Tag Archives: gardening

The Secret Garage

Not as catchy as “The Secret Garden,” is it? Sunday morning I was having a very exciting dream full of intrigue and graphic violence and thrown soup packets. In the dream, the Beer Guy revealed that he had a secret garage under our house where he kept his collection of extremely expensive cars. He let me drive that one that was worth $7 million. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

This car, the most expensive in the world, is $4.8 million because it’s literally covered in diamonds.

That wasn’t even the most exciting thing that happened this weekend!

I chainsawed! We had a few branches break this winter and spring due to ice and wind, and I took the chainsaw out there and cut those branches down. And then, I cut down a few more. And a couple more. And then I chainsawed all the branches into manageable chunks of branch.

It was kind of amazingly fun! I want to chainsaw all the things!

Dramatic representation of me chainsawing.

Alvie and I also planted some garden stuff. We planted blueberries, strawberries, rhubarb, and asparagus in the permanent garden spaces. Then I gave him some seeds and pointed him towards one of the garden boxes we’ll probably take out after this year. Bean planted sunflowers (his favorite), peas, pumpkins, and watermelons, and then we did carrots and beets in another space. All that’s left is the peppers and tomatoes.

I also taught Alvie how to clean a bathroom (it’s going to take a lot of practice…) and we baked an apple rhubarb pie (which was delicious).

We did a “fancy” crust with moons & mini-bats. 🙂


The Bean had a pretty good weekend. I always enjoy our weekends together.* You know what’s weird, though? He just keeps growing! He is such an affectionate kid and loves to crawl into my lap, but he barely fits anymore. All of the HYUGE clothes he got for his birthday fit almost perfectly (I was hoping they’d be too big so he could grow into them).

There’s not a lot of room to grow in these pjs.

He’s pretty pleased that he’s “almost as tall” as me, even though it’s been pointed out that I’m not any kind of Amazon. But his feet! His feet are so big.

His new shoes that are about a half size too big and my feet. The only thing keeping me from cramming my foot into his shoe is that kid shoes are narrower than my (still pretty damn narrow) adult foot.

The time that he’ll fit into my lap and that I’ll be able to pick him up and carry him is definitely limited. I’m doing my best to treasure these moments (although his desire to be held and his ability to hold still are at odds with each other, which makes treasuring the snuggles very difficult) which I can still hold him and he still wants to be held.

So for now, we’ll have moments like this, where he looks at me like that while we’re showing off our crazy pizza.

This pizza, although over-topped, turned out to be amazing.



*always is such a fun term when dealing with a five-year-old who never. stops. talking. ever. EVER.

Three Things Thursday: Bits & Pieces

  1. I walked into a spider web while leaving the house this morning. It’s finally (FINALLY!) sunny and warm in Portland and the local arachnids are taking advantage of that by being gigantic and trying to catch humans before they’ve had too much coffee. I sincerely hope the man walking his dog enjoyed the dance I did.


  1. Someone stole a package off our front porch last night. A neighbor reported that a van with Washington plates stopped, someone got out & ran up to the front door, stole my Amazon package, and left a bag of garbage in its place. First of all, why leave a bag of garbage in its place? That’s ridiculous. You’re already being a thieving douchebag by stealing, do you have to compound your douchery? Really? Secondly, have fun with my lactaid and make-up application sponges.


  1. You know what the biggest problem with me being not at home eleven hours/day is? I’m really seeing the effects of not taking my five-minute breaks to do household chores. BREAK! Empty the dishwasher. BREAK! Switch the laundry. BREAK! Scrub the toilet. Unfortunately, we have not stopped eating (thereby dirtying the dishes) or wearing clothes (still have laundry!). This, even more than the lack of commitment my body has to getting up early to write, is irritating me.

I googled “filthy kitchen” so I could be melodramatic about the state of my kitchen, and after I came back out from under my desk, I decided to google “spotless kitchen” instead. YOU’RE WELCOME.


