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frogs.

April 25th, 2010

I finally took a break from unpacking boxes (of books, clothes, candles, candleholders, files for the office, files for work, art supplies, more books…) and took a peek out in the yard. Even though it’s been raining (some) it was parched out there. That’s the way it goes in Oregon, in the spring. You think everything’s getting a good drink, then you realize that some of the plants are below the eves, under the trees, or just need more of a drink than they were getting.

I found the shovel, some gardening gloves and…….. planted. We divided plants at the old place before we moved (half of the stuff was so overcrowded it wasn’t blooming anymore). My mom gave me some plants, and I had a bunch of stuff potted already that i just brought with me. My girlfriend J gave me a strawberry planter box, as a housewarming gift, so nice! So we ended up with quite a few plants that need to go… somewhere. I already planted columbine, peonies and Hockey God bought me a hanging basket. The yard is (tentatively, creeping along) starting to feel like mine. We have several blueberry bushes, and two Granny Smith apple trees (yay!) and… bees! My mom bought my son a Mason bee house for his birthday.

He and his dad hung it up on the shed, and within 24 hours the bees had found it. We noticed today that they started making their little dirt mounds in there, for extra protection? It’s cool. We need to help save the bees, y’all, they’re having a rough go of it. That is no good.

Mason bees, by the by, do not sting, says Wacky Boy and his grandma.

Today I planted…

1) a snowball bush
2) Japanese iris
3) more iris
4) my daughter’s birthday asters (they are fantastic — purple and glorious and quadruple their territory every year)
5) and…. what else? black fancy grass
6) a small rosebush
7) some sedum (the former owners left us those) and………

wow. a little tiny tree frog went flying out of the grass and down by the shed, in between my planting the asters and the black fancy grass.

i don’t know what to do with frogs, being a City Girl. so i yelled for Wacky Boy and Hockey God, and they played with him (let him crawl all over my son’s hand and arm — sticky little feet, really adorable), took some pictures and waited for Wacky Girl to get home from walking her friend home, so she could see him. “Ahhhhhh!”

Last week my son spotted two garter snakes. Today it was:

“Snakes eat frogs!”

“Yeah, that’s the way the world goes ’round, son.”

We didn’t have ribbity frogs, tree frogs, deer, snakes, any kinds of critters like that at our old place, although i once saw 2 raccoons and once i saw a rat.

okay, and a little mouse one time, running under the fence. I have those frogs that one lone frog in the tank, but that’s different.

i like it out here.

what kinds of critters do you have in your part of the world?

– wm

Lelo’s Cabbage Salad

September 5th, 2009

Oh, yum. Just harvested cherry tomatoes, big, juicy slicers, zucchini, and about four pounds of GREEN BEANS from the garden. It rained all over me, I’m drenched now. Dripping on the keyboard. (Kidding, I grabbed a towel as soon as I came in.)

The flowers are so happy — they’re all dusted off now and shiny. Steve pruned the honeysuckle way, way back about six weeks ago, I think it was. It has rebounded like a mofo and just finished eating the fence. Nom, nom.

I love my garden.

Just got my first tuition reimbursement, too, from my work, for that Human Development/Psych class I took. This is the first time ever I’ve gotten PAID for going to school. (There was that Pell Grant, too, that one time. That was a lovely day when that check arrived, all $1,100 of it. Still remember, 20 years later, haha.) So thank you, union and school district. I feel so extra-intelligent now. That master’s degree is just going to earn itself. And my students arrive back on Tuesday, can’t wait. So many great books to share with them. When they talk-talk during library time, you know what I say?

“Shhh! Hang on! I have a lot of information to tell you and a very short time to do it!” Works like a charm.

Ahhhhhhh…

Under the Tuscan Gun: Linguine with Langostini

July 22nd, 2009

Debi & Gabriele are my two favoritest bloggers right now (along with my girl Lelo, of course. Go look at pix of her glorious garden).

