Category Archives: doing it wrong

Puny Crop

This is the current state of the garden. The cucumber shriveled up during the first sign of cold. There are some beets, carrots, and a few gourd-things. But it’s done.

Now that I’m writing more I’ve been reading less again. Since I finished Fates and Furies last month I haven’t been able to settle on a new book to read.

I don’t want to read anything too fat. I don’t want to start a series. I don’t want anything complicated with a lot of plot/world building to remember.

My one lone blue hubbard squash. Not sure if this is even enough for a pie.

I picked up one book but the front matter says that although it’s not a pure sequel, the events take place after the events of an earlier book and I would rather read that first. So I put it back.

I went through and picked and discarded several other books before finally decided that I wanted to try this one author that’s been on my list forever.

The book is fairly chubby and has tiny writing but I convinced myself the time was right.

I started reading and it opens something like “D’artaigna of the Clan Meash-Regal, Son of Ashtigous and Priest of the Temple Star-Desert walked through the Temple of the Turtle-Lemon, and its white-scarf wearing Priests bowing for their thrice daily prayers to the Gods of the W’thleta Lake. He savored the regithinia leaf under his tongue and considered the festival of the quinfinig’arnan blossoms and his promise to his Uncle Liet’momanta” … and so like that for several pages. I really tried to hang in there but after about 5 pages I threw the book across the room.

This is it for the pumpkins. Very skimpy crop this year. I’m going to buy a big old pumpkin at the farmer’s market.

I dug through my to-read shelf again and thought I’d read the second book by an author I read before. I read the first book in almost one sitting. This latest book is tragically terrible. I’m only going to finish it out of loyalty to the first book but this is a chore. Maybe the publisher rushed the author to get another book out and cash in on the success of the first. It’s a mess.

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Rash Report

How do people take photos of their own arm with one hand? It took me awhile to get this and when I finally got a photo I got about 15.

I know this looks terrible but actually it’s a lot better. I have a little bit of sensation in a few spots but I’m operating as usual.

What seems like a great idea in June when there’s a coupon deal and is a giant stupid chore in October?


I vaguely remembered that I had ordered them but half hoped that maybe they wouldn’t be delivered or that I hadn’t ordered that many.


On Sunday I got home from my soccer match at about 4pm and threw on my yard clothes and ran out and worked like a maniac as the sun slowly went down and Bob held up dinner. When I went back in the house he said, “All finished?”

I said, “NO! That was only two little bags.”

But the rewards will come in spring.

While I’m here, would you like an update on the neighbors?

In August they woke us up almost every day for two weeks including a Wednesday morning at 3am. I called the neighbor and the leasing agent. Two days later they were out in front of our house carrying on at 4:30am.

That was the end of me trying to be reasonable about it.

I called the neighborhood police officer and I went to the property records and wrote a letter to the address listed for that house. I have been told that the owners live abroad and that address is a local family member.

Police officer talked to them and said they were apologetic and receptive. At this point I’m thinking they are used to trouble and know what to say but don’t really care. We have been instructed to phone 911 when there is a noise complaint which I have done once — dying of embarrassment to call emergency and complain about people yelling. The leasing agent said they talked to the tenant again about the noise. I also rallied the neighbor on the other side.

It’s been mostly better — I guess they told their friends not to park in front of our house and they move inside more quickly. Now we don’t have the windows open so that helps.

I saw the tenant out there mowing the lawn and felt bad — she has who knows how many people crashing over there. Why is she doing the lawn?

Then a loud motorcycle pulled up last night and people were talking in front at 1:30am. (And I did not call it in. That’s the drag because I have to get out of bed and get on the phone and describe what’s going on. It has to get pretty bad for me to be motivated to do that.)

I rescind my feeling bad.

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What I’ve Been Up To

I came back from Orleans with a giant box of vegetables, a good supply of apples, a handful of weird photos, and a nasty case of poison oak. WARNING: gruesome photo below. Well, more gruesome than my photos of dead things.

This is a dead bat I found in the trailer when I arrived. I’m not sure why but it majorly creeped me out and I had to get my 81 year old mother to come over and deal with it. She picked it up with a paper towel and threw it in the driveway.

Remarks: It was kinda squishy.

