Thursday, February 25, 2010

I saw the sign

I'm sorry if I just earwormed you for the rest of the day with that title. Know that I've earwormed myself and I'm pissed at myself and a little curious as to why I do these things.

Sometimes I can be so inconsiderate.

Anyway, I did actually see a sign. A sign that it's time to get the vegetable beds ready to plant.

And the sign wasn't the upcoming March 1st date on the calendar which happens to be our last frost date even though I realize that the majority of you are up to your rooftops in snow and hate me unmerciful for talking about gardening and putting up pictures like this from my yard.

You should know that I took this photos from a prone position while I enjoyed some fleeting, but lovely, sunshine with the dog.

Forgive me. I'm totally a bitch like that.

No, the sign was actually this, and big props to you if you can identify this and know what it means to the greater garden situation.

Have you seen this plant or its tiny boner?

I'll give you a minute to think it over, search my archives and compose your carefully worded, yet totally spontaneous response...

Go on, then.

OK - this, my friends, is the first fava bean of the season. Which means that it's time to cut those bitches down and turn them into the soil so they can fix it from all the untold damage caused by the glorious but mostly-useless-except-for-this-recipe corn.

This also means it's time to start leading the neighbors away from the garden because they get ruuully sad when I tell them that there won't be any fava beans to eat because they must be annihilated and returned to the earth before the nitrogen sucking beans grow to life.

They may be big and beautiful, but don't be fooled.

Thankfully, this year I remembered to give them a packet of seeds so they could grow their own and not turn them under and then get to eat them while I hacked mine into pieces and buried their bodies in the dirt.

Sometimes I can be such a murderer.

There are, of course, other signs of good growing things to come, but none carry with them the same onerous task of murder.

Unless you consider Strawberry Pie to be murder. Which I do not.

Or Lemon Wafers, which I do. (HATE)

Or Purple Kohlrabi which looks too alien to be considered actual murder if one were to actually eat it, which I haven't yet.

These peas though? They died shortly after filming. Fare thee well, small peas.

The broccolini is bolting a slow death because I haven't harvested it fast enough.

And then, there are signs in the front yard that I *may* not be a total crackpot idiot because HAH HAH shit is growing like I said it would.

OK, fine, so the contractor has been walking all over the newly sprouting bulbs and grass plugs, so they are looking vaguely like shit, but he shouldn't be out front next spring so I assume they'll come back in proper form and won't be, like, traumatized from the stomping.

Of course, wherever he IS working will probably see some signs of wear, but if we manage to keep him around and busy on our house that long, it should be very worth it. He's quite good.

Meanwhile, Bubba thinks the plants will be stronger and better for abuse, but we'll see if that kind of Darwinian action is possible from mere wildflower bulbs. I sort of doubt it.

And now let me apologize again for that barftastic title. I'll try to do better next time. Or at least use a title that doesn't torture you for the rest of the day.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Adopt a Crop 2010 : Contemplating melons

Firstly, let's recognize the significance of doing this for the third year in a row, kay?

I mean, that's some longevity for a project I thought you'd all take one look at and then abandon for more interesting topics. Whether you sneered mean swears as you were leaving was all I was left to question.

But you didn't! Say mean swears or leave! At least from what I can tell according to Google Analytics and my weak memory of who comments about what.

It's a big guessing game, is what I'm saying I guess, and I guess that we're up for another year of Adopt a Crop because y'all are still hanging out and I keep planting vegetables and, from what I can tell, even the most silent of you lurking whores enjoy a nice contest from time to time, so there's really something for everyone if you stick around long enough.

Though I'm still surprised that pickle chips can be so hotly desired. By other people than myself and Bubba, anyway.

You lost?

Yeah. Enjoy. You've got a whole season of Adopt a Crop rambling to look forward to. I'm just getting started.

So, to get started, then (smoothest segue ever) - let's talk about this year's Adopt a Crop theme - contemplating melons.

