in them. Good thing I didn't cook at the time. I hardened them off, finally planting them in the bed on the side of the house. They grew. They thrived. They disappeared. Literally. I went out to smile at them in the morning and they were there. I went out to smile at them in the afternoon and they were gone, all but the uniform 1/2" stubble of stem sticking out of the ground.

I believe I actually cried.

I considered all the possibilities: Aliens? Cutworms? Slugs? Then the horrible epiphany hit me.


Charles with the weed-wacker in the garden. Trumps Col. Mustard with the candlestick in the conservatory, doesn't it?

He admitted it, claiming that he thought he was doing me a favor, as they looked like clover. Nevermind that they were planted in a clearly demarcated flowerbed. We came to an understanding.

Jump ahead to last week when all the goodies came. I planted all the bare-root ones including the Brown Turkey Fig. I have always wanted to have a fig tree growing in my yard. That I've never tasted a fresh fig is just beside the point. I'm sure they are wonderful. The thing is fig tree. In Wisconsin. Who could resist? I got home from work last Monday and found no tree. Just the ankles of one. Piled around the base were several finger-length pieces of trunk. Emma has joined the forces of evil.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. I didn't even present the evidence of the persistent tromping in the flowerbeds by the feet of the creatures, both 2-legged and 4-legged. I figure that is just a matter of course. Good natured hazing of the rooted, so to speak.

So, which is it? Conspiracy or Coincidence? Or just overwhelming jealousy?

Yesterday, we finished building The Raised Bed From Hell, each 20 lb cement block of cottage stone leveled in all 3 planes. Mostly. Now we just need to fill the 15" x 20" U-shaped bed with 2+1/2' walls with lovely topsoil and compost and we are in business. Think that will be a deterrent to the barbarians?

Me neither.

Anyone know where I can score some razor wire?

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Saturday, April 23, 2005

I'm "It"

Rozanne tagged me and thank goodness. I was about to scrape the barrel and whine about children's TV, which would have everyone blacklisting me for good. Actually, I must mention that I am being driven slowly insane by a song in Sara's favorite episode of Dora the Explorer:

Oingy, boingy, boingy, bing
Will get these magic rocks to sing
Oingy, boingy, boingy, bing
Will get these rocks to sing




{drive forks into eyes}

If you see me scuttling from bush to tree, muttering in Spanglish, please, pretend you don't see me.

So, books. Books. Did you know I used to tell people in all sincerity that I wanted to be a librarian when I grew up until around the age of 10? I wanted to read all the books. You'd think I'd have better, or at least more impressive taste, but I don't. So, here goes, in all honesty, the 5 questions:

1) You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you save?

I took this to be more of an altruistic choice, rather than personal, and therefore must go with George Orwell's 1984. I read it in high school and it really did change me. I still remember parts of it vividly. I haven't read it since and don't intend to. Once was enough.

2) Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

I gotta say, "No." Sorry. I'd like to be more interesting than that but I don't really do the crush thing. I'm weird like that. I get crushes on characters on behalf of other characters, but not for myself. I must have been a matchmaker in an earlier life.

3) The last book you purchased?

Last week's trip to the bookstore:
-Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi
-Good In Bed, Jennifer Weiner
-A very cool, very intricate pop-up book of Alice in Wonderland, adapted from Louis Carroll. Got it for the kids, will keep it forever. It takes at least an hour to read aloud, if you don't dawdle. We got the Wizard of Oz, which is also a work of art, the month before. Colin is fascinated by them.

4) What are you currently reading?

Finishing The DaVinci Code, by Dan Brown. Good but not amazing. I think my expectations were too high. It did make me get out my old art history book, though. Before that, I read Cold Flat Junction, by Martha Grimes. My mom got me most of her Richard Jury mystery series for Christmas in 2003 and after I consumed them, I have started on her set of Emma Graham books. Languid. Lovely. 12 year-old heroine. Start at the beginning of the set. I am a mystery buff and hold everything up to Dorothy L Sayers as the standard. Agatha Christie's Miss Marples are right up there, too. Comfort food.

5) 5 books you would take to a deserted island?

I am going for love, sanity and escapism, not anything deeper. These are the ones I love best:

-The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien. Sorry, complete unabashed paste-eating nerd here. I have even played Dungeons and Dragons in my day, although never through the night, and, therefore, not over the edge. Hey, where are you all going? Wait! I take it back! I never really enjoyed it. Honestly! Well, maybe I did, but I never made up my own dungeons.

