Saturday, August 31, 2013

ivy, dreams, pinball, and true confessions

I woke up at 6:30 which is and isn't normal. On good sleeping nights I wake up early and feel great. On bad sleeping nights I linger in bed until 8:00 or after and feel like crap.

I took on a giant project yesterday. I planted Engelman Ivy on my chain link fence a few years back. In the spring it appears to be quite in control but by this time of the summer, it has become a frightening abomination. It clings to volunteer trees until they are hidden so once you start chopping, there is just no end.

I started hacking some of it down when I saw Regis trying to mow around and under it. Soon I had a giant pile of vines, tree parts, roots, and monster leaves. One of our very kind neighbors offered to tote it to the compost site, thank God. It might have come to life in the night if it hadn't been hauled away.

It's lush and beautiful in the summer, some of the leaves get as big as dinner plates, and the fall colors are gorgeous. But it's scary. I know, if I didn't cut it back severely, it would take over the yard and probably the house. I imagine it to be like kudzu:
Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) is a serious invasive plant in the United States. It has been spreading in the southern U.S. at the rate of 150,000 acres (61,000 ha) annually, "easily outpacing the use of herbicide spraying and mowing, as well increasing the costs of these controls by $6 million annually."[1] Its introduction has produced devastating environmental consequences.[2] This has earned it the nickname, "The vine that ate the South."
I watered all my plants yesterday. I'm usually a believer in the Darwin theory of gardening: survival of the fittest, but this was my best garden in a long time and I didn't want those newly transplanted hostas to croak for lack of water. If it cools off and if we get some rain this fall, I won't have to do it again.

We watched a Lewis Black comedy special last night, In God We Rust. He is a serious hoot. We both laughed out loud many times. I overheard a conversation the other day, two guys talking about how easy it must be to be a comedian. They surmised that if you're funny, you're funny...what's so hard about that? I thought to myself, not wanting to enter into a conversation to which I had not been invited although that hasn't always stopped me in the must be incredibly hard to be a comedian. Words, timing, edgy, not too edgy. I read Steve Martin's book Born Standing Up. Very good book about how he spent years perfecting his acts. Down to the second and down to each facial expression. He made it look easy but he said it was exhausting.

Two things I want to confess this morning. One, I do not like most forms of jazz. I know that probably marks me as a rube, but it sounds like something I could do, and like art, if it's something I could do, it's hard to have any respect. Maybe if I knew more about it, I could appreciate it. It just sounds like random notes to me.

The other thing...wait, I forgot.

Oh, yeah. I play Candy Crush Saga. I never pay money, I don't give or take any lives, I don't share on Facebook that I play it, and I don't care that I might have to play Level 35 forever because I won't do any of those things they demand in order to have access to more levels.

I've decided it's like pinball was in my youth. We went to a small cafe right across the alley from the church after confirmation class on Saturday morning and took turns playing pinball. There was one machine, it cost a quarter to play, and it made the best noises. I don't remember caring a fig what my score was the sensory experience that mattered. The silver ball shooting up the alley, the sound as it hit a paddle, the bells and sirens when you made points, the gentle bump you gave the machine with your hip when you wanted to sway the ball a little, the points adding up on the scoreboard.

The last piece of suture from my port incision came out this morning. Weird to think those foreign things are in my body, working to get to the outside. The runes I've read the last few days have been about clarity and making changes... it makes me think that, like the sutures, the bubbles in my head are fighting to get out, too. Old memories, regrets, sorrows, things for which I can't forgive myself.

I rarely dream and even if I do, I don't remember them. The last few weeks, though, I have had strange, anxiety ridden dreams that are still with me when I wake up. Not so disturbing as they were in my sleep, but there. Mary might say I am processing. The other night I had a dream that Peter was adopted and I couldn't find the pictures at the airport, no paperwork, no mementos. I was frantic because I knew I had all of that for Tiffany. Aren't our minds funny?

We're going to make stuffed peppers on the grill tonight and try freezing some. It's the one taste we really miss in the dead of winter.

