Monday, May 31, 2010

Gardening progress

I was outside from 7 to 10:30, when it got much too hot for me. I have a flaming sunburn on my face despite "sweat-proof" sunblock, I got two or three wheelbarrow loads of weeds to the compost heap and the round front bed is now ready for newsprint, topsoil, new plants and mulch, which I will do this evening. :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Washington, D.C., Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Sunday morning, Mom and I were both up early. We each had a cup of mediocre coffee and started packing, I took a shower, and then we checked out and left our bags at the front desk. We'd planned all along to have breakfast at a restaurant near the hotel which had a giant banner reading "Voted best breakfast in Alexandria."

When we got there, there was a line out the door, which seemed a good sign. When we were inside and seated, Mom told me to go ahead and she'd get our coffee while she decided if she wanted to brave the inside line for made-to-order omelets and waffles. I gulped when I saw the buffet--whoever voted this place best breakfast was clearly not vegetarian. There was a big bowl of watermelon chunks, baked apples, canned apples and cherries and nary a vegetable in sight. There were biscuits, grits, limp pancakes, limper French toast and home fries, but no pastries or bagels, and there was a huge choice of meat--link sausage, patty sausage, sausage gravy, ham, bacon, even creamed chipped beef. I had sausage gravy over home fries, and talked Mom into getting an omelet.

We had time to get our bags and stop in the restroom before catching the noon shuttle to the airport, where we sat directly in front of the door to our plane rather than just by the gate. I ran down to a newstand to grab a Diet Coke to wash some Benadrool down with, and got a peanut bar from the Williamsburg Nut Shop for Dad. The flight home was uneventful, and on the way we stopped at the grocery store for romaine and tomatoes.

Dinner was salad for Mom and I and leftover brisket for Dad and I, then Mom went outside to trim bushes and I did some laundry. I was in bed by eleven and up by six, and at seven-thirty went to get my dogs. Even Littlefoot was frisking around at the prospect of going home. I got them home and the car completely unloaded, took a shower, dressed and went in to work.

Mom and I are good travelling companions, and hopefully we won't wait five years before taking another trip together.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Washington D.C., Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

I woke up at 6 without an alarm, and threw on my robe and my wrap so I could head downstairs for a smoke before getting dressed and making coffee. My legs and butt were screaming at me from all the walking on Friday, but I didn't dare take any ibuprofen until after I'd had either food or at least my daily Prilosec. Still in my pre-coffee fog, I stood in front of the elevator and pushed the button three times before realizing it wasn't even lighting up. So I looked at the fire map and headed for the stairs. Seven flights is a long way, even down, especially when you've overtaxed yourself the day before and then slept seven hours without moving, but I kept at it. I wound up coming out of the stairwell in the employees-only area behind the front desk, and startled the only clerk working the early shift. He figured out what I was doing there, though, and promised me the elevator guy was almost done. Didn't matter to me, I wasn't walking up those seven flights!

I'd brought my book down with me, but I never got a chance to read it. There was a woman outside who was just dying for someone to talk to, and she gave me an earful of conspiracy theories about public officials, her view that businesses closing was the result of socialism (!) and how all of Washington seems like they're "ready to throw down" (spend a lot) on clothes. I escaped when I'd finished my cigarette, and thankfully, the elevator was working again. I zipped upstairs, started my coffee and took a shower, hoping said coffee would cool enough for me to drink it while I got clean. Or cleaner, since I'd had a shower the night before.

A word about coffee, my mom, and me: Mom's family nickname is "Asbestos Mouth" because she adores both spicy-hot and temperature-hot food and beverages. In the time it takes my coffee to cool enough for me to sip, Mom has finished hers and is making a face because it has gotten "too cool." When she got up, she made herself a cup of coffee and drank it all before getting dressed.

