nnnnnnngggggGGGGGGhhhh! Part *Two*

Filed under: @ 8:29 am

So with overwhelming optimism I asked the oral surgeon if there was any way I could get my surgery scheduled for some time earlier in the day than three freakin’ p.m.
There was not.
Which means that as of 0900 today (I’m starting this on the 31st, who knows when it’ll be finished) I’m not allowed to eat, drink, or think about anything other than getting this effin’ over with.
It’s hard to play Scrabble when all you can think about is your teeth.
It’s hard to play any other sort of computer game with a boneless kitten in my lap. Pogo may have to suffer the slings and arrows of having something more than just my fingers move so I can distract myself by playing some stupid shooting game.
I can’t go out and garden because I can’t get hot and sweaty because I can’t drink. I can’t go out for a walk because I can’t get hungry because I can’t eat. I’m not certain about knitting, I can generally only knit when the kittens are quite sleepy because otherwise I have too much help. Maybe I’ll pop in a DVD and start watching Harry Potter or Monty Python or something. I’ll still need to find something to do with my fingers or I’ll chew my nails back to the metacarpals though.
In a fit of overwhelming optimism the oral surgeon asked me if the extraction(s) (they’re still not sure whether or not it’ll be one tooth or two) is something that I’d like to attempt with just a local. 😯
Um, NO!

It’s only 9:15. I may just cheat and go snork down a Xanax and go back to bed.

I’ll try not to drool the next time I update this.


Further Garden Madness

Filed under: @ 3:58 pm

I’ve been neglecting my semi-regular garden updates so I figured I’d take a few minutes to bring you all up to speed.

Potatoes and onions…. Check on both counts. The vegetable garden has gone completely mad, the potato plants are past my knees — at least the ones that haven’t matured to the point of dying back and needing to be dug up — and most of the onions have blossom heads on them that I’m snipping off and dehydrating as soon as I find them. I grubbed out one row of leeks that I had left in the ground over the winter (a bad idea in general, they get really woody) and planted sugar snap peas which are just popping up out of the ground. Since there’s an entire row of potato plants that have died off and have potatoes waiting to be dug, once I do that I’m planning on putting in a row of cabbages. Andrew has made me promise to NOT attempt making sauerkraut.
Tomatoes? Check. The plants haven’t gotten to near the height that they have in previous years, but they’re still pretty impressive. One of the contractors that was working at FP this spring gave Andrew four heirloom tomato plants for me and I made my traditional order through Territorial so I’ve got twelve? Fourteen? tomatoes currently crawling up the south side of the house. I wouldn’t have purchased the four plants, I have yet to identify the species of tomato, that we were given, but for freebie plants I’m pleased enough with them. One seems to be a small beefsteak type that is ripening well. The other is kind of a mutant. I’ll be interested to see how the tomatoes off this plant turn out.
On the other hand, after this bugger maybe I’d better be working on figuring out the radium levels in my worm bin. I’ve always said that the worms in my worm bin were nuclear and caffeinated, but I was kinda joking.
Beans? Check-o dude. I’ve already frozen five quarts and pickled six pints of green beans and there are still bunches on the vines that I’m going to let mature into black turtle beans so we can have bean soup all winter.
Cucumbers? Well, that’s another issue. Where last year I couldn’t get one damn plant because the slugs kept coming around and chewing them up as soon as they sprouted, I’ve got plants this year. But for some reason they’re only producing weird little mutant nubbins so far and I’m not sure what else they want to make them happy. At least the nubbins are tasty.
Herbs? Lots. The bay laurel tree is still quite tiny but I have faith. I’ve also still got a quart bag of bay leaves from Mom’s last pruning of her bay laurel so we’ve plenty of time to let our baby bay grow up. If anyone is interested in mint, savory, lemon balm, or rosemary, please let me know.
I cheated this spring and purchased beet starts instead of beet seeds. For whatever reason beets are one thing that I’ve never been able to start reliably. The baby beets enjoyed being in the front herb bed and Andrew and I have been snarfing down beet greens with great enthusiasm. The first batch of pickled beets is brewing in the fridge, the second batch is still pending.
Pumpkins? Yup. Not a bunch, but enough of the adorable little green and orange “Batwings” pumpkins to have enough for pies and pumpkin soup. Enough of the Wyatt’s Giant (one that Anastasia picked out) that there should be some huge pumpkins to carve come Halloween.

