When The Morning Cries and You Don’t Know Why

Remember last year when I planted only 2 tomato plants? And the angry raccoon tore up the walls of water where one of the plants lived?

The plant lived on but never recovered. It was supposed to be a prolific yellow cherry tomato plant but it barely grew to a foot and I got about 10 tomatoes off of it.

I saved some seeds and started one on the window sill. See arrow above. I was determined to get my prolific yellow cherry tomatoes.

The rest of those are 2 tomatoes, 4 cucumbers, and 4 Anaheim pepper plants.

Look how healthy and happy it looks, ready for it’s big new life outside.

Then: tragedy.

This was not an angry raccoon. This was operator error. I knew it was kinda tricky getting the walls of water to balance right so I was extra careful.

But not extra careful enough. I looked outside a couple of hours later to see the ruin. Poor little yellow cherry tomato. It is not to be for us.

I have one more tomato on the window sill that I can transfer to this spot.

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Must Have Died Laughing

When I was in those terrible teen years where you want to get out and do things but you can’t drive and you have no money, I had a couple of friends that liked to make prank phone calls.

I liked the prank calls but I wasn’t much for doing them myself.

One prank was to call information (also called directory assistance) and ask questions like how to bake cookies or get spaghetti stains out of a white T-shirt. We thought this was HILARIOUS.

We also liked to call radio stations to request songs like “You Light Up My Life” and Linda Ronstadt songs from that album with her wearing a satin jacket on the cover.

We also tried to win things. I once won an album called Livin’ on the Fault Line by the Doobie Brothers.

We also would call random numbers and ask questions like, “Is your refrigerator running?”

“Oh yeah? Well you better go catch it.”

HAHAHA. Oh, we were so funny.

One time my friend left this long message on someone’s answering machine informing them that sadly, someone they knew had died. Our message had no details such as who died, or how it happened that we were the ones charged with imparting this information.

As soon as we were done I felt really guilty. I ran upstairs to another extension (Do kids today even know this? That a household would have one phone line with phones in different rooms and everyone had to share?) and I called the number back to tell them it was a joke.

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I’m More Wild Than This Fruit

It never fails that when I finally sit down to post something, I only have about three minutes. Here’s the three minute report:

Bob bought me this giant frozen fruit bag for my blender drinks. My teeth are doing pretty good and blender drinks aren’t as necessary as they were a year ago at this time, but it’s an easy way for me to get some nutrition in me when I’m in the middle of too many things.

It includes sliced bananas, strawberries and “wild” blueberries. I don’t believe they are wild.

Does anyone really need a recipe for a blender drink?

Here’s the update on the raccoon: it showed up 3 times in 5 days which worried me. So then I did some research and animal control does nothing. Here, the raccoons belong to the fish and wildlife department and they suggest that you just deal with it unless it’s a danger. If it’s a danger you can call some wildlife experts to give you a quote on removal. It was hard not to imagine all the dollar signs in that nugget of information.

I fretted about it and then Raccy seemed to disappear in the middle of the day which was weird. The same day I was taking the compost out and found a worrisome collection of blue feathers near the hedge.

Since then I have seen the blue jays and I assume some of their babies so no worries there. I have not seen any sign of Raccy so maybe this was just a crash pad and it’s off living a great life somewhere else.

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Playground Competition

This is what a busy intersection in downtown Portland looks like on a weekday during quarantine. It was painful not to be able to take advantage of all that street parking.

When I was in elementary school the playground had a set of hanging rings in a circle — I can’t believe I can’t find a photo of this type of thing to link to. I guess this isn’t hasn’t been normal playground equipment in eons.

They were tricky to do — you had to learn how to swing your body around to get from one to the next and then you needed to time it just right so you could re-catch the swinging rings once you completed the circle and were going for another round.

I finally learned how to do it. I think maybe me and a friend rode our bikes over there on weekends to practice? I don’t think there would have been enough time at recess. There was always a line to get on and if you were taking a turn and you missed the next ring you had to jump off and let the next person go.

On Fridays after school there was a contest on the playground for who could catch the most rings and I thought I had a chance. I was really timid in elementary school (or my entire life) so it was a big deal that I even tried.

I made it the first lap around but couldn’t figure out the timing and I can still clearly see myself hanging from one arm back and forth trying to catch that swinging ring.

The girl who won was one grade ahead and the mean older sibling of one of my friends. She won the contest every week. I can’t remember the prize. Candy?

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Little Free Libraries

I had a pile of books here ready to go to the library sale but since we aren’t doing that right now I decided to take a walk and drop them off at some of the little free libraries in our neighborhood.

Turns out there are a lot of little free libraries in our neighborhood. We already knew of a few that we wanted to visit and in the process of trying to locate them found at least three more that we didn’t know about including this incredible Tardis library that I instantly fell in love with. Bob liked the one where you could hear jazz music coming from the house.

The first thing I did at every library we visited was tidy it up. I put all the mass paperbacks together and moved around the larger books so that all the spines faced outward. If there was more than one title by the same author, I put those together.

