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 I've had a miserable headache all day.  It ebbs and flows, and right now it's flowing and I'm squinting at the screen and holding my breath.  I think I'm going to break down and take a Vicodin before bed.  As a result I've been less productive today than I wanted to be.  I had planned to do a lot of stuff, including writing, but it all got away from me.
Hummus topped with whole chickpeas and olive oil.
Much nicer looking than my hummus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I did manage to make hummus.  Yesterday when our neighbor, Linda, came over with a bottle of wine and some paper cups (It's so good having kindred spirits surrounding us.) the talk turned to chickpeas (I want to plant some this year.) and hummus. (Linda says she has her aunt's recipe for the best hummus ever.)  So last night I put some chickpeas on to soak and this morning I put some in the sprouter and cooked the rest.  Problem was I was sure I had tahini, but I was wrong.  Fortunately I found a jar of sesame seeds which were frankly just a bit older than they ought to have been.  However I was on a mission, and having to make my own tahini with raw, elderly sesame seeds was not going to stop me.  So I processed the seeds with olive oil, then tossed in the chickpeas, more oil, a lot of lemon juice and garlic, salt and some hot sauce.  And you know what?  It was good!  It's not the best I've ever eaten and it's inelegant and not perfectly smooth, but it was good and I enjoyed it.  I have a jar of it in the fridge along with more cooked chickpeas for salad this week.

Tomato seedling

I also have a terrifying amount of lentil (green, red and beluga), broccoli, cress, and radish sprouts in the fridge, a lot of chickpeas in the sprouter and a mix of kamut, amaranth and wheat berries soaking.  I'm on a sprouting binge and I won't be happy until I've tried to sprout every seed, nut and grain in the house.  I have an avocado pit in the kitchen window that should be popping soon, half a dozen lettuce and two celery bottoms in our raised bed, and a pineapple top in a jar of water in the window.  I also have a tomato plant growing from a seed I would normally just have washed down the drain.  Unfortunately not long after I took the picture of the little proto tomato plant, Peeb tore it out of the pot.  I now have a second one growing, out of her reach.

Why am I doing all this?  Well I get obsessed with things, and right now it's spring and growing stuff seems like something I really, really want to be doing.  Our garden budget isn't very big this year, so growing stuff from kitchen scraps is something that makes sense.  And I really believe that if we can we should grow things to help feed our bodies and our souls.  A garden is one of the best anti-depressants I know. (You can read more about the garden and life at the Villa on the blog I share with Glinda, Those 2 Nice Girls Next Door.)

Venus of Willendorf Fertility Goddess cast 240...
Venus of Willendorf Fertility Goddess cast 24000 to 22000 BCE (Photo credit: mharrsch)

This afternoon I got a couple of packages in the mail, one of which is my new talisman.  I think I've mentioned that I have this superstition about having a talisman for every novel I write.  So when I started Nine Lives, a novel that has its roots in an old piece I wrote entitled "Cat Tales." I knew I wanted a proper talisman for it, to help differentiate it from the original in my mind.  I chose a Willendorf Goddess pendant in sodalite, and I'm wearing it now along with my silver pentacle and the golden bear my mother brought me from Bern, Switzerland.  It's a touchstone for the novel, and along with the other two, makes me feel... safe I guess.  Or just in the right place in the universe, which is probably as good a definition of safe as any other.

So now I have hungry cats who have interesting ways of making their desires known, and I should pay attention.  G'night all.  Pleasant dreams.