But the best part of my edible garden experience this summer?
I’ve got cantaloupes! 😛 Yes, they’re currently still quite green and only about the size of my fist, but since they’re only supposed to be about the size of a softball at maturity……
Hee hee! I grew cantaloupes!
cantaloupe without flower
cantaloupe with flower

The front flower garden that took up so much of Sheri’s and my time last summer is an absolute joy. There are new scents and new blossoms every week and there have been since early this spring. There are bees, ranging from huge fat bumble bees to wee tiny little Spitfire bees with metallic green heads, everywhere. The bees tend to go for the yarrow, the sunflowers, and the lavender. The butterflies, we haven’t actually attracted many big ones, but have an enormous population of teeny little orange guys and a bunch of wispy white ones that I think are cabbage whites, go for the catmint, the germander, and the chamomile (a volunteer, we didn’t actually intend to plant any). The hummingbirds like the lavender and the lithadora, the finches are having a blast with the sunflowers and the poppies, and Andrew and I spend a lot of time wandering and grinning. This garden is so much what we wanted and is so well put together for the space. Come over and smell anytime. Sit on the edges of the raised beds and watch the bees. It’s really peaceful and it smells good.



Filed under: @ 12:27 pm

A unique experience in the life of someone in her forties. I’m teething.

Or, at least, my body wants to THINK that I’m teething.

See, due to genetics and good luck, I’ve never had any wisdom teeth. That is to say that I HAVE them, but they’ve never come in. Ever since the 12 year molar on the lower right side decided that it wanted to come in with the crown of the tooth rotated towards my tongue, the series of dentists that I’ve dealt with over the years has been drooling (sorry, couldn’t resist) over my wisdom teeth.
That was the year that our childhood dentist, Dr. Lillywhite (no shit) told me “When you get home you have your mother give me a call. I think you’re going to need braces!”

An aside — Isn’t that the dumbest thing that ANY dentist could say to ANY kid? I mean, did he REALLY think that I was going to have my mother call him so I could voluntarily subject myself to four or five years or orthodontia? How naive can you get? Trusting an 11 year old to volunteer the information to her parents that the dentist wants to spend years attaching bits of metal to her teeth is like trusting a fox that tells you it won’t kill the chickens in your henhouse.

To get back to the main point though, I never had my mother call the dentist (and if it were that important, why didn’t he call her himself?!) and I never ended up with braces. My teeth are fine, it’s just that one molar that’s a little strange. Goes along well with the rest of me.

The full facial x-rays that the dentist takes once a year have remained pretty spooky. The wisdom teeth are there, it’s just that they’re rotated 90 degrees and the crowns are pointed rostrally -forwards that is. If they ever decide to move around they’re going to put pressure on the roots of the teeth in front of them and cause all sorts of chaos. But since they’ve never been an issue, and since I’d seen the remains of my sister and brother after THEY had their wisdom teeth out, I’ve been remarkably reluctant to voluntarily subject myself to facial deconstruction just for the sake of having a happy dentist. I’ve been annoying to my current dentist for almost 10 years because I have continually refused her referrals to an oral surgeon.

Until about two Fridays ago when I was brushing my teeth before work and it felt like the crown that’s in the last molar tooth on the upper right was going to fall out. Now THAT got my attention. I went to work, I called the dentist who, of course, doesn’t work on Fridays and carried my mobile phone with me all day so I could catch her when she called back and answered the message I’d left on her emergency number. I was seen on an emergency visit the next Monday, poked, tapped, radiographed and told, of course, that the only notable abnormality was the wisdom tooth and that I should bloody well go and see the damnable oral surgeon.

