Monday, May 29, 2006

The Best Weekend








And for those who have never seen a picture of me, I submit the following, after barbecued cheeseburger with everything on it, more potato chips than anyone should eat in a sitting, potato salad, watermelon and the best cookies on the face of the planet:

Oh, and the light deceives. The legs, they are shorter than the average bear's, not longer. Sorry. Lord, every weekend should be Memorial Day.

Synopsis: 27 new plant babies. Chief among them are the 3 new hardy Midwest roses (You can take the girl out of the Rose City, but you can't take the Rose City out of the girl.), 4 Pulmonaria, a couple of Monkshood (wolfsbane) some more delphinium and columbine, because you can never have enough of either. Charles spent hours mowing and trimming.

Damn, but the yard looks good! Neither of us wanted to leave for work today, we just wanted to sit around outside and look at it.

Of course, it is supposed to storm for the next few days, which is good for the flowers but makes the grass and weeds grow, too. It'll all be ratty again by Thursday.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Don't You Have Something Better To Do?

As a means to completely alienate you with the dull that is my life, and because I haven't a damn thing to say, I feel the urge to inflict a blow-by-blow window into my Thursday (yesterday). Blame Dana for planting the seed.

4:something atrocious am- Forgot to pull curtains last night. Didn't close sliding door to balcony. Had a bit of brandy while curled up with Charles last night watching that BBC makeover show with Trinny and Susannah. End result is waking at this hour due to the confluence of dawn streaming through the window, birds behaving loudly, and a full bladder.

4:something marginally later am- Charles is rousted up by the evil dog, who moments before had been licking my toes, to no avail. I chalk one extra point toward my impending sainthood as I did not kick her in the pointy nose but merely moved my tootsies to a spot she couldn't reach. This caused the cat, however, to pounce on them.

4:45 am- Give up the sleep ghost, as the combination of Charles showering in one bathroom and the beloved and stupendously excited son using the other bathroom, each shred the small vestigial tissue of my sleep. Refusing to rise, despite insistent bladder, I grab my book, which I am nearly finished with. (Middlesex, by the way. Excellent book. All should read.)

5:something am- Give up the ghost of reading in bed and empty bladder. Stumble to kitchen. Charles, dressed in sweats and bundling his shirt and tie with him, has already left, to first work out and then boss teachers and students around.

6:20 am- After trying to read the lovely book on the couch with the kids (yes, Sara is up, of course she's up) while they watch TV, I decide the mixture of literature and Dora the Explorer are not a good combination. I send Colin off to dress and slog to the kitchen to contemplate coffee and breakfasts. I am blessed by being saved from certain loud and varied whining by the presence of 2 (not 1) pancakes in the freezer, the last of the batch made last week. No child will be pancakeless this morning.

6:35 am- Breakfasts on table, I log onto internet and read some blogs. I'm not sure if I left any comments. If I did, I hope I didn't sign my name as they were certainly worthy of only an 'anon' tag. It's all rather fuzzy.

7:00 am- Feeling greasy and sweaty as it is warm and humid with the storms coming in, I skootle to the shower, coffee in hand. I muse on the march of middle-age that is my present physical person. The coffee is decaf as I have found caffeinated coffee to make me rather more gassy and bloaty than I would like to be. Bye-bye sweet caffeinated coffee. It was a nice couple of decades we had, while it lasted.

7:25 am- I am dressed and no longer rancid. Son has had all he could take of waiting inside and had decided to pop out to the bus early. See, today is The Big First Grade Field Trip! Today! The 25th! Of May! They get to go to the geology museum, to McD's for lunch and then to a play. What raptures are in store, if only the bus would come!

7:41 am- The bus comes at it's usual time, despite his going out early and willing it otherwise. I am sitting in the study so I can watch and make sure he gets on the bus OK, sipping the decaf latte and eating my ham, bagel, and grapefruit. I muse on how the bagel is not stale, despite being 5 days old and claiming to have no preservatives. Wish I knew the secret. Mine go stale in a day when I make them.

7:42 am- Sticky, sticky, maple-syrupy-and-pancakey Sara is wiped down. She decides she must have a bath. Fine with me. She plays with her bath toys while I flop on my stomach in the hallway by the bathroom door, continuing to try to finish my book. Molly makes this rather more difficult than it should be by alternatively needing to go out and pee or poop or smell the daisies, or by stepping on me when I am prone on the floor of the hallway. Damn dog.