We headed out on foot, since we were only about eight blocks from the yarn shop where we were meeting four of my BPALz. We were meeting at eleven, and we left the hotel a little before nine so we would have time to stop at Starbuck's for a second cup of coffee and maybe do a little shopping in Old Town. We got a cinnamon scone to split with our coffee, and sat outside enjoying the morning. As mentioned, Mom vacuumed up her coffee before I had managed to do much more than blow on mine. All of the extra napkins I'd grabbed came in useful when a Starbuck's customer came out of the store and headed for his car with two very overfilled iced coffees. :)

Mom and I saw a house built on land owned by Light Horse Harry Lee, and she knew he was a Revolutionary War hero, and I knew he was Robert E. Lee's father. We saw a lot of beautiful houses and gorgeous gardens. We did get the giggles over one planter full of a plant that looked like chrysanthemums but had pansy-like flowers--when I looked closely, the flowers were wired on. The first store we saw on King Street was a big Ross store, which was open, so we went in.

I'd always wanted to see a Ross because Flinty over at Polish or Perish is always talking about her nail polish finds from there. They didn't have hardly anything in the way of polish, but I still managed to find a cute turquoise fake-straw hat, a dead squirrel dog toy and a seriously gorgeous white skirt and jacket/blouse (bloucket? jouse?). Unfortunately, I found myself somewhat caught short, and had to do an Ellen. I scooted into the restroom and was there for fifteen minutes. Unfortunately, the restroom was inside the fitting rooms, so when I found the white outfit, I had to go back. I did not make eye contact with the attendant.

We'd spent all of our pre-meeting time at Ross, so we walked across the street to Knit Happens. Mom went in and started looking at everything, and I stayed outside to wait for mah peeps. Clever_Girl and Katestamps arrived first, with C_G pulling up to the curb to let Kate out and then heading around the corner to find parking. I gave Kate a fierce hug and got one in return, then walked her inside to meet my mom. C_G came back and was also introduced, and then Vampkat called looking for us. Just as she was pulled up talking to us, a parking space opened right in front of the store, so she grabbed it and fed the meter. Now the only one we were missing was Yvaine, and knowing that she had lived in Alexandria for a long time, I figured she didn't need me standing outside like a fat, sweaty beacon. :p

Yvaine arrived about 11:30, at which point Kate had already picked out a lace-weight yarn and started a shawl, and C_G and Kat were looking at books and listening to Kate, my mom and both yarn store SAs talk about how easy it is to knit. Mom got a little nervous when the perfume came out and the sniffing started, because she thought we were going to get thrown out! Fortunately, there was no one else in the store, we'd been complimentary about the SAs' projects, and they'd made at least two sales from us. Plus, it had been less than two hours when we all decided we were hungry, and Yvaine won my undying gratitude for knowing of an awesome Lebanese place a few blocks away. I still feel bad for recommending the kibbeh to Kat, who couldn't finish it; but I ate every morsel of mine.

After lunch, Kat had to boogie, but the rest of went to the Nine West outlet, where C_G, Kate and I worshipped the shoes and Yvaine actually bought some. Mom waited outside, because the store was totally crowded. After that, C_G and Kate headed for home, and Mom and Yvaine and I went to The Gap. Mom found skull flip-flops for my nephews, Yvaine got bathing suits and other stuff, and I found a brown and tan tank top that was perfect for my new white outfit. Yvaine is awesome to shop with, and I'm not just saying that because she can reach things I can't. ;)

Yvaine took Mom and me back to the hotel, and came up for a bit for Diet Coke, conversation, and a look at the choker Severina made for me. Even though Mom thinks the necklace is "gross" because of the skeleton, she had to laugh when I said Sev told me the back of the necklace was made from the hide of a Nauga that had died from tuberculosis in true Victorian fashion. When we were a bit rested and restless, Mom and I mentioned that we were planning to take a water taxi to the National Harbor and go to the Peeps store. Yvaine offered to drive us over there, and we took her up on it. I'd have suspected her of merely being a polite person, except I know that she loves her Peeps!

We figured out the parking, and just as we left the garage, it started to rain. We went through a courtyard with a really gorgeous fountain, down a street and then we were looking at the "You Are Here" kiosk and trying to figure out where the Peeps store was, when I realized that it had to be on a lower level. We went down, and sure enough, there it was. There were a bunch of people streaming off the water taxi, and one young girl was throwing up right in the middle of the sidewalk. I very carefully didn't say anything to either of my companions, and tried to hold back my sympathetic gag reflex.