The new episode they posted on Under the Tuscan Gun includes a great recipe, a tour of Roman ruins and a rousing rendition of “Dante’s Inferno.” Right on.

the worst mix-tape ever

July 12th, 2009

Just spent about 3 hours gardening in the rain with Steve. Sheer bliss. Other than the music. It is so much easier to weed when it’s raining. Oh, dear Steve, who has constantly fought (and lost) to have musical domination over me since that first date, May 9th, 1997.

I believe his exact quote was: “Elvis? You really like Elvis? Jesus. You don’t.”

me: “What the hell? You don’t like Elvis? What’s wrong with you, son?”

So imagine his dismay today when he played the worst MP3s file he could possibly pick. Really, someone needs to organize her music around here. None of the songs are bad, per se, it’s just… not a good mix. We had to have drinks to get through it toward the end.

(This was via the office computer over the loudspeakers in the backyard, while we worked. It just starts out bad. It gets a little better toward the end, if you can last that long):

1) Ben Harper: “Mama’s Got a Girlfriend Now”

2) Emmylou Harris: “Ballad of a Runaway Horse” (Wacky Boy: “I was listening to it. It’s about a girl, and her horse dies, or runs off or something, and she’s sad.”)

3) Bruce Springsteen: “Dancing in the Dark” (prompting Steve to yell to our daughter, “Please! Honey, play the next song! Please!!!!!” Wacky Girl, casual: “Sorry, dad, didn’t hear you.” (puts on the next song…)

4) Bette Midler: “Miss Otis Regrets”

5) Adam Hood: “Play Something We Know”

6) The Beatles: “All You Need is Love” (I love this song. And they used it in one of my favorite scenes of one of my favorite movies. Lynden David Hall is the singer, so brilliant. Too short of a life. Ahhhh… Steve bought me ice skates for Christmas one year, we went skating at Lloyd Center, then for Thai food, then to see “Love Actually.” The best date ever. Besides the dates where he got me “in the family way.” Those were memorable, too. Yeah, who’s establishing domination over who, baby? Who knows.)

7) ZZ Top: Beer Drinkers & Hell-Raisers (“If you see me walkin down the line/With my favrite honky tonk in mind/Well, I’ll be here around suppertime/With my can of dinner and a bunch of fine/Beer drinkers and hell raisers, yeah/Uh-huh-huh, baby, don’t you wanna come with me?”)

8) Tom Waits: “Warm Beer & Cold Women” (apropos, after that last song)

9) Bruce Springsteen (again): “Thunder Road” (Steve: “His lyrics are… are… (sputters) vapid! How can you like him?”) (He needs to stop, doesn’t he? Nothing about the Boss is vapid.)

10) Israel Kamakawiwo’ole: “Tengoku Kara Kaminari (Thunder from Heaven)” (did I even remotely spell that correctly?)

11) Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: “I Am A Pilgrim” (he actually likes that one — and it was the disagreement over the Byrds that got us started, cuz that was his first pick and I said, No way. Really. Please don’t make me listen to “Sweethearts of the Rodeo” or anything by Joan Baez ever again cuz I will stab myself in the eyeballs, throw a screwdriver or hairbrush through the window, just make it stop)

12) The Band, with the Staples Singers: “The Load”

13) Thelonius Monk: “Trinkle, Trinkle” (we both love this one)

14) Temple of the Dog: “Hungerstrike”

15) Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell: “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Moment of silence for Marvin & Tammi, please. Two stories that just make me come undone.)

Speaking of Springsteen…

i gardened. again.

July 11th, 2008

I cannot get enough of gardening this year! I watered everything, had fresh blueberries and raspberries for breakfast. Wacky Girl made me an iced coffee. I hung out laundry. And more laundry. Then we grabbed rakes and cleaned up underneath one of the rhodys, around (what’s left of) the upright fuchsia, the champagne bush, around one of our ferns. We pulled up weeds and cleared out a messy corner, pruned down suckers from the hazelnut tree, went crazy! We filled up our ginormous yard debris bin the city left, plus our two regular bins, and STILL had a huge pile left over.

