Friday, May 30, 2008

Russell: Neighborhood Enforcer (aka Provider for "The Family")

We are so proud. We didn't know he had it in him to catch a bird. He has managed to get a few shrews but a bird is a big deal for him. He brought it in to us and then promptly ignored it. It took quite a few snapshots just to get this one of him near the bird. It is up to us to dispose of the body.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

More Plants. Don't Fall Asleep

Living so long without seasons caused me to forget an important item. Spring makes winter worth the trouble. I am really digging all the shades of green in the world with punches of floral color. All flooding and freezing are forgiven, at least until next winter.

This yellow flower might be scotchbroom. I am not sure. Scotchbroom is a tough weedy bushy thing that we have been warned about.

Look closely and you will see a worker bee in this photo.

I was listening to my "Country Mice" playlist on this walk and the two theme songs for the walk are "Sandusky" by Uncle Tupelo and "Hasn't Hit Me Yet" by Blue Rodeo. This made for a more leisurely walk than I needed. Drew served us a bathtub size basket full of tater tots the night before and I probably should have found something with a few more beats per minute. Good soul searching music though. My brain thanks me but my arteries do not.

Scooby Doo! Where are You? or Country Style Scrabble

A few days ago I had a post about roadside garbage. One of the items I photographed was the letter G.

Today on my walk I took a different road and found the letters C, K, O, P, X & the number 8. I spun up a little mystery in my head. I think a pre-school teacher has been kidnapped. As she was driven away she threw pieces of her visual aide for the day out through a hole in the trunk as clues. Everybody get your Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys thinking caps on.

Look!! Bunnies!!

I took this a few days ago on my walk. The bunnies are totally tharn. They are hoping that I won't see them if they are very, very still. They ran away as soon as I took another step.

The theme song for this walk was Guns n' Roses' Welcome to the Jungle.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Woe is Me!!

How did the Universe let me miss THIS? A Cupcake battle of titans certainly would have been worth a plane ticket back to Los Angeles.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Alone (or 1 is the lonliest . . . )

I thought I wanted to be alone all day but I ended up just feeling lonely. My walk this morning was nice. Then I spent a few hours scrubbing the Sister House ceiling with bleach water - not so nice. I rewarded my Cinderella labor with dinner and a movie at the Olympic Club (Leatherheads - worth the $3 admission and not much more, and Mac & Cheese - not worth the calories). Now, as the day nears an end I feel that I am done being alone and am delighted that Matt returns home tomorrow. Not a minute too soon. My playlist is all played out. I added 2 songs to that playlist by the way, both by Delays: Nearer than Heaven & Hideaway.

My Morning Walk

This is the first spring I have noticed Rhododendrons. I am sure that they have bloomed in other places I have lived. Maybe it is because they are such a welcome sight here after a long rainy winter. I can tell that I have a budding obsession with them. I can't wait to plant some in our yard.

Hello to you too.

One of the elk in this herd is lame. I tried not to spook them when I took the picture but they trundled off anyway. The lame elk limped along behind. I am not sure what predators the elk have here beside man. Tom told me that there are bears around. One time when I was up here looking for property we saw a cow carcass sitting at the end of somebody's driveway. Tom said that people will put out their dead animals and the bears will come and dispose of the body for them. I don't know if he was pulling my leg or not.

A deer caught in the indelicate act of pooping. This is just off the driveway. I was more alert this time and had my camera ready so when my singing self walked up the drive I could photograph the fleeing deer.

I also saw no fewer than 12 blue/grey minivans. I wonder what that means in Christopher's world of absolutes and minimal second chances.

On the March to $5 p/gallon. le sigh

Friday, May 23, 2008

The United States of America

Non-garbage pics from my morning walk

Fuzzy green things.

Hold me closer, tiny iris.

I almost was able to get some close-ups of the neighborhood deer but I had my iPod on too loud plus I was singing, (yes I was! - at the top of my lungs to boot) so I didn't hear them but they sure heard me and bounded across the driveway right in front of me. Drew asked what are the pluses to living out in the boondocks. Singing where no one can hear is big. I suck at singing but I really enjoy it when the right song comes on. Same goes for dancing. Strictly for my pleasure and nobody else's.