-The complete works of Jane Austen. Enough said.

-As big an anthology of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster as I can find. There will be an unlimited stash of port on this island, in a crystal decanter and a crystal port glass, right? That just goes with the books.

-The Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries of the incomparable Dorothy L. Sayers. If I ever had a crush on a character, it would be Lord Peter. Thank god Harriet Vane was such a close friend (cough), so I could have the crush on her behalf.

-I am torn between all the Harry Potters, including all the ones yet to be written and an amazing astronomy book and I really can't decide. It would depend if the astronomy book came with a telescope. If not, Harry wins. If so, Harry may still win as I can't imagine going through life without getting to read the rest of the series.


Fantasy, mystery, British satire. If there were a #6, Douglas Adams' 5 book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy would come. Hey, every contest deserves a 1st runner-up. That way I could combine fantasy, British satire and astronomy all in 1 book. There would, of course, have to be a limitless supply of gin-and-tonics.

So, let's see, I tag: Lioness, Mojavi, and if they read this and feel up to it: Linda and Christine. Spill your guts, answer the questions, air your dirty laundry. Show us a bit of leg or a bit of soul. Or both. You're among friends.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005


(Disclaimer: This is gross. Very, very gross. Normal people will move along. Really.)

So, Diana, what's the most disgusting thing that has ever happened to you in the line of duty?

Well, that would be getting hit full in the face with a jet of pus-under-pressure while draining this poor guy's enormous back abscess, a few years ago. I was particularly disapointed that it also dribbled down the front of my shirt, which I was forced to wear for several more hours, with a patient gown over the top, while I finished the rest of clinic. It should be noted that I was particularly grateful that my mouth was, amazingly, closed at the time.

You would imagine that after such an incident, which I am very proud to say I did not compound the horror of by ralphing all over him, I would take great care not to let it happen again.

You would be right. Unfortunately, as happened yesterday, if the pus from this guy's finger abscess decides to ricochet off the nail and bounce backward instead of exiting as expected, in a nice orderly straight-ahead direction, then I can't be faulted. At least it only hit my hair.

What a glamorous job I have.

Today has got to be better. I started it with 2 donuts, both chocolate frosted.


Sunday, April 17, 2005

Of French Fries and Salmon and Mixed Media

Sometimes, Charles has to go out of town to attend some sort of principal-related event, like a conference. Yesterday, he left to go to the state awards banquet, where one of his teachers was being given a Big Award. So, off he went, to the glamorous burg of Decatur, where I believe they are staying at a Best Western Deluxe, and will dine on rubber chicken and hear many speeches. I am green with envy but am making the best of the situation by doing what I usually do when he is gone overnight. I cook a big piece of salmon. Charles hates salmon (everyone has a flaw), even hates the smell of it cooking, no matter how fresh it is. I also let Colin choose dinner: Hot dog in a Wonderbread bun, with french fries. Sara turned her nose up at everything except the fries (she is a fiend) and the carrots I gave her as an appetizer. I then put them to bed and curled up in The Big Chair with a glass of pinot noir and a movie. Dessert? None, just too full from the salmon and fries. The movie? The Stepford Wives, the remake. I've heard the original is great, this one is not.

So my question to you, my darlings, is what do you do when your amour is out the door?

On another subject, I must let you know that I am not much of a TV person. I find the usual schlock that is advertised mind-numbingly dull and I would truly rather clean the house. That said, there is some very good stuff out there, shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (watch a season or two before you roll your eyes), Huff, and others. The other problem is that I get oh-so-annoyed with commercials, to the point that I essentially only watch something rented or that I've recorded, so I can zip through the ads. That said, there is a radio station we listen to on our Saturday trek in to Madison, just so we can catch this one commercial. It is from an extermination company called "Will Kill". Yesterday, the spot was about getting rid of things that messed up your lawn and contained the lines, "You don't want someone to just get rid of them. You want someone to come over with a big can of Smack-Down and completely eradicate the Evil Little Devils. You don't want them dead, you want them graveyard dead!" We drive impaired by the tears of mirth streaming down our cheeks. It's almost worth having them come out and cause Armageddon on your land, unless, of course, your water comes from your well. That and the fact that you probably don't want to eat the Smack-Down with your garden fresh vegetables.