Labor Day weekend. Time to start thinking about fall...a few plants to bring into the house, garden art to put away, bird bath to empty, more tree trimming, tidying up the yard areas I have decimated this summer to prepare for grass next spring. Thinking ahead...something I haven't done for a while.

Friday, August 30, 2013

2000th post

I started this blog in 1990 and called it Buns of Stone because Regis and I were going to walk 500 miles in a year. Yeah, well...that never happened. We were going to write together and that didn't happen often either. He fell by the wayside and I continued my ranting, hand-wringing, story telling, and celebrating for 13 more years. This is my 2000th post.

ESFP - The Performers
I put my blog address in typealyzer [] and here is what it said.
The author of is of the type ESFP. (Notice the absence of the T which means I have no affinity for math and logic. What a surprise.)
The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft beautiful textiles, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves. ESFPs love being around people and having new experiences. Living in the here-and-now, they often do not think about long term effects or the consequences of their actions.

ESFPs live in the moment, experiencing life to the fullest. They enjoy people, as well as material comforts. Rarely allowing conventions to interfere with their lives, they find creative ways to meet human needs. Active types, they find pleasure in new experiences. 
They enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions. ESFPs are excellent team players, focused on completing the task at hand with maximum fun and minimum discord.
I don't think you'd have to use a computer to analyze my blog to figure this stuff out. I don't think I've ever mentioned quadratic equations once and I talk about cooking and parties all the time.

We met Mom at George's in New Ulm late afternoon yesterday. It was too hot to do any shopping so we just sat there from 4 until 6:30, sipping wine, sampling wonderful appetizers, and enjoying our meal. George is quite a host and the food was delicious! I had tuna with wasabi that brought tears to my eyes.

Regis went out in the yard with Gus this morning and came in with the toes of his shoes covered in pollen. No wonder we have sinus issues. He claims he is going to cut the grass today and I claim I am going to water my garden. Wish us success in the 90 degree heat and blazing sun.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I miscounted...what a surprise

Actually I didn't count 2000 posts, that would be an impossibility and if I did it ten times, I would get ten different numbers. Today is 1999. I know it doesn't make a whit of difference but I'm trying to be accurate.

There is a noodley thing on my admin site that keeps track of such things so it should be easy but you know me and my math thing.

There's also a stat thing. It says my blog has had almost 70,000 page views. I think a lot of those must be guys in China trolling for people to send viagra comments.

Tomorrow will be #2000.

Yesterday I was in the grip of ennui. I took a nap in the morning, did nothing most of the day, hid out in the bedroom after lunch and finally decided I had to get outside and do something. I went up to Tom and Betty's and got in the pool first with Tom, then with Betty. There is nothing more therapeutic than paddling around a swimming pool in a big chair, drinking a cold beer.

It's been so hot here that it's hard to enjoy the outdoors. We had such a lush summer and now no rain for quite a while so the grass is brown and crispy, except where it's shady or people water. We think it's a waste of planetary resources to water grass. Now, filling a pool for the dog, that is another story.

It's state fair week in Minnesota so if you have a hankering for anything on a stick, that is the place to go. A million sweaty people in a small space standing in line for deep fried pickles. Not for me. Hell with corn dogs.

If we were television news watchers we could see all the action at the fair because every tv and radio station in the state is there watching pigs give birth. If any real news happened, we would have to wait until after Labor Day to find out about it. Now that I think about it, if all the news covered was the fair, I would be more inclined to watch. Some of that stuff is creepy.

See ya.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

commanding the simple precinct of home

I always dread the question one gets at the end of summer: Did you travel? Now, thanks to Billy Collins, I have an answer. No, I did not travel. I have been commanding the simple presinct of home.

by Billy Collins

How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,
wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hilltowns.
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully grasping the meaning of every roadsign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.

There are no abbeys here, no crumbling frescoes or famous
domes and there is no need to memorize a succession
of kings or tour the dripping corners of a dungeon.
No need to stand around a sarcophagus, see Napoleon’s
little bed on
 Elba, or view the bones of a saint under glass.