This is a dead frog I saw on my walk with Auntie and BG. I was wandering around one of the most beautiful places on the planet and this dead frog caught my eye to be photographed. I’m not sure where my head was at.

I’m not posting it but I also took a photo of my dad’s nightstand because I thought the bottle of Tanqueray together with 2 flashlights, tissues, and clock with ENORMOUS numbers was hilarious. Also not shown: my dad’s black eye and bruised noggin from where he fell. He couldn’t see how bad the eye was with his glasses on so I took the photo for him.

I have been almost completely sidelined by the worst case of poison oak I have ever had in my life x1000. This is the not-gross arm. It starts at my fingers and goes up my forearms. On the bad arm my elbow crease looks like a sponge with a vicious red fungus growing on it. The rash goes up to my bicep on the bad arm.

This is my “good” arm. I also got some around my eye and around both ankles. I had to go to the doctor and get a prescription creme and lots of sympathetic, “oh nos.”

I was whacking some stuff back and I saw it after it was too late so I knew I’d gotten into it. When I finished my work I very did the whole cleaning protocol and wiped down everything I touched and washed my clothes and scrubbed off my shoes. But it was super hot and I was all sweaty and I guess it was the perfect environment to really dig in and do its damage. It’s been hard to sleep, move, dress, and enjoy life. I spent the weekend on the couch feeling wretched and whining.

I also finished Season 2 of Deadwood.

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Reno Trip

I’ve been sitting on these photos of our little adventure to Reno but now I can’t find my notes.

I had to go for a work thing and Bob came with me. The work thing turned out great — I really enjoyed it and then in our off time Bob and I had a few adventures.

The resort did a fancy pool remodel so we went swimming one night. Of course it was the night that the wind whipped up and we were out there with our teeth chattering DETERMINED to enjoy that pool.

One night we left the resort and went and had a nice dinner and stopped into the art museum for a terrific Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit. (“Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern takes a new look at how the renowned modernist artist proclaimed her progressive, independent lifestyle through a self-crafted public persona—including her clothing and the way she posed for the camera”) and a wonderful exhibit by a native artist name Jack Malotte that I regret I didn’t have more time with.

The photo above shows reflections that come from the building across the way and completely unintentional.

We were leaving a few days before Burning Man ended. The airport was prepared.

Here’s a quick story about potatoes: my garden produced a mountain of potatoes this year. There’s got to be at least another 6 pounds out there in addition to the 4-5 pounds in the drawer.

We mostly eat them in potato salad.

I loved roasted potatoes but until recently I could never figure out a good way to make them yummy. Whenever we roasted potatoes they it seemed like they would be bland or dried out and chewy so I never wanted to cook them that way.

The Food Lab potato salad recipe calls for cooking the potatoes a specific way. (Science behind it here.)

I don’t follow that recipe exactly because everyone has to make potato salad their own way but I adapted the potato cooking part for my roasted potatoes like this:

I half-assed peel a bunch of garden potatoes, put them in a pot, cover with cold water and depending on how many I’m cooking add equal ratio 1-2 T of salt-sugar-vinegar, bring to a boil and simmer until fork tender. Then I drain, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in the oven 15-20 minutes at 400.

This has succeeded brilliantly every time.

I’m off to California in the morning to hang out with family. In a hurry as always so publishing without proofreading – living dangerously.

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The next day was our 23rd wedding anniversary. We slept in and planned our day more carefully.

We were more mindful during our walk to the shuttle and spotted some of the places where we screwed up — like the street with the “No outlet” sign that did have an outlet for our purposes. Back at the park, we watched a couple of bands and then hopped on the shuttle and got off in town. There we had a big, delicious, and fortifying meal to get us through the rest of the day.

There was a chalkboard in the restroom and someone had written two names and that they were celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary. Underneath someone was celebrating their first. I added us to the list.

As we waited for the shuttle to take us back, a black Corvette cruised by cranking bluegrass.

A punk rock busker sang his heart out across the street. Bob went over to BS with him and make a donation. Later wished he’d asked his name. He decided it would be Cheese-Bong.

Back at the festival, we got to see Jeff Tweedy! Hannah will never forgive me for not mentioning him in the first post.