8:15 am- Bath water is cold. Girl must get out. She doesn't want to. (Neither do I, truth be told, as it is a nice excuse to loll, as, well, you must watch the small girl in the bath, right? Don't want her to drown.)

8:45 am- Girl dressed and detangled. Dog chastised for this and that. Books read to girl. Thoughts turn to vacuuming and mopping and other such exotic tasks. Instead, I am ordered by the girl to 'snuggle' and watch a show with her. I am her slave. I drift off to semi-sleep for a long half hour. Sweet, sweet semi-sleep.

9:25 am- Ok. No more stalling. House is filthy. As in smears of mud from tramping feet all over the kitchen floor. As in a pile of dishes needing to go in the dishwasher. As in a mountain of laundry. Spend the next couple of hours vacuuming, mopping, cleaning cat box, doing wash, doing dishes, playing in spurts with the girl, and chastising the dog. Somewhere in there, managed to clean the bathrooms, too. Also a pot of tea was consumed. The good of the shower is long gone. Sweaty and smelly am I. But the house is no longer a superfund site.

noonish- Lunch. Food, food, glorious food. Chicken Caesar salad for me, deconstructed chicken Caesar salad and bread for Sara (salad with chicken on the side). Ice cream sandwiches a deux afterward. And 2 pieces of dark chocolate for me, for it's health benefits, of course.

1:00 pm- Book (Madeline) for Sara, then songs and down for a nap for her. (The heavens open and the angels sing.)

1:45 pm- I skip down to the basement, where the TV and treadmill lurk. Netflix keeps me in shows which I only let myself watch if the treadmill is going. Currently, I'm on the second-to-last disc of the first season of Lost. (Is it as good as everyone says? Oh, yes. Absolutely.)

2:45 pm- Done with the run and halfway through this disc. Resist the temptation to 'just watch a bit more while I stop sweating'. More saint points. Double points, I'm sure.

2:46 pm- Upstairs to drink water and dick around on spider solitaire, cooling off.

3:15 pm- Several games later and no wins, of course, am now chilled in sweat-soaked shirt and shorts, sweat dripping off my weenie ponytail down my neck, I am able to pull myself away from the crack that is spider solitaire. I shower.

3:30 pm- I am overcome by gravity and flop on the bed, legs hanging off the side, leafing through a plant ID book, searching for the name of the little blue wildflowers that grow by the road out front are. No success. Eyes close.

3:40 pm- I realize that if I nap, it would be bad as I neglected to unlock the front door before flopping, so Colin would have to ring the bell, waking Sara. This must NOT happen. Naptime is sacred and NOT to be interrupted unless you want an unreasonable banshee in place of your delightful, sweet daughter. I spring up and head to the study so I can watch Colin get off the bus. Hmmm. Spider is on the computer in the study. A few more games won't hurt.

4:01 pm- Colin leaps off the bus and tears down the driveway. I leap out the front door, intercepting him to hear all about The Day in the great outdoors, where he can shout and exclaim all about the fossils and crystals and the globe that you weren't allowed to touch. Another bonus is that there is no homework today. Who knew the geology museum was so stupendously cool? Promise him that we'll go ourselves in a few weeks. Ever since his class did a unit on rocks, he's been rather rock obsessed. Pretty much every room in the house has a rock or a pile of rocks that he's left after studying them. At least it isn't bug carcasses.

4:20 pm- He asks to go play some games. Sure. I take Molly out and then we are driven back in by more rain. Poor pup. Little outside time. We are in for it tonight as she has not had her proper exercise. Sara is still asleep.

4:40 pm- Book finally finished. It even had a good ending. Contemplate dinner. Realize that I was going to make some bread a few hours ago. Decide to throw the ingredients in the bread machine, anyway, and curl up with cookbooks to decide what to do with the chicken. Decide to pan fry it in olive oil and serve it with a gratin of eggplant and tomatoes with Parmesan.

5:10 pm- Drat. Girl not up. Open her door and put up the anti-dog gate so Molly can't go in and jump on her. Banshees don't like to be woken from a sound sleep by being jumped on by a dog that weighs twice what you do.

5:30 pm- Sara emerges, smiling. We snuggle on the couch some.

