Sunday, May 16, 2021

Let's see if this works...

https://photos.google.com/search/_m8_Favorites

Just 'copy, paste' that addo into the search box OF YOUR BROWSER, not Blogger, and the album should come up for you.  As it stands I'm having a hell of a time getting it to post here.  So if it works, I hope you like it, and if it doesn't, it was a bunch of pictures of flowers.

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An Itoh Red peony, just opened this morning and already full of bees!


A group of 'Black Parrot' tulips lurking in the underbrush

Blue Aquilegia everywhere!



Yes, this is real, no, I didn't jigger with the color.  This is a miniature clematis I got at Lowes and it comes on claret red.  The only one remotely like it is 'Niobe' which runs to purple. SO COOL.


Tiny workmen driving through the middle of my garden. GET OFF MY LAWN.


A little bed in the center of my driveway where there used to be an enormous poplar.  And yet people still try to use my driveway to turn around in - hence the rocks.

The view from my house.  OK, the most rural part of the view from my house.   The rest of it is suburbs.


Welcome to Rancho FirstNations!

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Home Improvement, Ol' Folks Stylee

 My bathroom is now a beautiful shade of blue.  It no longer looks like a place where crack is manufactured.  It looks like a really pleasant place to take a dump.

I have also gone over all the railing and house trim with black paint, and it perked the joint up something fierce!  My crib is looking smart.  Now I have to go around with the grey paint and use ladders and tie-ons and shit because there's places on my house that the paint has just flaked off of for whatever reason.  I - me! - painted the house about twelve; fifteen years ago and got it looking nice.  This year I took a big old flake of the faded grey paint to the store and had them mix up a batch and lo:  I can spot-treat my house without it's looking like I had to hire day labor.  Tomorrow is the big day.  I'll begin on the shade side, and then just chip my way around and touch it up as the sun leads.

Except that the local plant nursery is open on Sundays, and they have a few plants that I've been wanting at freakishly reasonable prices ( Cloud Mountain Nursery, Nooksack, WA) - probably because they are a teaching establishment and use a lot of slave labor/interns to do the heavy lifting. So yeah, Monday. Monday I'll be touching up the paint.

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The tenor of my entries has been homeowner based ever since we paid off the joint, and I know I haven't been the funny monkey that people have come to know and be appalled by, but owning, really OWNING property is...it changes your outlook.  After having rented my whole adult life, suddenly I OWN this chunk of ant-chewed wood and insufficient insulation.  

It's oddly like when I was a little kid and I had Barbies.  I used to take their clothes and alter them, add stuff, subtract stuff, restyle...right? I know, me?  Using a sewing machine?  Playing with Barbies?  But I did, and I was nuts about them because there were so many patterns for Barbie clothes (put out by Butterick, as I recall) and I used to use old  Goodwill-thrift shop clothes for yard goods.  My Barbies looked like the first night of a new season of RuPauls Drag Race.  They had crazy Carnaby street fashions and wild, extreme minis and microminis,  Emma Peel high fashion togs and accessories, just everything I could get my hands on for...geeze, I don't recall the patterns being any more than .69 cents.

This is not to say that my house looks like a giant, ant-chewed drag queen.  That's not what I mean at all. Just that I own the fucker and I'm doing things to prink it up so that it's an asset to our little town, right by the 'Welcome To Sumas' sign.  I really take pride in this.  

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Today as we were sitting here enjoying multiple tasty beverages and watching videos of cute pets doing cute things, who should come in peeking around the sofa but Chica!

We leave the house open to let the air blow through during nice weather.  I get the occasional swallow and hummingbird, but this is the first time I've ever had a Staffie come in, grinning like a clown, to say howdy.  Neighborhood Crackhead was outside calling for her, and the Biker and I were cracking up, and finally I got a hold of her harness and carried her outside to her Dad.  Staggering.  That dog is a CHONK.  Then we shut the joint up for a few hours.

Depressed Black Kitty often lets herself travel through my house, just passin' through.  Says 'Mewoo?' as she walks from the kitchen to the front room and out the front door.  Just an informal visit.  

I've had starlings fly in and land on my head while I was washing dishes, and swallows will fly through during midsummer, back and forth, just playing.  Hummingbirds will zip through, stop in front of my face to cuss me out, and then continue on.  

Yesterday I had a newly fledged crow (certainly a son or daughter of Alice and Ralph) court me with 'feed me' calls until I got it a hamburger bun.  I taught it my 'treats' whistle and made sure that lil' bird saw my face in association with treats, and learned to associate a certain whistle I've made up specifically to signal 'Crow Treats!'  and a certain face (mine, duh) with those treats.  I waited in sight quietly until lil' bird came and took a few bites, and repeated my 'food lady' whistle, and made sure the bird saw me.

Think what you will. That crow and I communicated.  It did the same thing with me - 'asked' for food, made sure that I saw its body from all sides, and then retreated to wait.  It was an extremely rudimentary exchange, but a question was asked of a known source of food, (me) and the KSoF identified herself and provided food in answer to the request.  I'm trying to replicate the studies that are being done in the Seattle Arboretum with wild crows - assessing their powers of sonic, visual and routine memory. There's a link out there, go hit it.  It's incredibly interesting.

There are similar experiments being done with the New Zealand Kea.  It's an alpine parrot (?) that is so deviously clever that we'd probably never know if they took over the reins of global government.  I kind of hope they do.

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This time of year the queens are hatching.  Hornets, Wasps and Bumblebees, kids.  They pupate in the soil until it reaches a certain warm temperature for a few days in succession, then shed their shiny brown shells and emerge from the earth fat, groggy, lost and hungry.  Any 'stingy' insect you see here around May is a queen, and is looking for carbohydrates so that it can get laid and begin building a nest for it's eggs.  I am prejudiced in favor of bumbles and honeybees.  Let a wasp or a hornet get in here? Motherfucker dies.  I have enough problems in my life without tiny flying carnivores.



Friday, May 14, 2021

Really? More Garden Shit? YES MORE GARDEN SHIT

Remember a couple of years ago when miniature 'Fairy Gardens' were all the rage?  You'd find a little nook in your garden and put little miniature tables and chairs and whatnot in there and it would look super cute.  Generally, I do not do super cute, and particularly not in the garden.  Yeah, I have a few Tonka toys out there, but they're all rusty and shit.

Then I ran into the stump of an old Black Pussywillow that croaked in my back yard a couple of years ago, and it cracked off in such a way that it left a perfect little grotto.

I succumbed to temptation.  


 Behold the hidden grotto where tiny fairies can worship their golden god!

I have a bunch of little figurines from trophies hidden all over my garden.  This is Geoffrey, the god of victory and also the god of holding headgear made of laurel leaves aloft while looking buff.


Consider yourselves super lucky to have even seen this.  I had to army crawl through a poky bush and dirt and grass and shit to get these photos.  Isn't he shiny?  Maybe someday soon I'll catch a gathering of his worshippers doing him honor, or having a potluck or whatever they do.  That'll be cool.


Here is a rare sport of rosa 'Cinco de Mayo' - 'Cinco de Mayo Eyeballito'.  Note how bloodshot that eye is.  This rose knows how to party.


Here we see Beverly the Bowler taking aim at Simon the Salesman.  Their relationship is fraught with strife, but they just added a brand new gold John Deere tractor to their domestic melange, so let's hope for the best.  That shit ain't cheap.