He was fantastic and hilarious. When he got on stage he told us it was his birthday (52!)(Also: our wedding anniversary is the same day as Jeff Tweedy’s birthday!) and he joked that he was full of cantaloupe.

Later I found an explanation in this tweet. If you don’t want to click — a local farmstand put up a sign asking Jeff Tweedy to stop for a free cantaloupe. The pictures are cute.

We finished at 9pm on the second day and took the shuttle back and didn’t get turned around once finding our place.

Here’s a deer that wandered into the yard while we were drinking our morning tea before we left.

Random festival observation: Artists still call them records.

Another observation and casual conversation I had with more than one person: people were nice and well behaved. I didn’t see any wasted people staggering around making trouble. Also completely age diverse crowd: kids, young people, moms and dads, olds.

On the way home there was a car pulled to the side of the highway. In the distance you could see a guy walking with a gas can. He was a big guy with lots of red hair and a giant beard. As we drove by someone stopped to give him a ride.

It was a fun weekend. I could be convinced to return to this festival.

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FESTIVAL!! Day 1.5

For certain events there were problems keeping with the schedule. We waited for 45 minutes to see Lindy West and then found out that they hadn’t even started the event scheduled before her.

This ended up okay because when we gave up we were able to see John C. Reilly.

For our last event of the night, we went to the Officer and A Gentleman reading which was great. At the end the cast and audience did “Up Where We Belong” karaoke. I would have been bummed if “Up Where We Belong” didn’t fit in there somehow.

By the time it finished it was 12:45 am. Event organizers said the shuttles would continue until everything ended but we didn’t want to risk a walk back to the shuttle stop if that wasn’t true. The schedule said shuttles ended at midnight.

We were somewhat prepared for this and knew it was about a 1/2 hour walk to our room.

That might be true but it’s a half hour walk for people who know where they are going. The light situation ranged from dim to dark to completely dark and we got turned around several times. Bob’s phone battery was long dead. When we were close but still not sure where we were going, my phone decided that using the flashlight and GPS at the same time was hard and it wasn’t doing a good enough job so it shut itself off. 

Now we had two dead phones and had to try to find this place in the dark in the middle of the night with only a vague notion where we were going.

We stumbled back and forth and finally made it back to the room at 2am.

Bob said it was 25 years ago we went to Lollapalooza together — our first festival. I said: and today is our last!

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Port Townsend is exceptionally beautiful but also, it smells like bad cabbage and farting goats.

Just as we turned into town we saw a big deer and a baby deer. My notes say to show a photo. I did not take a photo of this.

Bob booked an airbnb–this was part of how he tricked me, it was a good rate and he wanted to grab it while he could–Do it! I said, happily pliable with anesthesia.

It was a room in someone’s house and it was perfect. We took a quick nap and took off for the day, heading for the shuttle stop.

The venue was Fort Worden Historical State Park and parking was limited so the organizers worked out parking lots with shuttles. Our room was about a half hour walk from Fort Worden and a short walk from a shuttle stop. Remember this piece of information for later.

As we walked down the hill we saw a shuttle and ran and waved to catch it. We were the first ones on the bus. The bus drove a long route and many happy people with backpacks and sunhats boarded. Already we were having fun.

This is our shuttle driver cosplaying my dad. Like the way he uses his phone while he drives the bus?

This music festival was exactly like the other ones I’ve done: the fun parts were super fun, but the not fun parts were terrible. I’m not really music festival material. Maybe if I did drugs? I think you have to be able to just relax and go with whatever is happening. I can’t get over the desire for things to follow a schedule and proceed in an orderly fashion.

Fun parts: Everywhere you look around Port Townsend is beautiful. The weather was sunny but mild. People were super friendly. I didn’t know much about the music so enjoyed it in the moment and it was a wide variety and really fun.

This is my new favorite: Black Belt Eagle Scout — I have waited my entire life to see an indigenous woman lead a band like this.

We also saw John C. Reilly, the actor, who has a band that does bluegrass/classic country/folk songs and he was AMAZING. He is so funny and genuine and charming. He seems like someone you could be friends with.

We loved Orville Peck., Giants in the Trees and Cafe Tacvba We liked everything we saw but I can’t remember them all. Here’s a link to the complete lineup: Thing NW.