Ah, contemplating melons. If I suggested such a topic to Bubba, his eyes would quickly glaze over and he'd begin staring happily into the sun, drool slowly dripping from the corner of his slack jaw, hands grabbing away anxiously at the air.

Loves a good cantaloupe, that man.

And now you can experience this joy, as well, because that is what I'm adopting out this season: melons.

Unlike last season, however, I'm not sure if they'll have a final deliverable form suitable for shipping to a contest winner BUT there will be a homegrown prize of some sort, even if it's not melon-like, so don't go giving up so soon, you big quitters. And, hey, feel free to keep making air-grabs if that gets you through the day.

And for those of you who are still reading yet haven't the foggiest idea what the fuck I'm talking about with all this adopting a boob talk (don't lie - you were getting the super subtle innuendo), let me quickly explain.

Every year (for the last three years anyway) I leave one space in the vegetable beds empty and let y'all vote on the vegetable to fill that space.

Then it's up to me to plant the seed and turn it into food, all the while numbing your brains regularly with posts about what is flowering, ripening, pissing me off or being demolished by bugs.

Then I tell you that your adopted crop is ready to come home to mama/papa (you) and let you comment for a chance to win a visit.

That last part worked well with the first two years of Pickling Cucumbers and Lemon Cucumbers, both of which were turned into pickles of different forms (spear and chip, respectively), but may not work so well this year since there aren't so many shippable forms of melon, so just so you know.

But that's about it for the rules. Let's contemplate some melons.





So, contemplate away and decide - what kind of melons do you prefer?

 Bigger the better...
HUGE (like, 16+ pounds) and tastes like orange sherbet.

Exotic and intriguing...
Tastes like some sort of tropical banana lime jelly on the inside. *Drool*

Pin-up perfect...

Thick, sweet, salmon-colored flesh. Sex-ay.

(sorry, ran out of ideas)
HUGE (like, 30+ lbs), bright pink and suh-weet.

So, there you have it, a totally innocuous and innocent call for votes on which fruit to grow in the garden this year.

Tee hee.

What kind of melon are you?
BIG - Bidwell Casaba Melon
EXOTIC - Jelly Melon
PERFECT - Sierra Gold Melon

Free polls from

So, go ahead my little naughties - you have until March 1st to vote for your favorite type of melons.

And because I've been such a big bitch tease through this whole post, here's a little parting gift.

HA! Freak.

And then I will introduce you to the new addition to the family. For those of you who are new here, it's not a child. Just FYI.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Auto-filling birdbath [TUTORIAL]

I feel like I should prepare you appropriately for this post because, after reading it, you will know the true depths of my laziness.

And it's DEEP. My laziness.

So, like, prepare yourself. Sit down or get a glass of water to splash on your face or something.

Over the weekend I was lying on the patio with the dog, so I could soak every bit of warmth from the pavers into my winter-chilled soul as possible, all the while watching Bubba pick through our demolished lawn area for remnants of Bermuda grass in his never-ending battle against their prolific rhizomes.

So, the scene is me and the dog lying prone on the patio staring at a sweating Bubba as he shovels and turns about 300 square feet of ground OVER AND OVER looking for signs of live Bermuda grass.

He's dirty, sweaty and on a mission to improve our lives. I (and the dog-don't forget her free-loading ass) am pleasantly warmed by the mid-winter sunshine, burning zero calories and, like, half asleep.

Obviously this is when a great idea dawned on me for which I would need Bubba's help. Because, you know, he's not already busy or anything.

And the great idea involved my old broken and discarded birdbath which I've been reluctant to get rid of because it's solid copper and has begun to age nicely and develop this pretty patina that I feel would be out of place in a dumpster or recycler.

Those places are not the homes of designer decor, after all.

But, despite much thinking on the subject (mostly during times like this, where I'm lying on the ground doing a big hot nothing and Bubba is doing useful things), I hadn't been able to come up with any good ideas for the now-detached-and-impossible-to-remount copper bowl or prong-mounted stand it used to sit atop.

