Saturday, December 5, 2009


Sometimes something happens to "put it all into perspective." Sometimes a person needs a little perspective.

I've been married to the Engineer for more than ten years. He's just a wee bit picky.

For the first few months we were married, he reparked my car every time I drove it. I asked him if there was a problem with the way I was parking it; was it in his way? No, it wasn't in his way, it was just that cars should be backed in and driven out.

I told him that I wasn't a great backer, so that it was better for me to drive into a confined space and back out into an open space.

He continued to repark my car.

I politely requested, multiple times, that he not do so any more.

He reparked my car until I had a major hissy fit and threatened to remove his tonsils via his anus. I must have sounded quite sincere as he hasn't reparked it since.

He still adjusts most everything I touch, though. He will follow me through the house moving anything I've placed by a millimeter or two into the appropriate position. I've yet to shut the draperies properly, nor can I open them to his satisfaction. Don't mention the mini-blinds or I'll start frothing at the mouth. It's to the point that I won't touch them at all because he goes into such contortions correcting the horrible state in which I've left them.

Cooking can be fun too. He likes to follow me around pushing the trash can into my path to make sure I don't make a mess. He turns on lights. I turn them off. He turns them on. He is in charge of "Thermal Transfer" for any meat or casserole in the oven. Baked goods, however, intimidate him and he stays well away from the oven when it's occupied by cake, bread or pie. If I'm making a stir fry, and turn away from the stove, when I turn back he will have arranged the contents of the pan into a neat cone in the middle of the pan.

Sometimes I feel like I can't do anything right.


When we turned on the heat a month or so ago, I told him that the whole house humidifier wasn't working. This is not a hard thing to determine. If it's not working, my nose bleeds during the night. As my Mom would say, "If it was a snake, it would have bitten you."

He didn't think there was a problem, but kept an eye on the humidistats he has scattered about the house to monitor the situation. A few days later he informed me that the humidifier wasn't working (!) and that I should call the furnace company that had installed it.

So I called in the furnace repair guy who came out and confirmed that the humidifier wasn't working. It needed a part, which was under warranty, a couple of adjustments, and it was working fine again. No more nightly nose bleeds.

The next weekend, when he had time, the Engineer went down into the furnace room to inspect the repair.

O!M!G! Never had he seen such terrible workmanship! The supply valve had been set improperly! and this thing! and that thing! and the other thing! The Engineer spent most of a Saturday redoing the job the professional furnace guy had done.

Nobody can do anything properly except him (and the Twin.)


It's not me, it's him.

But it's still annoying as heck.

It's a good thing he's cute.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December 1, Rising From the Dead

November went by with flying fingers; my fingers flying over the keyboard. Not writing any blog posts, that is patently obvious. I signed up for a little excursion called NaNoWriMo -- National Novel Writing Month.

The premise of NaNoWriMo is that any goofus who has the desire should be able to write 50,000 words in a month. Yup, fifty thousand. Supposedly some people actually managed it. The NaNoWriMo web site claims a total of 2,147,483,647 words from all participants.

I did not manage 50,000 words. I made it to 36,378. Most of it dreck.

Ah well, that's a heck of a lot more words than I'd been producing. Now to try to keep on rolling, finish my first draft, then go back and prune the dreck.

And hope I have anything left...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Great Camera Phone Experiment

I'm headed off to the wild of North Carolina Thursday morning before the sun rises - the flight leaves at 5:55 a.m. (AAUUGGG!!!) I will be gone for almost two weeks. I don't think I want to carry the big camera with me, so I'm thinking of just using my cell phone instead.

The Engineer seems to be able to get some pretty decent shots with his. And isn't this exactly what I expect him to take a picture of. Looks almost like a professional ad, doesn't it.

So far my phone photos (is there a polite word for suck?) are less than stellar, but, what the heck. The Blair Witch Project has craptacular photography, maybe cell phone photography will make my blog immediate and exciting...
Or not.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Food Pictures I've Taken and Meant to Post

I've been a bad, lazy blogger, taking pictures and not posting them, so here are a few of the food photos.

A pretty pepper from my garden.

Fresh and healthy rabbit food.

Bitty grapes from the back yard and little plums from the farmers' market.

Jan Noodles -- Yum!

The Squash Sisters.
(You'll hear more about these girls in a few weeks.)

His Mistress

The Engineer got on the plane with her yesterday and flew off to a foreign land.


Okay, okay, so I'm being overly dramatic; Canada may technically be a foreign land, but it feels more like a sibling. He did fly off with her, though.

It seems like she's with him all the time these days -- ever since he met her really. Where he goes, she goes. He's alert to her every need. He is at her beck and call. He actually listens to her. She's new and shiny and trim. I don't know that there's any way I can compete.