After all that excitement, Wacky Girl and her Wacky Brother dragged a blanket under the champagne bush and hid out. (I don’t know what it’s called, this bush, but they grow like crazy. Ours drips long clusters full of white blossoms; my neighbor has one with pink blossoms that look just like pink bubbly. So pretty. And they thrive on neglect — my favorite kind of plant.) They needed a good place to hide. Did you have places to hide, growing up? I did. My favorite spot was right next to my grandparents’ front porch. They had these hedges (a type of laurel? I think) growing up tall and sheltering the porch. It was dry, cool and shady and the perfect spot for me, my two baby dolls, and a handful of books. I spent hours out there.

My other favorite spot (this was at my Dad’s folks place, too) was under the apple tree, sitting perched on a rock. It was the best spot for thinking. Ah, memories.

More from today: Folded laundry, WATCHED GENERAL HOSPITAL (BlackFriend and Laura — finally, some good storylines coming on), baked a fruit tart (with peaches, nectarines and plums), had Indian take-out for dinner (al fresco, the only way we dine around here in the summer) and then… glazed the coffee cake and had dessert outside. This was an A+ day. A+++.

“How much butter?” my husband asked, putting another forkful of cake into his mouth.

Me: “Just a couple tablespoons.”

Our daughter: “Try a couple sticks.”

Oh. My God. So good, with a little lemon extract and vanilla extract, powdered sugar glaze on top…

It was so good that we’re never making it again. No, I’m not including the recipe. You’d make it, eat it and regret it like we are.

Two cubes of butter! Damn. I just lost 10 pounds and I want it to stay lost, not find its way home.

The yard looks great. We’re plotting ways to turn that last empty corner of the yard into a hidey place for the kids. A teepee? A clubhouse? Tents? Trellises, to make a canopy to hide under? We don’t know yet. And we’re missing our fairies! No signs of them so far this year. Maybe they’ll be back soon?

Happy weekend, y’all.

wm

Friday a.m.

March 28th, 2008

So, I was dreaming I was eating strawberries, from our new plants. (Nekkid Neighbor can’t remember the name of these berries. In my dream they are called Harvest Heritage Strawberries.) (There is no such plant, don’t bother googling.) (???) (Honestly, I don’t care what they’re called — they’re lush and huge and so full of flavor. They’re the best strawberries I’ve ever had. That’s why I had to have some of her plants.)

My husband and I were having breakfast in the yard, in this dream. Gorgeous morning, fresh coffee and strawberries and pancakes or something, I have no idea. We were talking and laughing. Then I woke up.

Dear, sweet son was having wracking cough at six a.m., refused water. No fever, so that is a good thing. (Knock wood.) We both slept in until after 10 and woke up to…

Snow.

A powdering, not much, but still, snow. In Portland, Oregon! In almost-April!!! And all over the strawberry plants, which are quite hardy and I am sure will do just fine. (Knocking wood for no fever and for strawberries surviving the transplant.) No Fuchsia Saturday for us tomorrow, no planting potatoes. (I found a box of sprouted potatoes, forgotten from last fall’s harvest, down in the basement.)

I am laughing, and taking a minute to enjoy this craziest week ever.

best,

WM

Five p.m. weather and health update, just for Vixen: It’s hailing. That’s the third time this afternoon. Wacky Boy has had no fever all day, hall-e-LUjah, is drinking lots of liquids but refuses to eat anything besides breakfast bars. But that is not out of the ordinary, at all.

trying to keep going

March 24th, 2008

Thanks to the Wacky Nekkid Neighbors, I now have two full beds of strawberries plants rooting into the rich, crumbly dirt in my back yard.