How much better to command the simple precinct of home
than be dwarfed by pillar, arch, and basilica.
Why hide my head in phrase books and wrinkled maps?
Why feed scenery into a hungry, one-eyed camera
eager to eat the world one monument at a time?

Instead of slouching in a café ignorant of the word for ice,
I will head down to the coffee shop and the waitress
known as Dot. I will slide into the flow of the morning
paper, all language barriers down,
rivers of idiom running freely, eggs over easy on the way.

And after breakfast, I will not have to find someone
willing to photograph me with my arm around the owner.
I will not puzzle over the bill or record in a journal
what I had to eat and how the sun came in the window.
It is enough to climb back into the car

as if it were the great car of English itself
and sounding my loud vernacular horn, speed off
down a road that will never lead to
 Rome, not even Bologna.

here's what I have been doing this week

So, far, this has been a week of little activity. It's too hot to do much outdoor work, so I do the necessary things to keep the plants alive then I fill up Gus's pink pool and sit with my feet in the water while I read. 

I wear sandals when I garden so I can hose my feet off when I get hot. Hence the dirty toes. No way around it. I figured out that if I wear socks and shoes, the dirt still gets through so you have the disadvantages of having your feet be hot AND dirty.

In the morning when the water is warm (and dirty), I use it to water the garden. When Regis and Gus come back from a trip to the dog park, I fill it with cold water again and he heads right into the water. 

Last night I watered plants and filled the bird bath and when I bent over to move the hose, sweat ran into my eyes and stung. I think that's a first for me which says something about my activity level in the heat, I guess. Immobile.That's what I am.

I just checked back and see I used the pink pool picture of my feet in a previous post. That's the kind of week it's been. Too lazy to take new pictures. Recycle the old ones.

The movie theater in St. Peter is being demolished this week. Kind of sad but not really. It was never a very nice experience. Popcorn sometimes tasted like it had been saved from the day before, never enough help, usually we were the only ones in the theater which is really not the point of the theater experience. It always felt like a neglected place. A sign of the times, I guess. Tear down the theater and put up a parking lot.

I read this book this week. I can't remember what drew me to it as I didn't even realize at first that the author is from Waseca and now lives in Mankato. I've been a fan of Thomas Lynch who wrote The Undertaking. As you would not expect, these books about grave diggers and undertakers are not about death but powerfully and poignantly about life. I highly recommend this book by Rachel Hanel. Also anything by Thomas Lynch. I've been known to buy copies of his books when I find them on the remainder table even if I already have a copy.

Put a cabbage leaf on your head today. It will help keep you cool and you can eat it with your dinner at the end of the day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

breathing and sweeping spider webs

I have been busy sweeping the spider webs from my head. Funny how those damn things get in there and occupy their own dusty shelves. It takes some work to find them and banish them. It was a wonderful cosmic accident (or not an accident) that I found Mary to help. I have great faith in her.

I spent the morning reading old writing and compiling a binder because that's what I do when I want to organize my head. I have a weight loss surgery binder (used to have two but let go of one...), I have an exercise binder, and now I have this new head binder.

The Buddha quote and the St. Therese prayer are on the front. An oak leaf that I saved from last fall is on the back. Inside...lots of calendars, articles, writing, pictures, and my goals for healthy living.

Off to do the dishes. We had to get a new water heater because, of course, the warranty just expired...right before the damn thing sprung a leak.

Monday, August 26, 2013

happy birthday to my cousin!

Today is my cousin, Deb's, birthday. I won't say how old she is but you can see we're close in age. In fact, we might be the same age for a few months until I get the jump on her in October.

We were always more like sisters than cousins. She was from an all-boy family and so was I. In the old days, before cell phones and the interwebs, we wrote real letters. Our families visited in the summer and on holidays, even though it was almost 300 miles across the state. 

Once in a while, I went there to visit by myself. It was a wonderful place to visit...Houston is in the SE corner of Minnesota, a landscape of hills and ravines. So different from the prairie side of Minnesota where I grew up that it seemed exotic. 