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Our Alter Egos
Our Alter Egos (Photo credit: Tracy Rowan)

I don't know if I mentioned it here, but I've started a new blog.  I share this one with Glinda North, and it's called "Those 2 Nice Girls Next Door."  Why?  It's a complex story and has to do with the things we talked about when we were contemplating our move, searching for a house and all the rest.  We joked that people would probably not remember our names and would call us "Those two nice girls next door" or something similar.  So when we were sitting together having coffee a bit ago, Glinda suggested that we start a blog with that title and talk about our life here.  How we got here, what we think of the arrangement, the house, our lives and so on.  I thought it was a terrific idea and set up a blog, which I'm currently monopolizing because she's been so over-worked lately.  When my quarterly calls start in a week or two, she's going to have to take up some of the slack.  It was her idea after all.  Fair warning: Right now we're obsessed with the garden and probably will be so pretty much through June.  Spring is always our most active time out there, so many of the posts are going to be garden-related.

Amber and Green beaded braceletThe other thing we plan to do is open an Etsy shop with that name.  We're both crafters and it would not only do us good to earn a bit of money, but I think it would be good for us to have that outlet.  (The bracelet to the right is one of mine, I sold it under the name "Belle Epoque Originals.")

We need to clean up the basement first, and set up the Art Box I won.  God knows when that will happen.  There never seems to be enough hours in the day.

I've been working on "Winter Rose" aka, "The Russian Novel" and "The Time Travel Novel."  It's coming along slowly but the characters drag their feet abysmally.  And today I decided that I was going to... not rewrite an old novel, exactly, but revisit it.  Many years ago, around 1980 or so, I wrote a novel called "Cat Tales," and I've been thinking seriously about taking some of the original ideas and developing them into something different.  I won't be reselling an old story, just cannibalizing the best of it to make something new.

The Pantry Project is still ongoing.  I'm not doing as well as I'd hoped I would be by now, but we're eating better and wasting less.  I cook more often and we're eating less meat and ordering out less.  I can't expect habits to change overnight or even in a year, really.  Not when they're this ingrained. I want to get back to trying new things.  Tonight we had Hasselback potatoes for the first time.  They were very successful, though the mess in the baking dish is scary.  And a trip to a new Sur la Table store on Saturday ended with me buying avocado oil for our salads.  We are trying new things.

The cats are great.  Leo is having a lot of asthma problems since I started using a supposedly asthma-friendly clay litter, so we're going back to cedar.  And Peeb seems to be not having a lot of 'sodes since I plugged in the Feliway. I don't think to ask for miracles.

So... new and old, and old made new again.  We work with what life gives us.


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Shady side of the garden

I’ve been ferociously busy the last few weeks because gardening season hit in a big way recently after weeks of (mostly) sub-normal temperatures.  March was hotter than usual and we got an early start, and then the temps started roller-coastering so we barely knew from day to day what the weather would be like.  Our cool-weather flowers — violas, pansies, ranunculus etc. — did very well for us, but everything else was slow.  The early tomatoes lollygagged in the raised bed and only recently started blossoming a full two months after being planted.  Bunnies ate almost all our pea shoots, roses budded, but the buds looked wrong and bulbs either came up looking odd or didn’t come up at all.

We already have grapes and nectarines, but the nectarine tree has peach leaf curl and I’ve seen black spot and rust on the roses, both of which usually show up much later in the season, so I fear it’s going to be a bad year for fungus. Then we had a freaky, scary storm with a whole lot of hail; a storm so bad that it sounded as if people were outside flinging rocks at the house.  It didn’t break any windows but it tore up the garden and killed one of our baby bunnies. That bothered Glinda and me far more than the plants.  We’ve buried him in a spot between our trio of rose bushes named “Buffy,” “Willow,” and “Cordelia.”  I know  it’s a good resting place for him.  We built him a little cairn, too, to keep out scavengers.

The Tomb of the Unknown Bunny

We pretty much by-passed spring this year and went right into summer.  It’s 94 degrees here today, and of course since it’s Chicago, it’s humid.  We were out all day yesterday and bought a lot of plants, so this morning we stumbled out of bed and went into the garden to plant.  Pretty much everything is finished now, and it looks really nice. Anyone who is interested can find more photos at my Flickr account.