The other thing is a show we stumbled across last week when I joined a brain-dead Charles in The Big Chair, where he was channel surfing, waiting for me to join him in a Buffy. We happened on a show called Showdog Moms and Dads, on Bravo, the wonderful channel that brought us the delightful Queer Eye. It follows about 5 people and their poor purebred dogs as they pursue their dreams of having a champion pooch. Trust me, this show will make you feel so utterly normal, so very amazingly well-adjusted that you won't even flinch as you holler at the screen and your normally non-violent and erudite guy mutters for the 47th time, "That guy needs someone to take him out. I could take him." TV worth watching. We have 4 episodes recorded. I know what I'm doing tonight.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Good Things

Sometimes, good things come in large packages:

1st note from post office: Package too large for vehicle. Please collect.

2nd note from post office: Plant too large for vehicle. PLEASE collect.

3rd note from post office: Large tree. PLEASE COLLECT

Sadly, while the local tiny post office has "movie parking" it also is only open late morning until lunchtime and then after lunchtime till late afternoon. It is open on Saturday mid-morning to slightly after mid-morning, but as we didn't get the 1st note until later Saturday, today was the earliest I could go and rescue the poor neglected live plant-babies.

With expectations of your usual crabby, cranky, disenfranchised postal worker, I slunk in with both kids and presented my slip to the cheery, efficient, good-humored clerk. She smiled, then chuckled at the description of "Large Tree", waving my mumbled apology away, saying she just figured it was a tree based on the size of the thing and the sending address. She confirmed I was, indeed, Diana, and pulled out the 6 foot long by 2 foot by 2 foot cardboard box. She then, still smiling, asked if I needed some help with it. Gratefully, I stated the obvious, that I did, as visions of me somehow maneuvering The Box through the doors of the post office, down the sidewalk and across the street while holding on to Sara, evaporated.

How do I love living here? Let me count the ways, starting with the lovely and helpful folks, including the public servants. Where else but Wisconsin? Even the DMV employees were lovely to work with. Maybe it's the thorazine.

So, we raced home and opened The Box, which actually contained 2 trees (one a Meyer lemon about 12" (30 cm) high and one a hearty Brown Turkey fig), about 8 different blueberries, 2 butterfly bushes, 1 viburnum, and a half dozen FREE! strawberries purported to grow berries the size of a child's hand. I am all a-tingle. As of this moment, none are dead.
since it is to be frosty tonight, we will plant the bare-root ones tomorrow and mother-hen them. The potted ones are being hardened off over the next few weeks, having been brought up in the sheltered girl's school that is a greenhouse.

I am a sucker for blueberries. I figure a dozen or so bushes are a good start, especially as it will be a few years before the wee ones are ready to bear some fruit. Plus, how else will I know which to then order more of unless I try one of each cold climate blueberry I can get my grubby hands on? I knew you'd understand.

Besides, the blueberry bushes I already have are getting too big to cuddle.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A Slow Day

It's time for a change in the weather, which almost always results in patients staying away in droves. This is something I've never understood, especially the slow days on a change from sun to rain, such as today. We are having Portland weather: 50s and drizzly.

While I would never (ahem) wish for anything but a full, breakneck schedule, if it is something I can't control, I figure it is best to go with the flow and enjoy the winding down of a slow day. My colleagues apparently feel the same as I was summoned to witness something "worth seeing" by our wonderful physical therapist. It seems a patient of our chiropractor had brought in a device for him to take a look at, something that had magically cured her longstanding back pain.

I emerged from the Bat Cave, which holds my desk, sample closet and filing cabinet, along with fax machine, copy machine, old medical records, the work space of 3 other staff members, many phones and severely stained carpet, to find my chiro pal lying on a physical therapy table, jiggling for all he was worth. The magical miracle device (costing $800 several years ago and complete with ancient Chinese writing) under his ankles, shaking his legs and everything connected to them back and forth for all they were worth. The rest of the clinic stood around him and laughed. A few minutes later, the machine finished and he got up, pronouncing that he felt "relaxed" but had some new numbness and tingling in his feet. This was duplicated by our medical assistant, physical therapist, and one of our techs. Four relaxed backs, four pairs of vaguely numb feet.

So there. You can't say we didn't put our down time to good use. A medical study evaluating a pseudo-medical device. Sadly, we did not procure funding prior to the study and, given the results of numb feet in 100% of our test subjects, it seems unlikely that the indecipherable Chinese company (my guess is that when translated the name will turn out to be "Acme") will be up to ponying up some cash to get these results published. Chalk that up to another lesson learned.