Deb had a room at the top of their stucco house with a tiny window over the bed. We would kneel on her bed into the hot summer night and watch the traffic around the park. 

Deb and Teresa at Tulaby Lake...maybe late 1950's.

Deb came for a visit this spring.

Deb as a little girl.

Two princesses taking care of daily hygiene. 
Me on the left in the tub and Deb on the right in the sink.

Deb and Larry at Mom's birthday party in Canby.

Deb in Rochester about four years ago.

I think this was taken at Tulaby, too, but I have an unreliable memory.

On our way to a bluegrass festival in Cedar Rapids.

Celebrating New Year's Eve. Our black boas left a trail of feathers as we left the fancy restaurant...all around the table, over the dessert cart, stuck to the butter dishes. 
We laughed ourselves stupid.

Deb came to visit me in Cedar Rapids. She got ready for bed in the bathroom while I got ready for bed in the bedroom. When she emerged, we laughed and laughed because were in the same attire....flannel nightgowns and navy blue knee-high socks. Hot Norwegian chicks, right?

This is us in front of our funky apartment in Mount Vernon. There are too many stories about those years to tell here. Most of them resulting in raucous, out-of-control laughter.

Here we are on our wine trip in California. Deb is a seasoned travel but this is one of about five trips I've taken in my life. It was a hoot. I envisioned myself riding in a convertible with my chiffon scarf flying as we tooled past palm trees, but in truth, San Francisco was so cold I had to buy turtle neck sweaters while I was there.

Good times, tough times....but always lots of laughter and memories.
Happy birthday, with love, Deb!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

how hot?


I think we may have taken weather warnings a bit too far. We get excessive heat warnings on our phones about every fifteen minutes. No shit. Like you'd forget between the time you read it and then got up to walk out the door. Wait...what was that again?

Excessive heat, like excessive cold, seems like a good reason to hunker down and not do much. Ella and I rigged up a shopping cart with a luggage carrier and a yellow basket and walked to the farmer's market. We bought two melons, two jars of pickles, some hot peppers, and two tomatoes. After that, I didn't do much but sit on the swing.

We watched a movie last night which was entertaining but I'm sure the actor had a serious shot or two of botox in his lips and it was distracting. Good movie but who has lips that big?

I need a hair cut and Regis is nervous about doing it. I tell him it's only hair and it will grow back. I just want it very short so how bad can it be? I spent the winter bald so I have a devil-may-care attitude about this.

We're cooking ribs on the grill this afternoon. It's already balmy out there so this could require the pool to be filled and a cold drink.

Friday, August 23, 2013


I don't even work and by the end of the week, I'm tired. What the hell. I did have a busy week, but still seems slothful.

One night this week, I worked in the garden then filled up the pool for Gus. Nice soak for my feet and it was very cooling. It would look better if I had a nice pedicure but instead I have garden toes.

I've been in the back yard lately. Our back yard is tiny and pretty much featureless so there's no attraction. One day this week, I decided to put up my ancient clothes hanger thing. One of those square ones on a pole. It did the job but I noticed the next day that the one plastic piece on it had broken. I think I can fix it. I use it once every ten years so I'm not of a mind to replace it.

I found our walnut tree stump needs a mowing. The stump has been there since the tornado took the tree down. We tried once to have it removed but the stump removal guy couldn't get his machine through the gate. We decided to just let it weather away. It's kind of interesting anyway and I'm glad it's still there.

I have two things on the agenda for the day, both pleasant. Then nothing for the rest of the weekend. It could be a lazy one...sitting in the shade, reading, taking naps. Yahoo.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


It was a long day. Regis toted me over to the East Ridge Clinic at 9 am for my mammogram and blood draw. Then we tooled around Mankato for a while doing some retail therapy (successful thrift/consignment store shopping), pet store for Gus, lunch at Blue Bricks, then more appointments. I saw the research nurse and oncologist this afternoon. All is well. I'll go back every three months for two years, mostly due to research protocol. They expect me to be a survivor.

