Because I Like Them, That’s Why

I’m going to post another ‘before and after’ series of the garden. Why? See the title of the post. Also, I like seeing the progression, how lush and green everything gets. In the day-to-day slogging of watering, feeding, removing weeds, and watching darling husband do all those things, you forget where you started in the spring.

2014-04-20 13.07.20

April. Planting day.

2014-05-17 17.21.37


2014-07-06 12.08.56

July 6th. Ignore the grass growing through the patio stones. I pull it, since I refuse to use chemicals on the garden. It’s annoying that it keeps coming back, but I don’t have mutated salmon in the river on my conscience.

2014-04-20 13.08.00

April, I believe. Again, darling husband working tirelessly while I’m snapping pictures.

2014-07-06 12.09.57

And today, July 6th.

2014-05-17 17.21.08

Blueberries, grapes and hanging baskets in April.

2014-07-06 12.09.33

And today. We’ve gotten multiple pounds of blueberries and raspberries, the old grape vines have set a few bunches of grapes, and even my new vine has one beautiful grape bunch on it.

2014-07-06 12.10.23

Finally, this keeps my Disneyland hopes alive all summer. I’ll admit I have an irrational love of Disneyland, but it IS the Happiest Place on Earth, and who wouldn’t want to go there? Huh? Who?

Hope your summer is blooming all around you, and as full of joy as it is of bugs.

Senior Pets and the Sogginess They Bring

It’s about Casey, the Dog of Infinite Badness. She’s become the bane of my existence. Here’s why:

1) She’s soggy again, after being dry and happy for most of a year. She started dribbling on everything sporadically a few weeks ago. She’d be dry, and dry, and dry… we’d take the diaper off and BOOM… sog-tastic mess on carpets, furniture, clothing, pillows.

2) I’m not sure if you’ve ever had to deal with dog pee on upholstery, but it’s difficult (if not impossible) to ever get the smell out. Our couch is basically ruined. I cried about it, and said some very unkind things to Mistress Dribbly-pants. I’m a little ashamed, and a lot disappointed. In both of us.

3) She’s started to eat very odd things. Yesterday she snicked off an about-to-bloom calendula flower and ate it like it was a MilkBone. She’s also trolled in the back yard for fallen impatiens blossoms, rose petals, blueberries, raspberries, and zebra grass.

4) She’s started to rise up on her back legs to eat things off the counters. This one really gets my goat, mainly because she’s never done it before. Before we caught on, she ate half a loaf of bread, fruit, butter, wrappers… anything we hadn’t put away. We’ve gotten a little more careful lately.

5) Yes, I’m aware that becoming rabidly hungry may be a symptom of something else – she will be seen by a vet as soon as possible. However, we’ve been to the vet constantly over the past two years, and they still don’t know what’s up with her. She is up to date with her shots, has a regular treatment plan with the vet, gets long walks twice a day, gets healthy food… She really isn’t neglected.

6) You can’t put a dog down for being incontinent, for ruining a couch, or for eating a stick of butter. Adopting a dog is for life. We promised to take care of her until the end, and we will. But some small and not-very-nice part of me wishes we could drive her into the country to frolic in someone else’s blueberry bushes and on someone else’s couch.

2014-06-29 12.39.53(Disclosure – as soon as I got the camera out, she decided to look pitiful and sleepy. So you wouldn’t think she was a happy dog – such a Drama Queen. Maybe she really is the daughter I never had.)

7) When we go out, we have to kennel her or she cleans off the counters, shinnies out of her diaper, jumps on the furniture and leaks piddle everywhere. I don’t really like locking her in her kennel – to me it defeats one of the purposes of having a dog, especially when you leave the house.

I’m sad because she’s completely ruining my house, and sad because no one, human or dog, deserves to be thought of the way I’m thinking of her. It’s not very charitable, and not very nice. Surely I’m a horrid person for not coming to her rescue and fixing all her problems – but I’ve tried. Really. I’ve tried. I can’t fix things, and I wish I could. I want Casey, the Dog of Infinite Badness, to live out the rest of her life surrounded by the people who love her. I want her warm and safe and dry. I want her to be able to sleep by my darling husband’s feet, to be within our reach at all times so we can say ‘good dog’ and pat her on the head.

I’ll keep trying to make her life a good one. Honest, I will. After all, a couch can only be destroyed once, right?