Time to quit stalling and read a New England Journal or 2 and have another cuppa coffee. Ooooh! Then lunch! Tuesdays are the day I usually meet my two friends for lunch and therapy. Here's hoping no one walks in at 11:55 with something bad, at least something that can't wait until 1:00. I am selfish like that.


Saturday, April 09, 2005

Oh, Yeah, That's The Stuff

I am still moaning, slightly.

Charles have added another lovely semi-tradition to our lovely lives: Wine and Cheese Saturday Dinner. I am still recovering from the pleasure, removing the last bits from my teeth.

You see, it all started, like most things, completely innocently. We checked out the new shop, next door to the bakery where we can be found of a Saturday morning, eating breakfast while we contemplate our marketing. Yes, yes, we shop in Madison. You would too, if you lived here. We love pretty much every aspect of the country except the shopping. So, we drive 30 minutes to grocery shop, run errands, and remind ourselves what it is like to be in a city. A small city, but one with actual freeways and merging and on ramps and such. We also live in fear of becoming like the bumpkins, avoiding any metropolitan area as they just can not fathom driving in more than 2 lanes of traffic, one of which is the tractor passing lane. Yes, these people exist, and in large numbers, including where we work. We will not, NOT, become one of them.

And, so, off to the city for Saturday mornings. The little shop opened sometime in December, but it took a few weeks for us to wander in. Didn't want to be too hasty. Jack and Linda welcomed us in. They are most recently transplanted from New York, and have lived and traveled fairly extensively. They decided to open a wine, cheese, chocolate, and related foodstuff shop, for fun and profit. They are evil. Evil in the oh, so warm, genuine, welcoming, remember you and your kids, have a nice little play area for your kids, and actually tape the drawings your kids drew for them up on the display case, EVIL. We have fallen under their spell. We step through the door, and it is like an episode of Cheers. They insist we sample each new item. We buy. We eat. We moan. We are plotting to get them to adopt us. Jack makes the amazing bread and the fresh mozzarella and the tarts. He would surely share his recipes and secrets with his adopted daughter, right?

So, her I am, stuffed full of baguette, Gloucester with chives, fresh mozzarella, Basque sheep's milk cheese, and 2 types of brie, one with blue cheese blended in, one without. Also some particularly lovely paper-thin sliced salami. And some champagne, for good measure. I swear I am a better person because of it.

Sadly, I am no longer able to eat the grocery store version of brie.

I told you they were evil.

PS: Adored parents, this adoption thing, I will share the recipes. You know that, don't you. It's just that it is so good. We will take you there when you visit. Then, you can be adopted, too. The bread alone is worth it.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Way To Go, Kai!

I am the eldest of 4: My sister, Gail, my brother, Aaron, and my sister, Kai. Gail and I are 3 years apart and by necessity and, at least on my part, genuine affection, we grew up fairly close. As is usual in our world, our parents split up and re-married, something that has worked out quite well, as both our parents married lovely people, who never would have been in our lives otherwise. My mother, amazing woman that she is, had 2 more children with my step-dad. Aaron was born my senior year in high school and Kaitlin was born the day I started med school. I went to orientation and then to the hospital and held her for the first time. What an amazing day. Given the age gap and busy lives, sadly we are not close, so it was incredibly wonderful when the phone rang last night.

It took a few minutes to figure out what the call was about as the person on the other end was so giddy, shrieking and laughing with glee, that Charles couldn't understand a word for a full 2 minutes. He finally deciphered the word "Diana" and passed the phone to me. It was, I believe, the 1st phone call from Kai, ever. (Which makes it one more call than from me to her, ever.) She had apparently just received a letter of acceptance from University of British Columbia, complete with a scholarship for next year! Much rejoicing!

We here, at the Piffle household, are particularly partial to things UBC, as Charles was there for his 1st year of grad school, before we moved back down to Portland. It was one of the best years of his life and where he learned to write very well, something that was quite painful in the process, but has been invaluable. And what a fantastic city in which to go to school! Vancouver, BC. Clean, gorgeous, hip. Yes, the hint of envy is real. I love Vancouver. And Canadians. So, lucky, lucky Kai! You deserve it, sweetie. And now we have an "in" to the UBC bookstore cache of UBC sweatshirts. For some reason, they only have a couple available online, none of which are appealing. The one Charles owns has literally been worn to ribbons, yet wear it he does. So nice of Kai to make her choice of college for our benefit.