Bob muttered: daughter of a librarian.

I’m sad to say that about 90% of the books were complete garbage — terrible best sellers from 20 years ago. Ancient business type books. Old catalogs. One book was falling apart so I took it and threw it away.

Bob found a book of David Lynch interviews which he took. Most of the books we left were really great, published in the last 5 years, and not accidentally dropped in the bathtub.

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Wild Life

There’s a hole in the hedge outside my window and I’ve been wondering if a critter was hanging out in there.

Yesterday morning the hedge was shaking and I spotted a little bit of brown fur and then its little bandit face. It slept there all day. I tried to see when it left at night but it was too dark. It did not return and I’m happy about that because I don’t really want a raccoon living in our hedge full time.

We walk through there and do yard work and I don’t want a frightened raccoon flying out and biting me. I plan to monitor to see what its habits are. Maybe it was just goofing off and didn’t have time to get home so had to crash on our couch.

We also have blue jays nesting in the other end of the hedge by the fence. I see them out in the yard all the time but the minute I get the camera out they vanish. Hopefully my poorly executed Photoshop will help you spot it.

This is where the nest is. I was out checking the garden and I could hear all kinds of peeping and carrying on.

You can also see I’ve got my tomato plants out in their little greenhouses.

Photo not by me, photo by tonynetone. Thank you for CC photos.

Also this week we saw Noah (next door cat) wandering through the yard on the way home with a rodent in his mouth. We texted the neighbor “incoming!” She texted us back a picture of a mole (not a rodent but no need for a science lesson here) and conveyed her thrill at the cat’s thoughtfulness. We didn’t save the photo so I found this one.

When you search “mole” images you also get pictures of sauce. It took me second to figure out that one.

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The Faulty Burrito

A long time ago when I worked in LA and we still got handed a check for payday, I would go out on my lunch break to my credit union to deposit my check.

There was a well known taco chain restaurant near the credit union and sometimes I would stop there and pick up lunch for myself and some of my colleagues.

One time I was in there and while I was waiting this lady went up to the counter and started berating the clerk because her burrito was folded wrong (her actual complaint) and when she took a bite, she spilled taco sauce on her fancy work dress. She demanded that she be reimbursed for her dry cleaning expense. It’s probably worth mentioning that I was in an area populated with people from the entertainment industry.

I don’t know how it came out but I would die of embarrassment before I asked a restaurant to pay for my dry cleaning because I spilled food on myself.

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Baking Bread

Since we are spending so much time in the kitchen these days, we have done some light rearranging to try to make things we use the most often easier to grab. I was hoping I had one of those storage drawers in the bottom of my oven that somehow I never knew about in the last 20 years. I pulled at the thing that looked like a handle and it popped off and revealed a dusty space and a big black spider scurrying off.

Oh well.

I think I already mentioned it once but I will mention it again, Kenji’s cooking videos are fantastic. Most of them are him cooking in his own kitchen making things he likes and dispensing little instructional nuggets. This is my favorite treat in the afternoons when my brain is tired.

He did a no knead bread video and I used this to change my technique. I thought that the really wet dough was a mistake and I was adding more flour. I was wrong. I also preheat my Dutch oven much longer and do a shorter cooking time. I’m still using sourdough starter.

The bread has come out fantastic. (Didn’t take picture of crumb. Too busy eating it. Sorry.)

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Here Figgy Figgy

Do you see what I see?

Yes, looks like Percy will give us a few figs this summer. I can’t wait! Except I have no choice.

I’m having some trouble dealing today. It feels like I spend so much more time on the computer. Every time I think I’m finished there’s some work thing I need to follow up on, or some financial thing that needs to be investigated, or some person that I have neglected to check in on.

I’ve been trying to get out to the backyard to putter and get some fresh air for almost an hour but I keep getting derailed. I’m going out there now.

I received an update from my dental insurance yesterday and I burned through my entire benefit by February 26. Yay me! My tooth feels better and I am super grateful that my tooth imploded before all this stuff happened. To the extent a person can be grateful about an imploded tooth.

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Apple Blossoms!

Remember the story of our old pretty apple tree’s demise and its replacement tree Sybil?

The tree has pretty apple blossoms right now. The tree isn’t big enough to handle more than a couple of tiny apples but I can’t wait to see what happens.

In other news, you maybe wondering if there is any news about the neighbors. It has been quiet over there. Only two cars. I’ve occasionally heard people out there at night. St. Patrick’s day was rowdy but not enough to complain about.

Until last weekend. Cabin fever setting in? They were loud enough to wake me up but I was willing to live with it and then the shouting started. And then screaming — it sounded like it was outside our window. Not like murder just like a furious, frustrated person.

I called 911. Later we saw EMTs and a fire truck over there.

I don’t know what was going on. I think it was a family dispute. We joked around about Glady Kravits because we were peeking out the window trying to figure out what was going on.

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