This weekend, I will be introducing my son to “bathroom cleaning” techniques. His reward for learning how to effectively clean up after himself? I’m gonna let him help me plant the garden. (He’s a well-known plant tickler…it’s gonna be great.)

Alvie from 2 years ago watering the plants after giving them a good tickle.

2016 – The Wrap-Up

I’m just going to pretend that this year is over. I really can’t take any  more 2016. The next couple of days are interstitial days – they belong to no year and nothing that you do on those days matters. This is a new rule I just made up, but I’m keeping it.

Fuck you, 2016!

This year was tough. My marriage ended. I moved into my own place. I got officially divorced. My job ended. I have been – as yet – unable to find a new job. A lot of celebrities I especially liked died. A celebrity  I don’t particularly like not only lived, but was elected president. Money is tight and anxiety and depression are high. My kidlet is stressed out. I’ve had persistent shoulder issues that have prevented me from doing as much as I’d like.

Lots of shit.


(Sometimes, literally.  Motherhood is rewarding AF.)

Seriously. Fuck you.

But you know what? It wasn’t all bad, was it?

I’m in a fantastic relationship. I have a great kidlet (even if he is not only a four-and-a-half-year-old, but also the source of that literal shit I have to deal with from time to time). I really got some quality time with a lot of wonderful friends – and made some new wonderful friends, to boot!

Being four is serious business

There was a lot of good travel this year – I was in Vegas in April for the RT conference where I got to meet IRL my friend Elizabeth Hunter as well as make new writerly friends! In May, I went to Bend for the weekend with the Beer Guy. I was in Seattle a couple of times (July and November). In August, I was able to take the Bean to South Dakota to meet my grandmother (his great) for the first time (and not incidentally got to sing karaoke with my three bestest besties from the good ol’ college days!).

Me & my marshmallow goo proving that being 39 is also very serious business.

AND – I was able to go to Iceland. ALL BY MYSELF. Sometimes I remind myself that if I could do that (which required a lot of overcoming of my anxiety issues), I can do almost anything.

I waited patiently in Bifrost for a divine visit, but unfortunately, the gods overlooked me this year.

I got to meet some other personal goals as well. I’ve really reconnected with my domestic badassery – my garden wasn’t much to talk about this year, but I made jam, and just canned festive simple syrups, and made some pies, and started baking bread again. Also – cheese. I made a cheese. Soon, we will know if that cheese is delicious. CROSS YOUR FINGERS!


I finished writing two books and a novella, completed edits on one book that’s currently in the last look-through by my editor on its path to publication.

I found out that I really, really enjoy being a writer, and if someone would actually pay me, I’d be okay doing this for a living. (What I need is some freelance editing/proofreading work to supplement my as-yet non-existent writing income. Apparently there’s no six-figure advance for self-publishing.)


I’ve worked through a lot of things this year and I hope that I’m coming out on the other side stronger than I went in. I lived on my own. I single-mommed. I’ve been unemployed. I’ve stopped procrastinating and started achieving my dreams. I’ve traveled internationally alone.

All of the things I thought would be the hardest have been the easiest. The only thing that makes this year still shite is that pesky lack of funding issue. (I am open to paid companion positions, all eligible sugar daddies reading my blog…I’m sure there are a ton of you out there. Call me.)

(Seriously. Call me.)

The emotional stuff has been hard, but I feel like I’ve been tempered this year.

A year ago, I declared that 2016 would be the year of me. When I wrote that, I had two very specific goals in mind. I wanted to end the year not married and not in the job in which I started the year. Both of those things have come to pass, albeit not exactly as I’d planned. (Maybe I should be a little more careful with what I put out in the universe.)