Collage O' Garbage

I took my camera on my walk this morning so I could photograph some flowers and greenery and instead I ended up with a photo essay on what pigs some people in the neighborhood can be. Litterbugs in Paradise. Why? Why? I just don't understand. A few of the garbage "highlights": a diaper, a birth control wrapper, the letter "G", and beer cans/bottles for miles. Scary.

Update: You might be wondering why I don't get my lazy butt out there with a garbage bag and do something. I have in the past and I intend to in the future but I didn't have a bag or gloves on this particular day so it was strictly documentation without action.

Foundation crew be damned

We are moving forward and they will just have to catch up. This shot is looking at our east facing bedroom wall with an opening for french doors. Tom is outside now framing more walls. I am working on an illustration for a client and will go out to help when I finish up.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Curses! Foiled Again!

The foundation and subfloor guys were back again today to fix a bunch of stuff. Tom really took the company to task for a million little things that were done poorly so they are attempting to put things right. We also should be getting a little money back from them. As I left to go on my walk today they were beginning to put a coating of some sort on the exterior foundation walls so they won't be so ugly. There was a problem with the initial pour and so there are quite a few pockmarks. As I was returning from my walk they passed me on the road. Apparently the product they purchased to coat the walls was falling off and not sticking like it should so they are going to go find something else and return on Monday. Maybe the Sister House is full of bad karma. I don't really believe that. I feel overwhelmingly positive whenever I go in to work on the house. It just seems that everything surrounding the house is turning to crap.

Gassy and Bloated

Last night, on my drive to and from Chehalis to watch the American Idol finale at the Market Street Pub, I noticed that every gas station from Winlock to Napavine had 87 octane hovering at $3.99. It seems no station wants the bad karma of stepping into the $4.00 zone. With $4/gallon imminent I have taken a look at the places I drive and broken them down by round trip price (28mpg because, though Friq and Fraq are nice little cars, they are old and don't quite get the mpgs of days gone by).
Tom and Kathy: $3.52
Chehalis: $5.29
Centralia: $6.80
Olympia: $13.19
Portland: $21.43
Seattle: $30.14
If I were to drive to Utah it would cost me: $266.47
When we lived in Los Angeles I didn't drive very much. Many things were within walking distance so I only used the car a few times a week. On the other hand, Matt had kind of a murderous commute. His daily round trip was over 60 miles so at today's gas prices that would be $48.55 p/week. Maybe since he isn't commuting and since we don't leave the immediate Winlock area on a daily basis it all evens out somehow.

Speaking of gas prices and Los Angeles, I posted this on my old blog on July 12, 2005. You have to scroll down past the "David" house pics to see what I am talking about. At the time I thought that price was so colossally bad that it warranted documentation. Silly, naive me.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Wildwood Revisited (aka food porn)

What did I do after I dropped Matt off at PDX yesterday? I went to Wildwood (again) and submerged myself in delicious dining.

shaved radish, fennel and parsley
I don't even know where to begin extolling the virtues of this soup. It was a very hot day in Portland yesterday and this cool, grassy bowl of genius was just the ticket.

garlic confit, globe artichokes and pumpkin seed salad
I ordered this dish based on 3 words: pumpkin seed salad. And look at it. So simple and yet so perfect. The lasagne itself was tasty but it was the greens and seeds that really did it for me.

rosemary honey ice cream and warm apricot-fig compote
Please. What more need I say?

The Dirty Little Secret in My Freezer

My supplier, Phil, really hooked me up. I got a major discount on my "fix" of choice. Let me illustrate one of the benefits of small town living. Phil works at Cedar Village, our local grocery story. This is the sort of place where the pharmacist knows my name and the checkers are very discrete in keeping their knowledge of my junk food habits on the down low. I polished off the Jeno's Cheese Pizza supply at Cedar Village awhile ago. I kept waiting for them to restock but I guess nobody noticed it was gone. Sigh. So I started to squeak my wheel and Phil ordered me a couple of cases. I was buying them 4 at a time but today Phil told me that if I just bought the whole case I could save a pile of money. So I did and now that I look at the stacks o' pizza in the freezer I wonder what I was thinking. It can't be possible to still be a fan of Jeno's cheese after 12 pizzas, can it?