The Peeps store was a lot of fun. They had Peep everything (except for refrigerator magnets, Mousey, sorry :( ), including artwork made out of Peeps on the wall. Even a Warhol-ish Peep picture! There were also huge dispensers full of all the Mike and Ike citrus flavors, and on the opposite wall were four giant dispensers full of four flavors of Hot Tamales. We got a present for Goldilocks, our stated reason for coming, Yvaine loaded up on Peeps, I bought candy, and we headed out to wander around the lower level of the National Harbor.

It's a good thing we were flying home on Sunday, because Yvaine spotted this cupcake place with the most appetizing selection I've seen in a while. They had carrot cake and sea salt caramel, which was all I needed to see! Then we wandered back up to the level we came in on, where we had drinks and three kinds of French fries at a restaurant called Ketchup. There were six kinds of ketchup to dip the fries into, so it was a delicious if not a healthy dinner. On the way back to the car, we stopped at a store called Stonewall Kitchen, where Mom got all kinds of chocolately treats for Dad, I found dark chocolate-covered ginger bits for Vegan Lawyer, and I treated myself to a little bag of dark chocolate-covered espresso-flavored caramels.

Sated and overloaded, we headed back to the car. Yvaine took us to the hotel and said goodbye, and Mom and I went upstairs and had a quiet evening knitting and reading. Mom confessed that she was nervous beforehand because she was afraid my friends would think she was too old to be hanging out with all of us, and she was really touched that C_G and Kat both hugged her before they left. She was glad to have met them, and impressed at how smart and charming my friends are. Of course, I'm impressed, too!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Washington D.C., Friday, May 21st, 2010

For the first and only time on our trip, the alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. Mom and I were both up and dressed and on the 8 a.m. shuttle to the airport Metro station. When we got to downtown D.C., we stopped at a coffeeshop/bakery that could have been local or could have been a stealth Starbucks. Whichever it was, the coffee was good, the bagel was good, and we had fun people-watching.

Next we walked down to Ford's Theater, where we found out we couldn't line up to go inside until fifteen minutes before our ticket time, which left us about twenty minutes to kill. We checked out three or four souvenir shops, looking for bicycle license plates for my nieces and a Washington charm for my charm bracelet. No luck on either in the kitschy places, but I did get a charm at the Ford's theater gift shop.

By then it was 9:40, so we went over and lined up in front of the museum/theater and yakked while we waited for the door to open. At about five 'til, an officious young man instructed us on what to do once he opened the door, and then we headed in. We went through security, and down a whoooooole bunch of stairs to the museum. There was a bookstore, where I picked up a paperback copy of The Last Full Measure by Jeff Shaara, and lots of exhibits about Lincoln during the period of the Civil War. They had videos, documents, memorabilia all arranged in a very sensible fashion, and the whole thing was impressive and very sad. I hit a bench with my right knee (not the end of the recurring theme), but otherwise managed not to make a total fool of myself.

The museum was the first half of the Ford's theater experience. The second half was a one-act play all the way back up those stairs we had come down earlier. I didn't know that Ford's was still a working theater, but in addition to the daily performances of One Destiny, they do other plays. One Destiny was interesting, because I had never really thought about how Booth broadcast his intentions to different people. It's as if he said "Tonight, I'm going to kill the President" one word at a time to one person at a time throughout his day. There was a Q&A afterwards, but Mom didn't want to stay, so I'm left with interwebbinetz research to find out if Our American Cousin was ever performed again.

Mom and I both wanted a good salad for lunch, so we stopped at a chain place called Potbelly that looked interesting, and had good salads. They would have been great salads except they were both made with iceberg lettuce instead of something more vitamin-bearing and interesting. After lunch, we meandered down Pennsylvania Avenue just far enough to find a venerable Post Office which had been converted into a small mall. Mom found two gorgeous pashmina wraps for $20, and we were on our way out when I spotted something wonderful in the window of one of the tourist traps.