I have been down. I get the blues, the mean reds, the woe is me tragic-tragics.

And there I am, trying to hold it together, snapping at my kids for no reason. Hating the park. Loathing, despising, fearful of the park, where my dad had a psychotic break. What do I tell my kids? "I wish I liked the park, but it reminds me of Grandpa's psychotic break. Honey-children, I hate the park. Can we play in the yard instead?"

It's all because I had to stop being a kid when I turned about eight, and it became clear with each institutionalization (seven or so total) that my dad would not get better, would never get better, would die soon. Did die soon, much too young. (When he was 31 and I was nine; my mom was 30, my sister was six. We were all four much, much too young.) I want my kids to be allowed to be kids, but I have a hard time with the boundaries -- they do need to learn some responsibilities -- how to do simple chores, how to be polite when someone fixes them food. They are not allowed to throw tantrums. They need to show respect. The quacking bunnies? I can deal with the quacking bunnies. But sometimes they need to go upstairs, with the teddy bears and Webkinz toys, and have a little break.

My kids need to be kids. They get to be kids. I'll keep trying to find some balances here.

I miss my dog. It's been a whole long year, and I miss him so much. When we were at the beach this weekend, I was longing for him (never mind how disgusting dogs are at the beach, pooping in the sand, rolling in dead porcupines, shaking water and sand all over you while you're trying to build a sand castle or read a book. Never mind all of that.) In my mind, it's just my dog chasing after a tennis ball over and over and over until he's exhausted, flopping on the sand, tongue hanging out of one side of his mouth, sleeping in front of the fire when we get back to the motel room.) My puppy.

Nothing to do here but ride it out. Pray. Light my candles. Talk with my friends. Lean on my husband. He is always a rock for me. I want to be as strong for him and the kids as they are for me.

The kids just got back from the Nekkid Neighbors -- they played for an hour. They love being on break. I love being on break, too, even with the topsy-turvy scheduling -- in town, out of town, no tap dance, no piano. Practice, practice for Wacky Girl -- she is such a talented piano player. She plays like an angel. It brings me so much joy to hear her. I planted the strawberries, I weeded, I dreamed about the summer. We can camp and swim and sleep in. I can hang laundry on the line and have the whole summer off work. (Thank you, school districts, for giving me the same schedule as my kids. This is a godsend.) My unpaid volunteer gig may turn into a paid gig, soon. We shall see.

In the meantime, I love my family, my friends, my blog community.

I love the students I work with. It is fulfilling work. It is satisfying work, keeping the lines of communication open, working on projects. I love doing things on a shoestring, I shine at that. You give me a shoestring budget, I will find fifty different things to do with it.

On my lunch hours, I've taught probably one hundred kids and staff how to knit. They're teaching each other, their siblings, their teachers. Kids who would never touch each other, never associate with each other, are talking. They're sitting together, touching hands, leaning in to each other. They're showing each other how to make scarves, how to "finger-knit" chokers and bracelets. That's pretty huge, isn't it? All these knitters and nice people who don't even know these kids have loaded us up with boxes and bags full of pretty yarns. Thank you again, Naked Sheep. Thanks for the rest of our lives. We love you guys.

I’m talking a rainbow of yarns, in cotton, mohair, angora, acrylic, everything under the sun. They’ve donated needles — straights and circular — patterns, half-finished projects, everything you could think of. Several knitters have stepped up to help.

Three other knitters want to start an afterschool club. To those of you (and you know who you are. And no, you probably aren’t even reading this blog) — to those of you who scoff and act like knitting doesn’t “count.” You’re wrong. It counts.

I’m starting to feel better already.

my friday, so far

July 6th, 2007

Here, dear readers — My day in real time.

Sort of.