I'd just gotten so sad about it that I'd thrown it between the garage and fence so I could slowly and gently forget about my shame.

I mean, I'd thought about putting just the bowl out into the landscaping, filling it with water, and calling it a birdbath, but then I realized that I'd have to fill it with water all the time to keep the birds interested, but not ever let any water go stagnant lest the mosquitoes become interested and then kill us with their malarial cooties.

And, lord knows, I'm not dragging out the hose every muther effing day just to fill a birdbath.

So, my final reasoning was this: Birds don't need proprietary baths. That's why there's rain.

Are you seeing My Lazy winning out here? It always does.

This was convenient reasoning because it meant that I wasn't going to have to interact regularly with our garden hose to strike a careful balance with the water levels in the bowl enough to keep the mosquitoes at bay meanwhile keeping the birds happy in their special bath. It also meant I could continue being lazy.

Though it did mean that the disenfranchised birdbath parts were going back into the void between the garage and fence and that, likely, one day they were going to make their way into a landfill or recycle bin and that still made me sad.

Until this past Saturday when, during a moment of purposeful lying around (see above), the answer dawned on me and spurned the tutorial you see below.

And while this may not seem like an exciting moment for you (what? your life is so glam?), in my world it was like Mardi Gras.

So, how did I solve this conundrum of the birdbath that manages its own stupid self and lets me save an old yard relic from the recycle bin?

(Heads up, this is where the tutorial starts)

By first digging out the discarded bowl from the void, turning it upside down and vaguely locating the center.

By drilling a hole in the bowl's center with a 1/2" drill bit.

(It's the big one here)

Inserting a sprinkler sans cap.

(All that goo you see is actually remnant Barge from a previous failed attempt to fix the thing)

Sealing the hole with silicone sealant.

(Yeah. It's dirty. It's been next to the garage for 4 years. What do you want?)

Letting the sealant cure for 24 hours.

Screwing on the adjustable sprinkler cap.

Running a 1/4" sprinkler line from an open line on one of the sprinkler manifolds to the new site of the birdbath.

Attaching said line to the sprinkler mounted bowl.

Jamming the sprinkler spike into the ground.

Adding some decorative stones from many years of beach combing.

(Notice the one in the middle that's not a stone. I am so sneaky.)

And letting the regularly scheduled sprinkling fill the bowl without me having to do anything else.

(Those disks are a cork I sliced up to give the bees somewhere to sit while they drink so they don't drown.)


This guy keeps an eye out for predators. I guess. Mostly it's just funny to have an army man in the birdbath.

So now, three days a week, while the yard is being efficiently drip irrigated, the birdbath will fill with water enough to bathe the birds while keeping it active enough to ward off mosquitoes trying to lay their filthy eggs while I do a big fat nothing.

Which, I think I've proven, is exactly what I prefer to be doing at all times.


Monday, February 15, 2010

For once in my life I follow directions [PATTERN UPDATE]

Hey Donk,

So, you chose the folklore bag for this month's sewing project, which is fine, but I'll admit that I'm a little scared of what's going to happen when Bubba sees another bag in this house.

Maybe it'll be OK if I keep it outside the house?

Between the two of us, with bags for laptops, daily accessories, bikes, Jada, running, backpacking, fishing, computer cables, knitting projects, the gym, pilates, the cameras, groceries and so on - it's starting to look a little transient around here.

Though, on the bright side, if we need to flee our homeland at a moment's notice, we'll definitely have something in which to carry whatever we can grab on our way out of the house. Which, if you're me, will end up being a useless collection of crap that will serve only as amusement when a destination has been reached and we can reflect on the wares to accompany us on our frantic journey.

Probably would be something like the DVD remote (useless even with the DVD), one flip-flop, an empty pepper shaker, two ballpoint pens, our neighbor's house keys and a roll of dog poo bags.

I guess the good news is all that crap would fit into this bag, even if it'd be pointless to carry it all together to one destination.