We went inside, and I am now the proud owner (and my nieces will be, too) of a Federal duck! He has a blue baseball cap, and a stars-and-stripes t-shirt. :)

At that point we split up, Mom heading for the Library of Congress, properly called the National Library, and me for the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Mom took the map, so of course I got lost and had to call her. When I found the museum, I had about forty minutes to kill, so I found a bench near an ashtray, hauled The Last Full Measure out of my purse, and settled in. My peaceful solitude was briefly interrupted by a horde of teenagers on a bus tour, but fortunately their chaperones and tour guide were just lining them up for the next stop.

There is not a whole lot I can say about the museum. It's a very intense experience, and I didn't, couldn't, look at everything. I had been there for just under three hours when my phone rang, startling me. I thought I'd turned it off before going into the museum. I checked, and the call was coming from the vet hospital where I'd boarded the dogs. Already on the verge of tears, I answered the phone, heard one of the receptionists ask for me, and then the call dropped. It took me about ten minutes to get outside, and in that ten minutes, I thought that Littlefoot was gravely ill or had already died.

My peaceful smoking bench was now in full sunlight instead of shade, and there were people all over, but I called the vet's back and got some not-good news. Littlefoot is in mild to moderate kidney failure. They had started him on a prescription diet, and the best option is that he'll be around for quite a while longer on this expensive stuff. The worst option, of course, is that the food won't help, and I'll be looking at lots of subcutaneous injections of saline or euthanasia. I've seen too many owners keep their animals alive past the time when it would be kinder to let them go, so I know that if it gets that bad, I'll have to let my boy go.

I called Mom, and she was on the grass across the street from the museum, so I walked around it and plonked down beside her and told her. After a few minutes to ease my aching feet, we headed out to walk the Mall and see at least some of the memorials. I had no interest in going to the top of the Washington Monument, so we admired it from the outside, and then walked slowly down the mall to the World War II Memorial. It's absolutely beautiful, and I was a little envious of all the people paddling their feet in the fountain, but not even for cool feet was I going to sit in full sunlight of an 83ยบ day.

Have I mentioned it was freaking hot and I hate heat? It was, and I do. I had pretty much sweated off my sunblock and was just miserable from that, to say nothing of the misery from my poor legs and feet. Still, there was one funny moment as we walked toward the Lincoln Memorial--I swear a squirrel stopped and posed for these two tourists. I said that to them, startling them, and when they'd walked on, I said to Mom that I have got to stop talking to strangers--I say weird things and freak them out. Mom said it was just that they didn't speak English.

Mom had seen the Lincoln Memorial, so she went to see the Korean War Memorial. I sort of gulped a little at the sight of all the steps, but there is an elevator, yay, which I rode up with a nice family--Mom (who took pain pills to make it that far, to which I was all, "Sing it, sistah!"), Dad, and late-teenaged son. I took a picture of the three of them with the statue, politely declined their offer to do the same for me (I do not need a record of how I look when I'm sad, sweaty, overtired and in pain, thanks, I can look in a mirror and see that) and then walked very, very, VERY carefully down the slick marble steps.

We walked slowly past the Vietnam Memorial, and I gave a selfish little prayer of thanks that both of my uncles came home safely. Then we had to walk all the way back to the Smithsonian to catch the Metro. We managed by picking out a bench and aiming for it, stopping to sit for a few minutes when we reached it, then picking another one farther down and repeating the process. Mom said that on her entire eleven-block walk to the Library, there was literally no shade and no place to sit on all of Pennsylvania Avenue. We actually hit a Metro stop north of the Smithsonian, charged up our passes and headed for the airport. It was about 7:45 when we got there, so we decided just to pick up dinner there and either eat it where we got it or downstairs waiting for the airport shuttle. The first place we saw had a gorgeous poster of a caprese sandwich, so we stopped there. There was a manager-type at the counter with the cashier, and when I asked if they had that sandwich, he said the only thing they didn't have was the dinners.