My Busy Life

I know, I missed a week. I’m not exactly sure why, although it might be that I decided to take a nap instead of write. My advanced age, you know.

Here’s what happened around the Castle (and beyond) in the last couple of weeks:

2014-05-26 09.58.31My book club  had a retreat at the beach – and this was the view from our house. (If I can see the ocean, I’m a very happy majesty.) We thought we’d need a couple of days to discuss the May book selection “S.” by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst. If you aren’t familiar with the book, it’s actually a couple of stories intertwined. There’s the narrative of the book, but then there are the notes in the margins, and all the things tucked into the pages (postcards, photos, napkins, etc.). So you have the story that was published, the story of the author, and the story of the two people trying to discover who the real author is, too.

2014-05-18 19.23.06

2014-05-18 19.23.21

Fascinating. A hard read, but totally fascinating. My take on this is that publishing wouldn’t have done this very expensive project unless it had JJ Abrams’ name on it. Read it and let me know what you think. :-)

2014-05-30 14.08.55

Let’s see… oh, my car was recalled so I took it in for a routine fix. Nope. Not me. My car had the BIG problem, or one even bigger. I had a rental car for a week while they fixed it. Cool thing? It was a hybrid. I drove about 200 miles on a quarter tank of gas. Fun to drive – a little quirky, but still fun. Now I want a Tesla for a week. Can anyone help me with that?

2014-06-04 14.06.41

I also bowed to the inevitable ravages of time and bought my very first pair of reading glasses. I’ll have to go to the eye doctor to get everything checked out, but these help for now. Still getting used to wearing them, and most times I forget to put them on. Oops.

2014-06-07 10.14.12

And yesterday my darling husband, my motherp and I went to the Rose Festival Parade in Portland. For the first time EVER, we paid for seats right at the start of the parade, where the TV cameras film the participants as they march out of the Coliseum. In my family, parade Saturday went something like this: roll out of bed at nine. Start watching the parade on TV after bitching that it pre-empted Bugs Bunny. Realize it looks like fun. Drive like a bat out of hell to the end of the parade route to see it in person. Watch the exhausted people drag themselves across the finish line.

I have to admit, they had quite a bit more energy at the beginning, which made the price of the ticket worth it. It was a little more problematic to get to the parade, though, since they closed off most of the streets at o’dark hundred in the morning. Funny story – we paid for parking we couldn’t get to. Ha. Ha. Ha. Even funnier? The garages were almost empty when we arrived. Ha. Ha. Ha. How we laughed. Not.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print, and some that isn’t really fit at all. Actually, most of this is limp and flabby and not fit for anything other than my own tiny brain. I obviously need more tea.

Have a good week, y’all!

Before and After, Part Deux


2014-03-22 08.06.44

The camellia in late March. Kind of glorious, wasn’t it?

2014-05-24 19.04.51

The camellia yesterday – apres haircut.

Please tell me it will grow back and stop looking like the tree equivalent of a game-show host comb-over. I know it needed to be done. But… but…



Some Favorite Things

No, there’s no giveaway. Sorry. I am not her Oprah-ness.  I was just thinking how grateful and lucky I am to still be on this side of the dirt, and I noticed some of my favorite things on the planet, besides the darling husband, sprogs, family, and friends. Here they are, in no particular order:

Plain Chocolate Digestives ( or cookies):

2014-05-24 17.03.57

Dunk them in your tea. You can thank me later when your mouth isn’t full of melted chocolate and cookie.

Branston Pickle and cheese sammiches:

2014-05-24 17.04.22

You take lovely chewy fresh bread, maybe spread a little butter on it, cover it with a small dollop of the Branston pickle, add your favorite sharp hard cheese and.. VOILA! Best. Cheese. Sammich. Ever. Branston Pickle is like a chutney, but it’s magic against the sharpness of the cheese… kind of like quince paste and a Spanish cheese.

Purple Converse All-Stars (Chuck Taylors) and a bright green Coach bag:

2014-05-16 14.46.49

I don’t even think I have to tell you why I like these, do I? Do you find yourself smiling when you look at the picture? I know I do.

Roasted beets:

2014-05-24 17.04.56

Because I need something nutritionally sound to offset the chocolate bikkies and the cheese and pickle sammiche.