6:15 pm- Wrestle the bread dough from the machine, knead it into submission and confine it in a pan. Buttermilk light whole wheat bread. While bread rises, attend to eggplant, which must be broiled, brushed with olive oil for a bit, then tossed with tomatoes and sprinkled with Parmesan and returned to the oven. If all goes right, the bread will be done by the time the veggies are ready.....aaaaannnndddd YES! It all comes together. Cook the chicken while the oven does its work. In the midst of all the cooking flurry, my mother-in-law calls from her doctor's office. Charles was supposed to pick her up on his way home and he hasn't come, yet. As things are in the middle of broiling and I can't leave the kitchen for about 5-10 minutes, we decide that she'll call back if Charles hasn't shown. I'm now a bit concerned as Charles NEVER forgets stuff like this. Thankfully, he pulls into the drive a couple of minutes later and, after slapping his forehead, drives back to get his mother.

6:50 pm- Dinner is on the table. I personally think it's a delish dinner. The kids disagree. Sara eats not a bite except for a bit of the middle out of her bread. Colin does a better job and is nearly done when he gets sent from the table for continuing to use the word 'poop' at the table. (We are working on appropriate meal time conversation and avoiding the word 'poop' unless needed to describe poop.) He makes the supreme error in blowing me a raspberry as he heads to his room. He expresses extreme remorse but Evil, Horrible Mom sends him to put on his pajamas and await the arrival of his father so I can decide the punishment for such disrespect. I try hard not to smile or laugh. Really, I know it's not a severe transgression, but we are trying hard to raise kids who are respectful of others, and that needs to be nipped in the bud. I also know that when I am old and dottery, I'm not going to be put in the nice nursing home, but the stinky one that smells of urine and feces and harsh disinfectants. And canned peas.

7:20 pm- Dinner is over and Charles finally gets in. Poor guy. I sit him down to eat tepid dinner and have a chat with the son, now in bed. He looses electronic game privileges for Friday and all is better, again. He finds his long-lost crystal book in his bookcase, so all-in-all, the day ends well for him. I fold a couple of loads of laundry, chat with Charles, hang with Sara, reading more books, well really one book, over and over. For some reason, we watch a show detailing the lives of the actors of the show Charles in Charge. I don't think either of us have ever seen the show. We don't like the actors very well, and yet, like some accident scene, we couldn't look away, and watched it to the bitter end. Then, to atone for some previous crime to humanity that must lurk in my past, I stayed up and watched the first 1/2 of a show detailing the lives of actors who played nerds and dweebs and such in other sitcoms that, to my knowledge, I'd never watched. Really bad '90s sitcoms. Charles, in his wisdom, decided to bail and go to sleep.

9:30 pm- I finally rouse myself and realize that, instead of loosing IQ points by the minute watching this dreck, I could get up, find a new book, and go to bed. Which I did. The new book is The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins. Written in 1868. There's a diamond. With a curse. And it's stolen.

So. That was my day. Dull, yet nice. Today was supposed to be 'partly cloudy' but so far there's no partly about these clouds. I have a full morning of outside stuff to do, so hope for this to burn off, okay? Time's a-wasting. And for us Yanks, a very happy 3-day Memorial Day weekend. Go grill something good.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Best Laid Plans

Well. This is for all those whose husbands question my veracity. (Hi Erik! Got the axes all sharpened. So when is it you're moving out these parts? Dinner? Sounds lovely. Ariella and I will 'arrange things'.)

Kidding. Kidding!!!

And, now I have proof. Yes, yes. You all read comments from assorted family members and people purported to be lifelong friends, but of course I could have made them all up, signing in multiply under different aliases, creating various blogs. For all you know, I could be some guy in a dirty, torn undershirt, living in my mother's basement, not showering and perving around the 'net all day long. Really! And you'd never know.

But now, I can submit proof!

Two hardy, souls, only a little insane, and pleasantly so, met with me. ME! And drove countless hours to do so. Such unbelievable niceness!

Ayup! Me and Beth and DM actually met and ate food yesterday. Well, to be truthful, we met, talked and sort of ate something that was billed as food. Beth and I aren't totally convinced that was what it was, although Dana's entree didn't look like something you'd find in a kids' pretend plastic food assortment, so the lesson is: When in doubt, order what Dana does. At least you'll get food.