5, 6, 7 & 8 a.m.: Sleeping. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. Large Wacky Cat 2, the stripedy one, pins me in on one side; muscular husband pins me in on the other. Why does the Cat want to sleep with us? It’s so flippin’ hot. Unable to move. Sex? No. Have to sleep. Can’t open eyes. Consider a new lifestyle that involves not staying up so late at night. Hmmm. What time did we go to bed? Vaguely remember 11 o’clock news. Keep eyes closed. Sleep. (more…)

it’s just the way it goes

June 18th, 2007

It will be Monday morning. You will be mowing your lawn and weeding. Because you were too busy reassembling the house Saturday and cooking, doing laundry and dealing with a vomiting kid on Sunday (Happy Father’s Day! Arf.) to mow over the weekend. Also, you wanted your husband to have the weekend off, but instead you worked him like a dog and put him in charge of vomiting kid.

You might feel a little bad about this. Or you might not.

“No, you can’t have mac and cheese. Let’s see if you can keep the toast down, first.” (Moments like that I adore my husband. I had no idea what love was until the first time one of the kids caught the flu and he took care of them.)

The neighbor dog will be yipping at you. You will be a little concerned that the crazy door-to-door salesman (“Ma’am! I’m not selling anything!”) who came by last week and refused to leave your porch will return.

Salesman-Who-Is-Not-Salesman: “This is my job.”

You will be wearing your husband’s sweats and a stinky v-neck white T-shirt (Hanes) and the lawnmower will start smoking and there will be four guys from the City of Portland (“The City That Works!” The city that works my frickin’ nerves, make that) and they will be parked on their fat asses on the neighbors retaining wall at the end of the street, checking you out.

You will ignore them.

They will continue to take a break and stare. For 20 minutes they sit there, bs’ing and staring.

Apparently sweaty housewives cussing at their lawnmowers are all the rage.

Churches in North Portland: A Do-It-Yourself Approach

April 15th, 2007

My husband — you may know him as Hockey God — did a nice photo essay on his blog. You should go check it out. And yes, I did say that about the Catholic church. Because I’m sick of all my snobby friends saying, “Well, at Cathedral/Holy Cross/Madeleine School/Holy Redeemer… etc. We don’t have those kind of problems.” (Lice, sex abuse, child abuse, meth monkeys, teachers who abuse kids…) Liars! You do so. You just cover it up better. Only, not always.

And from Whoorl and Snackie’s World (“Where Everybody is Bitchy and Nobody is Getting Licked!”), today’s meme:

1. Hey baby, what’s your sign? More importantly, do you believe in astrology? Why or why not?
Cancer, on the cusp of Gemini, with Sagittarius rising. Really, I think this explains it all. Yeah, and I was born in Year of the Dragon. Wacky Girl is Virgo and Perfect, Wacky Boy is Aries and Insane, Hockey God is double Sag with Scorpio Rising or something and Trouble. Of course I believe in astrology.

2. If you were offered a million dollars to never wear lip gloss again, would you take it?
Yes, because “chapstick” is not “lip gloss.” Ditto “lipstick” is not “lip gloss.”

3. Which blogger would you like to trade lives with for just one day and why?
Nothing But Bonfires, because geez, who wouldn’t want to be Holly?

4. Do you want to have more children or have you not thought that far ahead yet?
Ha, ha, ha! You’re funny! Yeah, they’re cute until they bring home lice. Then they’re not that damn cute anymore. No, we’re done. No more kids, no more dogs, no more lice.

5. And finally, the most important question of the day: mayonnaise or Miracle Whip?
Mayo. But only on our hair.

PS — Whoorl was much more imaginative about this than I was. I’m just in a hurry. Laundry and all. Week Two of the Louse: More Cetaphil on hair; bed pillows, quilts, blankets on hot cycle in dryer for half an hour; sheets, towels and coats through laundry; entire house vacuumed again; and me, oh my! I even found time to plant cosmos, pansies and hollyhocks with the kids. (My husband is doing the vacuuming. With our new fancy purple Dyson vacuum cleaner. The man is a saint.)

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