I had a fantastically busy quarter at my editing job, too, which is a good thing because I had to buy a new laptop.  My two older ones couldn’t run the software and while the newest one could, it didn’t run it consistently well.  I had a lot of trouble with my internet connection, too, so I bit the bullet and got myself a Lenovo.  Fortunately I made enough this quarter to pay it off and much of what I spent on plants as well.

I’m very nearly finished with a new story; it’s being revised right now, and I hope to get it edited and out to a publisher by mid-June.  Then I’m going back to “Anna Magdalena’s Song.”  I would love to have that one finished and ready to get shopped around by early autumn.  Royalty payments have been disappointing but then I’ve had nothing new for a while, and if there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that you have to be in front of your audience all the time.

I’ve become obsessed with Pinterest, and have made boards for images that inspire writing ideas as well as the usual ones for gardens and good noms.   I’m Tracy Rowan over there, too, if you’re interested.  My “What do they look like?” board has a lot of images of people who may or may not turn into my characters.  I work sideways with characters, creating them, then finding faces, then developing them, finding new faces and so forth until they have their own lives.  Still it might be interesting to peek at current inspirations.

So now I’m going to go put my feet up.  All that sun and heat finally caught up with me.  Game of Thrones tonight, and some gin and tonic in the garden.  Not a bad thing at all.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 15: In this handou...

Peter Dinklage rocks. I'm just sayin'.

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Garden 3/18/12

It was a long, productive weekend.  On Saturday, Meester Jim came in and we all went to the Sunrise Cafe in Ukrainian Village for breakfast.  Didn't plan to; we were really thinking about going to Dapper's  but when we got there the entire parking lot was filled.  I don't know what the heck was going on; maybe someone was giving away money or something, but there was no parking at all.  So because we were heading down to Grand Street Gardens to see if they had any interesting early-season plants, we thought we'd give a shot to finding a place to eat in that area.  Not that we held out a lot of hope since the area has gotten really hip and congested, but Glinda had Yelped the neighborhood before we left, and said that the cafe had some good reviews.  Amazingly, there was a parking spot almost right in front of the place, which is unheard of in that neighborhood.  And we got seated almost immediately, so it felt a bit like an omen.  The service was excellent and the food was terrific, so it was a good choice all the way around.  


Grand Street Gardens is a friendly place with a very helpful staff.  I talked trees with one of the women there -- if the walnut on our parkway doesn't do well this summer it's getting replaced.  I'm thinking about a linden.  Then everyone in the store gathered to try to find some creeping thyme seeds for me (No joy.)  As for plants, they pretty much had the same sorts of things that Meinke's had a week or so ago: Cool weather flowers like pansies and ranunculus, flowering bulbs, shrubs and a few trees.  We did find some butterfly/bee-friendly flower seeds which we're going to sprinkle along the east side of our garage, some edamame seeds for the Hell Strip because Meester Jim says they're dead easy and very productive.  I also got a pair of ferns for the house; a bird's nest fern and a squirrel's foot fern.  And they gave us two ruby red metal pails that were on the sale table.  Nice, nice people there, and though I think the prices have gone up a bit, they're still incredibly reasonable.


As it was still early and the weather wasn't really conducive to gardening, Jim suggested that we go down to the Old Time Pottery in Merrilville, Indiana, which is where we've found some wonderful stuff not just for the garden but for the house and for holidays as well. So of course we agreed.  We also agreed that we'd spend $50 each on stuff for the garden, and we were pretty much on the nose when we checked out.  We got a really lovely hydrangea wreath for our front door. (The one we made last year got destroyed when my old sofa got taken through the front.) And we scored an amazing pot for the garden.  It's a low (maybe 8" high) bowl that's probably 25" - 30" in diameter.  It's really rustic-looking and has a sun face on the side.  We're thinking of planting it with lavender and marguerites. We bought a sun face wind chime/sun catcher in blue glass and aged brass, a foot tall faux stone stand for our gazing ball, and some smaller pots in a turquoise crackle glaze.  The only thing I wanted but didn't manage to find were a pair of inexpensive glass canisters for flour.  Now that I've started baking I need canisters that will hold five lbs., one each for whole wheat, rye, and all-purpose (I have a large one for 10 lbs of bread flour.)


