It Has Begun



Yesterday was the first day of Spring, which may not mean much, but in my neck of the world, it means I hit Tomatomania over the weekend.



It also means I planted my tomato treasures and will now watch over them and – let’s be honest here – obsess over them, too. Anticipation is sweet. Home-grown tomatoes are sweeter.




If the onset of Spring means anything in particular to you, please share! I’d love to hear what you did to celebrate.





In spite of my clumsiness, I am fairly handy around the homestead. This serves me well, as I am able to tackle quite a few tasks on my own and save money in the process. I also happen to enjoy home improvement projects, so that’s a plus as well. And yet! I am smart enough to know when I shouldn’t attempt a project. For instance, you won’t find me installing a new electric panel or re-roofing the house. Some jobs are best left to the professionals. And that’s where I run into trouble.


First, I want the absolute best people for the repair or improvement. This can prove challenging for obvious reasons, such as cost, but also for less obvious reasons, such as scheduling. Let’s face it – the best craftspeople are busy and expensive. So even if financial terms can be reached, it may take a while to work out the timing. And sometimes you just don’t want to wait. And I’m not even going into the time and energy it takes to find the best people in the first place.


Second, I have very strong opinions. Mister does, too. And sometimes our vision clashes with that of the pros. Now – as we are dealing with our home, we are going to be right. Even when we’re not. And while this should be a non-issue, it gets sticky when a for-hire contractor insists on getting his way. That’s when I have to figure out how to gently insist on getting my way, instead of calling someone a fuck-stick and flipping them off. (Just so you know, I haven’t done that. Not yet.) The biggest challenge in having strong opinions is relating that vision to a contractor. Common language has to be found so that my intentions can be understood. And because I’m such a friggin’ nice person, I often struggle with merely opening my mouth to speak my truth in the face of disagreements. I am terribly awkward in those situations. Really – I’ve struggled to the point of tears. I’m working on it, but I’ve miles to go before I sleep on this one.


Lastly, I have a wee bit of a problem relinquishing control of jobs around my home. I don’t’ know what it is, but it stresses me to no end. I mean – I know absolutely nothing about felling trees or grinding stumps, and yet when I need someone to perform those jobs, I lose sleep. I’ve been trying to figure out why I flip my gourd, but I’m not really sure. Maybe part of me feels like I should be able to figure out how to do just about anything around the house. Maybe part of me knows no one will ever care as much for my house as I do, and that even the highest-rated professionals aren’t emotionally invested in the new pad. But these are random reasons. Real reasons, granted, but I don’t know if all this stuff adds up to explaining my home control issue.


So where does that leave me? Not sure. But there’s no point in obsessing over it. For now, I have to figure out whether or not I’m replacing the tile hearth by the front fireplace. A few deck boards are in bad shape and need to be replaced. There’s always something needing to be painted or refinished. In short, there’s no end in sight to my personal list of home jobs. Hopefully I can tackle most of them myself. Otherwise I’m in for a few sleepless nights, waiting for some highly regarded professional to come and do excellent work in my home. What a nut-job I am.

Tonight’s Forecast



I saw this at Trader Joe’s this week and it spoke to me, Beavis. Come tonight, I do believe it will speak to me again.


By the way – does anyone else channel random moments from “Beavis and Butthead” in their everyday lives? No? Oh. Me, neither then.

Behind the Curtain – Session 5



This is the photo from last week’s post. I said then that I was starting to get excited about the painting, and that’s because I knew it was finally taking form.


After working on the painting a few days ago, I can tell I was right:



The upside down man has real volume now. The fence has been erected. The grass and a bit of tree have taken shape. The bus-in-motion is discernible as being what it is.


Not much more to do now, save for a few last minute details. And though part of that will be tricky (for me), I’m feeling good about it. I won’t get to work on this (nor my other project) for a week, as the studio will be closed. But that’s okay! It’s really close. And I like it, which is the ultimate goal.


Admit it. You miss the toilet, don’t you.

Thursday Memories – St. Patrick’s Day




Sometimes I come across a photo of myself and all I can do is shake my head.


It’s St. Patrick’s Day, friends. So throw on some green and get thee to a public house. Just be sure to get thee home safely. Have fun!


Back to my head-shaking…



This week I get to spend a few precious hours with my cousin Patty. She lives on the other coast and though we talk once in a while, we rarely get to see each other.