Which is what I’m waiting to do. Because of my exquisite sense of timing, my odd work schedule, and the oral surgeon’s schedule they couldn’t see me until the 24th. If everything goes *HAH* well the surgery is scheduled for the next week.
In the mean time I’m left with a very much greater understanding of why teething children drool and scream a lot. I don’t suppose that I could get away with it at my age, but it has been tempting. Isn’t whiskey supposed to help when a child is teething? I’m not so fond of whiskey, but I’ve got a nice bottle of rum that might do a lot to improve my state of mind.
All I can say is that the tooth fairy better bloody well appreciate this!


Notes From The 146th Annual AVMA Convention

Filed under: @ 8:20 am

Okay, so picture this.
Saturday morning July 11th 0800, the Washington State Convention and Trade Center.
Two, maybe three thousand veterinarians, veterinary technicians, hospital staff and various hangers-on. All tired, those of us that weren’t jet lagged to one degree or another had worked the day before. Probably more than a few hung over from the night before, some covered in fish scales from the appearance of the Pacific Fish guys at the opening (as it were) ceremonies for the convention.
The overwhelming thought in everyone’s mind is……


Stumbling around in a large crowd early in the morning, all of us realizing that there were no two ways about it, we WERE going to spend most of the day stuffed into crowded little rooms sitting on chairs that were not meant for the human form. Me realizing that I was not only going to spend most of the day crammed into a crowded little room sitting on a chair that wasn’t meant for the human form, but also that having given into my own urge for coffee was probably not the wisest thing to have done.
None of us really resentful in any way, I don’t think anyone was there to learn that didn’t WANT to be there to learn, but all of us at least a little resigned to the fact that it was set to be a long weekend… and your brain can only absorb what your butt can endure.

Now you have the correct mind frame I can proceed with my story.

I went into my soon-to-be overcrowded little room and found myself a convenient chair that wasn’t meant for the human form. A little jiggling with my computer bag so that I could semi-conveniently take notes (NONE of the major conventions that I’ve been to have had desk space. It makes me CRAZY…. and vaguely pretzel shaped…. to have to take notes on my lap for four days.) and I was ready with my notebook and pen. Still thinking, in a vague sort of way…… caw-feeee!

The room moderator got up, introduced the speaker and within minutes you could hear all the thoughts of coffee leaving the room. You could hear the sensory nerves from everyone’s backside getting shut down. I wrote her name down somewhere, she was an ophthalmologist from NC State as I recall, but within minutes she OWNED that room. No shit, I have never in eight years of college and fifteen years of continuing education lectures, NEVER heard a lecturer so damn good.
I scribbled in the back of my notebook in between bits that I wanted to write down the following impressions (Editor’s note: translated from shorthand gibberish to actual English):
Most veterinarians are puzzle lovers, we have to be or we’d be absolutely no good at our jobs. The best educators, veterinary or otherwise, are those who are so interested in their own puzzles that they want to share them with other people. “Look at this, isn’t this neat? Isn’t this cool?! Come share with me this extremely, wickedly, interesting world in which I take such joy!”
Dr. Ophthalmologist, whoever she was, was so GOOD at translating her passion for the subject into words that the rest of us could understand that her lectures were always crammed to the rafters. I sat through three additional hours of lectures that I hadn’t planned just because she was so mesmerizing.
It is a rare thing to be so thrilled by what you’re doing that you can hypnotize perfect strangers. Especially tired, caffeinated, vaguely resigned to a weekend of yawning strangers. I hope she continues to use her powers for good.


Excuse Me, Aren’t We Old Enough To Know Better?

