Thursday, June 30, 2005
Alas, I have no idea.
Supposedly they get to Missoula tonight, and then tomorrow afternoon we meet them in Ellensburg and help them negotiate the passes and Seattle traffic for the last leg of the trip.
Unless they're in Yellowstone, that is.
I just don't know.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
It even seemed to participate in the shoot. "Try me from this angle," it said, "you may like it better!"
Of course, everyone knows that butterflies are notorious publicity hounds.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
I went to church as a kid, and Sunday school, and the occasional summer bible camp. Being protestant was just fine - we got grape juice instead of wine with our communion, once a year we got to eat strange flat breads in Sunday school when we talked about Passover, and we got to put on big pageants at Christmas. We learned a lot of great stories and sang a lot.
We did not get secret names.
My husband grew up Jewish. He does, in fact, have a secret name. I am both fascinated by and jealous of this. Suddenly, my protestant past seems so... so... commonplace! We have no special secrets.
Actually, I don't think Brett's Jewish name is especially meant to be secret. It's secret because he just doesn't like for me to call him by that name. Every now and then I cajole him into telling me what it is, and then a few months later I realize I've forgotten it again.
Which led to this conversation last night.
Me: What's your secret name again?
Brett: I'm not telling.
Me: Isn't it something like toonah? toonahfish?
Brett: That's right.
Me: And the middle name rhymes with some brand of coffee.
Brett: Just call me Tuna Canoli. That's good enough.
World, meet my husband, Tuna Canoli. I'm Mrs. Tuna Canoli Zalkan. Pleased to meet you!
I'm fascinated by this whole secret name concept. Here are a few of the many things I would like to know about how this works:
- What does it mean to have a secret name?
- Why and how do you get them?
- Are you restricted from revealing it to all outsiders, or just those who annoy you?
- Is there a secret handshake that goes with it?
- Do you get special powers?
- Can you walk up to a special doorway in a dark alley somewhere and give a shadowy man your secret name and be let into a club that the rest of us can't ever dream to enter?
- And what happens there?
- Are there snacks?
I jest, of course. But really, I subscribe to many strange beliefs, including the belief that names are very powerful things. There's a recurring theme in many old fairy tales about how your true name should always be hidden and that revealing it to someone gives them power over you. Look at Rumpelstiltskins.
Does this mean that Brett now has to do my bidding?
Ehhhhhh-xcellent. (said while tenting my fingers in a Monty Burns fashion)
A few interesting articles on related subjects:
Friday, June 17, 2005
It is called All-heal, Hercules's All-heal, and Hercules's Woundwort, because it is supposed that Hercules learned the herb and its virtues from Chiron...
It is under the dominion of Mars, hot, biting, and choleric; and remedies what evils Mars inflicts othe body of man with... It kills the worms, helps the gout, cramp, and convulsions, provokesurine, and helps all joint-aches. It helps all cold griefs of the head, the vertigo, falling-sickeness, the lethargy... Excellent good for... the biting of mad dogs and venomous beasts, and purges choler very gently.
Came home and looked it up on the Web -- and wow, did I just get a lot for my $1.25. Listen to this:
Impressed? Read on.
Heal-All is edible and medicinal, can be used in salads, soups, stews, or boiled as a pot herb. Used as an alternative medicine for centuries on just about every continent in the world, and for just about every ailment known to man, Heal-All is something of a panacea, it does seem to have some medicinal uses that are constant.
The plants most useful constituents are Betulinic-acid, D-Camphor, Delphinidin, Hyperoside, Manganese, Oleanolic-acid, Rosmarinic-acid, Rutin, Ursolic-acid, and Tannins. The whole plant is medicinal as alterative, antibacterial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, stomachic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. A cold water infusion of the freshly chopped or dried and powdered leaves is a very tasty and refreshing beverage, weak infusion of the plant is an excellent medicinal eye wash for sties and pinkeye. It is taken internally as a medicinal tea in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea, sore mouth and throat, internal bleeding, and weaknesses of the liver and heart.
But wait - it gets better.
Clinical analysis shows it to have an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of pseudomonas, Bacillus typhi, E. coli, Mycobacterium tuberculi, which supports its use as an alternative medicine internally and externally as an antibiotic and for hard to heal wounds and diseases. It is showing promise in research for cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and many other maladies.
Maybe I should go back and buy a few more. ;)
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
But yard-sized stuff? I don't know. This is the time of year - lush June with its bright days and sudden rains and hot-and-then-cool-and-then-hot temperatures -- this time of year, everything in the yard seems to just go crazy at the same time and I'm never sure exactly what to do about it.