Family is crazy. Just yesterday I spotted a dish towel that read “Family is like Fudge – Wonderfully Sweet with a lot of Nuts.” Personally, I doubt the “wonderfully sweet” part. Then again, sometimes family is alright. Hell – sometimes the nuts are even alright. Depends on the type of crazy, if you know what I mean. And if you don’t know what I mean, you’re either lying or terribly out of touch with your relations. We’ve all got crazy hanging on the tree, y’all. All of us.


Anyhoo – I look forward to my upcoming visit with Patty. She’s a light, I tell ya. And the world needs all the light it can get. Lucky for me, I get her.


The Anti-Chrysler



Yesterday I was out and about when a dude approached me and asked, “Is that a ’66 Volvo you’re driving?” I told him yes and that he really knew his stuff. He said he suspected the year of the car because he once owned the same model, year and all. It had been his first car.


That brief and lovely conversation got me thinking about my first car – a 1968 Chrysler Newport. It was a boat, I tell ya. (I mean – look at the photo above and see how much longer is was than a VW bus, for cry-eye!) And I loved it. Mister named it The Anti-Chrysler and the name stuck.


I remember driving that thing around with 8 friends piled in. And everyone had room! We didn’t all have seat belts, but we weren’t as safety-minded back then. But I digress… The car had only 76,000 miles on it when I got her and she was a beaut! That car taught me how to maneuver, because it was so danged big. It also taught me to check the oil on old cars. They tend to be a bit leaky.


Once Mister and I married and moved to Dallas, The Anti-Chrysler somehow became his car. Not sure how that happened, but I think he really loved the old gal. I seem to recall he even replaced the alternator once. I don’t think either of us knew he could do that. But he did, so there you go.


When we were preparing to move to Boston, we knew there would be no parking and that a car wasn’t to be part of living in the city. The Anti-Chrysler was sold to an elderly gentleman and we said our goodbyes. My memory is a bit shaky, but I think we may have gotten exactly what I paid for that car: $800.


Every now and then I spot an old Chrysler and I look twice. I know I won’t likely come across my old car, but I still like to look. And I’m glad that yesterday allowed me to remind someone else of his first car. He even came out to the parking lot to hear me start her up when I left. Based on his smiles, I’d say the memories were good.

Spider Bite Update


Well – it’s been 2 weeks and 2 days, 10 days of antibiotics and more anti-itch cream than I can quantify, and my spider bite has almost healed…



I know it’s hard to tell from the photo, but the bite is much, much better. And its ugly appearance now is proof positive I did the right thing in going to the doctor. Yes, it’s still unseemly. Yes, it’s still discolored. But it’s also healing. And healing am be good, y’all.


Also – spider deaths are now occurring at the new pad. Just last night Mister offed a big, furry specimen that was headed right for me in the kitchen. I mean really.


So – if you find yourself with a spider bite, please take care. Other than itching (and pus-filled, expanding purple skin), I had no indication I was in trouble. I’m just grateful Baker Jen warned me a while back to beware of spider bites. It was her voice in my head that made me investigate. And I’m so glad I did.

Please Forgive Me



I would like to apologize to all of Southern California.


I know you were expecting super-duper rains this winter. I know you hoped effects of the years-long drought would be alleviated. I know you had plans, such as keeping your lawn. Maybe running through a sprinkler come summer. Maybe going fishing in a healthy, heavy-running stream.


I’m sorry. You see, it’s all my fault – this lack of rain. My first mistake was unpacking my rubber boots and leaving them in a corner, ready to wear when needed. My next mistake was buying a pump for the pool, in case it ran over. And lest you think this past Friday’s rain let me off the hook, know this: I told Mister – that very morning – that I wanted rains to fall and wash my car. See? It was on me.


Please don’t think I intentionally ruined our El Niño rains. I assure you – it was quite unintentional. I just didn’t know how powerful I am. And for that, I sincerely apologize.

Spring Forward and All That Crap



Tonight (technically tomorrow morning) is when most of the world will set our clocks forward one hour for Daylight Saving Time (DST). I’ve done this my entire life, and haven’t thought much about it. Other than to miss that hour of sleep I’m about to lose. Jeez.


Yesterday I read of a few studies linking health risks to DST and those reports are bummers. I don’t need any extra interference with my circadian  rhythms. My sleep cycles are delicate enough. And while the above-referenced article states that most folks adjust to DST after a short time, some of us take a wee bit longer. I know from experience that my sleep habits can be thrown off by weeks after the switch to DST.


But I don’t mean to be a total downer here. There are some good things that come from this time of year. More light at the end of the day. Spring, for cry-eye (on Sunday, 20 March). And Tomatomania is coming up in a week, too. At least for me. So I won’t lie – I love this time of year. But giving up that hour of sleep? Dag.