On the way home we stopped at Mariano's and picked up stuff for supper but by the time we got home nobody wanted to cook so we ordered supper from a neighborhood place.  I still have soup and a lot of spaghetti left over so it was worth the cost.  We watched the American "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" which I really enjoyed.  I've seen all the films so far and read all the books and while they're all different, I think they're all very good and well worth watching/reading.


Back Garden 28 May 2011


On Sunday, Glinda and I spend much of the day in the garden.  We weeded, pruned, took up the cheap-ass siding with which the former owners had lined the Hell Strip (Why?  It made no sense.) and did some more painting.  We painted the stand for the gazing ball because it was a nice shape but had a butt-ugly paint job. We painted and repaired the wind chime that had fallen apart last year during a storm.  We repainted Buddha who was chipping again (I didn't do a great job; he's very, very dark until you get right on top of him.) and the flowers and leaves on the Lady's Head planter.

Then on Sunday night we watched Fright Night 2011 and found it perfectly charming.  However I had a minor meltdown over the stress I was feeling because I had to take Leo to the vet on Monday (Dental work; probably extraction.)  I ended up talking to Glinda about it and once I did, it calmed down quite a lot.  She and I are both pretty neurotic, and she got what I was saying about conflating Leo's fate with my own massive sense of guilt over utterly unrelated issues.  Basically she let me blather and then said, "I know, I get it.  I think that way, too."  Bless her for letting me unload like that.

Baron von Floofenstein at work

So by Monday I was feeling a lot better.  Glinda took some time off of work and we rented a car, took Leo to Dr. Jewell, went out for pancakes at Walker Brothers, and then ran errands.  We hit Home Depot, and bought some potting soil and a bag of rocks for the bottom of the pots that don't have drainage holes, a bag of dahlia tubers, a pot of hyacinths for Dr. Jewell (He'd just had a birthday, and he did something really nice for me and I wanted to thank him.) an African violet for me, some caulk because I need to recaulk my kitchen sink, a sheet of MDF to make the screen behind Buddha, and some other stuff for the house.  Again, the pickings in the garden center were slim, though a bit better than some of the other places we'd been.  If I was of a mind to start seeds, I could have done well.  But I don't have the room or the inclination for the most part.  The few we bought Saturday will be direct-sown which is really all the work either of us want to do with seeds.  We ran a few more errands including stopping at Michael's because I'd thought of something we should look into for the garden.  And of course by the time we got there, I'd completely forgotten what it was.  *headdesk*  

We also discovered that yesterday had to have been Horrible Driver Day on Chicago streets because not only did we have some close calls ourselves but we saw a lot of egregiously bad driving going on.  We did manage to get safely to Regulus for coffee, though.  The owner is a lot of fun, and pretty much defines what it is to be caffeinated; I wish I had half his energy.  He told us he's working on an exhibit of art from local artists, so that's really exciting.  I can't wait to see it.

And of course Leo was fine.  He came through surgery beautifully.  I brought him home, let him out of his carrier and he and Peeb immediately touched noses.  Then he used the litter box, asked for food and flopped down on the floor in his usual spot.  He was a little cranky last night but I don't blame him.  I do miss that little snaggle tooth, but it was making his gums bleed and we can't have that.  While my meltdown was silly on the face of it, it did help me sort out where the icky feelings were coming from and why they simply aren't worth getting all torqued over.

Since we had the car until eight, we went up and got a pizza from Pequod's for dinner, had a couple of bottles of Metropolitan Brewing Co.'s Dynamo Copper Lager, which is fantastic with pizza, and watched "Under the Tuscan Sun" which is a comfort film for both of us.  By nine we were both more than ready to sleep so we said good-night.  I was so tired I asked Glinda to take the rest of the pizza with her so I didn't have to divvy it up!