All false modesty aside, I proudly display my TWO Silver Sow awards for Excellence in Farm Journalism right at the steps that lead to my front door.  One is a little less silver than the other because you don't just win that shit like pin the tail on the donkey, man.  The competition is FIERCE.


Old jacked-up gas pump?  We got one!  Fake vintage Pontiac sign?  We got one!  A metal home just made for infestation by hornets?  We got one!  Right next to our garage door!  Oh, and a Frau Halstrup rose in bloom.


The Bikers' shed with all the pagan luck.


My shed, encouraging sloth.  YES.  I have TWO SHEDS.  TWO SHEDS, PEOPLE.  TWO OF THEM.


Oh holy shit here's some whimsey.  It's an old 1950's rototiller I got for $5.00, because clearly I needed an old seized up rototiller.  And here it is, with the old half of my house showing.  

Wanna know why that attic hatch is so big? Serious as shit - it's so if someone died in the middle of the winter, they could get the body out of the house even if there were deep snowdrifts (and yes, they do get that deep here.)  Inside there in the attic is a lightning stick hanging from one of the rafters - that's a branch taken from a tree that was struck by lightning and nailed to the rafters of a house to keep future lightning strikes away, assumedly because it's already been that sticks' turn.  And the stick?  Was from a tree that stood at the North corner of our property and was hit by lightning and fell on the house and just caused all kinds of shit and kerfuffle; but that was in 1940 -  so whatever.


You'll probably never see another one of these.  The tree is a Camperdown Elm that I got as a seedling from a nearby property.  Now usually Camperdowns are grafted onto a scion of regular elm and let to cascade, because a Camperdown is a rare mutation of elm that has no gene for making a trunk - just a canopy.  I put eyebolts into the main branches as they grew and drew them upwards with turnbuckles until I had the form I wanted.  It was a bitch and it took fifteen years, but I have this lovely tree and it's amazing, zigzag structure, and it's an ornament all year round.

The stuff in front are tigerlilies that have yet to reach full height and blossom.  I think they look nice here just as a plant form.


Japanese Maples 'Golden Moon' and...red...maple thing.  An upright of cotynus 'Velvet Cloak' is trying to steal the spotlight left.

Things are happening fast out there!  Every day I've got something new waiting for me!  So while the garden is puttin' right along and doing fine, I'm painting my bathroom blue.  Because it was time.  There comes a time when that bathroom has to be painted blue, folks.  I'm doing it.  I'm doing it for AMERICA.



Thursday, May 13, 2021

The May Wait

 Everything is up and leafing out.  Now we are into the May Wait out in the garden, when all the plants are pulling at the ground like hungry kittens, trying to make flowers to tempt the emerging native pollinators.  Bumbles, Orchard Masons, various flies and of course honeybees; although those are already on the job thanks to the raspberry and blueberry farmers.

You might not realize it, but shitty bastards like hornets and wasps also play their part in pollinating.  So do field mice, who will clamber around on your plants at night looking for sleepy aphids and other insects to eat. So do cats, who rustle around in the garden and help plants sprinkle pollen into the breeze.  In fact, so do I, wandering around among the flowers pulling weeds.  I am a native pollinator!  And a Native American! I know, right?


Honeybee doin' it's honey thing.  Rock on, lil' bee.

I know that the media has been pushing this 'death of the pollinators' thing for years now.  Kids, I haven't seen it.   Yes, I've seen a shortage of apis mellifera, the common honeybee, and that's as much due to poor husbandry and lousy sanitation as it is mites and disease.  One follows the other. 

RANT FOLLOWS.

Skeps are transported by the DOUBLE TRAILER LOAD, by semis, twenty skeps high, and dropped off at fields, and the farmhands take them in stacks of five and put those here and there amid the fields. That's status quo.  It didn't used to be that way.  People used to realize that you needed to be very clean and particular when it came to honeybees.

 Honeybee husbandry changed around the late Seventies. Now it has a 'throwaway' paradigm going.  They're a commodity, and a valuable one.  You don't just let them fly away and create wild nests, no.  You ship in a bee that's adapted to a Mediterranean climate, essentially a one-season creature in this latitude, and voila, another cash crop created where none existed 50 years before. 

My uncle was a beekeeper, and he would get called out to take down wild nests, which he would transfer to surgically clean skeps.  All insects are susceptible to filthy conditions, molds, fungi and mites.  His outfit was a lot like a cheesemaking operation - very, very clean, stainless steel equipment, live steam and iodine used to keep the product safe - and the hives and frames were treated similarly.  You never saw a skep with black fungus crawling up the sides like you do now - the farmer would throw that into the fire!  You never saw mass transport of skeps like you do now - the producer knew that in those concentrations a disease would move like wildfire through the entire load, as it travelled 50, 100, or more miles to it's destination.  And handlers had to clean their beekeepers outfits with an iodine solution, particularly their gloves.

Out in my garden right now I have a riot of happy pollinators doing their thing. Hummingbirds, sphinx moths - hell, moths of all sorts - birds, bats...you know the saying 'Nature abhors a vacuum'?  Nature is filling that vacuum out here with such enthusiasm that I have to mow the yard with my pantlegs tucked into my socks like a dork because the ground wasps get pissed off.  Bumblebees will just dive and smack into you.  


Chubby bumblebee just pollinating your world for all it's worth!

Queen hornets, which are waking up right about now, will just follow you around by the scent of your exhale and menace you and land on you and generally act like assholes and sting you for no reason.  Or even take a bite out of you with their freakin' jaws if you've cracked a heavy, salty sweat.  Yes.  They do that.  They think you're dead, you see.  That's what hornets do - clean up carrion and pollinate things.  If you smell like carrion, well...shit gonna happen.

We are not at the brink of disaster.  We are being taken for idiots by Big Agriculture.  I see this every year.  I've had people who work with bees on an artisanal level tell me the same thing that I've just said. It's not so much a problem of disease as it is husbandry and stock.

Something to bear in mind:  The honeybee is not native to America.  Nope. It was brought here from Europe. (Fuck you, Europe.) They went feral and adapted.  Before that, it was just native pollinators, and if ya don't believe me, read this:  https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/how-many-species-native-bees-are-united-states?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_

If ya don't believe me, that's SCIENCE up there in that link.  

We're gonna make it.  



Wednesday, May 12, 2021

More Tantalizing Views of My Rural Idyll Thanks To The Boop Stik

 It rained a little last night, and a few flowers opened.

Here are some nice blue columbines backed by the new yellow-green leaves of a blueberry bush.  Yeah, I use blueberry in the garden and this is why.  Yellow in the spring, fruit in the summer and bright psychedelic orange and red in the fall!


This is a view of the bed right in front of my house.  From the right Sambucus niger, blueberry, blue columbines, a couple of roses, some shrubs and trees and shit and my front porch and the roofs of the apartments that were built right titty on our lot line.  Although it does beat the former in havbitants of that lot, the animal hoarders and the chick who would scream at their pear tree at night. Yeah, they burned that place down, put up four fourplexes, which comes to an instant 64 people three feet off the wall of my garage, and bitch, grumble, moan, complain.


Some nice Welsh poppies, the stems of columbine with new flowers ready to open, and a powerline. The rocks there are not bricks - they're naturally occurring basalt needles.  I go up to Mt. Baker and just gather them off the roadside.  Purdy kewl!