The parking strips across the street - the only original garden I've ever put in -- are looking kind of cool and interesting this year; the plants are much larger and the color scheme is evolving into something brighter than I'd planned, what with the wild orange California poppies everywhere and the huge valerian and the purple alliums that dominated in May. It's cool, but boy is it weedridden. I can't quite seem to get on top of it, no matter how I try. I go over there and pull armfuls of this awful weedy vine every couple of days. It gets into everything. Foxgloves and dandelions and poppies come up smack in the center of ornamental grasses. How are you supposed to get those out without killing the grass? Beats me. I cut off the leaves at the base and decide I'll have to figure it out later.
Over here, I feel like Ingrid's beautiful beds are starting to get away from me. They're too crowded and I'm not sure what to take out. The backyard is going better than the front - I pulled out a bunch of mullen over the weekend that was a) too large and b) spreading everywhere, and the cosmos I put in in place of the huge orange papevers are doing fine, almost two feet tall. There's beginning to be good breathing room out there, and the plants look healthy enough.
But out front it's becoming chaotic. A big red rambler growing out of the root graft is strangling its way through my shrub rose. I cut the ends off but have yet to get in there and cut it off at the root. The thing is huge - it's as big around as several large bears. How am I supposed to get in there? Oh, and it's sharp.
I have hollyhocks - lovely plants, true - coming up in places where I'm pretty sure they shouldn't be, like right in the very front of the bed, hanging over the sidewalk. The snapdragons I put in are struggling. I just feel... overwhelmed by how perfect it all was when I got here, and the messy clutter it's turning into now.
Which is natural, this time of year. But I suspect the former owner would have known what to do about it, whereas I really don't.
I'm faking it. Well, no I'm not. I'm learning as I go. I've been gardening intensively for only two years, and this is the only the second summer. I know more now than I knew last year, for sure. But I don't know anywhere near enough yet.
My windowboxes, though, those look good. Give me a container and I can grow things in it.
And it was embarrassingly easy. Believe it or not, all you do is go here and click the Uninstall link at the bottom of the page. This helpful advice was not out there last time I searched for a solution.
The term "Search Miracle" is inevitably one of the highest search keywords that brings people to my site, so I'm hoping this post helps someone out.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Sun Mountain Lodge's rooms at sunset
It was there, three years ago, that we officially became a couple. We'd spent that summer going to baseball games and talking around the issue of dating, but were moving awfully slowly because of our complicated work situation. That weekend, Brett let me know that he would be camping in the Winthrop area, and if I felt like getting away for a nice stay at the resort, he'd meet me for dinner. Ok, I thought, let's find out what there is or isn't to this thing. If he doesn't make a declaration during this trip, he's just not interested in me as more than friends. And off to Winthrop we both went, on separate days, in separate cars, both of us wondering what was going to come of this.
We met for dinner the next evening, and afterward we were sitting out on the front lawn, staring at a view not unlike the one at right, when he finally let me know, unequivocally, that he was, in his words, "smitten." I didn't say a lot, being somewhat guarded about my heart back then, but I made it known that this was a welcome turn of events.
And the rest is history. Eight months later we got engaged. Thirteen months later we got married. And it all started on a little patch of grass in the mountains around Winthrop.
So as you can imagine, it was nice to go back there, officially and openly together this time. Funny to think how the last time we were there I had no real idea that three years later we'd have already been married for almost two years. It was entertaining torecount various things about that weekend and what we were both thinking. We had dinner at the very same table we had dinner at in August of 2002. We found the spot where we were sitting during "the declaration," but it was too cold this time of year to hang out there for long. And unlike that visit, this time we were unshy enough around each other to make liberal use of the outdoor hot tub. Fun.
Then back to Seattle - straight to the ofice for a few hours of catchup time on a Sunday for me, and off to his friend James' birthday party for Brett (Happy birthday, James!). Then home for yardwork and laundry and all the myriad other chores that make up the end of a weekend. But the travel time and the getaway was worth it.
Now if the sun would just shine in Seattle!
Deer outside our room this morning:
Friday, June 10, 2005
Here are a few myths, misapprehensions, and little known facts about sleepwalking and sleep conversing:
- Myth: the sleepwalker has no memory of what they're doing. I remember all of it. But my eyes are generally open during it, and I think just the sensory data alone gets imprinted in my brain enough for me to recall it. Sometimes I know right away upon waking that I've been doing somethign strange, and sometimes I remember later in the day, like in the middle of a workout.
- Myth: it's dangerous to wake a sleepwalker up. Um, no. Please, if I'm standing there all confused in the middle of the night thinking it's time to get up, wake me up and tell me to go back to bed. I'm probably tired.
