Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Break

Okay, so I've got the food, snacks, water, blankets and meds ready to go for tomorrow's road trip. And that's just for the dogs. Honestly, it's like having two toddlers with all the stuff I have to pack and organize.

I'm leaving the laptop, taking just my tablet and camera.  My sister is fully wired in case I have a meltdown or a sudden withdrawal spasm, though I'm hoping to just fall off the grid until sometime Monday when I'm back in the wilds of southern Orygun.  We'll see how it goes.

And so, because I won't be around this weekend, dear readers, let me wish you an early...

Happy Easter/Chocolate Bunny/Egg Salad For a Week Day!!

See you on the flip side, peeps...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I got a few emails today from friends across the Pond with some questions about yesterday's post.

To clarify:  DQ = Dairy Queen, a fast-food place with the usual suspects (burger, fries, etc.), and also some really good ice cream treats, like sundaes and cones and my favorite:

The Peanut Buster parfait.  A layer of hot fudge, peanuts, soft ice cream, repeat until the container is full of yummy deliciousness.

Just looking at the photo makes me want to drive to the other side of town to get myself another one...though I will resist. Summer's coming after all.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Today has been slightly crazed, fraught with many errands, appointments and scurrying from one side of town to the other and back again.  Mondays.  No matter who you are, where you work, what you expect, Mondays are just...Monday.

I had to drop Oz off at the groomer's, especially now the heat and humidity are becoming a daily event and the poor wee thing has too much hair. Then it was a trip to the vet's to refill prescriptions and possibly get Max's demon claws cut at the same time.  No such luck on the claws, the place was mobbed.  Monday, don'tcha know.

After the vet's I got gas for the trip north Thursday morning, went to the grocery store, the post office, then to the bank.  It's about 12:00 when those tasks are finished, Max is grumbling for his lunch and I'm sweating in the mugginess of a semi-cloudy day with temps running toward 80 degrees already. Buggers.

Home for lunch, then I planted the peony--with difficulty since I'm on solid bedrock; the lavender didn't need such a deep hole.  I had to reconnect the hose now the danger of frost is over, then since I'd hauled the ungainly and heavy POS up the slope to water the peony, I decided to wash out and refill the birdbath.

That work done, I get cleaned up and think I should have time to sit for a while with a nice cuppa and my book. While the tea is steeping, I remember Ozzy's meds, get them out of my purse...and discover the tech gave me the wrong pills.  Quick glance at the clock. 1:45. Okay, I think I can get across town to the vet's, and with any luck at all, dash across town in the other direction and still make it to the groomer's by 2:30 to pick up Ozzy.

Are you laughing yet, dear readers, at my blithe intentions?  My idiotic naivete?

The pill mix-up is taken care of fairly quickly.  Lots of apologies, etc., which I am gracious about, mainly because I just want them to hurry up so I can get going.  Finally, back in the car, correct prescription in my purse, I give Max some water and a cookie before driving away with all windows down to help him stay cool.

You know those tiny little decisions, usually made on the spur of the moment?  The ones you always regret when it's too late to change your mind?  Uh huh, yeah, those.

It's now 2:20...I'll be late, but not too late, and I've got options.  I can head through the center of town then meander side streets to the groomer's...or take the secondary highway which skirts the high school but drops me within blocks of the groomer's, bypassing the congestion of downtown altogether.

I choose the high school route.

Of course I do.  Because there is some kind of major event going on there with traffic backed up for miles--literally--and kids, parents, cars, buses everywhere.  It is a jam of epic proportions.  There are more people along this road than live in the entire frigging town!

At last, I make it to the groomer's just a hair after 3:00.  Max is hyperventilating in the back seat, I'm sweating and my left eyelid has begun to twitch.  I run in, all ready with my find the groomer has fallen behind due to a very matted and unkempt dog that has thrown off her entire schedule.  Can I come back in an hour?

I gave Max another drink of water, and another cookie, while I pondered my next move. I totally refused to even think about my stress levels, or the heat, or that my left eyelid is doing the rumba.  I don't want to drive all the way home, I can't go shopping because I have Max in the car and it's too hot.

Driving to no purpose or destination I pass a DQ. Huh. I haven't had a Peanut Buster parfait in years. I pull in, order, then drive to the river where I parked in a perfect spot under a large shade tree. It was quiet and peaceful with a slightly cool breeze coming off the water.  My twitching eyelid was gone by the time I was scraping the last bits of hot fudge from the bottom of the container.

I found a few precious moments of tranquility in the midst of mayhem.  It made all the difference.

Because it's Monday...but I had ice cream...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Nothing Much...

The weather has been warm and sunny, making the lawn and the weeds grow practically before my eyes, so I've spent the last three days working outside whilst battling Mother Nature.  She's winning.

My gorgeous French Lilac bush is just blooming on the back slope.  The deep purple color, with the nearly overwhelming scent...well, it's not only drawing me, but the bees and hummingbirds, too.

I saw the most beautiful peonies the other day while shopping and just had to have one. My sister gave me a lavender plant a few years ago that bit the dust over this past Winter. I'm going to put the peony in the large empty space and hope the blistering sun doesn't fry it. The plant is supposed to love sun, but it's pretty relentless in the back during the Summer.