Filed under: @ 7:33 am

So two weeks or so ago Andrew and I undertook an undertaking that has needed doing for at least a few years now. We moved our live Christmas tree, Doug, from a planter that he had badly outgrown to a new spot in the front right next to the arbor.
We bought Doug…. Golly, about eight or so years ago just after we purchased the house. Doug originally lived in a five gallon nursery pot, but when we gave up on having an above ground pond in the front yard –mostly because we couldn’t keep the bloody damned raccoons from eating our snails, our goldfish, and our water lillies — Doug was transferred from his nursery pot to the 24″ diameter urn in which we had been attempting to keep a pond.
Doug enjoyed his new planter and new position at the corner of the back patio for a few years despite the fact that we had quite obviously planted him at a little bit of a slant. (Yes, yes, YES dear! I finally admit that all these years Doug has been off center in that planter. You were right, I was mistaken.) And we have really enjoyed having an honest to goodness Christmas tree to decorate that cats can’t chew on or destroy.
But the honest truth is that Doug, despite the fact that he is supposed to be a miniature species Douglas fir, had gotten to a point where he was simply too big for his space. Doug’s roots were badly pot bound and he was taller than the patio roof so I either had to put up with it (which was rapidly getting detrimental to Doug’s well being) or prune him down to a more manageable size which I felt guilty about because he was so pot bound.
I can’t in good conscience just cut down a healthy plant because it’s inconvenient and we LIKE having a live Christmas tree. So we were stuck with the decision of either finding Doug a new, ENORMOUS planter in which he could spend the rest of his life more comfortably, or find him a spot in the ground where he could be comfortable and where I could be certain enough that pruning him down to size every year wasn’t going to kill him.

So two weeks ago we wiggled around in the front garden a bit and found a good spot for Doug. While Andrew was working on moving Doug away from the back patio I dug a gigantic hole, unearthed an unholy number of rocks for a spot that had been dug up, sifted, and replaced not more than a year before, and filled it part way with compost, water, and Mycogrow tabs.

How does one transplant a root bound 7 1/2 foot Christmas tree, you ask?
You pull said Christmas tree out of its planter, you load it in a wheelbarrow and haul it around the house, you dump it in its pre-prepared hole, stuff the loose dirt back in, water it and you’re done. 😯


Do you have any idea how much a tree that size WEIGHS?
To be truthful, nor do I, really. At least not in any accurate sense. The answer in general terms though is a LOT. A DREADFUL lot. Like, nearly flatten the tire on the wheelbarrow and bend a bit of the wheelbarrow bed itself.
And the part about pulling the tree out of the planter? Yeah, forget about “pull”. Trees don’t have any convenient handles. The actual activity more involves pulling, sweating, digging (not too much though because the tree is root bound and there’s really not a lot of dirt that can come OUT of the planter), bouncing, tugging, swearing, yanking, body checking…. Did I mention sweating?
The last time I got involved in moving any mature shrubbery around I told Andrew that if I ever showed any evidence of wanting to do so again that he should call the little men with the butterfly nets and have me taken away. Why neither of us remembered that two weeks ago I do not know. Moving mature shrubbery is absolutely a job for a congenital idiot or a certified madman. A BIG certified madman.
We finally got Doug out of his planter then we had to sit down, drink, sweat, and figure out how we were going to get Doug into the wheelbarrow.
We finally got Doug into the wheelbarrow then we had to sit down, drink, sweat, and figure out how we were going to move him without breaking Doug, the wheelbarrow, or one of us.
We got Doug around to the front, AND up the stairs to the front porch thank you very much, then had to sit down, drink, sweat, remove seven thousand fir needles from the interior bits of our clothing, and figure out how we were going to get Doug OUT of the wheelbarrow.

Well, suffice it to say that both we and the tree survived the experience nicely. And Doug looks great, and very very happy, in his new digs. We can’t wait for Christmas when we can get him really tarted up in his pretty lights.

But we both really should be old enough to know better. Which is why I’m offering an open invitation. If EITHER Andrew or I make any noises at ANY point in the future about moving ANY piece of shrubbery that’s larger than a five gallon nursery pot, please PLEASE call the men with the butterfly nets and have us hauled away. We’re really old enough to know better.