I requested the caprese sandwich (which this place calls an MBT) with chicken. The cashier, who was not all there, asked if I wanted wheat or white, and when I said wheat, promptly said that they only had white. I said carrots rather than chips (they did have those) and asked for a Diet Coke. Mom asked for a smoothie, and was told they didn't have those, so she got hummus and veggies. The cashier then discovered they were out of Diet Coke, so had to deduct that from our total.

Despite the fact that we were the only customers, it took so long for them to get us our food that we decided we'd better eat and wait for the shuttle. So grimy and sweaty and tired and achy, we ate our dinner alfresco, with engines for music and exhaust for atmosphere and concrete for ambience. My sandwich was really good, though.

We got back to the hotel more than twelve hours after we left it, took turns showering, and then spent the evening reading, knitting, and talking a bit. Another good vacation day, except for the bad news about Littlefoot. Btw, he seems to be doing okay on the new food, at least he's eating it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Washington, D.C., Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Mom slept in until almost nine, which is very unusual for her. I was up at 6:30, so I made coffee in the room, and then went downstairs and had a smoke. I had four books and my knitting, and it was nice out, warm but not hot, so I was in no hurry to make Mom get up and entertain me. One thing I had noticed was that the coffee for the room was one of those single-shot pod dealios, and we had one regular, which I made and drank, and one decaf. I didn't think it was fair that Mom wouldn't get coffee just because I woke up first, so on one of my trips down to smoke, I stopped at the front desk and asked for another regular packet.

"That will be $3.50."

*me blinking*

"Okay. I'll take it."

Desk clerk: "If you wait until tomorrow, Housekeeping will put another one in your room."

*me blinking some more*

"There are two of us, and I just drank the regular coffee."

Desk clerk: "But you get one free one every day, you don't have to buy another one."

*me giving up*

"Just sell me the coffee."

At that point, the desk clerk broke off to answer the phone, and I gathered from her discussion that I could exchange the decaf packet for regular. I confirmed that with her, and said I'd drop it off later if she'd give me the regular now. Then she went and looked and said they were out of regular, but she'd send Housekeeping up to trade.


When Mom did get up, I showed her how to work the coffeepot, she was appalled at the charge for additional coffee, and after she got ready, we went down and had another cup of coffee each at the restaurant, and I had a bagel.

Cost of the coffee in the restaurant? $3.50.

We walked to the Metro again, and after consulting our Fodor's and the wall map, bought a pair of day passes and headed for the Smithsonian. There were tons of kids on school trips and lots of amazing exhibits. In the one of Julia Child's kitchen, there was a photo of her bent over the stove in her first apartment with her husband, which really brought home to me how tall she was. In the Inaugural Gowns exhibit, Mom and I laughed about how Betty Ford's formal gown (non-inaugural, of course) was a lovely yellow and green brocade with a hidden zipper up the front. The 1970s have much to answer for! The First Ladies exhibit had my favorite piece in the entire museum. Julia Grant actually had a silver house for her perfume! There was also a fascinating exhibit with one house that existed from the Colonial Period to the 1960s and five of the families who lived in it. We had lunch in the cafeteria, which was good but overpriced, and then saw the Star-Spangled Banner exhibit before visiting the gift shop and heading back to the hotel. When we left the subway, I clocked my right knee (see? Recurring theme...) on the escalator handrail.

As we walked from the subway to the hotel, I suggested that we take the hotel shuttle to the airport and catch the Metro from the airport stop. Mom agreed, and we went upstairs and cleaned up and changed. We caught the 5:00 shuttle, then took the Metro waaaaaaaaaaay up north to U Street. When we exited the Metro, all we had to do was turn around to find the Lincoln Theater, where our show was. The Fodor's book had said that U Street had lots of shopping and restaurants, so we set off to find them. We saw lots of restaurants, but only two drugstores. Mom needed aspirin, so we stopped at CVS, and then we wandered up and down the street looking at menus. There are lots of Ethiopian restaurants on U Street, but we wound up having dinner at a little bistro where they asked if we had reservations but gave us a table even though we didn't. Mom had her second veggie burger of the day, and I had a salad and smoked gouda macaroni and cheese.