And here, once again, I am amazed by the switch into spring. The last of the snow melted Saturday, not counting the piles in the shopping center parking lots, which have gone from 10 Ft mounds to 3 foot hills. Yesterday, the grass turned from brown to green and the daffodils started to bloom. Leaves should be out in 2 weeks or less. We found a mosquito in the house Sunday. The construction of the stone raised garden bed is underway, painfully and slowly. It got up to 80 yesterday. The wild turkeys are in heat, filling the air with Gobble!Gobble!Gobble! A pair of pheasants seem to be house hunting in our back yard and a herd of deer stopped us in the road for a minute or 2 while they all sauntered across, a few hundred feet from our driveway this morning.

Now, finally, join me in a cheer in your deepest, growly voice:

Goooooo Thunderbirds!

(Yeah, Kai!)


Friday, April 01, 2005


In honor of the divine Lioness, a thoroughly pointless post:

So, what have I been doing for the past few days? I have been enjoying having my lovely husband home since Wednesday, that's what. While Colin had spring break last week, Charles has it this week. Now, being Principal, he does not get things like Spring Break or Winter Vacation as such, but he can use some of his vacation time during a school holiday and have himself one as well. And so he is, taking off Wednesday through the weekend. Poor sod. You see, I have plans. But more in a minute.

Yesterday, we watched Colin get on the bus and then snuck out, just the 3 of us. Felt so very odd. We went shopping. For stuff. Well, first, we stopped by Menard's, a thoroughly worthless and cheap in every sense of the word, home improvement store, for those not in the Midwest Know. Think Home Depot with less quality and even surlier and more disenfranchised help. Now we are aware how sorry we will be every time we venture in, but a month ago, we were driven by desperation: The need for pre-fab concrete blocks to build a lovely raised bed for the garden. We first went to trusty Home Depot, and were told that they should get such things in within the next several weeks. Or maybe months. Really couldn't say for sure. So sorry. Now, as Rozanne, my Mum, and any other gardener can attest, raised beds wait for no one. Last freeze here on average is May 8th. The tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and all the other lovelies go in as soon past that date as the extended forecast will allow that no more freeze will occur. No messing around, people! We have a short growing season to contend with. The ground just thawed. I have a month to build a lasting (we are NEVER moving again) 2 foot high U-shaped garden bed to nestle around the strawberry bed. A month that also contains things like house-work, work-work, parent-work and possible disease.

So with great trepidation, we went to wretched Menard's and ordered the stuff, at 10 cents a block cheaper, to be delivered in a week or 2. They would call us. Promise. Well, that was 4 weeks ago. So, our 1st stop yesterday was to go in and see what was up with the nearly 1,000 bucks in concrete blocks we had ordered and they had charged to our credit card. 8 guys behind the order desk, no one actually doing anything if you looked at them but on the surface, so very busy. Finally, we are able to snag someone, who after discerning what we needed, discovered that, whoops, they just didn't get around to calling us. Stuff has been in and ready for delivery for a few weeks. Please step around the counter to speak with the other guy to order delivery. 25 minutes later (I kid you not) we have an iron clad promise that the stuff is to be delivered between 7am and 12 noon tomorrow. Yeah. So that is what our weekend will consist of. Poor Charles. Heh, heh.

The rest of yesterday was nice. I got new running shoes. We got a full length mirror. We had lunch. We went home and cleaned. Actually, the mirror is nice. I had been without one for the last 5 years and was pleased to find that one's calves and thighs look much thinner in the mirror than they do looking down with the eyes. I also think it will be handy to dress being able to see past the hips.

Today, we again ditched home as soon as Colin got on the bus and went to breakfast, where upon Sara had a rare toddler meltdown when she found that, after meticulously picking out the tasty bits in her muffin but not eating any of the actual muffin, I refused to let her do the same with mine. So cold of me. So, we left post-haste, got her calmed down and then slogged around the little Madison zoo and saw the bears and primate house. Everyone else was snug inside as it was a bit chilly at 40F (4C). Then we went (aren't you on the edge of your seats!) grocery shopping. And then home. Don't we live gripping lives?

Tonight, we plan to watch a movie. Last night, we watched a movie. (Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, which we both thought was damn funny, by the way in a light, stupid movie sort of way. It was made by Canadians, I believe, which explains a lot.)

So, there, you have it. Thoroughly mundane things of a thoroughly mundane person.

You have Lioness to thank for it and only yourselves to blame if you read it.

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