Instead I think I'll just carry my usual purse fillin's. 

Though the really good news about the bag is that I followed the changes noted on the Storey website and TEE DAH did not end up strangling myself with the purse straps upon finding that the pleats didn't line up right.


I can. It would have been awful. Someone might have died. Or at least received a sound beating.

*My virtual partner hides*

But, thankfully, one of our sew~alongers already tried out this pattern and noted the very important-so-you-don't-murder-someone changes which I found through the glory of Facebook.

Let it be known that the usefulness of Facebook is not lost on me. The new UI, though? Every time they change it, I understand it less and say things like, Where the fuck is X, now? a lot more.

Not important, though. 

Back to the bag.

Another change I'd like to note on this pattern is the apparent lack of direction for the four top panels cut from fusible interfacing.

I read my eyes to the bone searching for directions on when to adhere those to the top panels cut from the fabric, but couldn't find any - so I determined that when you attach the fusible interfacing to the other pieces (bottom and front and back sides), you should do all four top panels, too. And that worked out just fine. So you might want to try it.

Otherwise you'll get to the sewing-the-top-panels-to-the-front-and-back part and realize that YAY your top panels are all floppy due to their lack of fusible interfacing.

Not that this is exactly what happened to me or anything.

And you want that interfacing in there, otherwise things could get floppy.

And, not to add a ton more changes in here just to fuck you guys up or anything, but I decided, when faced with directions to sew the two pocket pieces together to create a lined inner pocket that would only fit my car keys and maybe a chapstick, that I would use the pocket pieces independently and create two separate pockets - one horizontal for the ever important keys and chapstick and one vertical for the all important cell phone and work badge.

If I'd had brain power left over after forcing myself to look up the changes I knew existed in the pattern but was *almost* too lazy to go find, figuring out when to adhere the fusible interfacing to the top panels AND THEN prioritizing the pocket placement, I *might* have sew in an organizer to keep shit from sliding all over hither and thither in this beast, but alas, my brain was fried.

And The Fifth Element was coming to an end so I was going to be faced with finding other suitable background movie noise for the remaining portion of my sewing day, so no new changes could be shoehorned into my pea brain.

It's a sad state of affairs when you're left without the patience to sew together two additional pieces of fabric, let me tell you.


Anyway, when all was said and done, and with all the myriad changes and personal preferences worked in, the bag is finished and I even saved the best part for last.

The fabric that you see here, with its lovely muted tones and organic design, was not only resting quietly in my stash just waiting to be used (so I still haven't had to go to the fabric store TAH DOW), but it's also a very special yard of fabric because don't you know that my own sister designed it her very self.

Along with two other patterns.

Which she then had printed on fabric at and sent to me for my birthday last year.

Tell me that's not the fanciest birthday gift you've ever heard of short of, like, diamonds or a trip to the moon in a U-2 spy plane.

I'm just glad I finally found a project worthy of cutting into this fabric. Because until now I would just unfold it when I was in the stash hunting around for something and think about a time in the future when I would hopefully not destroy this fabric by making it into something useful and not a total shameful waste.

Then I'd fold it back up and grab something I was less horrified about wrecking completely because, worst case, I could order more and just pay a billion dollars in shipping for fabric that weighs, like, a pound at most.

No wonder there's no room in my head to conceive of simple sewn-in purse organizers, I'm too consumed with calculating the risk:benefit ratio of my fabric collection.


Anyway. There's that. The folklore bag is finished and all I've left to do is decide whether I'll keep it for myself, gift it to someone or put it up as a prize for an upcoming contest...

How's your project coming, then? Don't forget to make those changes.


Friday, February 12, 2010

I didn't realize this was going to be about the Winter Olympics, but there you go.

I feel like it's pretty handy that, if you happen to find Valentine's Day to be a generally useless and pedantic holiday,  you can instead focus on the three day weekend afforded to some by President's Day and then there's always the Winter Olympics starting tonight that I've heard some people calling the "lame" Olympics and to that I say, No.