After a flurry of e-mails, we named the time (13:00) and the place (Prime Quarter Steak House), chosen by Beth, self admitted carnivore. As I am anal and have many quirks, one of which is worrying excessively about contingency plans, we came up with contingency plans, should the restaurant be flown off by aliens or something. (Hey. It's happened to me. Well, not the aliens part, but the restaurant that was supposed to be there, simply wasn't.) Tossing on my one pair of non-denim yet non-work pants and an initially clean shirt, I hopped in the car and headed off. Sadly, I had not taken into account the ongoing road construction, which had advanced far along the way, so instead of zipping along blacktop at 65, I grumbled along gravel at 35. Oh well. 10 minutes late, I found the place and found, not a mass murderer (Hi Erik!) or two, but the delightful, huggy, insane (for who drives 5 hours to meet with an internet friend for lunch?), but not criminally insane, Beth and DM. In person. In the empty parking lot. Now, to be fair, Beth had called me as I was driving along to tell me the carnivore restaurant was closed, so it was not a surprise at that point, but closed the restaurant remained. Bastards.

Beth needed beast. Amazingly, they had already scouted the area and found yet another steak house! A not-an-Outback steak house! We agreed that Outback was simply not terribly good and that The Ponderosa looked like the place for us. Food. Seating. People to bring us to the seating and then bring us the food. Those were our requirements. Oh, and that it not be outside where it was still quite chilly despite being May. (For heaven's sakes. We should all be in shorts and sandals for the next 5 months.)

Now, Beth and DM are notoriously fun people, and part of their 'fun' is that they invariably attract odd situations. Sorta like drunks to cocktails. (They are the cocktails, of course.) The Ponderosa proved to be all that. The World's Worst Meal, possibly, served in an completely wretched environment. Beth optimistically chose prime rib and regretted it. "Well, I can just have dessert" Hah. Nope. No dessert. I had fried shrimp, which I figured was fairly safe. Hah. No shrimp in the shrimp. Cold, old baked potatoes. Really old. Like baked during the Hoover administration. Dana had sirloin, which actually resembled and smelled like it came from a cow. Once.

We were seated across from a modest gathering celebrating, we learned, the 18th birthday of Jeremy (Jason? Jasper? Something J.) who looked anemically at the small square pile of frosting with 2 candles and a plastic geezer in the middle, while we all wheezed the Birthday Song at him. Poor kid. What sort of life is it when your 18th birthday is celebrated in this place?

Our waitress was rather frighteningly aggressive but rather adept at clearing large tables into grey plastic dish tubs, though. Sort of horrifying, really. But in a good way, because, you see, I was with BETH! and DM! and this was, obviously how it was supposed to be. So, after an awkward 1.2 miliseconds where we all drew breath and realized that we'd done it, the talking began. 2+1/2 hours later, I looked at my watch. And looked at it again. And realized I had told Charles that I'd be home no later than 3:30. Oops. Guess the definition of a friend can be said to be someone who you can sit with, in a horrible restaurant in an amazingly uncomfortable booth, for 2+1/2 hours and have no idea of the passage of time.

So. What are Beth and DM like? Well, exactly like their blogs, honestly. Funny. Bright. Articulate. Deeelightful. Easy to talk to (no surprise). Chock-full-o-stories of the odd and amazing. Devious. (Beth snuck in and paid for our lunches before I could do the same. Sneaky.) Endowed with cameras. And a tripod (Beth). They will regale you with tales of Canada and other things that I dare not spoil, on their blogs. They will have pictures, too. I got caught up in the talk and only took 2 photos in the end, both with Beth's tripod. (Yes, Johnny and Teri, I will send them to you soon. Promise.)

And after more hugging and promising to do this again, but at a decent restaurant, (or at least one that did not totally suck) we got in to our respective cars and headed away.

Surreal but wonderful. Maybe we'll upgrade to Outback next time, which suddenly doesn't seem that bad a restaurant, in retrospect.

Now, there. Doesn't that make you feel better?

Someone has heard from Beth and DM since they left me, right?


Friday, May 19, 2006


Well. It seems that Amy is right. Ahem:

"I have absolutely no idea what that flower is...if it's even a flower."