Technology has trumped wife.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mr. Industrious

No, it's not the Engineer. It's the squirrel who lives in my back yard. He got his name a couple of years back when he filled every possible nook and cranny, including the lawnmower grass catcher, with pinecones. I made him a nice little storage shed and chummed it with some nuts. He ate the nuts and kept stuffing his pinecones into the grass catcher.
The house was painted over the last week - a good thing since it had been part yellow and part gray since the remodeling. Mr. Industrious, it turned out, did not like the house painter. The entire time the painter was working on the back of the house, Mr. Industrious was cussing, tail lashing and throwing chunks of pine tree at him.

This is not a new behavior on Mr. I's part, he's been throwing things at the cats for some time now. Don't know if he's ever managed to bonk one on the head, but often he'll keep it up until one of the girls runs up the tree after him.

Maybe that explains why he bombed the painter for so long - the painter didn't climb the tree after Mr. I.

This is what the bottom of the swimming pool looks like.I wonder if Mr Industrious realizes that it's his winter chow he's chucking?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


My Mother-in-law-in-law died Monday morning. She had been in a hospice home for just one week, muzzy on morphine and slowly fading.

She outlived her original three to six month prognosis by a full three months. Most of it she lived well, tiring easily but fully there mentally and pain free. I am sure that her husband, two daughters and four grandchildren are utterly bereft. How could they not be.

Her kindness and goodness shined out of her with a lambent glow. She had a quick wit. She delighted at winning when playing cards and lost gracefully. She understood the concept of "just a game." She had a kind word for everyone.

She was tiny, maybe five feet tall, maybe a hundred pounds - fully clothed and with shoes on. She had an astonishing amount of dark gray wavy hair. When she smiled her nose wrinkled and her eyes twinkled. I never saw her in a bad mood, though she was very human, so I know she must have had them sometimes.

I love her dearly. I will miss her terribly. And I know how very, very lucky I am to have known her. I will treasure that forever.

Goodbye Ember. Thank you. I love you.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Guess what we're having for dinner tonight.
And tomorrow night,

and the next night,

and the next...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Out Of It

As I read Monday morning's newspaper and scanned the list of the Emmy winners, I realized that I had not seen a single one of the winning shows.

Good Lord! What has being married to the Engineer done to me? I'm totally out of step with popular culture! I'll never be able to win at Jeopardy again!

Just sayin'.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


The Utah Dahlia Society is having it's first dahlia show next weekend. In their honor, here are a couple of dahlia photos.

If you're in the Salt Lake City area the weekend of September 26 & 27, head on down to the garden center at Sugarhouse Park and ogle some beauties.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ambystoma tigrinum

I went out today to empty the pool skimmer and saw a large lizard looking thing in the bottom of the deep end. It didn't look like a proper lizard, though, its corners were too rounded. I thought one of the next door neighborhood kids had thrown a rubber reptile over the fence to try to freak me out. Their mother, after all, had instructed them at an early age not only to throw any pinecones our trees dropped back over the fence, but to aim for the swimming pool. (No joke, I heard her telling them, "Throw it farther so you'll hit the pool.") I got the pool scoop out and swished the thing into the shallow end where I could more easily lift it out.

Immediately upon dumping it on the cement, I knew it was a salamander. A dang big, very dead salamander. How the heck did that thing get into my swimming pool?

A little Internet research told me that it's probably a melanistic tiger salamander -- tiger salamanders being the only species indigenous to Utah, and not uncommon.

Even though both cats thought it was totally gross, its bloated carcass grieved me. I like salamanders. I like the thought of them marching on their splayed out little legs around my yard. If only they'd stay away from the chlorinated swimming pool.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Trying To Get Organized

As one might guess from my prolific blog posting these last couple of months, I am not the best organizer in the universe. I don't think I ever got an "S" in "Makes good use of time" when I was in grade school. My Mom always told me, "If your head wasn't tacked on, you'd lose it."


I've tried calendars, multiple calendars, computerized daily schedules, punch lists and notes of all types. If the Engineer wants me to do something I tell him, "Write it down - BIG - and put it where I'll see it." Which kinda works until I dump something on top of his note. Or, since it's not tacked on, lose it.

When I was at a bookstore the last week in August, I saw an 18 month organizer on half price sale. The photo art on the cover and inside was less than inspiring, but it had stiff transparent plastic covers front and back and inside a monthly calendar page followed by a page per week subdivided into days.
So one last thrust at this getting organized thing. I am filling out the monthly calendar in advance, then writing a commentary on the week pages at each day's end. I'm writing out my daily ToDo list on little squares of paper and keeping them clipped under the transparent plastic cover. I've written the longer term StuffIGottaGetDone in the back notes section of the organizer.