Filed under: @ 8:10 am

Howard Anthony Curlee

Welcome Howard Anthony Curlee. Born about 1430 on 7 August 2009. Proud parents are Ben (the scary smart, oldest son of Andrew’s sister Sara) and his charming wife Kristen.

Andrew and I have now been bumped up a notch. Great Uncle and Great Auntie.

I don’t think I feel old enough to be a Great. I think I’ll just stick with being Auntie. Happy birthday kiddo! (Kinda looks like Winston Churchill don’t he?)


Blood Boils On The Highway

Filed under: @ 6:16 pm

Okay, technically not the highway, but it’s car related asininity anyway.

We were parked in the new parking garage at Seattle Center on Saturday. Went with a group of the usual suspects to see the Jim Henson Muppet exhibit at the Science Fiction Museum as part of Susan’s birthday celebration. Great exhibit by the way, if you’ve not seen it yet you need to get your butt out there pronto because it leaves next week.

Because of work related madness (do NOT ask), Andrew had to work this weekend so we just had time to do the Muppets and couldn’t stay for the rest of the festivities. We leave the SFM, wander back down to level 3 of the parking garage and start getting ourselves and the car together to leave.

SUV, driven by B, pulls past us, several cars past us, and then starts to slowly back up. At the same time a sedan, driven by A, is sitting behind us at a respectful distance with his blinker on indicating that he’d like our parking place when we were done with it.
B continues to back up. We figured that she was backing up to allow someone else further along the row to back out so she could have their parking place, but she backed up, and backed up, and backed up until she was completely blocking us in and until she was almost in A’s engine compartment. And she stayed there.
And stayed there.
And stayed there.
Echoing muttering from B and from A.

I unfastened my seatbelt and turned around to stick my head out the window and ask B, very politely I thought, “Excuse me, are you waiting for this parking place?”
“Yes! But this guy won’t back up!”
“Well we can’t get out until you move and we need to get home. I’d like you to move please.”
“But then he’ll get the parking place!”
At this point the nonsense of the whole situation really lit my fuse.
“I DON’T CARE which one of you gets this parking place, we can’t leave until you move so I need you to move forward NOW!”
“I’m not moving!”
I am not sure what else I was planning to do at that point. After the week I had at work last week I rather suspect I was planning on leaping out of the car and administering dope slaps all around, but as I pulled myself back into the car Andrew said, in a voice that was pitched to carry to half the parking garage “Roll up your window, we’re going to get a cup of coffee!”.
And I rolled up my window, we got out of the car and I turned to B and said “Fine. Now neither of you can have it.”
I believe she answered with something like “Just so long as HE doesn’t get it!” and Andrew fired back with “And we’re not coming back for at least TEN MINUTES!”
We locked the car and stomped away.
As we were leaving Andrew heard A saying “Fine, just take it!” but since we were out of the car already and since I would have had (and I suspect Andrew would have as well) serious issues with rewarding B for her idiotic behavior neither of us would have been inclined to get back in the car and leave at that point. Andrew’s reaction of “okay, if you can’t play nice then neither of you can have the parking place” was absolutely the right response under the circumstances. I was far, FAR to angry at the time to have been able to even think of such a thing.

When we came back a few minutes later both parties had gone and, presumably, had found parking places elsewhere.
What strikes me about this episode:
1. What did B think she was going to accomplish by blocking our egress and blocking the entire lane behind us? We couldn’t move, A couldn’t move any way but backwards, did she think if she stayed there long enough that A would simply give up and back the wrong direction up the aisle so that she could get into our parking place?
2. When both parties were able to find alternate parking places within a matter of minutes, why did EITHER of them think that waving their gonads around (metaphorically of course) would accomplish anything? Of the two I would be more on A’s side, if I were on anyone’s side but ours, because in the grand tradition of parking garage etiquette, the damn parking place WAS his, but when it became obvious that B was going to be an idiot about it, why did he think that it was going to be worth the fight?
3. It’s a sad comment on the state of American society that courtesy has waned so completely. Seattle society especially. I thought my city was above this sort of nonsense.

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