Re: the successful retail therapy. I bought a couple of great black sweaters for wear with leggings, a Chico's knit top at a steal, a pair of Guinness pajama pants (don't ask), a great tropical looking caftan (I know...nobody wears those anymore), and the best denim jacket ever. I might give the jacket to a friend who has a birthday coming up if I can bear to part with it. Of course, there is always the chance he will turn up his nose and say I should keep it. Haha!

Then I came home to find St. Francis and a bonsai tree on my step! No surprises. I ordered the St. Francis for my garden and Mike left the bonsai tree with me to care for while he's gone. I'm a tree babysitter! (Two pints of water/day.)

Regis asked if my yard art collection is complete. I said a hesitant yes. A guy just never knows when the perfect pink flamingo will come along.

Since I spent most of the day in sterile environments, why do I feel so grubby? Maybe because I've had other peoples' hands on me....everywhere. Very nice people with good intentions, but still.

My oncologist is the best. We had a long talk about where breast cancer comes from and what makes it hard to know. He said years ago, people said heart attack when they didn't know. It wasn't until the 70's when they could very accurately diagnose breast cancer which makes family history pretty much worthless. He's a doll, that doctor.

I'm going to have a gin and tonic on the patio and go to bed early. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

blue moon

Regis woke me up in the middle of the night when the blue moon was right outside our bedroom window. He held the curtains open so I could see it. It looks like most other full moons but it doesn't happen very often and you know how I like a happening.

Regis is sleeping in this morning (probably because he was awake in the middle of the night spotting the moon) so I'm up alone to man the coffee pot and radio. It's a job I can handle.

We had another good summer meal last night. Tiffany and Eric and Elliot came over for steak, sweet corn, cantaloupe, and habanero pickles. Elliot wanted in the worst way to walk to the DQ but it was getting late. We walked there once and that's stuck in his little four-year old memory as: We always walk to the DQ!

Here's another beautiful butterfly shot from the collection. If you view it in Picassa and zoom in, you can see the little individual hairs on his wings.

My cousin in Florida, Christine, sent this beautiful photo. Once in a while we see these swallowtail butterflies here but you have to be in the right place at the right time. pretty and so fragile.
Colourful Life by Davinsky

I found this picture on Reddit so of course, it comes with no explanation. I don't know where this is or how the umbrellas are suspended but I thought it was a great photo.

Veronica longifolia Blue Giant

I had to move one of my all-time favorite plants, a Blue Giant veronica. It gets about 4 feet tall and likes sun, which we have very little of. I dug it up on a cool day and now I have to plant it when it's almost a hundred degrees. Ugh.

Well, I hear Regis and Gus stirring so I better wrap it up here and get moving. I'm changing sheets today, buying a few groceries, getting the veronica in the ground, and a few other things that have flitted out of my memory. Living my ordinary life in extraordinary ways.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Gratitude by Barbara Crooker

This week, the news of the world is bleak, another war

grinding on, and all these friends down with cancer,

or worse, a little something long term that they won’t die of

for twenty or thirty miserable years—

And here I live in a house of weathered brick, where a man

with silver hair still thinks I’m beautiful. How many times

have I forgotten to give thanks? The late day sun shines

through the pink wisteria with its green and white leaves

as if it were stained glass, there’s an old cherry tree

that one lucky Sunday bloomed with a rainbow:

cardinals, orioles, goldfinches, blue jays, indigo buntings,

and my garden has tiny lettuces just coming up,

so perfect they could make you cry: Green Towers,

Red Sails, Oak Leaf. For this is May, and the whole world

sings, gleams, as if it were basted in butter, and the air’s

sweet enough to send a diabetic into shock—

And at least today, all the parts of my body are working,

the sky’s clear as a china bowl, leaves murmur their leafy chatter,

finches percolate along. I’m doodling around this page,

know sorrow’s somewhere beyond the horizon, but still, I’m riffing

on the warm air, the wingbeats of my lungs that can take this all in,

flush the heart’s red peony, then send it back without effort or thought.