I returned down the path with my camera, today; Sara in tow, lugging her oversized bright yellow plastic bat and bright blue plastic ball. (I promised her we'd play ball to her heart's content, after this little mission.) I hunted down that odd flower with the woody stem that caused us geeks consternation and much puzzlement, at least on my part. Turns out, those things that looked for all the world like fading tulip or lily or whatever petals? They were some sort of leaf casing. Huh. Awfully pretty red-orange petal shaped leaf casings, but leaf casings the proved to be, as the picture below shows:

Not content with this, I kept my eyes open for any other specimen, and found one, right by our wind-free ball playing area:

Leaves, Mr Frodo. Clearly leaves unfurling. Egg on my face and all that. Guess that's why I didn't see any foliage, or rather I was seeing foliage, it just looked like odd bloated stamens, to quote Rozanne.

So. All bow to Amy. Case solved. Pity. I was hoping for some really cool wild lily or something. I did get some really great links out of all this, though, my dearest darlings, all with no effort on my part, thanks to all your diligence.


And, finally, here is something you can always do with those dandelions, especially if you have an eager 3-year-old giving you flower presents as you both walk along. The little arcing blue wild flowers, I think, are my very favorite of what grows along our road.


Thursday, May 18, 2006


Going out, yesterday, in between lovely storms blowing in and then blowing out and then the next one scuttling in, I decided to take a few pictures of what was going on out and about the place.

Here, we have the obligatory shots of the clouds. I am inordinately fascinated by them. Sort of like city folks who have a place where they can sit and watch what's going on in the street, below. Except quieter. And with more wind. And, I'd warrant, better smells. Except in manure-spreading season when the whole place smells like fetid cow waste. Hey, at least it's organic, right?

While the area under the clouds looks blue, it's really a deep slate gray. Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Next, sadly, the fallen house finch nest. One egg, broken, still in the nest, the other, splatted on the porch, behind. Every spring, we've had finches nest there, over the light, but this year, the nest has fallen, twice, with all eggs lost. I'm not sure if it's because the birds are new at doing this or what, but it's rather sad. I like having the flurry of nesting birds outside the front door.

Onward to a freshly dug ground squirrel hole, in probably the only bit of lawn that is not a solid mass of dandelions. Can't blame him for choosing this location, can you?

And, now this guy, who is blooming on his lonesome by the path. He looks vaguely lily-ish but the stem is woody, like a sapling. I haven't the foggiest. Anybody? If you make it up, I won't know. Well, until I go look it up, of course, because I am like that. But for an hour or two, I'll believe any fabrications. Go ahead.

And, finally, as I'm sure you're all dying to know the state of the dandelions, now that 2 weeks have passed since that first cry for help, here we have the horror:

Sadly, It poured all last weekend and it's been about a week and a half since Charles mowed. Last weekend, it was a sea of white, sort of like Lilliputian gray-haired grannies were laying siege to the place. I sort of expected little bonfires dotting the yard at night as they laid their plans to march on us in the morning. Now, they are just 6-8" stems, all bald, from releasing the billions and billions of seeds to the winds. As Charles mutters, like a mantra, "It can't look any worse. It can't look any worse." We daren't show our faces out doors for the shame of it all. We are thankful that we don't live in town, for here, we only have one neighbor, who cuts his lawn obsessively. I keep hoping Jamie's sheep (scroll down to 5/4 and 5/1 posts) find their way here for a smorgasboard.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006


1. Why, oh why, is cellulite so fond of the backsides of women? Butts and thighs. Occasionally bellies, rarely upper arms. Never backs or chests. And, especially rarely, any parts of men? Unless they are quite hefty men. Seriously. Why the exclusivity of these cellulite neighborhoods? Even slim women have some 'back there'. Is this just further evidence that God is not a female?

2. What is it with my cats and the toilet? You can not use the facilities without a small black creature writhing on the bathmat next to you and twining around your feet, as they are planted at the base of the porcelain? She then must evaluate the deposit and watch the swirling of the flush. Should you be so very stupid to leave the lid up, she'll use it for a drinking fountain (preferable to even the dog water). Should you be so extremely stupid as to leave the lid up after you've tossed a used kleenix in, she'll fish it out and drag its sopping carcass all the hell over the bathroom and into your bedroom, leaving it in the traffic lane for you to step on. Its not just this one, either. Our beloved Booger did the same, lo those many years ago.

3. Why, oh why, must I pick my hangnails. I know ahead of time that they will bleed and fester if I do so. I know during the deed that they will bleed and fester afterward. And now I have 2 festering, initially bleeding, former hangnail sites. With one waiting in the wings, so to speak.