Which, when I think about it, is sort of a contrary opinion for me - being that I prefer summer over winter, generally speaking - except that I find winter sports a lot more entertaining to watch than summer ones.

Except for diving.

For some reason I can't get enough of people diving into swimming pools. It must be the cringe factor embedded in my brain from the whole Greg Louganis thing back in the 80s (was that the 80s? I can't remember.) that makes me want to tempt fate by watching these dudes in dick slings go flipping off a high dive with their head two inches from the board so that I can watch in amazement as they, not only don't crack their skulls, but instead manage to enter the water without as much splash as a turd hitting the bowl.

Incredible, that diving.

Beyond that though, I have no use for the Summer Olympics. To me, they're the lame ones. I don't care about gymnastics in any form, everyone doing the outside events looking all sweaty and stinky and watching people go back and forth in a pool all the live long day makes me nod off.

I used to swim competitively when I was a kid and, I'll tell you, the only way I'm summoning the interest for a 1500M freestyle event is if I, myself, am getting a ribbon at the end. Which I don't think you get if you watch it at home while eating popcorn in your jammies. Especially if you haven't been swimming competitively for, oh, 24 years.

No, I'd rather watch some Austrian psychopath go rocketing off a ski jump without regard for his own well-being.

Or a Skeleton athlete (are they Skeletoners? Skeletors? I don't know.) throwing their barely clothed body FACE FIRST down an iced-over water park slide on a sled built for one.

They don't even have a teammate to blame it on if everything goes horribly awry, as it's apt to do, and they, say, get their face ripped off. That is crazy bullshit, right there. You don't get that with synchronized swimming. Or badminton. Or table tennis. 

Perhaps it's the death-defying nature or general wrongness of the events in the Winter Olympics that make it more appealing to me, being the apparent sado that I am.

I mean, I know what it looks like for people to run fast. Not that I, myself, can run fast, but I *get* how it happens.

What I don't *get*, however, is the luge. Or bobsledding. Or that crazy downhill skiing where they go around slapping gates down under their armpits as they're sucked to the base of the mountain by the aggressive evils of gravity.

Having been on skis for one horrifying day of my life, I can say that this looks nothing short of impossible and, frankly, like these guys are superheroes. It is hard for me to *get* how they do it and yet, there they are, sliding down the hill so fast that they're nothing but a spandexy blur.

And while I'd like to say that I *get* snowboarding, since I've been riding for well over a decade now, I will never *get* how people manage to live through the half pipe events because it looks like they're all, each and every one of them, going to fly out of that thing and go crashing to earth in an unfortunate but stylish if-not-for-the-visible-pantylines heap somewhere in the stands of onlookers.

Like loose cannons, these snowboarders. They're incredible. They could die doing that thing with the halfpipe, yet there they are, all with their undies showing and spiked belts and what not, ready to fling themselves up and out of that thing as though scraping their face against the blue snow is no worry to them whatsoever.

And did I mention the biathlon? My most favorite Winter Olympic event because of its obvious absurdity? They have guns, friends.


That is rad.

And they have to somehow skiskiski super fast and accurately and then, with their hearts racing from all that pesky skiing, drop down to the ground and hit a target 50 meters off.

Unbelievable. Impossible. Someone give these loons a medal!

Oh wait...

Anyway, what I'm trying to say, I guess, is that the sports in the Winter Olympics are way more incredible to me than the summer ones, probably because of the fantastically absurd nature of most of the events (minus the useless curling, figure skating and hockey) and so I like them better.They're also held in snowy far-off places that hold boundless mystique for my bland little mind and I find these places more compelling than, say, Atlanta, Georgia.

So, I don't really know what got me all hopped up about the Olympics starting except that it seemed like a nice alternative to the predictable bitching about Valentine's Day which people don't seem to take seriously from me since I'm, right now, sitting here with a bouquet of orange roses and fantastically ironic card from Bubba.