A snapdragon that for some odd reason decided to bloom out of season.  I'll take it!  It's a sport of 'Black Prince' that's been jumping around my garden for years, after I stole the seeds out of a public planting in Everson.  That's how I roll.  Arrrrr.  Behind it is rosa 'Coffee Bean', and beyond that the black leaves of 'Palace Purple' heuchera, a few little yellow poppies, and some leaves of daylilly.  OO, and a star magnolia that's all out of stars for this year, and somebodies' house, and the brown square that is the back of our 'Welcome to Sumas!' sign.

I'll have to limit y'all here.  It's a lot of awesome to take in all at one go.









Sunday, May 9, 2021

Freakin' Neighbors Being All Friendly And Shit

Yesterday it was everybody, young, old, and canine, and they were all on my sidewalk wanting to chat, and letting themselves into my garden and being friendly and casual and nice.  Neighborhood Crackhead, his dog Chica and I just hung out on the grass for awhile that afternoon and listened to music together and played with the dog, and that was nice.  We're friends now.  Casual and nice.

The four little (horsemen of the apocalypse) boys who must know about every plant in sight were back and forth all day long chatting about what, I have very little idea, because they start sentences in the middle of a thought and aren't real clear on things, and talk about video games a lot.  I nod and smile.  And shoo the littlest guy out of my yard multiple times a day.

The kid next door had his girlfriend over.  You can tell because his dog gets all bent out of shape and barks nonstop until they're...done...and she leaves, slick as hell, ten minutes before Dad gets home.  He has that dog on a leash and out the door he goes, nice, responsible older brother, as dad loads in stuff from his car, and the Biker and I just look at each other and snerk a bit.  Kid's got it down to a science.  That, and when someone lives literally five feet away from you, you get to learn their comings and goings, as it were.

Pet Teenager came over and insisted on helping me weed.  She does a good job and she's a nice, funny kid, and we did some weeding.  And then she began to decompensate.

Pet Teenager has bipolar disorder.  As the minutes passed, she slid into a manic episode.

Now I've had a few of them.  Hell, my daughter spends half her life that way.  So I didn't get too alarmed when she told me; I'd already guessed. And since she's a happy hyper, she said some incredibly goofy stuff that had us laughing so hard we were lying on the grass in hysterics.   Finally she got to a point where she needed to go home, so I gently kept her on track, and she made it home OK.  I gotta say, she weeded the holy hell out of my garden.  It looks downright professional out there.

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Same thing happened today.  It was Mothers' Day here, and I hung out and we barbecued some hamburgers and it was nice. Everyone was out walking around, riding bikes, razor scooters, skateboards; me, I kind of sidled around the yard and avoided contact, because sometimes you just want to hang out and not chat.

It occurred to me then that I have friends in town.

I was really, really careful to stay on distant but friendly terms with people for years, because this is a small place.  But time and carelessness on my part has lead to me knowing peoples' names and stuff, and now here I am, barely civilized, only marginally social, and I have friends.  Just casual neighborhood friends.

Shit, my parents didn't even have friends in our neighborhood.  My grandmother lived right next door, there were uncles and cousins living nearby, and those were the people we hung out with mostly; that and a few friends from the shipyards where my dad worked who were bikers.  One was a Bandito and the other guy was a lone wolf who rode with the Hells Angels - both of them super good guys and really nice to me.  But my parents never did any socializing close to home, and given the fact that we were the weird family on the street, that was probably for the best. (They were bickerers, and it was constant; and sometimes the volume was such that as soon as I turned onto our street I could hear them.  Clearly.  And they used high, mocking tones of voice and exaggerated sarcasm that really made the whole sideshow complete, man.)  Some days I'd just ride on past and go hit one of my friends houses and call home to ask if I could stay for dinner.  Thank God we had a very nice house and yard.  I mean THANK GOD for that.  You could get away with a lot of shit as long as you kept your property up.  

We had a neighbor who was in the National Guard, and when he got going, us kids would stop and just stare at his house.  The man was a sergeant who trained the new recruits and boy, he kept the goddamn troops in line, man.  His wife and three daughters were scared to death of this asshole - but he kept his yard up.  Gorgeously landscaped.  Pass!

Not so with one of the guys who lived a couple of houses away.  Didn't mow his yard, let the place get crappy looking, had a broken down car parked at the curb - dude had the police at his house about twice a month.  And it was just yelling and stuff, no gunfire or anything, but he let the place go to hell and he was judged by all the middle managers and bank tellers and school teachers and legal secretaries in our 'hood for that. Go ahead and scream obscenities at the top of your lungs, fine, but MOW YOUR DAMN LAWN YOU ANIMAL.

It's interesting.  I remember when I was a kid you'd ride your bike around and it was not at all uncommon to hear people arguing.  The last time I heard someone yelling here, it was our freaky neighbors who were animal hoarders and were evicted and the house had to be burned down because it was a biohazard.  The one sister used to get pissed off at the pear tree in their back yard around 11:00 at night and scream incoherently at it for awhile.  That's been eight or nine years ago now.  The house is gone, the people are gone, the pear tree is gone.  

It seemed like a nice tree to me.  I don't know what her problem was with the thing.  But man, that tree  used to piss her off something fierce.  She had a whole fuck of a lot to say to that tree, and it was very, very loud, and went on until she was just screaming hoarsely at it, bellowing and making loud animal noises.  

That got old pretty quick.  Yeah, I called the police. There's limits.  Howling at a pear tree at 11 p.m. is a limit that I had and I thought it was pretty reasonable.  No regrets.





Saturday, May 8, 2021

I! HAVE! CONQUERED! TECHNOLOGY!

 Yes, me and my Big Girl Phone are on the best of terms, once I discovered the secret.

What is the secret?

The secret is the Boop Stik.

This is a Boop Stik:

This thing has turned what was an out of control little wafer of annoyance into a purring pussycat of helpful functions.

Hold your horses, get ye ahold of The Mistress and Inexplicable DeVice and let them know the news:
FIRSTNATIONS HAS TAKEN PICTURES OF HER SPRING GARDEN!!!

I can take part in the yearly Garden event thingie!  Because I can take pictures with my phone!  Which is awesome!  And I do intend to take part in the annual Garden picture thingie, whoever is hosting it, so get ready, because A Bitch Grows Some Motherfucking Plants Yo.  Here are a couple of provocative pix to whet your appetites:

This is part of what I like to call 'The Crap Fence" because it has a lot of crap wired to it.  Most of it is pointy crap.  Then you get the occasional tiny bicycle wheel and it all goes to hell and you question your values and shit.


This is what I like to call 'The Back Of My House' and it is the part of my house that has been a house since before this was  America, before there was a border between Canada and America, or even a State of Washington.  It even has a t.v. aerial on it!  As you can see I planted a bunch of crap next to my house.  That loop off to the right side is an upright for my tomato hoop-house raised bed.  Just because I knew you'd want to know.


OK now what the fuck is this boring spiny thing?  This is boring.  I'm bored.  I thought there was gonna be flowers.  What is this thing?  Who cares?  Are we there yet?   

OK, that's enough for one peek.  You have been mystified, stymied, puzzled and discombobulated.  Your will is mine.  I alone own your soul.  There are cannibals under my house.  The wet bird flies at night.









Friday, May 7, 2021

This Was Supposed To Be A Paperless Society By The Year 2000. Remember That?

 Remember the days when you got a new telephone?  You paid 25 dollars to get a new line, they gave you your choice of phone and a cord, and you plugged in the cord and lifted the receiver of the phone and got a dial tone?  