Don't ask me to describe my love for this particular frozen pizza. I can't explain. One big selling point right now though is that it is the only brand that will fit in my toaster oven. So, bonus.

Yes. I am a consumer. I consume.

I try not to go too crazy purchasing a bunch of stuff I don't need. Once in a while I end up with a pair of shoes or a shirt that wasn't on my shopping list but for the most part I keep my consumption to a minimum (I wonder if Matt will laugh when he reads that last sentance). I surprised myself yesterday while in Portland and left a store called Cargo with this in hand:

A life-size ceramic bust with bugs painted on it? Yes! Absolutely a must have. I don't know how I have managed so far in life without it. As I was carrying it to the car (I didn't have them bag it) a passerby remarked, "well, you don't see that everyday." Precisely.

Birds in the House

Re this post about the hatchlings, here is a semi-recent picture. I was worried that we would have to tear down the wall before they flew away but with the extra delays regarding the foundation straps I am sure that these little tweeters needn't worry.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hope Not Fear

Today I was driving up to Chehalis on I-5 when a car came up beside me all a honking on the horn. Now the first thing that comes to mind when someone comes up beside me honking is that flames must be shooting out the back of my car. The second thing that comes to mind is that perhaps I have inadvertently run over something (or someone) and am dragging a carcass along behind me. Neither was the case today. The people in the other car were just Obama supporters (based on their bumper stickers) responding to my own Obama bumper sticker. We live deep in the heart of Ron Paul country so I can understand their enthusiasm at seeing a politically kindred spirit out on the road.

A Bit of Local Gossip

My second biggest fear is my home burning down. For that reason Matt and I are currently in heated (ha ha) discussions about whether or not to put a wood burning stove in our house. But that is not the point of this post. In the past 2 or 3 months 3 houses have burned down here in Winlock. It was freaking me out. But check this out, according to this article on the website (via one of the fires was out and out arson. Shame!!

Yay California!!!!!

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The Post in Which I Make Matt's Ears Bleed and Heart Weep

Back in the day, young love was communicated through the medium of mixed tapes. Today the language is playlists.

When Matt broke up with me at age 19 I left him with a mix tap of my favorite Kate Bush songs to haunt him in my absence. It totally worked too because look! I am his wife now. While I was off in self imposed exile in Ohio I regularly received mix tapes from Matt. He swears he was not sending any messages via the songs on the tapes but I like to pretend otherwise. Besides, the making of a mix tape took time, much more time than making a playlist. So I knew that he was thinking of me for the duration of the tape to tape process.

Tomorrow morning I take Matt to the airport so he can fly away. Again. Not to Los Angeles this time. Nancy and Kate are heading off for a week in NYC and Matt is going to Utah to spend time with his dad. When he got home from his last trip away I was so deflated that it took me two full days to climb out of my doldrums and enjoy our time together. I want to avoid finding myself in that depressed state again so I have made myself a playlist of songs that make me feel all lovey and happy so I don't get lonely and depressed.

The trouble with my playlist of love songs for Matt is that he will absolutely cringe when he sees it. I guarantee that he will hate most of the music. That is OK. He likes Deerhoof after all and a million other bands that make my ears bleed. Were he to make a playlist of love songs for me I am sure I would respond thusly, "Gah, turn it off! TURN IT OFF. If you love me even a little, TURN IT OFF!!! That's funny right? We express our love with songs the other finds repugnant.

So Matt, I challenge you to show your love in the form of a playlist thereby causing me severe audio distress. It's only fair.

I will miss you while you are gone.