- Misapprehension: this is tied to bad dreams or nightmares. Nope. Most of my nighttime episodes are quite boring, and some are even fun. Except for the spider episode*.
- Little known facts: sleepwalking leaves you very tired the next day. Not sure why. Probably something about REM cycles.
Last night was a particularly active night, and I've been compensating for it by guzzling a nearly endless stream of Diet Cokes ever since I got to work. And it was a particularly pernicious evening because the things I was saying, although linked to the most innocuous of dreams, were, shall we say, a bit alarming.
Scenario: I'm dreaming something vaguely about some workman people coming into the house and leaving signs hanging around, and how our mason friend let them in.
What I kept saying, loudly, to Brett all night long:
I did this probably three different times to him, and each time I remember his little start of fright when he realized I was saying THERE WAS SOMEONE IN THE HOUSE in the middle of the night.
Me: There's someone in the house.
Brett: (suddenly comes WIDE awake) What?
Me: Yeah, seriously, they left us a banner.
Brett: (realizing it's not a break-in) Oh shaddup and go to sleep, you big dork.
Me: Why don't you believe me? They were right here a second ago. Nice man. (etc)
My husband is a very nice man. He doesn't get all worked up about such things.
* Spider episode = "seeing" spiders in the bed while sleepwalking and ending up leaping across the room in a panic. Which I also did last night, for the first time in the new house. Boy was I confused about where exactly I was for a few minutes. I ended up sitting rather confusedly in the armchair at the top of the stairs for a while, concentrating really really hard, until I finally figured out that probably there really weren't spiders in the bed and I could just go lay back down.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
This year, I've got the opposite sun situation from last year - less-than-spacious front yard facing south and smaller, mostly shady back yard facing north. This has made my tomato decisions difficult. Of course I bought eight tomato plants instead of something manageable like two, because I simply can't be reasonable about such things. But then I had a dilemma. Where to put them? All on the porch and aesthetics be damned? All in the back?
I ended up putting the two that were most important to me -- the sungold cherry tomato I grow every year and just love, and one that's supposed to be especially high yield called Husky Red -- on the front porch, where they get not only full sun but a nice warm wall behind them and warm concrete underfoot.
These are, of course, the tomato plants that already have fruit on them. The picture above is the Husky Red plant. Sungold has lots of young tomatoes too.
The others are out back in the sunniest section of the yard, in special self-watering containers, propped up and helped along by red plastic mulch, which I've never tried before. The mulch is supposed to increase yield, and the lack of eight full hours of sun will decrease yield, so I'm hoping that between the two it evens out. And those six plants are actually doing fine - full and healthy and with blossoms. But no little tomatoes on them yet.
I keep thinking about transferring the rest of the pots out front, but they're really large and unsightly contraptions, and I'm trying not to totally have the garden equivalent of cars on blocks in my front yard.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Trooper, Trooper, you're such a little turd, but I also recognize that you are deeply and pathetically in need of attention from humans.
Somebody feeds you, yes, and you get to sleep inside. You're not covered with burrs and you're not sick.
But does anyone love you?
Your mom doesn't seem to be home very much - sometimes just a few minutes a day. Your grandpa lives in Lynnwood now. We aren't sure, but it looks like you're own your own about 75% of the time a lot of weeks. That must be hard. You're a pretty social guy.
When it gets to be too much for you, sometimes dozens of times in an evening, you come stick your head in through our cat door, and have a look around. Any people here? Hey, watcha doing? Wanna talk to me? Are you going to finish that snack?
The only problem is your social skills.
Why do you have to come in and then go sit directly nearest the cat who hates you the most? Why does your felinity require you to needle him like that? You make us send you away, when you boys start howling and making demon noises at each other, when really we kind of like you. We feel sorry for you. You seem to be a nice boy who could use a foster home.
The other cats don't mind you so much either. They just want you to stop bugging them.
Take a hint, bud.
Last year, I kept seeing this all over town in the early spring and wondering what it was - such a big, bushy explosion of intense fuschia.
Now I have my own. It's practically three feet wide and just beautiful.
And if I wanted to, I could use it to treat:
Oh, and it's pretty. Not bad.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
What she did not see -- but I did! really! -- was how on Sunday morning, at six a.m., I was awakened by a series of very strange noises and wandered into the front part of our upstairs master suite to find a small black and white cat I had never seen before clinging to the very top of the window screen. Inside. On the second floor. With a very amazed (and oddly enough, purring) Phoenix and Cassie watching in awe.
Here's my artist's rendition of the scene.