Will it work?

Probably not, but so far I have been faithful in following the LastGaspSystem since September 1st. That's two whole weeks.

Cross your fingers for me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This One's For KC

Had the Initial Intermittent Meeting of the Ladies' Irregular Supper Club at my place last week; Kate, KC and BeadLady were in attendance. I had purchased picked-that-day corn at the local fruit stand as the vegetable and had placed it in my big stock pot on a steamer rack over boiling water.

Now my secret for corn on the cob is, I never salt the water -- I add a little sugar instead, only about half of a teaspoon. This works very well unless one lets the pan boil dry...

Which in the course of running in and out trying to keep an eye on the kabobs on the barbecue and everything else, is what happened. KC was in the kitchen when the pan went red hot, so she felt to blame. What can I say besides, I was the one who turned the burner on high with only a half inch of water in the pot. Mea culpa.

The pan was a mess, the entire bottom and about a half inch up the sides all black and blistered. Smelled lovely too. The corn was salvageable, pretty good in fact, despite a somewhat smoky flavor.

So I soaked the pan and scrubbed the pan, and soaked the pan and scrubbed the pan. Four days later, it looks like this. See, KC, no harm done.

Though I do wonder why whenever I do this that all the black stuff that comes off the pan seems to lodge under my fingernails.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The State of the Garden

The tomato plants in the raised bed are as high as an elephant's eye.
But all the tomatoes are still green.
The Spicy Globe Basil is ready -- I snipped off all the flowers after I took this picture.
Looks like we will actually be having a grape harvest this year.
Two full size peppers - picked one.
And in the 5 gallon pot, Silvery Fir Leaf Tomato, a determinant, has a couple of ripe fruits. I ate them and they were good.

Home From The Sawtooth Mountains

Didn't take too many pictures.

The vacation was something of a tangled web. Ain't that life sometimes. But the mountains are always beautiful, no matter how convoluted human relations get.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Off Away Into the Wild High Mountains

It's time for the annual Idaho trip. The Engineer insists that we leave before daybreak tomorrow morning. E- you again in a week or so.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Today in the Garden

The milkweed flowers have begun to wither. I'm afraid my timing for the milkweed documentation project is crummy. The Engineer and I are leaving Friday (altogether too early) in the morning for the annual Idaho trip. We will be gone eight days. I guess I'll have to turn my camera to the wilderness for a week and let the milkweed fend for itself.

And the tomatoes too. Hopefully some will start to color up while we're gone.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Mystery of Milkweed

I like milkweed. I don't care that it's a weed. I like it. I also like monarch butterflies; that makes it a win-win liking.

Sometimes I need to pay more attention, though. It's embarrassing to realize that I've recognized milkweed, plant, flower and seedpod, since I was a kid, but have never really considered how the umbel of flowers develops into the seedpod.

Guess that's what a camera's for. Documenting the world's interesting things.
Buds two days ago.
An umbel of flowers today.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Hey Kate, guess what I have...
A blue rose of sharon.

Figured that the lady of the "too blue garden" would appreciate it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

If You've Got It, Flaunt It!

Since this is only the second time in my life I can remember this happening, I figured I'd preserve it for posterity.


It's been unnaturally humid for Utah the last couple of days and my underwear wasn't wanting to cooperate as I donned it after my shower. By the time I got it on and the essentials jammed into place, everything was all humidity glued together in unusual positions. I was so astonished and delighted that I had to grab the camera to document that I do indeed have enough boob to make cleavage.

(Last time was when I was a gypsy for Halloween and stuffed three socks into each cup underneath the organic filling. Not particularly comfortable, but mildly spectacular.)

Returning On a Rant

Last time I did apheresis, as usual, I went to the snack area after they took the needle out of me.

Sigh, they've changed the kind of snackies they provide, no more Charles Chips cookies. Guess I'll take an Oat & Honey Granola Bar. Probably better for me. And no more bottled water in the refrigerator, nor any more 12 ounce cans of juice, just the little 5.5 ounce cans. Think I'll try apple juice today.

So I grabbed a granola bar and a can of apple juice and headed for my car.

Now I don't want you to think that the treats are the reason that I bleed in a bag biweekly - it's actually for the comfy chair, movie, and being waited on hand and foot.

I plopped down in the driver's seat and, popping the top on the juice can, took a swig.

Then I looked at it.

Geeze o' pete, how dumb is Welch's? How dumb do they think I am?

Please note the label: "100%
Apple Juice
and the small print,

If it's got "ADDED INGREDIENTS" it ain't 100% apple juice, now is it?