It's taken two days to get my new modern big-girl phone activated.  One of the things they got hung up on was verification data. They wanted my fathers' middle name.

My father did not have a middle name.  This seemed to bum the service representative out.  Now my mother had about three middle names and a maiden name too, but no.  My fathers full, obscure, weird, foreign Finnish name was not good enough for my new telephone services' needs.  They are welcome to dig my father up and yell at him for not having a middle name.  There's nothing I can do about it.

There were also a series of secret number sequences and codes I had to enter to gain access to new 'rooms' of this dungeon quest.  The Boss would present me with more obscure questions to answer, and more numeric sequences to enter in order to gain the next goal on my journey.  It was honestly like this.

I'd like to say that this was really me who did this stuff, but it was actually the Biker.  

Once he activated my new phone, he had to contact my old telephone company and go through a similar routine. Chad from Hyderabad put him on hold a number of times so he could keep up his service quota (they count the number of hangups on the line and use this as a way to judge how many problems the representative is getting solved.  Which is nice for the representative, but not so awesome for the customer trying to talk to someone with a heavy Hyderabadian accent.) 

We are in the middle of day two of the Great Phone Switchover, and have been told that it will be another couple of hours before the phone is 'fully activated.'  Jesus, haul it up on an iron gurney during a fuckin' lightning storm or something!  It worked for Frankenstein!  I mean really?  Really?

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The man who mows all the civic landscape features and I are friends.  I keep the parking strip out front mowed and edged, and he can skip right over it.  It takes this poor dude five days to mow and edge all the little stuff around town, like parking strips and easements and the city park and waterside trails, and it's a neverending process.  He has it down, though.  Seeing this guy mow across a super steep grade at 20 mph, neat and efficient, is a treat.

  He brought me a bunch of lilacs last year as a thank-you present, and this year they're all blooming and smelling like Heaven.  Lesson:  Be good to your city employees and they will be good to you.  Turns out he's a cool guy.  We hung out in the driveway yesterday and he discussed mass corpse disposal in foreign countries.  I like anybody who can discuss low-tech mass cremation AND use a quad-deck rollover mower like a stock car.

The dude who mows the big lots, like the school playground and undeveloped civic holdings is also a buddy of mine.  He'll get right up on my north border and save me a bunch of trouble because I have carniverous roses on that side, and his platoon of mower decks fits right underneath that and snug up against the wire fence.

  I have  mower envy, actually.  Big Mowing Guy drives one of those big machines that have the wings on each side with six decks on each wing, and they raise and lower, and he can tool down the road and mow the super steep ditches.  I would love to have this job.  I would be a menace to public safety, but this would be one mowed-ass town.  I would mow the shit out of it.

Just like Forest Gump.  Yup.



Saturday, May 1, 2021

Watchin' The Crack Stroll

 I live in a town that has yet to break the four figure population mark.  People here in large part take pride in their homes, and the city takes good care of the public spaces and the infrastructure.  I live in the part that has actual sidewalks too!  It's funny - I can stand out in front of the house and look down East toward the Sumas River Bridge, where the sidewalk comes to an abrupt end, right there at the city limits. No sidewalk for you!  Buncha peasants.

Sumas is a heritage community, meaning it was a city long before there was an America, and even before there was a border between Canada and America. Nobody seemed to mind too much.  Sumas back then was the name of a stretch of natural prairie that ran diagonally from the foothills of Mt. Baker up into Canada and stopped at, um, this mountain that I can see from my kitchen but I don't know the name of; but the Sumas River runs along the foot of it.

Back in the long ago, the Canadians did a lot of hydrological-ag land use stuff to the Sumas River and it's tributaries that would never fly today.  In Canada it runs through controlled channels and has shunt stations for large scale crop irrigation. Here, it is a rut in the mud that does not deserve the name 'river' and how that distinction was even arrived at puzzles me because it is clearly A CRICK.

There are three cricks in Sumas:  Bone Crick, Johnson Crick, and the Sumas River.  You can literally step across the Sumas River.  It is no more that eight feet deep at it's deepest here in the middle of town at the city park, where it was dredged for swimming years before.  No swimming now, boy.  And it's funny.  There's nothing wrong with the water.  The Sumas River is our drinking water; there's a pumping station and probably a few filters, and that's it, just a small installation meant mainly to control water pressure.  

When I was a kid you could not have kept me out of that thing.  You could not have kept any kid out of any crick.  What the fuck, children of today?  Are tadpoles no longer awesome? Are water salamanders and frogs and sticklebacks uncool? Is the prospect of finding an old rusty pistol (I did) just boring as shit or something?  And what about making dams, which is the most awesome fun ever? GET OUTSIDE AND GO MAKE A DAM IN THE CRICK YOU LAZY NO GOOD KIDS. 

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Every day around 11:A.M. the crack customers start walking past my house, headed for the apartments the next block down.  That is where the community crack dealer lives, and there's a pair of shoes hanging over the telephone line and everything, nobody has any illusions about the situation, the police have discussed it with me as a known factor in passing (and clearly something they're in no hurry to put a stop to) and so...there ya go.

The customers are friendly people.  If I'm out around 11:A.M. we'll stand and talk a bit.  They walk past quietly, go into the complex, cop, and then 45 minutes later they come a-stridin' back down the sidewalk, snapping and sparking, yelling at people on their cell phones, drawn up tight and rigid like someone with a spinal traction brace, got a purpose and a destination and there they go.

I have never taken crack - which I find odd too, don't worry.  I don't know what it does to you.  I've heard a lot of different things, and hell, I might try it some day, if it comes my way.  The impression I get from what I observe is that it's like espresso for the unemployed.  

These folks have this daily routine down to a science.  They find a way to get cash, they adhere to a strict schedule, they manage not to get caught, they do their thing and go straight back home.  No flailing down the middle of the street naked.  No shouting at cars or trees.  Presumably they just go home and hang out in the dark playing WoW or Mario Kart or something, eat some Cheetos, and fall asleep.  I've lived in the same little town for over twenty years with these people, and they manage to have some sort of a life, and are perfectly ordinary and acceptable folks...who like crack.  Or meth. I don't know. 

My point is, I guess, here I am in deepest, darkest rural America, and there's people out here who have been living full on meth-based lives for decades. Just getting through their days.

In the early 1900's, the kindly ol' country doc would get the whole family addicted to heroin and then pass out Iron Butterflies and teach them how to shoot up. (Hey, it's how my grandmother got her scarlet paperver somniferums - a doctor gave her the seeds and asked her to grow it for him.  He compounded his own opiates.  Yup.) Every home had a fancy syringe in a velvet lined box with different sized needles to screw onto the end; I remember seeing them in people's homes.  They'd keep it in the sideboard and if someone got run through a threshing machine, out came the needle and the vial. By the time I came along it was just something that people kept in their display cabinets, like the octagon shaped vials for opium with chinese labels, and the cloissone opium pipes, with a chamber for a live coal.  

Ten, twenty years down the road, maybe someone will be saying 'Oh that there?  That's Grandpa's crack pipe.  And that's Aunt Lucy's bong.  There's Uncle Edwards vape pen...oh, we all thought that was pretty impressive stuff, those vape pens..."




Friday, April 30, 2021

Oh Gooooooood Not The Fuckin' House Again

 Well that turned out to be a big ol' fussy fit over nothing.  As usual, we were so busy being RIGHT at each other we didn't hear the other person agreeing.