I know what you're thinking. I was NOT drunk. I was not even hung over. Although I must admit that the whole scene is now taking on this surreal, "Did this really happen?" kind of aura. It was early, and although I didn't have that much to drink, it was the morning after the party and I was beat.
But I remember pulling the kitty off the screen, and taking her over to the bed to show her to Brett and pet her for a minute. Then I walked her downstairs and showed her to the catdoor. At which point she turned around and headed down into the basement instead, and I gave up and went back to bed. What the hell. What's one more cat?
I actually think that word got out among the local cats that there was a party going down, and this was just one very late guest. "Um, I heard there was a party? C'mon - let's dance on the screens! Where is everyone?"
When we first started arranging the housewarming party, we went back and forth about the food. Cook or grill things ourselves, or cater? Grill or cater? Brett, ever resourceful, tracked down Armadillo Barbecue of Woodinville, which offers catering at a great price, and we signed up for that.
And ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, are we glad we did. No great big huge party has ever been simpler to deal with - and we've had some big ones over the years. Not including the actual wedding reception (which will go down for all time as the most fun party we've had ever), I can think of at least two parties we've had in the last couple years that were of a similar size. For most of them, we've made or bought the food ourselves, cooked and served it, and cleaned it all up. Here, we bought a few snacks and a lot of booze. We made some cakes. Aside from that, everything was taken care of for us.
Here's how the party went:
- A big truck towing a smoker pulled up in front of the house.
- Lots of friends showed up.
- A helpful man served all of our guests a fabulous meal from a table in our parking strip.
- The food and mess were quietly driven away, leaving us with with just a few trays of leftovers and no mess.
No cooking, no dishes, no cleanup. Very little shopping. Perfect!
This may have been the best party we've ever thrown, second only to the wedding. At one point I think we had over a hundred people here -- but the weather was good and the house held up nicely to party-giving. This house is MADE for parties -- good flow and lots of open spaces. As with everything about this house, we were delighted with how well designed it is for living and for sharing your home with friends.
People were distributed pretty evenly between the inside, the backyard, and the front lawn. The kids watched DVDs in the basement, and the cats hid in terror for most of the evening or watched from the porch of the old house, across the street. Two of the little girls from the neighborhood spent several hours lolling around in the lounge chairs under our big cherry tree in the backyard. It was a great mix of old friends who have been here a million times and new friends we haven't had over before.
Partygoers enjoying food on the front yard
I gave tours intermittantly, but at the height of the evening it got to be just too crowded to do so effectively. "Go anywhere," we told folks. "Show yourself around! But make sure you get to the barbecue truck before he leaves at 8:00."
Ann, Jim, Dave, Andrea, and Sid in the backyard
Marilyn and Mike (Brett's sister and brother-in-law), and Brett's dad Art were up for the whole weekend -- our first house guests. Art and I had a nice dinner alone on Friday while Brett, Mike, and Marilyn went to see the Mariners lose, and the rest of the non-party time we spent in pretty mellow activies-- just hanging around the house, walking around the neighborhood, drinking big pots of coffee and catching up.
It was really wonderful to have them here - we're so glad they came up! And, although they denied it, Mike and Marilyn did a lot of work for the party, basically acting as cohosts with us and helping keep the evening going smoothly. Thank you, Mike and Marilyn - you were a huge help!
So, that's it. We're moved in, we're unpacked, we've christened the house with friends and family, and we've shared the new place with a big hoard of our friends and neighbors. I think this officially brings to a close the "New House" chapter of this blog.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Of course, preparing for guests and party goers brings out two different reactions in Brett and I.
State of house:
Me: start noticing just how many parts of the house are still actually a mess, or unpacked, or both, and spend my free moments cleaning or sorting or at least shoving boxes out of sight.
Brett: insist everything's fine. What socks? What do you mean why is my shoe on the couch? Why should I know where the other one is?
Shopping for party:
Me: Hrm, how much wine do we need for 50 people? What do we need to buy? Start making a list.
Brett: Don't worry about it; we'll go to Costco the morning of the party.
Me: Realize we have no sheets or pillows for the guest room.
Brett: We need pillows? For who?
Arg. ;) How do men just do this, this thing where they look around the same room as you and edit out all the stuff that's out of place, or the big pile of unfolded laundry that's sitting on one of your armchairs, or the cat box that needs to be cleaned out in the corner? How? Is the underwear pile you left in the middle of the room invisible??
I find some comfort in Prudie's final letter in today's Slate column:
The alternative is what Prudie's mother taught her: It is sometimes easier to pick up the guy's socks than to make continual "requests." Given that he is ... chaotic around the house ... , it might be easier on you to bear in mind what a great guy you have while you pick up his socks. Don't ask Prudie how she knows this.