And the trees breathe in what we exhale, clap their green hands

in gratitude, bend to the sky.

From Line Dance (Word Press, 2008).


It's been an amazing week. I've done a lot of work with my therapist, Mary. I believe in signs and she came into my life at just the right moment. There were many signs...the ginko leaf, her daughters, the bessel interview, the St. Teresa prayer that I found on the boulevard.

Yesterday, I found this. On Facebook, which is not quite like finding something on the boulevard but close. It has meaning for me.

Regis drove me to my appointment with Mary yesterday and when we got out of the car, this gorgeous butterfly was on the Joe Pye weed. Regis took a picture with his phone because we weren't sure it would stay long enough for anything else. He would flit around a bit, then land again. I unlocked the door, got the real camera, and Regis took about 90 shots. The rest of them are here if you want to see them. The detail is incredible. Another sign, right?

I wrote yesterday about Karen slugging rats in the gutter. We have laughed about that expression. Similar to one of my old favorites: It ain't all silver saddles and Sunday parades. Last night we lit candles in the garden for Karen. The big angel in the corner is my newest yard art. She has a bowl in her hands and a bird perched on her arm. Kemmie and Joanne came over when they saw us on the patio so we shared a glass of wine and watched the flickering candle light.

I bought this set of rune stones from a woman in Oregon, Morrigan's Mantel Six Nations Witchery. They're called Elder Futhark runes and are used as a devination guide for the pathways of your life's journey. I slept with them under my pillow for a week to "tune" them. This morning, I pulled one from the bag and it was the strength rune. And no, I have not taken leave of my senses.

Mom sent this picture of her new garden. It's a memorial to people she has loved and lost. I think it's just beautiful. A garden is good for your soul.

Thursday I have my first oncology follow-up appointments. Mammogram and bloodwork in the morning, research nurse and doctor in the afternoon. I have no sense of dread or anxiety about it as they are all such nice people and I always feel so nurtured when I am there.

Hotter than hades today so I might just hang in the house and keep cool. Going out to water plants now.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

garden and stuff

Garden: August 2013

My garden has been a mess for about five years for several reasons, none of which matter now, but I was determined to do better this year. I had connected my cancer treatments with gardening, so came out of that raring to go. I bet we have hauled ten giant bags of crap out of there. All the hostas have been transplanted into shady spots and the things that need more sun have been moved to sunny corners. I'm so proud of it.

Ella and I went to the Govenaires Drum Corps Expo last night. It was a beautiful summer and purple sky, almost full moon, fresh breeze, and popcorn. The music was great, too. The Govies put on a good show. Ella bought a mini-flag and was anxious to start twirling it when she got home, but I cautioned her about whacking her father in the head. I said that would not bode well for the future of her flag.

I am amazed that somebody can come up with a concept like Chasing Hollywood, then put it all together with music, movement, and color guard action. I must be an artistic thing that is beyond my comprehension. Like math.

It's been a good news/bad news kind of week. April got a job with the Mankato Schools, Peter got a great raise, but my friend Karen got news of the not-so-good fucking cancer variety in her pathology report after her hysterectomy. Bless her heart. Sometimes I wonder how people manage to put one foot in front of the other. Karen calls it slugging rats in the gutter and she's got some big ass rats to slug in her future. Sending light and love from Minnesota, Karen.

After scooping dirt all day yesterday and then sitting on a hard metal bench for almost three hours, I had a surprise when I stood up. Creak and groan! Holy crap. I was worried for a minute but all was well and I was able to walk out of the stadium normally.

This falls into the category of what-will-they-think-of-next? And WTF. It's called a pooch purse. Maybe movie stars think it's cool but you'd get laughed off the street in Minnesota (and maybe arrested) if you subjected your dog to this. The dog doesn't look too enthralled about being hauled around hanging from this woman's hinder. Thanks, Deb, for sending it. It was a good laugh.