Hey, flowers for a fake holiday are still flowers, people. As long as I'm not getting flowers as an apology for running off with a stripper, I'm OK to receive them for just any old reason. And, hey, maybe he sent them to celebrate the Winter Olympics' opening ceremonies?

The card does only say, "Happy made-up holiday..." after all, so that could apply either way.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Running update: virtual murder

I was all excited to share this morning's run update, even remembered to bring my watch to work with me and everything so that I could let it do its uploading voodoo, but then I realized that WHOOPSY I got a new computer at work and crap I have to redo the CD setup magic on it before it will all work harmoniously again.

Damn it. Don't you know I tried it anyway. Just plugged my thumb drive into the new strangely-oriented USB dock on this mystery machine to see if, by some miracle of technology, it would just know what to do and then make everything work without me having to rub two sticks together and chant with CD-roms between my thumbs and forefingers.

And that was a poor decision.

Evidently, ThinkPad technology hasn't improved to the point of artificial intelligence and Magic yet, as the only thing that plugging in my Garmin thumb drive did, without the software pre-loaded, was fuck everything up and cause this new machine to contemplate suicide.

You have work to do, Lenovo, is all I'm saying here.

BUT NO MATTER - let's not waste our time trying to think up ways to punish a laptop for being New But Still Useless or the Garmin for being Not New Anymore But Still Unnecessarily Complicated and instead focus on the big triumph of the day.

That being the sound beating of my Virtual Partner.

See, friends, my life is small and I measure success and my own personal greatness on my ability to outperform virtual entities.  This likely comes from a place in my psyche that knows I'll never win a real race against real people so instead must create an environment in which I *can* win and therefore feel superior to someone. Plus, I get to deliver a sound beating, even if it's just a virtual one, and that fills me with pride - violent and unmerciful pride. Which may also only be virtual pride if I think about it too much, so let's not.

Sound beating delivered by Finny! Suck it, Virtual Partner.

In other delusional news, I'm also back in the 24s with these runs, which is much more palatable than the 25+ shit that filled my first back-in-the-training-saddle week, and despite what the watch may say with regard to pace, here (it was clocking my pace as I took the photo, not the average pace of my run, obviously, because that was more like 9:36, which isn't all that impressive either but let's focus on the sub-25 time, OK? Fine, then), the time filled my heart with joy.

When I finally found the time, of course.

Because I lost it somehow as I was sprinting the last .10 of my run and bent my wrist at an unfortunate angle, thereby brushing the nipple sensitive bezel with my wrist and switching its display from Time to Virtual Partner mode. And don't you know that I was too afraid of deleting my time, a la September of 2009, to just go clicking around pressing buttons to find it, so decided that I'd bask in the glow of my Virtual Partner vomiting onto the virtual curb and save the special news of my actual time for when I could see it on the big screen of my new laptop oh right.

You see I've gone full circle.

Anyway, I could tell this was a faster run and there was no way I was going to destroy those numbers in a haphazard exploration of the mysterious sea of techno-bullshit inside of that watch, so I just had to hope to hell that the time was still in there when I regained consciousness from my breathless post-run collapse and plugged it into the computer.

Which I never did. Because my new computer is not intimately acquainted with the watch yet. Like I said before. You remember.

Full circle again.

Thankfully, later, upon realizing that my new computer was just as hair-pullingly difficult as the one it replaced and coming to terms with that fact, I sacked up enough balls to touch the bezel of the watch and in this sacking up I managed to find my way through the menus to my time without deleting anything I'm currently aware of or care about. Yay for dumb luck!

So, rather than be totally pissed that my watch has again proven its mental superiority or that my new laptop is just my old laptop in a vaguely new-looking costume, I feel like Magellan for finding my time and I feel victorious because the Virtual Partner screen showed the Virtual Partner having reached the puke threshold :58 seconds behind me.