False advertising really puts my knickers in a twist. Torks me off royally. Why didn't they just leave off the "100%" so the can would be accurately labeled? Don't they know that impressionable school children could read that and have their math messed up forever? Some kid might decide flexible facts are the way to go and end up as a politician!
I think I've been married to an engineer too long.
The anal retentive is rubbing off on me.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow

Just stickin' my toe in, testing the temperature. It's been a long absence.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Flying On One Wing

and typing with one hand.

Reinjured an old injury, so my left arm is now in a sling and my brain on a painkiller (yay! horray! codeine!) The cats have appointed themselves my nurses. Unfortunately, cat nursing tends to involve climbing all over the afflicted human, shoving cat head into human face and purring loudly. This makes typing just a wee bit challenging. Won't know how long I'll be bound up until the X-rays come back (Monday?), so I shall bid y'all adieu for now.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Kingdom For a Pocket

What's the deal with the folks who design women's clothing? What do they have against pockets? You never see a pair of men's pants that lacks pockets. Even the majority of their shirts have pockets.

I want pockets too.

When you can't have what you want, however, you have to make due with what you do have. I tend to make due with my bra. I kinda realized that when I wanted to go downstairs with an apple last night and my hands were already full. Didn't even think about it; just stuffed it into the left side of my bra. (It's not as if there's a whole lot of competition for the space, I've never been what anyone would call voluptuous.)

Made a heck of a lump. Looked like my left breast was undergoing binary fission. Who says asexual reproduction can't be entertaining?

I carry my cell phone there frequently, tucking it right under where the strap and the cup join. Gives me a cheap thrill when my phone rings because I keep it in buzz mode.

Now that it's summer though, I've got to stop doing it -- when I'm out in public anyway. Under a light weight shirt, it makes a noticeable oblong bump on my chest.

It all started back in college, and I wasn't the one who initiated it...

Matilda was the loveliest pet rat ever. We lived in the dorm and she went every where with me. Her favorite place to ride was in that little gap in the front of the bra between the boobs. Did I ever get some weird looks when someone noticed I had an extra boob. And double takes when that extra boob moved. Sat a couple of guys down on their butts when she stuck her head out to see where we were going.

I miss Matilda; she was a good rat. Even though I wish for pockets, I'd never have made her ride in one. She deserved shotgun.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kid Humor

When I was a kid, gross humor was the absolute funniest. It made us feel b-b-b-baaaad to the bone. We were so sly and tricky, never figured the Parents knew we were singing "Tra la la POOP dee ay!" instead of "Tra la la boop dee ay!" We called each other "1-19-19" and cussed with gusto using "H-E-double hockey sticks!" And the mention of Lake Titicaca could make us laugh until we shot milk out of our noses.

We sang too.

Great big gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts,
Mutilated monkey meat,
Percolated birdie feet,
French fried eyeballs swimming in a pool of blood,
And me without my fork.

But I got my spoooon!

Of course we told jokes:

"No matter what I say, you have to say, "Pea Green Soup," okay?
"What did you have for breakfast?"
"Pea Green Soup."
"What did you have for lunch?"
"Pea Green Soup."
"What did you have for dinner?"
"Pea Green Soup."
"What did you do in bed all night?"
"Pea Green Soup."


We loved to play the blanket game on innocents. You'd put the kid under a blanket and tell him to "Give me what you need the least." Very few kids figured out that what they needed the least was the darn blanket before we got them pretty close to nekkid. (We were wicked, not evil, we never made anybody get down past their undies.)

When we did it to Nanny, she must have had about a hundred rubber bands in her pocket. Geeze o' pete! The joke was on us that time.

Now I'm officially a growed up (I could show you my driver's licence) and married to the Engineer. He is, to put it kindly, just a wee bit anal about most everything. Sunday, with much fuss and fanfare, he finally took the winter cover off the swimming pool. You must understand that the Engineer's PhD is in Chemical Engineering. Keeping the swimming pool water at absolute perfection is not optional, it's required. The Twin is a Chem E PhD as well. His pool is also always sparkling. They tease their older brother unmercifully because he has to hire a pool service to balance his pool every spring.

This year the Engineer's pool was unveiled very late and, under the cover, the pool water was green.

Opaque green!

If I still drank milk, I would surely shoot it out my nose!

Pea Green Pool!

I called OlderBrother and told him right away.

(Yes, I think my sense of humor is still mired in the second grade.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rain, Rain Has Come to Stay

This is Utah. And it's June. And it's raining. Every day. How bizarre.The cats are disgruntled. Kate at High Altitude Gardening is grooched. Even I, rain lover that I am, am starting to weary of it. But sing out the mantra, sing it loud, sing it joyously:
"It's good for the flowers!"If ever I can find a dry day to get them into the sodden ground...