My "I Love You" Playlist

Cowboy Take Me Away - Dixie Chicks
Take My Heart - Soko
Take Me Home - Concrete Blonde
Love at First Sight - Kylie Minogue
Lullaby - Dixie Chicks
The Wings - Gustavo Santaolalla
Won't Let You Down - Keith Urban
Devil Slayer - Michael Brook
Oceans - Rob Dickinson
Update: You can buy this playlist at iTunes (except for Oceans because they don't sell it anymore). If you have iTunes click here to go to the playlist.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Report Shows Crime Increase

From I learn that "the most recent report on crime in
Washington state suggests that crime grew about 7.7 percent in Lewis County while statewide, it was down by 8.4 percent."

Full Story: The Chronicle, Centralia, WA

Note this paragraph: "A 27 percent rise in violent crime in Centralia has been attributed by its police chief directly to the gang-related drive-by shootings last summer."

Proverbial frying pan into the fire?

In related news, a thief was caught recently in Vader (our neighbor to the south, the town that voted to shut down it's school!!!) pulling down powerlines, "[using] a rope with a weight attached to the end to throw over the power line. They then attached the rope to the back of their vehicle and drove off, pulling the wire down." According to The Olympian, he has been charged with malicious mischief.

Too good to be true

I was very excited to see walls going up on the addition. My enthusiasm was apparently too hasty. Matt and Tom were set to put up more walls while I was working the mail route on Saturday but when I got home everything looked the same as when I left. Upon closer inspection of the plans, Tom discovered that the foundation crew omitted some tie-downs required by the county. There is no point putting up any more walls until the crew comes back, drills out the foundation where the straps need to be located and installs them. Really? Are we back to this already? Would it be too much to ask to progress past 2 steps forward 1 step back? Can I get 4 steps forward? 3?

Matt: Faith Healer

Matt arrived home from Los Angeles on Friday evening. I was at Bailee's softball game and Matt called to tell me that Russell looked like death. Hello!?! I know! I have been looking after him all week. Matt is Russell's person so, when Matt got home, Russell finally came out of hiding from under the couch and sat on Matt's lap where he proceeded to shiver and shake. I think his fever finally broke. By the time I got home that evening Russell was greatly improved and well on the way to returning to his old self. Matt suggests that his mere presence brings about miraculous healing in those around him. Yeah. We'll see about that the next time I get bronchitis.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Unrelated to Eggtown in Every Way

But saints almighty did these vids make me laugh! Poor BurgerandFries is so mad and terrified to be at the vet. Russell handled his visit much better. He just went tharn.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rolling Hills Vet Clinic

FYI, I LOVE our new vet, Dr. Pollock. No reason for this post other than a shout out to a kind, comforting vet in whom I immediately had confidence. Russell has been vomiting all day and she returned my call right away setting my mind at ease offering suggestions.

Tell Me Why I Don't Like Mondays (or Tuesdays for that matter)

Yo, Bob Geldof, I hear ya man.

This week blows so far. Monday I worked Rt. 02. Still kind of crappy at it. I am frustratingly slow on that route and I began my day by slicing the top of my finger on the case. Kind of like the mother of all paper cuts. Nothing serious but a nice deep bleeder. It took me a full 10 hours to do the route and that was even with the kind assistance of Penny, one of the other substitute carriers, who helped me case a tray of letters. I started the day off on the wrong side of the bed anyway. Matt came home from L.A. on Friday evening and I knew that by the time I got home from work on Monday he would be gone again. We wouldn't be able to support this adventure here in Washington if it weren't for his job but I don't think either of us suspected that he would be gone so regularly and frequently.

I came home to an empty house and an alarmingly listless Russell. He is our talkative snuggle bunny and he neither talked nor snuggled. In fact he was curled into a tight ball under the bed and didn't even acknowledge me when I gave him a pat. I watched him closely for the rest of the evening figuring I would take him to the vet on Tuesday. I awoke at 1am to the sound of him trying to hack something up but all that came out was spittle. While awake I realized that I had not taken out the garbage and recycling cans so I set the alarm for 5am to get them out before the truck came by.