Not that I barfed, mind you, only the Virtual Partner barfed. I, on the other hand, bent at the waist in my driveway and allowed nausea to pass me by while I recovered from my tunnel vision.

There's really no reason why running at a 9:36 pace should give a person tunnel vision, but there you have it:

I'm slow, but not as slow as last week.

I'm not fast, but I am faster than an imaginary virtual figure that lives in my watch.

I don't hit the puke threshold like a wild animal, but I do experience extremely disorienting tunnel vision after running at a pace that wouldn't even cause most runners to break a sweat.

I have some work to do if I think I'm going to nail down a sub-60 10K PR in April.

And suddenly my triumphs seem depressing and I feel the need to find a virtual someone to get on the receiving end of a sound beating.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Hey! Surprise! It's still raining.

It's raining again, which means that it's obviously time for me to do a garden update so that I can post pictures from a time that didn't involve myself and the dog wearing raincoats to go outside.

Yes, I put a raincoat on the dog.

No, she is not a Chihuahua and no, it's not for fashion reasons.

It's so that her absorbent back and shoulder areas don't cling to every drop of moisture during the microbursts that explode enthusiastically during our walks causing me to then spend 1+ hours in the laundry room toweling off a dog that does not relish being toweled.

Just so you know. I'm not one of those fruity dog owners who dresses their dog. I need to be very clear about this. If you need proof of my not-fruitiness with the dog, just look at her worn collar and ask yourself, "Would a fruity dog owner let her dog's collar, the easiest item of dog fashion to replace, get ragged and sad like that?" To which the answer would obviously be, "No way! The owner of this dog is obviously very practical and level-headed and would also never dress the dog for Halloween."


Anyway, whatever - I hate walking the dog in the rain and the raincoat makes me hate it less. But it makes the dog hate it more, aside from any fashion POV, so this whole diatribe was pointless.

Like I was saying, though - it is raining again and I'm reminiscing on some rain-free moments from the weekend when I, and all of my neighbors, emerged from our homes, rubbed our eyes against the light emanating from the unusual bright ball in the sky, and proceeded to figure out what the hell was going on with everything and everyone.

During my post-run neighborhood catch-up session, and while I managed to pull all the weeds in the front yard while exposing the better part of my rear end to the neighbors thanks to my not-weed-pulling-appropriate running shorts (score!), I discovered that shit was, indeed, alive and growing in the front yard.

What bulbs are these? Who the fuck cares!

Hell - we even had daffodils in bloom! In January!

You know what these are because I just told you. Cheaters.

I know, this place is mad.

Plus, and even more affirming, a good number of the 800+ wildflower bulbs were coming through the mulch, which I pointed out triumphantly to the group - especially those who looked upon me with expressive doubt when I was tearing out our lawn for my Crazy Meadow Thing.

Crazy Meadow THIS, people.

Yep. No idea what this is.

I also managed to prune our Bloodgood Japanese maple tree so that it didn't look like it had its own flag sticking out of its head anymore.

Something I should have done a long time ago but didn't because I was afraid of destroying the tree somehow with poorly placed prunage, something I've been known to do.

Thankfully, with one carefully (and totally at random - nice) placed cut, the flag was lobbed off and TEE DAH the tree looks normal.

I didn't take any pictures of it, because it's all depressing looking without leaves, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Just imagine this:

Before: Smallish Japanese maple that looks normal but for a long spindly branch waving around above all the other branches.

After: Smallish Japanese maple that looks normal but for the fact that it's way smaller than the Coral Bark Japanese maple we planted nearby and at the same time. Pffffft.

In other Get With The Program news, the drought tolerant grass plugs have apparently gotten a good dose of watering thanks to our recent (and perpetual) storms and many of them have decided to do me a solid and put on some green.

I will admit to photographing one of the finer specimens. Can you blame me?

Some of them decided they saw their shadow on February 2 and have gone back into their holes to come up with a way to explain to their friends how they managed to be mistaken for grass plugs when they're obviously groundhogs.