We have a busy week with appointments, dinner dates, and my oncology follow-up appointments all day Thursday. Gus will go to the Paw for the day and we'll have a respite mid-day for lunch. It should be a good week.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

checkerboard lawn

Our neighbor who drives us insane with his incessant gas-powered lawn machines spent hours the other day cutting a checkerboard pattern in his grass. He should really live in the suburbs because nobody on our block, hell not even our whole street, cares this much about lawns. There is a house on the next block that I swear has not had the grass cut all summer. What the heck, the rabbits love it.

Yesterday morning we went to buy groceries for our dinner. The grocery store is a highly stimulating experience at 10 o'clock in the morning. This is why we prefer the pre-dawn hours for shopping. We had a little breakfast and coffee, visited the friendly meat department, and got the hell out of there.

We had kids around for dinner. Regis cooked steaks to perfection. We had great sweet corn on the grill, baked potatoes, melon from Marie's garden, and pickles from the farmer's market. Ella gave me a hand and foot massage on the patio later and we enjoyed the summer evening.

Every time I hear music outside, I think it's the trolley coming. I wish that were a regular feature of life on my street. A horse-drawn trolley coming by every day. That would be something.

I've discovered that I am a social media minimalist. I like my block, I use Facebook, and even occasionally look at Twitter. What I don't get is all the @s and #s. If a post has more than one of either of them, I move on to something else.

I found a blog (and of course they have a FB and Twitter presence, too.) called Tech for Luddites. It explained what hashtags are but I still think it's goofy. It's a way to create communities so today I'm going to write a tweet about #extremelawnmowing and see what happens.

I'm getting left behind. I'm my dad when he was confronted with a digital clock. Just say no to hashtags.

I don't really have much of a plan for the day. Ella and I might go see the Govenaire's drum corps show tonight. I might work in the garden and transplant a few more hostas. I might take a nap and read a book. All of it sounds good.

Friday, August 16, 2013

the olympics of paper sorting

Remember that giant basket of paper I had collected over the fall and winter? I finally went through it today. Ta da! The dread of it was not nearly as bad as the actual task which is true most of the time with other dreaded tasks like cleaning out the refrigerator.

I also filled out a survey on my medical care (extensive!)and applied for a lifetime teaching sub license. It was a complicated process that included contacting TRA and MDE and the filling out of multiple forms. I'm not sure where this will go but I think it's a sign of improved mental health that I got this far.

I went out the garden in the afternoon, intending to just putter. I ended up digging out three giant hostas and transplanting all the pieces into the front garden. That's a lot of bending and digging. I pulled a chair onto the driveway so I could take periodic breaks and look these over because I am a random gardener and think that having a plan ruins the zen beauty of it. Regis said he would take some pictures this weekend.

I'm sitting in my leopard chair drinking a cup of wonderful Ethiopian coffee and writing my way into the day. We listened to two hours of Elvis on Shufflefunction but when Karen came on at 9 and played Great Balls of Fire, I had to turn the music off.

I'll finish this coffee then I have to prepare Gus's bath. He is at the dog park and Regis called to warn me that the grass was wet and he was muddy. He runs right into the tub but it's easier if the rug is down and the tub has water in it. He's a good dog.

Looking forward to a happy Friday and a nice weekend. So good to feel better.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

yes, that is gray formica

Yes, we have gray Formica, probably from the 60s on our kitchen counter tops but we don't care. Sigh. I have lost interest in home decorating. It's just not within my capability circle anymore.

After that admission (confession?) I can now brag about this lovely little appetizer I made on Sunday. Tiny tomatoes from the farmer's market, basil from the patio, fresh mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar with olive oil. So good and so pretty in the white dish.

I slept fitfully and not much last night, then slept hard from 4-7 with weird dreams about a chaotic work environment where people were taking baths and the stairs were like escalators but after you went up one step, the one behind you disappeared. The theme seemed to be that the people doing the construction were incompetent. Things were falling apart all over the place.

Regis has taken over our financial business. Thank God. My brain could just not wrangle with it anymore. I don't know why it was such a pain because most of it happened automatically, but it was a pain and I am glad to be rid of it.