Finally, I think I got the best Mother's Day gift ever. It even tops (possibly) this one (sweep past all the plant drivel, way to the bottom of the post) from last year. First a the classmade card the size of my torso: a still life composition of vase on table with various pasted-on flowers, including a Q-Tip-and-cotton-ball one representing a pussy willow. Then 3 more hand drawn cards, each featuring Colin as a Jedi. Finally, wrapped in yellow school-type paper, an honest-to-gosh hardcover book, about 8"x10", with a mom-dragon and a kid-dragon on the cover (both green on green grass), titled 'Mom ABCs'. Each page lovingly created by my son. I think my favorite pages are M: I've never seen a moose, followed by N: I've seen a nail. Priceless. Amazing. I wept. Nearly. Charles, Sara and Colin, together, also gave me store cards and the new theater version of Pride and Prejudice, which is really quite good, but has the limitations that the splendid 5 hour DVD does not. (The version I have dubbed as the Best Thing Ever to grace a screen. Please watch it some long afternoon or night. Pretty-please with scoops of sugar and candied cherries and extra whipped cream and nut sprinkles and chocolate sprinkles and a microbeer on top.)

Oh. You want to see them?


Here, we have the still life card:

And here, we have the fabulous book. (The mom dragon has red and orange flame coming from her mouth and purple scales; the sky is blue, natch.):


Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Daily Shows

Our scene: Driving home in the sexy, little, black (cheap, gas efficient, two-door, fold the seat back, hit by a thug deer) car. Listening to the radio. Zipping along through the gently rolling hills and past the dairy farms of Southern Wisconsin, trees a-bloom, grass a-green, fields all a-ready to be a-planted with corn and soybeans. Bucolic-o-rama.

Him: "Marketplace is my favorite NPR show."

Her: "Yeah. It's really good. Fresh Air is still my very favorite, though."

Him: "10 years ago, I'd have begged someone to shoot me had I said that."

Her: "10 years ago, I'd have shot you and then myself for saying it."

Continuing on our drive, listening with rapt attention to stories on the impact of China's devaluing of the yuan, we pass a string of local brilliance.

See, a good month ago, road construction began along the main highway/main drag/location of the one and only traffic light in the village. There is now no road, only a swath of gravel, with really interesting road equipment along the shoulder. This created rather a dilemma in our bit of a town, as the village proper is, believe it or not, highly dependent on tourist traffic. It is a destination of tour busses filled with rampaging seniors during the weekdays and rampaging couples on weekends. Now with it's main artery and vein cut, with egress limited to the small, letter-named, county roads, how to bring the masses to our kitchy mecca?

'Burma Shave' signs, of course:

"It's not winter
Nothing's frozen
Go put on your

"Feeling crabby?
Feeling blue?
Drown your sorrows
In Swiss fondue.

"Polka, polka
Chicken Dance, too
In our town,
That's what we do!

"Don't you fret!
Don't you frown!
Soon you'll be
In our Swiss town!

And so on and so forth.

Every few weeks or so, another bunch crop up, some accompanied fore and aft by brightly painted wooden stand-up cows.

People in the town in which we work are still flummoxed that we drive more than 5 minutes to our jobs, but with such entertainment as Marketplace and Burma Shave signs, how could we give that up?


And one more thing. I just came back in after planting a few things in between rain showers. It seemed horribly cold and not just because of the 40 mph winds.

Yup. Forecast is now for snow possibly this afternoon, this evening, and tomorrow. 'Mixed with rain' as they say, but fuckin' snow all the same.

It's mid May.

This is just wrong, even for Wisconsin.


Monday, May 08, 2006

The Price We Pay

Looking at the extended forecast, I determined that the last of the frosty nights should be this past Saturday, at least as much as such things can be foreseen. Coupled with the knowledge that over the past 100 or so years, the average last day of frost is the 8th of May, I fixed upon Sunday (yesterday!) as The Day to get the garden in.

Wednesday found me toting home in the back of el minivan: 15 bags of compost-manure (pronounced ma-NRRRRR) and 15 bags of pine bark mulch. I have yet to get the poor van vacuumed out. It smells vaguely. Of steer. And bark.