Which means that these particular grass plugs still look brownish and smallish and aren't doing anything to make my case to the doubtful neighbors that I'm not a complete loon. Thanks, fellas.

For that, I didn't take their picture. HA! I win!

Against grass life is small.

After watching my neighbors step back from me in conversation as a result of my post-run aroma, I retired to the backyard to continue weeding because what better way to completely exhaust already exhausted hamstrings than to bend over for the better part of two hours to pull rampant oxalis out of the flower beds?

You know I have no control over this.

You also know that I walked like a pirate all week because of this behavior even though I didn't say "Arrrrrrr" once and now I'm regretting that.

Thankfully weeding wasn't just all pain, exhaustion and me flashing my pasty parts to over-the-fence-lookers (I see you, shitty neighbors! No one believes you're trimming your palm tree!). I actually found some stuff back there, too, so that now I can look at their pictures while rain beats down on the roof and I worry our porch will fall down before it's finished.

Oh, and let's not forget that my Post-Run Snack Break was a complete success this weekend because:

1. I actually had a post-run snack instead of just letting my stomach shrivel into a nauseous knot
2. My post-run snack was kumquats from my tree:

Yes! That means the kumquat tree is now a realized dream, which, in my opinion, is the best kind of dream. A sweet and sour one that looks cute on the patio and gives the squirrels some place to dig because oh those poor things the garden, front yard, side yard, lawn and landscaping aren't enough.


Fuckers. I hate squirrels for that shit. I found an avocado pit in the pot this time and I hurled it at a squirrel running by along our fence. I'm badass like that. Even though it didn't even come close to hitting the squirrel. Gave the dog a good jump though!

(It didn't hit the dog either. Calm down.)

Since it was still sunny when I was done feasting on kumquats and throwing shit at squirrels, it just felt right to take part in my favorite spring/summer/fall/time when it's not raining activity - going to the nursery to shop absentmindedly for things.

And since I managed to weed an entire corner of the garden only to find that there wasn't anything there but weeds and now it was, sadly, bald, I realized another dream: to have my very own lilac bush.

So, witness ye, the beautiful future lilac, which, right now, looks like an unkempt and spindly hydrangea but is not.

The immediate need for this lilac occurred when I was under the influence of the latest issue of Sunset magazine and my neighbors had said their own lilac was starting to set buds.

Which gave me a legitimate reason to go to the nursery even though all I really want to do is go there and walk around all the twigs stuck in pots.

Which is what the nurseries look like right now. Bare root this, canes of that, evil rosebushes, leafless bushes like that lilac and The Mystery Section.

See, I know the lay of the nursery land for most times of the year. Like, in summer, I can walk into the nursery, blow right past all the sun perennials and eyeball my way along the foliage to lay my hands on the specific variety of tomato I want.

No problem. I wager I could do this blindfolded. Or at least really drunk.

This time of year though? Late winter? It's a little harder. Everything's a stick in a pot.

Sometimes a stick with thorns (rosebushes) or a stick bush with two leaves (lilacs) or a stick with some little sticks wound around (raspberry canes) it or a really tall stick with some littler sticks making a crown at the top (fruit trees).

I find it hard to get too wound up about a stick in a pot though, so shopping absentmindedly at the nursery for things this time of year isn't usually very dangerous.

Until I ventured into The Mystery Section and found out that HOLY SHIT we can grow rhubarb here.

 So, I bought one. And not because it was the only thing at the nursery with leaves on it.

I guess we'll see how that goes since I can't harvest fuck all off of it for, like, two years, but I have hope. Strawberry Rhubarb Pie hope.

Lawdy. I think I just wet myself. Doesn't that sound good? The pie, not the wetting. Nevermind.

And that is how I come to the end of this wildly swerving post. I planted rhubarb and a lilac bush. We have early spring bulbage. The grass plugs are mostly not lame. My entire neighborhood has gotten a good look at my rear end. It's raining.

Have great weekends, all.