1. So we get a Class C, probably used.  We take long trips.  We return home.

2. I have to contact a bunch of city employees about what it would take to demolish this house and put a singlewide or a Tiny House in it's place.  So far it's looking grim - and the city just updated our planning maps.  We are at 100% danger for a. A Mt. Baker Lahaar event  b. A huge seismic event, with massive areas of liquifaction   c. A total flood every single winter, with only four tiny little places in town that are naturally above the flood area.  We're used to this, though - it's a shallow flood and doesn't reach our foundations.  d.  Totally being wiped out by flaming lava if Mt. Baker becomes fully active   e. Attack by pterodactyls. Probably.  And all those things have to be taken into consideration when any new construction takes place here - which means massive honkin' fees.

I'll tell you right now:  It's the devil you know.  We'll stay here.  We'll probably even stay in the same house and just let it kind of sag around us over the years.  Make friends with entropy.  Embrace change.

I'll make the calls, but I'm pretty certain that we'll choose to stay in this house and just try and keep ahead of the major stuff.  Otherwise we're looking at putting in a special kind of foundation made for clay-base seismic conditions prone to flooding, which means that it would be five freakin' feet tall and cost one metric bajillion dollars before we even get to the part where the singlewide gets plopped on top. It would look ridiculous standing five feet up in the air like a boxcar on a plinth, and it would also have to have Hurricane Alley tiedowns because of the high winds here; plus it would be utterly exposed to the full force of the wind.  By the time all that effort and money has been spent; naaaaaaah, fuck it.

So yeah.  That's all I got.


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Are You On The Bus Or Off The Bus?

 The School bus dream has been punctured.  I feel bad for my husband, who was really caught up in the whole romance of the nomadic retirement lifestyle.  Shit, it's something I've dreamed about doing for years.  But the thing is - this is no longer 1968.

The State and Federal government, not to mention the insurance companies, are all up in this whole nomadic lifestyle situation nowadays.  You cannot just jump into a bus, hang up a few posters of Krishna, fire off the incense and head out,  staying in supermarket parking lots and on abandoned beaches.  Those days are LONG FUCKING GONE.  And it was such a buzzkill to find out.  

The least part of your worries is the actual conversion process. The monster is Insurance, Licensing, Certification, Inspections, and how far off the grid you expect to live.  The further off, the more intimate you are going to get with the end results of digestion, and your tolerance of extremes in temperature and your companions' moods.  Not a good recipe for two old intrepid individualists with ADHD, OCD, PTSD and the rest of the fuckin' alphabet.

Then there's the fact that those old rust-buckets break down A Lot.  Oh, the Internet has been an enlightening and ultimately helpful place.  Look up 'Schoolies' and you'll find gazillions of sites.  These things will just shit the bed and there you are at the side of the road.  Fucked.  Imagine that tow bill.  Imagine that engine replacement, shit. 

When we used to nomad on a  motorcycle, it was pretty sweet.  You were in the wide open, just you, your comrade, and your credit cards.  You had the whole world, you could park anywhere, you could tent it if your back could take that hard ground (my husbands, sadly, cannot. And yes, chillun, that's my fault.  Oh hell yes it is and I am not sorry.) and if you did not wish to experience nature from within the confines of a nylon dodecahederon, surrounded by predators, you could sleep in a super cheap, shitty motel - hell, all you need is a place to lock up your stuff, catch some Z's and bathe, and then you're off on the road agin. That's why there's a book called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and not Zen and the Art of Keeping A Giant Tube of Steel From Blowing Over In A Windstorm.  Motorcycling really is spiritual.  You are In It.  It cleans out your mind and refreshes your soul.  You meet amazing people, not just average citizens, but folks with a story to tell, people with beliefs and experiences and things to say that are worth hearing.

So now we're thinking about maybe getting our house demolished and putting up a Tiny House, or a Single Wide in it's place.  Just staying right here, but in a reliable, up to code space that gives us room to be solitary when we need solitude and companionable when we have to watch the second season of The Umbrella Academy or videos of cats falling off the back of couches.  

We have always lived simply.  Even now that we do not have to live simply, we choose to continue to do so, because we are fundamentally flower children who agree that thinking globally while acting locally is a responsible way for humans to live on this planet.  But we also want to travel and do the whole 'See America First' thing too.  It's been our dream all along.

It seems like the ideal solution would be to purchase a reasonably sized motor home, a smaller one, like a Chinook, and use that to travel in.  Most parks will turn down a school bus, or anything older than ten years - fact! but they'll accept a well-kept vintage vacation wagon no problem.  It's the perfect compromise between simple living and cheap travel - our costs would be low, and we could take a motel room when we got to feeling grubby. 

Unfortunately it also means that your home, for the duration of your trip, is also your sole means of transport.  The Biker can no longer spend much time on a motorcycle, and I have a huge chunk out of my leg from the first and last time I tried to ride one (A tale for another day.)  I suppose a scooter would work, like a Vespa.  Two people's worth of groceries will fit nicely in the little storage panniers.  We've stripped out campers and carried a motorcycle, and that works just fine.  You really do not need most of the stuff they put in those things, like the cabinets and sinks and ovens and shit. That's why the Baby Jesus invented soft frame luggage.  It works like a charm.  All you need out of the space is a place to sleep and change clothes, a place to take a private shit out of the weather, and a way to keep the thing warm/cool.  You need to keep weight down to keep gas costs down. You have a little dorm room fridge, and you eat a lot of sandwiches and drink a lot of beer and buy bricks of bottled water.  That credit card gets used for restaurants, gas, repairs, fees and entertainment.  You've got your laptop, you've got a solar panel or two, and you don't stay on the road for interminable amounts of time.

This really works.  It worked when we had a little kid, and we've got it down to a science.  So we'll see.  

But damn, those dreams just...to be too old to do something, that's a bitch.  Back in the beginning we were going to buy a wooded lot, mill our own lumber, age it while we lived in a yurt for four years, then build ourselves an open plan cabin and live up on Highway 9. (Lest you think we dreamed, the Biker used to build cabins precisely this way up in Alaska for people.  Dude knows his construction.  He's badass.)  We'd sell the yurt, and be money ahead. Yes, there is a swingin' market for yurts here in Puget Sound. Imagine that!

Plan 2 was to live on the RiverFarm Commune, until we actually visited the RiverFarm Commune and saw how squalid life was for the communards; illiterate peopled with some really, really peculiar ideas about things all living off the income from illegal dope grows and meth production who had no electricity and were taking their water from the river in buckets, and shitting in three-sided outhouses. Nope. Full Nope. Nopeity nope nope.

So we bought the lot, which had a single wide on it already.  And that worked.  We didn't even have to mill any lumber!  We lived on a wooded lot up on Mt. Baker in a very nice single wide, and I had the whole place landscaped and looking gorgeous, and there we were, living our dream.  After all, a Tiny House is basically a singlewide.  I'd go back to it in a minute.  

Unfortunately, the school system sucked, so we had to move into the flatlands to get our daughter into a decent educational environment that didn't have quite so many meth heads and people living in bunkers preparing for the Y2K virus,  KKK sympathizers, religious nuts and violent rednecks.  That's the tradeoff.  You are living in the boonies.  The boonies are full of freaky people.  Whole extended families who lived in compounds deep in the woods and cranked out inbred babies.  And the cult-type religious communities.  Lots of those up off Highway Nine.  A leader who'd been given a message and gathered a group of believers, fire and brimstone, arranged marriages - you think that shit only happens in the Ozarks?  Oh no no no.  