The deer have disappeared.  Why?  Because little bambinos are being born, no doubt all across the mountain ridges, even as I write this.  At first it seems perfect timing as this will save my newly budding trees and shrubs.  Unfortunately not. What it really means is just when my garden is starting to look good, all the babies will come and eat everything in sight.  And they're so adorable, all gangly and speckled and tiny, that I almost don't even begrudge them.  Almost.

I took this shot the other day of what, I'm totally sure, is a very fed-up and ready to pop pregnant dove.  She sat on the edge of the birdbath for most of the morning taking little naps and occasionally snarking at her partner when he'd drop by to check on her. Apparently those cranky don't ever touch me again feelings are universal. She didn't even care that her tail was in the water the whole time...

I'm going on a road trip next Thursday.  Heading north to visit my sister, do some shopping in a real city and have an adventure or two for the long Easter weekend.  I'm looking forward to hanging out with her and the bro-in-law, and the boys will enjoy seeing their cousin Cooper, the Jack Russell. Chaos will ensue.  Makes me smile just thinking about it.

I plan on having lots of fun because when I get back I have to face the grueling task of power washing the two decks, then staining front and back and two flights of stairs. I skipped it last year, but can't do that this time around.  To say I'm dreading the monumental work involved is an understatement. More like I'd rather have a root canal.

Have I mentioned before that I love Winter?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Opinion vs Censorship

I belong to GoodReads, a wonderful site for writers, readers and book lovers.  One of the advantages to GoodReads is the plethora of reviews by folks across the globe, which often help me weigh the pros and cons of a book to see if I'm interested in reading it even though, in the end, I'll always make my own decision; books are just too subjective.

Now, on to the crux of this post.

Yesterday I was reading the reviews for a book I was pretty sure I wanted to read. The reviews were 4 and 5 stars for the most part, with excellent praise for the author, the plot, the characters.  There were several references to the deep, dark secret, which I found intriguing.  I was just about ready to order the book when I scrolled down to read one more review...a 1 star rating and curiously very negative mixed in with so many positives.

Imagine my irritation and total surprise when in the first damned sentence this reviewer reveals the deep, dark secret!  I was really pissed!  There is a kind of unspoken agreement, a common courtesy if you will, that pertinent, crucial details of the novel are not explained.  Otherwise, why read the book in the first place?  That's what spoiler alerts are for so the book is not ruined by someone with an attitude or personal issues.

After the Big frigging bloody Reveal, the rest of the review turned out to be one of the most scathing I've ever had the misfortune to read.  I'm not going to get into the plot device this person found so utterly offensive, but it occurs at the start and drives the entire rest of the story. And frankly, peeps, I don't know about you guys, but I sure don't live at Disneyland.  The world is cruel, life often sucks, shit happens.

This woman could have stopped reading at any time, donated the book to the Goodwill, ripped it to shreds, whatever.  But to purposefully foist her attitude on other readers, ruin the story and actually say that no one should buy this book (from a best-selling, award-winning author, with exemplary reviews)? Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but that smacks of self-righteous censorship to me.

Or does it?  After all, she's entitled to her opinion, and I will always respect anyone's right to have one, even if I completely disagree.

But then again.  When does the right to opinion shift to censorship?  For me, the moment someone tells me what to think, how to think, or feel they have the right to stop, influence or intimidate me.

Which is why I immediately went to Amazon and ordered the book...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Magpie Tales 214...Currents

photo by Kelsey Hannah

Afloat in sunbeams
Infinitesimal flotsam
Drift on gentle tides

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I really like the prompt this week from Magpie Tales.  It's a great photograph...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week of Summer...Ugh

Yes, yes, I know.  Most folks would be reveling in the mid-70* temps, especially later in the week when it's to reach almost 80*.  I am not one of those people.

As I've mentioned before--no doubt more than once--I was born in the middle of the Bering Straits on a small Alaskan island.  I spent my school years and a goodly portion of my adult time in the Pacific Northwest before moving to Scotland. And yeah, though I've sailed the South Pacific, lived in more than one tropical climate, can you see the underlying pattern here, dear readers?  It's the chilly, cold, stormy, loads of rain environment that speaks to me; it's abundantly clear that I am not programmed for heat. The fact I will soon be facing at least six months of sweltering, sweaty, mind-melting humidity and heat almost warps my brain.

I really need to find a little cabin up north, or maybe a beach shanty, igloo.

While outside this morning, trying to figure out what to tackle first in the garden chores, I was most pleased to see the California poppies are starting to bloom on the back slope. Because I had to pull out several of the Snapdragons that didn't make it through the Winter, the backyard looks like a big ol' weed patch right now, except for the startling vibrancy of the poppies. They're so bright, and orange, and cheerful...

Well, break over.  Time to get back outside in the nuclear sunshine and spray my shrubs with the deer repellent before the voracious marauders arrive for dinner.  And pretty soon there will be little Bambi kidlets all over the place too.  I'd really like to save some of my front yard while I still care.

Because once the endless Summer hits, I will lose my will to do anything except lay on the cold kitchen floor, panting with the dogs...