Gilchrist and Soames Bee Kind Lotion:

2014-05-24 17.06.06

No petroleum products, a lovely lemon fragrance, and a light feel that is easily absorbed by your skin. I love this stuff. Got mine through BirchBox – but I think you can find it other places.

Have you ‘found’ anything lately that you adore? Share with me, and I might have a little bit of a prize for you – assuming I can haul my carcass to the post office this year!

Before and After

Because we live in Oregon, gardening in the springtime can be a little problematic. It rains here, you see. And once it rains, the ground stays mucky and soggy for at least a week, or it does up here where I live. (Our soil is so clay-y you could take a handful and make a pot without much effort at all.)

But every now and then we get a break in the gloom, the heavenly choirs sing in tune and…  *LAAAAAAAAA* the sun comes out. And stays out. And the temperature rises so much that all native Oregonians begin our ‘why is it so HOT’ whining. In between said whining and whinging, we run to the plant store, mow the lawn at a lope in case the rain comes back, and weed like our lives depended on it.

We had a week like that in April, and another one this week. Here are the before and after shots of the garden, as it stands now.


2014-04-20 13.08.00

And then in May:

2014-05-17 17.20.29

Shot from a different angle, but the vegetation is pretty similar.

Patio plants in April:

2014-04-20 13.07.20

Patio plants yesterday:

2014-05-17 17.21.37

Hanging baskets in April:

2014-04-20 13.08.11

Baskets, grapes, and blueberries now:

2014-05-17 17.21.08It’s still early days, though. If everything survives the hailstorms, downpours, and slug invasions, we might have a very pretty yard in July. Or it’ll look like a monument to black spot, mildew, and mold. I dunno. It could go either way. We Oregonians are a gambling people.


Another Goal, Shot to Hell

I’m not talking about a sportsball kind of goal, I’m talking about my earlier goal of posting something here once a week. *shakes head* That didn’t last long, did it?

In my defense (because there has to be a defense), nothing very exciting happened around the Castle. Sure, I lost money at a casino. Sure, we celebrated Mothers Day. But nothing really LIFE CHANGING occurred. Here’s what did happen:

1) It got hot. Twice. So hot we’ve had to water the plants a few times. It’s already been over 90 degrees, and we’re still in mid-May. I’m wilting already.

2) For three or four days, I got to enjoy what my brother calls ‘the scoots’. Ahem. We also call it ‘The World Falling Out of My Bottom’. (Sorry for the overshare, but when bowel issues are the only thing you can think of to illustrate a lack of events, it solidifies your point, doesn’t it? *snicker* I said ‘solid’. See what I did there?)

3) I went to the local casino with my Motherp and my wonderful friend Helen. Motherp won about $12 at blackjack. Helen and I lost money on the slots. Gambling problem? Sure, I’ve got a gambling problem. My problem is I never seem to win.

4) My darling husband, the most committed teacher in the world, took a personal day to do something personally for HIM. In ten years, he hasn’t called in sick once, or used a personal day for anything other than a family issue. I am so proud he played hooky for one day. Everyone deserves a little break, every now and then.

5) The only time Mothers Day becomes important to you is when you can’t celebrate it with all your babies at once.

6) Someone complimented me on my skin, telling me I looked twenty fifteen ten years younger than I am. Seriously, fat fills out all the wrinkles.

7) I started Eeyore-ing about my non-existent writing career, then realized I hadn’t done much writing or working on said career in a few weeks. Funny, isn’t it? If you don’t do the work, somehow nothing happens. It’s not exactly rocket science.

8) My work cat tore my favorite new summer shirt. My home dog peed on a few more things and ate other things she wasn’t supposed to eat.

9) Kevin the Kitten is still the most adorable, fuzzy and cute kitty ever. Sure, he likes to lay down on my seedling plants, but what uber-furry cat wouldn’t want a cool place to plop down when it’s 88 outside? I only swore at him for a few minutes.

10) Two pictures for Mothers Day:


This is my Motherp holding oldest sprog on my very first day of being a mother. I look comfy, don’t I? Probably afraid my innards were going to tumble out.


This is my darling mother-in-law, her mother, oldest sprog, and me. Four generations.

I’ve been very fortunate to be mothered by some wonderful women (including Motherp, MIL, my Not-So-Evil Stepmother, my aunts, friends, etc.). They have my gratitude for, well… for everything.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.