So we moved into our little house here in our little dot on the map, and enrolled our daughter in a school where she was actually made to do her schoolwork and attend classes, and we were actually encouraged to be part of the process;  and most of the teachers could read, so we were ahead on that score.  She went on to do very well in life.  That wouldn't have happened had we stayed upmountain.

Now the effort of trying to talk to The Biker about this begins.  It will be difficult.  He gets caught up in his plans and cannot be swayed, and digs in his heels and...yeah.  I'm just as bad.  I skim the essentials, make up my mind, and everything else is just 'details'.  Also not conducive to rational decision making.  I mean, this is how things are going to end up.  We've been skirting this outcome for years, although why it should be a matter of unpleasantness or hesitation eludes me.  I dread the emotional turmoil that's going to take place during the next five years, as it goes from being my idea to it's being HIS idea. If that sounds unfair, listen.  The dude is German.  Now you understand, dontcha.

I wish we could just skip the bullshit and make the plan and just fucking Do It.  Now.  While we can still walk, and drive, and don't have to shit in a diaper.  You see these tremulous, ninety year old men clutching the steering wheels of their Unfeasibly Large Motor Yachts going up a grade, pallid with terror, and you know that old guy is not having a good time and that trip has not been planned out very carefully.  I don't want to be in my dotage out on the road in some behemoth vehicle freaking out hoping the brakes don't fail, on my way to a place I don't particularly want to visit.  I don't want to pay the criminally high insurance on one of those things, and I don't want to deal with the fees, the inspections and all the other shit.  I just want a little mobile...shed.  With a scooter.  I want to see the redwoods, and the Sur, and the less freaky parts of Montana and Idaho.  I want to have a destination and a plan and just be rational about this whole thing.  It doesn't need to be unpleasant or fraught.  

It just needs the ability of two people (who are never wrong) to find a way to plan a fun future worth looking forward to.  Oy.  Please God, just give me that much.  Please.



Sunday, April 25, 2021

Bitches, busses, birdies

 A lovely soft spring rain, a soft grey evening falling, and the sound of jazz in the background.  I am feeling happy and content.

It struck me yesterday as I navigated a couple of touchy social dilemmas that I really do have my shit down, and that it really is just chemical imbalance with me.  And I'm sorry to keep on banging away at the subject of my malfunctioning brain, but you'll take it and like it.  So there.

I was at the Senior Center Donation/Sale yesterday and a couple of women who have been less than my very best buddies in the past were there, and I felt nothing.  No nervousness, no aversion, no anxiety.  I was able to engage in conversation and be kind and polite, even when the one baited me about my difficult relationship with my daughter.  Numerous times.  Really trying to get my goat.  And I knew this, and it didn't matter a damn.

This would have fucking devastated me some years back.  Deliberate meanness for the sheer sake of being a bitch, choosing me as a target and using my personal life like that - that shit, even so small and so petty would have bit deep.  As it stood, I came home and the Biker and I laughed about it.  And that laughter, my friends, is a blessing.

______________________________________

The Biker is really on the 'Schoolie' bandwagon.  See, that's what 'The Kids' are calling school bus conversions, and what the hippies used to call 'a bus full of hippies'.  He has all these different shows he subscribes to and follows the progress of each conversion avidly.

Now children, I do not see my Biker doing a full on Bluebird School Bus conversion in this lifetime, period.  He is 61.  Neither do I see myself living in a confined space where I not only do not have a separate room to retreat to, but where I cannot stand fully upright.  We live in Recreational Vehicle Purgatory here, Vacationland USA, where old RV's go to be refurbished and re-sold.  I would so much rather get an actual, purpose built RV - nothing obscenely huge, just, say, Divco sized. 


Just right.

 And it would have to be something that I could drive too, because...he's 61.  So I'm just keeping my eye on the situation and ready to forestall any rash purchases.

I swear to God some of these things are being fitted out like luxury tanks, with marble counters and full 2x4 construction.  How would you move down the road?  One good side wind and you'd be looking at dirt!  Not to mention gas mileage.  Now of course some of these are going to be parked for good, I know that.  But some of these people, usually young couples, are building for the fuckin' ages, man, expecting to roam the roads of this great nation of ours, and it just doesn't work that way.  We see a lot of these conversion units up in our neck of the woods, and there is nothing sadder than two hipsters trying to back a school bus into a campsite, and then get it levelled.  Or trying to make it up Mt. Baker to one of the snowline camps.  Mr. School bus was never meant to go up large mountains.  Particularly not a damn school bus with  marble countertops and stainless steel full sized appliances.

One thing an old school bus is really good for is growing dope.  Of course that's legal here now, so those dank smelling old busses are being hauled out of the undergrowth with 'For Sale' signs in the algae covered windshields.  And they are being snapped up as soon as they get hauled to the side of the road.  People are buying them to live in permanently, parked, home sweet home.

The tiny house thing is growing here.  And I blame that on the housing boom and Covid.  The Biker works with people who actually live in retrofitted garden sheds.  Yeah, it's cheap, your bills are low, you sneak in under a lot of rules, regulations and taxes, but damn, a single dude coming home to a garden shed...that's grim.  And as you know, I lived in a garden shed for awhile.  I can attest to the fact that it is in reality a very grim lifestyle, except when it hails, and then it's loud, but kinda neat.

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The robin is back.  Come to find out the instant these little shits fledge a nest full of chicks they go right on and start another family.  Some robins have three different families going with three different hens, which means that robins have somewhat elastic morals, but really have that 'cranking out the offspring' thing down pat.  Unfortunately it means that cock robin is spending 90% of his time super jacked up on testosterone, which causes him to attack his own reflection because he is being a dude with way too many things going on in his little birdy life.  Someone should do something. That's what I think.


Saturday, April 24, 2021

Tra La! It's Spring! Plants Are Using Bees To Have Sexytime! Beer!

 The last couple of days have been pretty wonderful. The weather has been prime, my garden is saWEEET,  I am now the block Grandma, and all the kids know me, and I know them.  There is Raler, Um yeah him, Oh Yeah Uh, See That Kid? and Him.


'Um Yeah Him' is kind of displeased because he was given a bright metallic fuschia bike, and I can't blame the little dude.  Yes, it's brand new and it was abandoned in a rental garage in his building, but he's all boy, this one, about two steps up from eating dirt and bare-ass crapping in the great outdoors, and he doesn't want a bright fuschia bike, that's sissy!  He told me "Here, you're a girl, you ride this girl bike."

I have not ridden a bike in a few years, but oh, in my heyday, I was a daredevil.  This was just before stunt bikes, so I cannot say that I did flips and tricks, but I could stand on the center rail and glide standing up with my arms out, which is pretty damn cool.  Anyway, I jumped on Um Yeah Hims little bike, your standard dirt tracker, and surprised myself and all the kids in the neighborhood by flying around the block, through the field, doing scrapes and tight turns and all that goofy crap. (All the exercise I did this winter totally paid off!)  I had a line of five little kids running and laughing fit to bust after  me as I zigzagged around the field, and then I had to stop and laugh too.  It was pretty cool.