After dinner, we walked down U Street and then turned down a side street, where there were a few more shops. We amused ourselves in a place full of kitchen gadgets, awwwed over a patient from a storefront veterinary hospital being walked (a Golden Retriever with one leg in a cast!) and strolled through a plant display which included several mock orange bushes, the scent of which took us both back to Savannah. One thing I saw but didn't quite manage to figure out was several street vendors with multiple bottles of essential or perfume oils. I couldn't tell if they were custom-blending perfumes, or if it was more of a gris-gris kind of thing, but I thought of Beth at BPAL and was very intrigued.

The review Mom and I saw at the Lincoln Theater, Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies was absolutely incredible. The music was gorgeous, of course, well-performed and the dance was amazing. Maurice Hines has incredible talent and stage presentation, and there were two teenaged brothers, fifteen and seventeen, who just rocked the whole house every time they took the stage. It was a long show, so when we left the theater, it was about 10:30, and it was close to 11:00 when we arrived at the airport. After waiting a few minutes, we decided we'd missed the shuttle to the hotel (we hadn't) and took a cab. Since the fare for ten minutes was fifteen dollars, Mom was pleased we hadn't take a cab all the way from U Street!

I did take off my makeup and brush my teeth before falling into bed Thursday night, but that's about all I managed to do.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Mom drove me bonkers Wednesday morning insisting we finish everything she'd been putting off before we could leave for the airport. Because I had gone to bed late (packing) and gotten up early (loading the car and driving the dogs to the vet/kennel), by the time we left at 1:00, I had smacked right into the silly zone, and that was only exacerbated by the can of Diet Coke I drank in the car because I didn't have time to drink it in the office.

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 3:20, and we got to the airport just at 2:00. After our inadvertant adventure coming home from Savannah, we were careful to check the flight time. The seating area at our gate was full, so we sat one gate down. Mom took out her book (Freedom by William Safire) and I took out my knitting, and we settled down to wait for our boarding call.

At 3:05, I heard a garbled announcement in which there was a word which sounded sort of like the Jammies family surname. I looked at Mom, and asked if she'd heard it. She had, so I tucked my knitting into my carryon and headed for the desk. A customer service person asked what I needed, and I said, "I thought I heard my name." He answered, "You probably did, where are you going?" I said, "D.C." and he said, "That was the final boarding call for your flight." Mom and I just squeaked on to the plane before they closed the door! Once we were safely in and the plane was airborne, I said, "At least I wanted my mom, not my sandwich!"

The flight was uneventful, but Mom missed the best part--looking out the window as the plane skimmed in over the Potomac. I did tell her that it's pretty impressive that she went from being so scared she needed a Valium to fly to being able to get on a plane and not make a peep until after we landed.

At the airport, we caught a shuttle to our very nice chain hotel in Alexandria, Virginia. Exiting the shuttle, I banged my right knee hard on the door (remember this, it will be a recurring theme). Once we were in the room, I called my friend and fellow BPAL fan, tempete, to see when and where she wanted to meet. She directed us to a mall at Pentagon City, and met us in the food court. Because it was SO very loud there, we left the mall and went to a Mexian place across the street, where we had a nice dinner, with lots of talking and good food. Wei had brought handmade sugar scrubs for me and for Mom, and lip balms for the two of us and for the other four BPAListas I planned to meet on the trip. The reason Wei couldn't meet up with the rest of the group on Saturday was that she was leaving Thursday for a scientific conference in Croatia, where I hope she has some good weather for their reportedly awesome beaches.

After dinner, Mom and I took the Metro back to the Braddock Road stop and walked back to our hotel. I had checked to make sure that the subway was within walking distance of the hotel, and it was only eight blocks away, but about four of those eight blocks were through neighborhoods that were not the nicest. Mom and I agreed that Wednesday evening was the last time we would take that walk in the near-dark.