My brain seems to banging around more than usual this morning so I will take my leave and go to the garden.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I've been doing this dance for a long time. Trying to recover from some wounds, psychic and physical. I loved seeing this today. I'm going to visualize my backwards steps as part of a dance, not a disaster. It's a lapse, not a collapse and the urge to move forward is a reason to be optimistic. It's what Bessel van der Kolk calls the life force.

Jane called me yesterday to remind me that 36 years ago, we almost went to Elvis's funeral in Memphis. We were living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa so it wouldn't have been such a long drive and would for sure have been a lark. Then we heard how many people were expected and motel rooms were so hard to find we would probably have to stay in a different state (or sleep in the car) so we decided to skip it. It's been a good story over the years...a thing we almost did.

I wasn't even an Elvis fan, just always up for a happening. Did you know you can put "pictures of Elvis after death" into google and see him in his casket? No, thanks. He didn't look so good as he was circling the drain, as I remember.

I think I might go out and transplant some hostas this morning. I love the weather this summer and feel like I want to be out in it as much as possible because, as you've noticed, the days are getting shorter. The cold and dark winter is coming...not a very optimistic thought.

I'm going for a walk and then into the garden for a while. Beautiful day!

Monday, August 12, 2013


It rained again during the night. Good for my hosta garden. Also good for gnats and mosquitoes.

Most of the hostas in this part of my garden are new. It's hard to know since I am not a professional, how far apart to plant them. Right now they look sparse, but next year, they will explode out of the ground and fill the space.

We had a lovely day, mostly on the patio. Ella came about 3 and we wandered down to the fair to see what was happening. A lot of packing up and moving on is what was happening. Nice to see Linda, Robert and Roxie, Connie, and Annie. I went to the fair three times this year...that's a record. The cooler temperatures made that possible.

Yeah, that pepper experiment worked. I cut a slit in the peppers, emptied out some/most of the seeds, stuffed them, wrapped a few in bacon and Regis grilled them. Fire in the mouth! These peppers had soul!

I got not so good news from my NJ friend, Karen, in the middle of the night. She sent an email saying her cancer was more aggressive than they first thought so she is waiting for pathology reports before planning the next step. The universe gets a big kick in the ass for visiting more shit on Karen. If you are a praying person, keep her in your prayers. If you aren't, keep her in your poems and songs, which are almost the same thing.

That's all I got this morning, friends.

are we taking the soul out of peppers?

Regis and I have been experimenting with peppers on the grill for a couple years. We started with a recipe for stuffed jalapenos and have gotten more experimental as time goes by. For one thing, it was a bear getting the seeds out of jalapenos and then figuring out a satisfactory way to keep them upright during grilling.

We discovered poblano peppers and started to slice them open and lay the stuff inside. That worked so we tried it with Annaheim peppers and banana peppers.

Taking the seeds out is the tricky part. If you leave too many, they taste like fire. If there aren't enough, they don't have much flavor. Regis said we might be taking the soul out of them by being so meticulous in the cleaning.

So, we'll try again tonight.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

trolley ride and weddings

There was some kind of mix-up with the amusement company so there are no rides or games of chance at the county fair. There is, however, this lovely trolley pulled by these horses and for five dollars you can ride around town for about 30 minutes. I sat on my front step and waited for it to come by and when they stopped, I leaped aboard. So much fun. I might do it again today.

It is a big week for weddings. Regis did an impromptu wedding for a young man who is in the Navy. They got a judge to waive the waiting period and the wedding was lovely.

Today, another outdoor wedding. We feel honored to be a part of so many of these wonderful and happy days.

I went to the farmer's market and the coop this morning on the hunt for poblano peppers. No such luck but I did find some nice jalapenos and a couple other hot varieties that will be tasty. Also some jam made by my friend, Annie, a jar of habanero dill pickles, and some pickled beets.

My goals for the day are these: plant the hostas, prepare the peppers so they are ready for the grill as soon as we get home, and maybe take a brief nap. It will be a good day.