See That Kid loves sedums.  He has one at his house, as he has told me, and he pulls all the dead leaves off it and keeps it in the brightest window. He likes it because it's dinosaury.  He is one of those little grade school boys you can tell is already 40 years old minus the vocabulary and experience, just a sweet, mild, sensible soul.  I have got a pot of sedums that I started for him so that he can maybe catch the spark of gardening.


Grandiose?  Moi?


Oh Yeah Uh See That Kids' name is actually Memphis.  He's a 'Third shepherd from the left' kind of kid, always in the middle of the pack but kind of shy.  His mother is a beautician and he frequently shows up with gleaming magenta or peacock blue hair.  I don't know if he likes it or not, but at least he stands out.  He also likes to sneak into my back yard and hang out under a salix contorta I have and play with his different action figures and cars.  


Ida killed for this tuff little fort, right?


I see the sag in my wire fence, and I've seen his little hind end booking across the field as soon as I came out into the back yard, so yeah, I know it's him.  I'm not enraged or anything.  I will have to put up a taller fence.  But oh my heart... I found a little hollow that he made under an evergreen tree I have out back, like the kinds of little nest-forts I used to make when I was a kid, to smell the foliage and play with my toy cars, and  my grandma-heart just goes out to this little guy.  I get it, Oh Yeah Uh See That Kid.  I'll put up a taller fence, but I've left a lot of branches and things sneak off over the property line and through the fence so you'll always have a little fort to hang out in, just outside the fence in the shade and tall iris. Because I'm fuckin' totally awesome.

_________________________________

The Biker and I spent today going to garage sales (for the first time in 13 months!!!!!!!) and doing a little recreational spending. It felt really good.  In fact, it felt like a return to something fun and important that's been missing in our lives, without our even realizing it was missing. 

 We have been talking about going back into the Swap Meet game for years now, getting a recreational vehicle with a lot of storage space and just hitting swap meets with our table and stock, caravanning around the PNW, getting in to the meets early and partying with the other dealers, bullshitting, wheeling and dealing in the sellers parking lot before and after hours, when the best stuff comes out and the amazing deals get done.  

We did that quite a bit while The Stainless Steel Amazon was a teenager. We made a chunk of change and a lot of business contacts that have lasted over the years.  Now that it's a viable full time option, we've been watching all these 'Schoolbus Makeovers' and 'Vintage Motorhome Resto's' on YouTube.  

See, we have a metric shitpile of vintage stock left over from those days, well boxed and just waiting to be dispersed among the populace.  We used to do a bangin' business every meet, cars, motorcycles and antiques, and interestingly enough, it's something that The Biker and I can do together, as a team, a natural Good Cop Bad Cop team - it just comes naturally to us. 


Sexxxy, armed, devious.  My marriage in three words.  

We felt some of that magic come back to us at an estate sale we went to today.  As a team we are unbeatable.  This was a sale being run by an estate liquidation company, and we had that whole property dicked and down after five minutes. Shee-it.   We had the money mapped and our contacts uppermost in our thoughts and we just kept looking at one another with that 'We still got it!" grin.  And that's the thing - the sum is greater than the parts with us.  It's the best feeling in the world scouting around like a couple of spies and reporting back to each other, tempting people back to our lot, swapping, raiding, talking the trade - and it's all 'our' people!

I am super stoked.  I feel like there's hope for the future in this, for us as an active team out in the world doing something interesting that we both really enjoy, that has history and travel, dead peoples' belongings and lots of partying and bullshit mixed in with it.  It would be bomb ass if we spent this next winter down a couple of USDA zones, going to swaps, hanging out, seeing old friends, following the Rust Trail.  Those sparks of hope, man, you gotta keep them alive.  Meanwhile, I have a glow-in-the-dark garden turtle figurine, and the Biker has a hand-forged sledge hammer and a tractor pull trophy, dammit.  

One mans trash...



Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Lucky Pennies Actually Work. Fact.

 I could not get it right this morning!  Wasn't going to happen!  

Drove all the way in to town only to find out that my insurance company lied to me about where I can and cannot get glasses.  

Drove aaaaaaaall the way back home, went back online and then drove aaaall the way to town again to another place where the woman did not speak English with any great show of confidence and somehow managed to get  my message across, only to find out that the optician was not in.  

Drove aaaaallll the way home and laid down in my AIR CONDITIONED bedroom and stared into the darkness, wondering what it all means.  

Went back out and drove aaaalll the way to the post office to find that I'd gotten a t-shirt!  And I found a lucky penny!  Yay!  

Then I drove aaaaall the way to the pharmacy only to find out that they no longer carry one of my inhalers because it costs $287546792734.00  SHIIIIIIIIIIIIT but found another lucky penny YAY!

Well, this was enough damn nonsense for one day.  So I drove aaaaaallll the way to the next town over and bought myself a rose.  Yes I did.  Right off the truck, perky and beautiful, Weeks Rose 'Oranges and Lemons' which went right in pride of place next to 'Improved Josephs' Coat' YAY.  I get rewards for surviving days like this.

Then I gardened, and it was evening, and all the neighborhood children stopped and told me various confusing things, and I nodded a lot and went 'Oh really?'  

Then Neighborhood Crackheads dog Chica, a very solidly built Staffie, came barreling into the yard, did three laps around the house with NC in full pursuit,  and then decided that I would be fun to bash into and wrestle with while I was kneeling there pulling weeds.  This occurred.  It was not planned.  I was not expecting this. So I had a conversation with Neighborhood Crackhead while I was upside down lying on the grass with his big ol' dog sitting on my chest. He just leaned over and talked down to my face about Portugeuse dogs for awhile.  OK then.  The Biker came up and they got talking about Portugeuse dogs, and meanwhile I was rolled across the lawn by Chica and generally treated like a big ol' dog toy.

I can think of worst ways to end an evening. 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Kum Ba Yah

 I don't know how this keeps happening to me, but I now have a new Pet Teenager, and four little Pet Kids, and all of the want a damn botany  lesson every time I go outside.  I am going to set one little boy up with a potted cactus garden - well, sedums - because they're easy and he thinks they're cool and dinosaury-looking.

Aren't little kids supposed to...I dunno, do graffitti and break into abandoned houses and shit?  Or was that just me?

I'm a reasonably pleasant woman, even to Suspected Chimo/Neighborhood Crackhead; I'll stop and chat with folks, I give dogs face woogies, I say 'Hi' to Clinically Depressed Black Kitty, and it's nice.  But the kids...aren't they supposed to be playing video games and watching porn online?  Why are they outdoors?  Why are they talking to old ladies?  WHY ARE THEY INTERESTED IN THE HISTORY OF THE TULIP?    

I mean it!  I grow speciosas, and they were fascinated when I told them 'those are wild tulips.' 


RAWR.

They wanted to see how a little starry flower that grows wild in the mountains of Turkey went from being a tiny thing to a tall, colorful Darwin - and I'm dork enough that I do in fact have all the selections in-between - and they were interested!  Then they wanted to know the name of every single flower, and I told them.  Still not bored.  Still full of questions.  They wanted to know about the difference between roots and bulbs, and I showed them that!  Still not bored, actually kind of jazzed, running around guessing which plant had a root and which had a bulb.  I was...bemused.  And then they wanted to know why some plants have bulbs and others have roots, and at that point I was just about botany-d out.

New Pet Teenager is coming over tomorrow to help me pull up weeds and do edging.  She's the kid who had her own Gay Pride coming out Birthday Parade a couple of weeks ago.  Kid is 13. Far be it from me to turn down exploitable teenage labor.