Welcome to The Thing festival.

Officer and A Gentleman was filmed in this town and there was a late night reading of the script with some local actor/podcast type people plus John C Reilly as the Lou Gossett Jr. character. That big building behind the stage is the blimp hangar where they big beatdown scene took place.

So now for the not fun parts: everything else. There were organizational problems and long lines for everything. The food was expensive and not very good. There weren’t enough vendors so the ones there were working like crazy, running out of stuff, and completely harried. There was a very long, special line to buy booze tickets and you had to pay for booze with the tickets. There was no work around. The schedule fell apart for some of our events and communication was poo.

This would bite us in the boodini, later.

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Box of Sweaters

The purpose of this photo is to show you how tall that one sunflower is. I think it’s still growing. A couple more inches and it will be taller than the shed. I know the garden looks like a disaster here. I’ve cleaned up part of it.

This morning I got up early, ready to tackle all the odds and ends of life including a bunch of things that I have been putting off forever.

One of the things I have been putting off forever is a warning box for this website, telling me I had to update something. I clicked around looking for the directions and then clicked some more and then when I updated it, it announced that [I broke my email.]

This is a huge over-simplification because I don’t want you to pass out from boredom while you read this.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t really put off fixing my email for later so I spent the morning swearing and pulling my hair out and thinking about cocktails.

It works now but the whole thing created new problems that I need help before I can fix. Or maybe I will live without.

As we were preparing to go off for our day of festival-ing Bob pondered over which sweater to bring. “What is that?” I asked. “That’s my box of sweaters I keep in the car,” he told me. “These are important sweaters,” he added.

I’m going to break this story up into a few posts.

Last week we had our main summer adventure.

When I was recovering from my endoscopy and still high on anesthesia, Bob tricked me into agreeing to go to a music festival out of town.

It might seem strange to some people that we would run off to a music festival right after we lost Priscilla but Bob was determined and the festival was in the town where Priscilla grew up, so there was a connection. Off we went.

We got up early Saturday morning for our drive north.

Like this map? We thought it was helpful, too.

It was a beautiful morning. Right before we got to Kalama a whole bunch of motorcycles whizzed by. They weren’t big bikes – more like sporty bikes. They zoomed by one by one like bumblebees.

By 9:30 we were already at Potlatch State Park.

This is a terrible picture of a beautiful place.

Back in the car, Bob started talking about music and said something about Harry Chapin and how dramatic his songs are. I immediately burst into my most dramatic rendition of Without You which turns out, is not Harry Chapin, it’s Harry Nilsson. Harry Chapin is the Cats in the Cradle guy. I said I thought that was Cat Stevens. Cat Stevens is the Wild World guy. I did correctly know that Jim Croce is the Time in a Bottle guy.

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Farewell Priscilla Feb 4 1928 – Aug 22 2019

Here’s young Priscilla instilling a love of reading in the older son, Bob.

We lost my wonderful mother-in-law Priscilla just over a week ago. It wasn’t completely unexpected yet seemed to happen so fast.

She was a wife, mother, school teacher, mystery reader, music lover, photographer’s assistant, fabulous comfort food cook, sneaky sense of humor, zoo docent and lover of animals, great with kids and had an endlessly generous heart.

She raised two terrific sons who doted on her to the very end. It’s going to be weird without her.

Here she is, zoo volunteer.

I have a box of her recipes that I hope to go through and cook and then post some of the classics. My husband will love this project.

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Everything All At Once

These are lemon cucumbers.

There are a lot of major things going on that need to be put here but as per my entire life, everything is happening at the same time and I can’t get to it right now. I am hoping over the holiday weekend I can catch up.

Meanwhile, lemon cucumbers are one of my favorite garden treats and I have intermittent success growing them. The last time I was successful I planted an entire package of seeds and ended up with about 6 good plants.

This year I planted a bunch of seeds two different times and I had two sad little stems that never did anything. Late into the season I was walking into the grocery store and passed the clearance plant rack and there was a lemon cucumber. After a brief hesitation, I put it in my cart.

I planted it and fertilized it and was thrilled to see it take off.

Do these look like lemon cucumbers to you?

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