Today has been slow.  I slept about ten hours and then Glinda came down for coffee and some chocolate-cherry bread that our neighbor brought over on Saturday (Bless her; she's a doll.)  We actually sat there until past three looking through garden books and talking plans. I managed to remember that what I wanted to find at Michael's was a fountain kit so we could make our own wall fountain instead of spending hundreds of bucks on one.  Good timing, huh?

We talked about the screen we wanted to make to cover the electrical boxes behind Buddha and Bob, surface treatments for pots, building planters and trellises, and what kinds of trees we'd plant if we won the lottery. (Japanese Lilac.  Behind the small waterfall we've planned in the garden of the building next door which we would buy. It's indicative of how much we love living here that even if we won hundreds of millions of dollars we'd want to stay right here and expand our property, not move somewhere else.)  It was kind of nice not to have to get up and actually do anything constructive, but now I have a list of things I need to google so we can sort out a few of our ideas.  My homework.  I also have to get in touch with Consumer Cellular and switch our service from AT&T.

The cats are back to normal, I'm back to normal.  I don't think Glinda ever stopped being normal, and the garden is demanding a lot of time.  I can live with that.  Thanks to Glinda, Jim and Dr. Jewell for helping me not implode.

Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.


persimmonfrost: (Gorey)
Fireworks over Lake Bloomington

Image by K2D2vaca via Flickr

Beginning with why I hate the 4th of July: Some idiot down the street just set off a firecracker. Again I say, I get the bright, pretty ones, the playing with fire stuff, but noise? What the hell is the point of that? Smart people turn their car alarms off over this weekend is all I'm sayin'.

I actually made up one of these quizzes for people who are too old to take the "What grade are you in? Who do you have a crush on?" things, but that was years ago. This is a good one, too, so I'm doing it:

Tired of all of those surveys made up by high school kids?! 'Have you ever kissed someone? Missed someone? Told someone you loved them? Drank alcohol?' 38 questions for the people who are a little older... Comment when you finish. I'd love to see your answers.

1. What bill do you hate paying the most? -- Used to be my health insurance premium but since I'm no longer insured that's a moot point. I'd say, credit card bills. It's unfriendly of them to let us take stuff and then expect us to pay for it a month later.

2. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner? -- Romantic? I don't do romantic. But I had a really lovely dinner with good friends last Saturday at Bistro Campagne.

3. What do you really want to be doing right now? -- To be honest, sleeping. I've slept badly for two nights, for various reasons, and I'm tired. Also, the house is quiet, the breeze coming in the windows is cool but not cold, and I spent the morning out working in the yard, which looks a lot better for all the pruning I did and the weeding Dawn did. So yeah, sleeping. In my comfy chair. With some silly, pointless movie on in the background.

4. How many colleges did you attend? -- Five, I think. A teacher's college which I left when I realized that the idea of spending X hours a day in a room filled with kids was right up there with going to Woodfield mall the day after Thanksgiving. Circles of Hell stuff. Then I got my BA at UICC because I had no idea what I wanted to do with myself. I did some post-grad work at NEIU, and some computer work at Wright College, but the best was my time at the School of the Art Institute. I'd go back in a heartbeat, but that means putting together A) a portfolio and B) A lot of money.

5. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now? -- It's orange and it looked so amazing with the teal pants and lavender Crocs.

6. What are your thoughts on gas prices? -- I don't own a car so it's not an issue most of the time. I think it's past time we did something about our dependence on fossil fuels, though, and I hope high gas prices convince people that the nearly free ride is over.

7. First thought when the alarm went off this morning? -- My alarm is my cat, and I thought "Oh phew, your breath is awful."