Back at the hotel, Mom took a shower and I headed for the hot tub, hoping to soak myself enough to relax all my aching muscles. The pool was absolutely infested with teenagers, which didn't bother me. What did bother me was the fact that evidently the chaperones had told the kids that they could only be in the hot tub if there were no adults wanting to use it. I felt a bit bad about the immediate exodus (but not bad enough to not get in!). I soaked for about fifteen minutes, just watching the water and listening to all the horseplay. Then the chaperones chivvied the kids out of the pool, and the attendant said something about finally having peace and quiet for me and for her (she was studying). I replied that without all the noise, I was liable to fall asleep! I squished back to our room, changed into my jammies, rinsed out my suit, and fell asleep without taking off my makeup or brushing my teeth.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ded Jammehs iz ded

Mom and I are going to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, so of course we thought this would be a good time to have a handyman take care of one or two things that need fixing. That's all well and good, but I have to move everything out of the library closet while still trying to reclaim my back flowerbeds.

On that subject, I got an early start this morning, removing weeds and schlepping mulch out to the back. I took a short break and went to Ace Hardware for topsoil and Temptation nursery for three white lamium and four blue columbines. I worked outside until it was too hot (noon) and then came inside, finished up the laundry and took a nap. At 6:30, I went back outside and stayed out until 8:30.

I'm both happy with what I accomplished and a bit dismayed that there's still so much too do. The smaller of the tricky beds is weeded, re-soiled and mulched, the seven plants plus two irises which were waiting to be planted are all in, and I scattered a bunch of gladiolus bulbs in there for good measure. At this point, I'm thinking that I'll do the other tricky bed the right way, and on the two narrow beds, I'll wait until fall, then mow everything down and start over in the spring.

Tomorrow night I have to finish cleaning out that closet, and then start packing. My biggest dilemma is how do I know what scents I want to wear until I get there?

*ponder ponder ponder*

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The price of mourning

Three hundred sixty-three days ago, I used my tax refund to have my beloved Stormdog put to sleep. I had planned to use the money to buy mulch, but bringing peace to my heartdog was more important. Afterwards, I didn't have the heart or the joy to even go out and weed, so I just let my flowerbeds go.

The beds with the sweet woodruff and the lamium are in the best shape, of course, since that's the job of a good groundcover. All of the rest, however, are a nightmare of nettles, dandelions and dead nettle. Over the last week, I've gotten the bed between the sidewalk and the front lawn completely weeded and mulched, at a cost of ten broken nails, permanently imbedded dirt, and tons of hives.

I still feel Stormy's presence here. It's just as if I had three dogs, only one of them doesn't need to eat or go outside. I've thought about him pretty much the whole time I was weeding, and while I still miss him, I know I did the right thing for him.

On Tuesday, I will take down my big signature picture of Stormy with his birth and death dates. He will always be in my heart, but it's now a warm memory instead of a cold loss.

Love you forever, puppy mine. <3

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Kickin' tushie and taking names...

That's what my mom was doing today! Not kicking ass, because Mom doesn't swear (much). Yesterday, she spent most of the day trying to keep a client from shooting himself in the foot (and mostly failing, because the client's an idiot). Today was a much different story.

First thing she did was go to court much more prepared than opposing counsel, and since she was the one who had the support calculations all ready, the magistrate accepted her numbers.

Then she made a reluctant payee cough up the $7 court fee they've been stonewalling us on for two months.

Then she got one of our Wards to accept a temporary solution to a problem he's having when I couldn't even get him to listen to me.

Finally, she got VL to sit down and eat her birthday cake, which nobody could get her to do yesterday.

Way to go, Mom, you rock.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Four basil plants,

Three lavender,
Two cherry tomatoes
And a chocolate mint plant.

Yes, Cochran's, aka Temptation Nursery, is open, and I went today and spent $21 for the above. I have now filled all the gaps in what I hope will someday be my lavender hedge along the driveway, and filled a hanging pot with chocolate mint and peppermint. I have room in the planter for four more basil plants, and the cherry tomatoes are temporarily residing on the stoop in front of the breezeway, until we're past the danger of frost.

On the down side, last year's neglect of the garden and lack of mulching has led to an absolute mess this year. The only part of the back yard that actually looks good is the lamium right by the back door. *sigh*

Oh well, there is a three-day weekend coming up, so hopefully I can get my mulch money together before then.