Thursday, I spread all 600 lbs of compost-manure (it sounds more impressive that way) all over the previously spaded and de-weeded soil in the raised bed from hell.

Friday, I champed at the bit.

Saturday, I braved the plant store with Sara, causing much near-havoc as I careened with the large green wagon (not one of those sissy little red ones that they also had as an option) around the rows of plant-babies, tossing mostly veggie plants and herbs in, while Sara tallied the number of little pots and urged me to add more, so she could keep counting. Good kid, that.

Sunday dawned sunny and I proclaimed that all systems were 'go'. I got Charles to act in his official role of 'starter of small gas engines' (I have never been able to get that damned tiller going. It hates me, I swear.) And I tilled while he went for a run and the kids stared slack-jawed at Sunday morning cartoons. In a frenzy, I beat the soil into a frothy creamy consistency, to a depth of 8 inches. Or so. I lost 2 fillings and took about 3.5 years off the life of each and every joint in my upper body, but tilled the land was. As Charles was not yet back at the end of all this, I started cramming plants in as fast as possible and got the tomatoes and peppers all in by the time he came home and we all rushed off to achieve the completion of our errands. (Yes, these are usually done Saturday, but the stars, Colin's soccer and Colin's friend's birthday party, along with the sacred time that is Sara's nap, conspired against this.)

Back home, in a flurry of working out, making dinner, and making the dog feel guilty, I got the rest of what I had gathered on Saturday into the ground (cukes, zukes, and a few variety of winter squash). It was then I found the seeds I had planned to start a month ago. Heh. I may throw some in the ground and see what happens (bush beans and yellow fleshed watermelon) but will have to get at least some melons from plantings from another garden store. I don't trust the seeds will have enough time to achieve maturity if started now. I've always found it funny how garden stores out here seem to split up things: One will have 52 varieties of tomatoes but nothing in the melon family. Another has 47 varieties of melon, but no zucchini. Bah. (And please don't tell me how fucking easy zucchini are to grow from seed, like that snotty guy at that one place. Maybe for you, buddy, but me and seeds, not much luck. Don't know why. That's one of the things I need to look into in all my spare time.

After dinner, I dashed back out and put into action the Master Plan to prevent the taking over of the garden by the evil weedy intruders (as opposed to the evil bug intruders). Thanks to an idea from Karen, I put down sheets of newspaper along the 'aisles' of the garden and then covered them with mulch. Sort of a biodegradable weed block. It can just be tilled in with everything at the end of the season. Here's hoping.

So today, Monday: Every big and little muscle aaaachesss. Yes. The tiny muscles in my hands hurt. The miniscule muscles in my fingers whine. For some unfathomable reason, the weeny muscles in my toes (yes! my toes!) are grousing. All but the intrinsic muscles of my face are joined together in one huge gripe fest. Ingrates.

So, that was my weekend. And believe me when I say I actually feel good.


Friday, May 05, 2006

Dandelion Fields Forever

Looking East-ish.

"Mom, isn't grass supposed to be green?"

"Yes, baby. It is."

In case you're wondering: Yes. If I spun in a circle and took a 360 degree picture, it would be just as yellow in all directions.

Next few days, if Charles doesn't get them with the mower, it will be a sea of white. Not that it clearly matters, because, with this many, there's really no point, is there?

(Your next question to me is: Why, oh why did I spend a few hours weeding the beds, yesterday? And why, oh why, do I plan to go back and try to finish the job, today?)

Obviously, there is no good answer. I feel like the orchestra on the deck of the Titanic, playing as the ship went down...

Mental, I am. Clearly mental.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Haikus For Mandatory Meetings

Like the aligning
Of meddling planets or crash
Of biorhythms.

I find myself faced
With five hours of meetings,
In a solid block.

The first, I confess,
I do not rue; it is all
Women providers.

We will talk and laugh
And solve the Network's problems,
And, this time, drink wine.

The last 3 hours,
Well, that's the rub, as they say.
"Leadership Training".

Hours in a room,
sitting slack-jawed with my peers,
Listening to this.

And, you can't sneak out.
My boss is at the back, eagle-eyed,
Perching, by the door.

Dinner will be served.
As it's in a hospital,
You can guess the fare.

Adding to my grief,
In my eye, I have a stye.
Blink. Ow. Blink. Ow. Blink.

I think my eye is
Showing solidarity
With my sorry ass.