8. Last thought before going to sleep last night? -- Which time? No seriously that's funny because at 10 p.m. I was so tired I couldn't hold my head up. I went to the bedroom, kicked off my shoes and went face first into the pillows. I didn't undress, feed the cat or even turn off the lights. I don't think I had any thoughts at that point beyond the "Fire bad, tree pretty" sort (Thank you, Buffy.) An hour later I woke up and was wide awake, and then ended up staying up until three, and not falling asleep right away when I did get back to bed. I suspect my last thought was something about being happy to have Caddy all smushed up against my face.

9. Do you miss being a child? -- In some ways, sure. In other ways, not at all.

10. What errand/chore do you despise? -- Most of them, really. But the worst is washing the floor.

11. Get up early or sleep in? -- Well it depends on the definition. If sleeping in is defined as sleeping past the time when most people get up, then I sleep in. If it's defined as sleeping more than eight hours, then I sleep in sometimes. I don't get up early unless you define that as getting less than eight hours in which case again, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I generally get about eight hours, but they're not the same eight hours each night.

12. Have you found real love yet? -- Being "in love" with anyone? I don't think so. I doubt I ever will. But it doesn't bother me any more. Used to. But then the idea of dying used to bother me, too.

13. Favorite lunch meat? -- I don't generally like lunch meat, per se, but when I do eat it, it's usually some form of turkey. Turkey pastrami is one I'm quite fond of.

14. What do you get every time you go into Wal-Mart? -- I don't go to Wal-Mart or Sam's Club or any store owned by that company because they suck.

15. Beach or lake? -- Lake. No contest.

16. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual? -- The actual act of getting married? Not if you like the idea. The fact of being married? Nice enough, I guess.

17. Sopranos or Desperate Housewives? -- Neither, but I'm more a Sopranos type.

18.What famous person would you like to have dinner with? -- Can I make a list? It might include: Eddie Izzard, The President, Guillermo del Toro, Rachel Maddow...

19. Have you ever crashed your vehicle? -- I've been in car accidents but never one when I was driving, so I guess not.

20. Ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose? -- No, thank goodness.

21. Ring tone? -- Bad to the Bone, George Thoroughgood.

22. Strangest place you have ever brushed your teeth? -- I don't generally whip out my toothbrush when I'm on a roller coaster or anything. Probably the kitchen.

23. Somewhere in California you've never been and would like to go? -- I wouldn't mind actually seeing Mt. Shasta. I went past it on the train but was asleep. Everyone else said it was gorgeous by moonlight.

23. Do you go to church? -- Not recently.

24. At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or a new relationship? -- Since I like the career path I'm on, I suppose relationship.

25. How old are you? -- 57

26. Do you have a go to person? -- For some things, yeah.

27. Are you where you want to be in life? -- I'm where I am. At my age, I don't know that asking for more than that is wise.

28. Growing up, what were your favorite cartoons? -- Oh, Mighty Mouse! I had a ferocious crush on him as a toddler.

29. What about you do you think has changed the most? -- The anxiety levels have dropped dramatically. I spent several years being nuts and afraid of everything, and then I got heavily medicated which ended all that chemically. But I found that once I stopped taking the drugs, it never came back. It's as if taking just a small break was enough to end the cycle.

30. Looking back at high school were they the best years of your life? -- Just the opposite. I came closer to having a nervous breakdown in my senior year than at any other time of my life. I HATED high school.

32. Did you ever own troll dolls? -- Yes, but this was when they were new back in the early sixties, I think it was.

33. Did you have a pager? -- Never.

34. Where was the hang out spot when you were a teenager? -- I suspect that in my neighborhood the most popular place was The Buffalo, a soda shop

35. Were you the type of kid you would want your children to hang out with? -- Hard to say. I was a stupid child, but well-behaved.

36.Who do you think impacted your life the most? -- My folks. I've tried to become a person they'd be proud of.