_____________________________

I have a new best friend.  It stands three feet tall and has cute little wheels.  It is AN AIR CONDITIONER and it is in my bedroom and I LOVE IT.  My room stayed a steady 65 degrees all night, I slept like a log, the air was moving; and like Wynonas Big Brown Beaver, I wish I did have a pair.  I am astounded how efficient this thing is.  Five minutes, room is nicely chilled.  And my room faces SSW.  The hottest room in the house.  Not anymore!


You want cool?  I got cool. I got aaaallll the cool, baby.

We ARE getting insulation, by the way.  I keep dropping reminders, The Biker keeps sighing and the message is working its way into his brain: Insulation.  Heat tape.  NE winds that last 14 days and nights at a crack. Age = sucks.  Warmth = good.  Comfort = good.  Old bitchy chilly whiny wife = Not Good. Very persistent, though. 

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Two weeks ago it was snowing in the foothills two miles away.  This week we're going to be hitting 80f.  This is as extreme a seasonal change as I've ever seen.  Being able to go outside in a t-shirt and sandals is like a blessing.  Leaving the windows and doors open and living the indoor-outdoor life just feels so right, like being let out of prison.  This past winter really drove home for me and the Biker as well just how indoor-outdoor 'whole property'  we live. There's always something to do, the garage is open, the sheds are open, various power tools are being used, projects are being constructed...we are cozy homebodies and super house-proud. The barbecue is always at our crib. We invented the staycation. 


"Wow Dad, we can fit two whole puppies on our new grill!  That's keen!"

So of course when the Biker told me that he had a birthday party planned for me with guests that he'd already invited, I had a spaz fit and a panic attack.  It was not beautiful or appropriate. 


AAAAAAAA NOT GUESTS OMG PEOPLE HUMANS SPAZ TRIP FREAK NO GOD NO


God I hate being this way.  Two days later I'm like 'what the fuck was I thinking?  Where the fuck did that come from?  Why did I freak out like that?'  I know these people.  They're our friends.  I feel totally fine about the idea today.  

But that's a sign I'm going in the right direction, anyway.  Two more days of adjusted dosage under my belt is duct-taping my synapes back together in friendly configurations. It's a process.  I wish it were a faster process, but at least I'm seeing positive progress, so there's that.


And TULIPS!!



Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Shit Back Together, No More Robins

Life is good!   My little feathered tormentor has finally decided that Reflection Robin is just a fact of life and he can't do anything about it.  

"Screw Reflection Robin. Yeah, fuck you, Reflection Robin, I'm ignoring you!  Yeah!  Stick that up your ass! Ha!" 

And in another week I can take all the plastic bottles down from the shrubs and trees...that look demented...and recycle those.  I'm looking forward to it.

Getting my new medications adjusted has been quite the interesting trip.  It's ongoing.  Upside:  I'm mildly high until about 1:00 in the afternoon, when the heebie jeebies start knocking at the back of my brain. "What if you have cancer and you don't know it? What if someone has been watching you through binoculars for years here in town and they're going to kill you?  What if your husband is in the hospital with a heart attack right now and it's just nobody has called you yet? What if we get shitty insulation and next winter - no I can't face another winter - OH GOD NOOOOOOOOOOO" aaaaand FirstNations takes herself a Valium and a couple of mood stabilizers. 



And I chew them.  

Like candy.

They do not taste good. 

But they hit my system fully deployed and ready to cross that blood-brain barrier, God bless 'em; and ten, fifteen minutes go by?  Life is normal.  It stays normal until just before bed, when I take a handful of pills and ten, fifteen minutes later BOOM out like a light for eight blessed, unbroken hours of sleep.

And no weird horse dreams.  That's key.

Just thinking of you makes my nipples tingle, baby.   


I was having dreams so jam-packed with activity and people and shifting storylines that it was waking me up. Remember those rooms in electronics stores where there were twenty-five televisions all tuned to the same channel?  Imagine that room, but every television is on a completely different channel, and the sound is cranking.  Yeah, sleep  through that shit.

Another strange thing that happened was that I was waking up and not being quite sure where I was - the house I grew up in, or the house I live in now, or the house I was just dreaming about.  Or waking up not knowing which direction I was facing, which is hard to explain so just take that one on faith; it's weird. 

That's a mild form of hypnogogic hallucination.  And that disorder is common on the ground. Ten percent of the population have it.  Stephen King has it.  (Explains a lot, right?)  In fact Stephen King has a subtype called 'Old Hag Syndrome'.

                                       It's 2:A.M. and you got some 'splainin to do, Stephen.  

  

You wake up paralyzed with a horrible old woman sitting on your chest, trying to strangle you, or just generally being a scary bitch.  Whole towns in Africa have this form of HH.  It runs in families.  Now why so specific?  Why not...a small cow?  

 I'M PISSED OOOOFF!  I'M REALLY PISSED OOOOFF! 

Right? That would be fucked up. You wake up paralyzed and there's a small angry cow standing on your chest looking at you? Why not a cow?  I do not have the answer to that question. 

Anyway.   You know what I did to celebrate getting my shit together?  I took all that free money that Mr. Biden sent me, went online and I spent $214.00 on clothes.  Thank you Uncle Joe.  Now the world will know that I love Jimi Hendrix. They will goggle in wonder at H.R. Gigers image 'Alien - In Space No One Can Hear You Scream' plastered all over my tits. The will know that I work in the Science Department of the USS Enterprise. They will know that I am an alumnus of Miskatonic University. People will see that I like John Lee Hooker.  They will be exposed to the idea that I hope that they will 'Live Long And Prosper' but they won't be able to read the message as such because it's written in the Vulcan ceremonial script tanaf-kitaun.  Not Gotavlu zukitaun; pfft. Tanaf-kitaun. Yeah that's right.

                                                             Dif tor heh smusa, y'all.
 

 I was looking at my clothes a couple days ago while I was folding laundry, and realized 'Shit, my stuff is seriously beat!  That will not do!' (This is the kind of everyday thing you miss when you're working on a case of depressive psychosis.) So Uncle Joe bought me some killer dorklord t-shirts, paid for some new pairs of pants, and a lot of socks.  

Tell ya what, I'm hooked.  Buying clothes online is The Shiz.   And I completely replaced all my shit for $214.00!!!  But the best part is not having to go to a store full of icky freaky germy people, spend my gas money, and probably not find what I want.  You can't go into, say, Penny's, and grab an H.R. Giger t-shirt.  Nope. 

"Can't you go check in back? What do you mean you don't sell those here?  I've bought them here before.  No, I'm upset.  I'm really upset.  I want to talk to a manager.  No H.R. Giger T-shirts in stock like you expect me to believe that? Ha, you're just too lazy and ugly and stupid to go check. I'll stand right here.  Everybody?  Everybody?  I want you to look at the laziest excuse for a clerk in America right here.  She won't go in back and check and see if they have my shirt in stock.  It's ridiculous.  Why is the manager taking so long?  I'm going to sue you and this company for my time.  I mean it.  My time is valuable.  I'll do it."  
 

Go online, you find nothing BUT H.R. Giger T-shirts, man, you just type that shit in!  I want grey, straight-leg women's trousers? With pockets?  Type it in. Order it. At your house in two days. Boom.  No screaming children.  No internal combustion combusted.  No lines, no waiting, no droplets. Aaaand I have a new H.R. Giger t-shirt! Hell yeah!