At 5am and after a miserable night of anxiety dreams (one of which involved Matt being lost at sea and leaving me barefoot, pregnant and destitute!!!) I took the garbage down the driveway and upon my return realized that Russell was nowhere to be found. I called him for 45 minutes gradually dissolving into a sobbing mess as time went by. He ALWAYS comes when called. He never wants to miss out on anything. I tried to compose myself and called Matt at 6am. As soon as I heard his voice I burst into tears again sobbing that I couldn't find Russell. After listening to me list off all the places I had looked he asked if I had shaken the treat can, a sound sure to bring him running if he was alive and within earshot. Sure enough, he came in through the bay door but he looked awful. He only sniffed at the treats - unheard of!

I called the vet first thing and got him in at 10:30am. He had a fever and his ears were swollen. She did a blood test and found that his platelet and white blood cell count were wonky so she followed up with a feline leukemia and FIV test (negative! Yay!) She gave him something to help bring the fever down and sent me on my way with a bottle of antibiotics for him. So that all turned out better than expected.

Still, starting off with a major bout of sobbing is no way to ensure a full and productive day. I had the most miserable headache for the rest of the day so I tried to sleep it off.

I have high hopes that Wednesday(today) will be better. I have yet to leave the house but neither have I cried every last milliliter of fluid out of my body so I count that as a win.

My (new) Mountain

Above is a picture of my Dad in front of Ben Lomond. He loves this mountain. So do I. I was raised at it's foot and always felt that it was my benevolent protector. In Los Angeles I didn't have a mountain to root myself to.

Sunday, after putting up some new walls on the addition we went for a picnic with Tom and Kathy at the foot of my new mountain, Mt. St. Helens. I view this new mountain of mine as kind of malevolent in contrast to Ben Lomond's benevolence. Perhaps that is fitting. Ben Lomond was perfect for my youth; a grand, unmarred tor sitting like a king. Mt. St. Helens is majorly flawed, obviously, but she is recuperating nicely. The explosions of her past and the contiuning grumbles of her present mean she will never be the same. She is, however, turning into something new and equally striking. Perhaps because if their names, I always think of Ben Lomond as masculine and Mt. St. Helens as feminine.I have a mountain waiting for me in Scotland if ever we do retire there as is the plan. I want to be near Schiehallion. So beautiful. I envision having my ashes released at the peak so they blow across the Highlands. Perhaps I will settle for having my ashes set free at the rim of Mt. St. Helens. There is some poetry to in that: ashes to ashes and whatnot. No point to this other than I am happy to have a mountain again.

Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets

Last week the lumber for the addition framing arrived. Now we just have to put it together. Hysterical laughter. Matt came home from Los Angeles on Friday evening. Saturday he and Tom spent the day hauling debris from the demo to the burn pile and the dump. Sunday they began framing.

They found this mummified Flicker inside part of the exterior wall they demo'd where the addition is attached.

But nature seems to keep things in balance. Further along the wall we could hear cheeping. I know you probably can't tell what is going on in this pic so I will tell you. About 2 feet below the top opening in one of the rear walls is a nest of baby birds. We put the camera over the opening and shot blindly.

The back corner of the house is a little skewampus so Tom and Matt push it into place.

Matt standing proudly (and rightly so!!) in the doorway of his first two walls!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The deer in the neighborhood have spring fever. Bad.

Sorry this is so small. My camera's zoom is weak and I knew if I got any closer they would bound away.

Wee, rolling garden

As my mom can attest, I am no green thumb. I resisted all manner of yard work growing up. In my new environment I am giving it another go. We have yet to decide where to place our permanent garden plot. It will be quite an ordeal to get it set up as we will need to enclose it in a tall fence to keep the deer and elk out. So, in the meantime I have devised this rolling garden. I can put it wherever I want: out in the yard to get some sun or close to the house so it doesn't get munched on while I am not guarding it. I don't have much, 5 tomato plants and 25 strawberry plants plus 4 tree starts. Still, it is a beginning. The strawberry plants have developed a few tiny, green leaves but the tomatoes looks really sad. The trees look the same as they did when Matt brought them back from the beach. I guess that is a good thing. I mean, they could be brown and withered. I will take all the little victories I can get in the endeavor.