37. Was there a teacher or authority figure that stood out for you? -- Oh yeah. In college there was Nancy Cirillo, Tom Hoberg, Bill Brincka and Merrilee Cutts. Nancy and Tom taught English, Merri and Bill taught Art. Those four people probably had more impact on what I do than all my other teachers combined.

38. Do you tell stories that start with “when I was your age..."? -- No, thank god, and I hope I never do. When I find myself waxing nostalgic in front of youngsters I always try to find a place in my ramblings where I assure them that I walked 20 miles uphill in the snow every day just to go to school in an unheated, one-room schoolhouse. Just to remind myself not to be too pompous.


The Dr. Bronner Barometer: I bought a pump bottle of Dr. Bronner's lavender soap a while ago, and I've noticed that sometimes it leaks. Actually pulls soap up the pump and leaks out on its own. Just the other day I realized that it happens when the weather gets bad. I guess it's like one of those little glass swans filled with colored water that rises up into the head when the weather turns to shit. How odd. Has that happened to anyone else with any other sort of pump bottle?

Dawn is up at the Renn Faire at a memorial service for our friend, Marc Lupescu. Dawn used to live with him and has taken it kind of hard. I knew him a little and liked him a lot, but I passed on the service because I didn't want to go up there and present myself as a mourner, you know? I didn't feel right trying to claim a share of the grief.

We spent the morning working in the yard. I pruned the magnolia, cutting back two of the five trunks so that it's more shaped and less sloppy-looking, and it looks pretty good now. We're trying to encourage it to grow up instead of out. Ditto the big evergreen near the house. I got under it (my head still itches even after a shower and shampoo!) and cut off all the deadwood, and then thinned the growth so it doesn't so much spread out as grow upward. I also pruned off all the suckers on the Japanese maple, and it looks nice and clean, especially after I took off one low branch that just detracted from the general shape. Tomorrow I want to get to that damn lilac. It's messy and needs a lot of attention. I may have to ask Carlos if I can come into his yard to do some of the work. One of the most interesting moments was when we discovered that the wood of the magnolia smells like cardamom. It's really quite lovely.

Dawn worked like a horse weeding and cutting the grass, but I have to tell you, she's turned into a real gardener. She works hard, does an excellent job and learns very fast. And she likes it. That's a critical thing for any gardener. You have to like the work. The back still looks kind of shitty, but next year we're redoing the patio and putting in raised beds, and doing a lot of general clean-up, so it should improve. And we're going to do a portrait of our cats to hang on the garage wall, and then mosaic a lot of the rest of the garage.

The flowers along our fence with John are starting to climb and bloom. Nasturtiums and clematis are in bloom, morning glories are threatening to take over the world. Moonflowers? Not so much yet, but I am confident they'll come along. Our pumpkin vines are ginormous as as the cukes, and most of the other veggies and fruit are doing quite well, even if everything is behind because of the weather. Our new roses are starting to bloom as are the blackberries. I love watching these things happen, it's like a miracle every day!

On the non-miraculous side, someone stole one of our big terracotta planters. My curse on them.

Charles stopped by and gave me a book about remodeling Kitchens. He spent an hour trying to discourage me from remodeling and I said "Don't you want the business?" He said "Anyone else and I'd be saying "Yeah, sure, let's do it!"" But he never explained why he doesn't feel that way about my kitchen. I promised him a cake next week anyway. Funny man.

Since Dawn is out and Taylor is staying home tonight, there's no girls' night festivities planned so I'm going to read and eat watermelon. Someone planted a flag on our lawn, but I want to hang ours out when I finish typing this post. I'd hoped to finish the novella I've been working on but I got distracted and lazy. Probably tomorrow morning or on Sunday. Jim is coming over tomorrow, so it's less likely to happen since there's still some yard work to do, and I have a stack of horror films that we might end up watching. And 1776 is on tomorrow night! Wheeee.


You have to see the tiles at this place! I gave the URL to Namaste Nancy, but the more I thought about it the more I thought I should share it with the rest of you.

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Tracy Rowan

August 2013

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