I don’t know everything that 2017 will bring. There are a few things of which I’m certain:

  1. I’ll (again) move houses, but this time into a more permanent situation (less than a month now!)
  2. I’ll start a new job
  3. I will publish two books
  4. I will turn 40 and there will be a unicorn piñata (the party is the day after my birthday – Saturday, 2/25 – you’re totally invited)
  5. I will do some travel, even if only a little bit
  6. My Bean will turn 5 (FIVE YEARS OLD!)
  7. I’ll have a great garden and do more canning (I’m out of salsa and it is a travesty)
  8. I’ll keep writing
  9. That crazy Bean will start kindergarten
  10. I’ll keep moving…yoga and walking are where it’s at right now, but I’d like to – just maybe – start running again
  11. I will drink delightful gin cocktails on the back patio in the summer with the people I love best
  12. I will laugh and love and live just a little bit more


May 2014 Goals

Once again, I’m a few days in to May. I really like to let the month percolate a bit before committing to anything.

April in Review

April 2014 Goals

  1. Make it to Rivendell on my “Walking to Mordor” adventure – almost success! I am SO CLOSE! I will be there this week.
  2. Have fun 2-year-old birthday shenanigans with Alvie Bean. – SUCCESS! The Bean turned two and we had fun. And somewhere there are pictures. I haven’t seen them yet – either the pics from school OR from present opening at home, but they exist!
  3. Hit the gym for strength training 2 days/week. – 100% FAIL! I didn’t go to the gym once in April.
  4. Go to all marathon training long runs. All. – 75% SUCCESS! I missed one due to illness.
  5. 30K new words. – 63% SUCCESS! I wrote 19,000 words.
  6. Continue to eschew sugar. – complete and utter failure. It was almost like I tried to make up for sugar-free March AND any future plans to go sugar free just in case. Oops!
  7. Get the budget done. Make it good. Celebrate. – ARGHHH! IT WILL NEVER BE DONE! I did finish what I thought was a final draft, but then it came back! It’s like the zombie budget that will not die. I’m gonna call it a success because it’s not my fault. I totally double-tapped that bastard and it still came back.
  8. Garden prep! At least 50% – Nope.
  9. 11 flights of stairs/day at work. – 100% SUCCESS! At work, we had stair-climbing teams, and the first team of 7 to climb 2,900 flights of stairs won. You could only count 20 flights/day. My team TOTALLY won. Because we are awesome.
  10. Keep up with my #100happydays – 100% SUCCESS! I have found something that made me happy every day!

May 2014 Goals

  1. Get to Rivendell!
  2. Strength Training five times (1 down!)
  3. Have a good (read go to it and finish) race on 5/10
  4. 25K new words
  5. Plant some stuff in the garden
  6. Keep on keeping on with #100happydays
  7. Run more than 50 miles
  8. Take Alvie Bean to the Zoo
  9. Figure out a schedule that allows me to accomplish near-daily workouts, writing, and daily going to work for 9 hours. I am a morning person, and I get up and write most mornings at about 5 am, but then when I’ve planned my post-work workouts, I don’t do them because I’m lazy and tired. Right now, I am supposed to be running, but I am not.
  10. Get the architect a kick-ass and as-yet undetermined birthday gift.

Exciting notes! In the first four months of this year, I surpassed my 2013 & 2012 total miles run, and I should pass 2011 sometime in June and 2010 sometime in July, and 2008 by the end of August.

The strongman - my weight-lifting inspiration

The strongman – my weight-lifting inspiration

Three (3!) Things Thursday

Quick 3 things today –

1. Swimming! I swam again last night, and it was good. I went pretty slow because there were 4 other people circle swimming in the same lane, and they were not fast. However, as I was entering my swim into my spreadsheet, I realized that March was one of my highest yardage months EVER AND, my fastest paced swim in the last 18 months was the last pre-Alvie swim. 1800 yds at 39.5 weeks pregnant. That means that I do have the capacity for greater speed, I think. I should be able to go faster as a non-pregnant person! 🙂

soon! I just need to pick a tri for late summer, now!

2. Gardening! Everything is in the ground that needs to be in the ground. Tomatoes, peppers, squashes of all varieties. I even planted a lemon cucumber plant for Sarah. The corns (plants) are doing well and will probably all get names in the next week.

My First Corn! (ca. 2009)



3. Martinis! Tonight! My first martini in…waaaaaaaaay too long. I don’t even remember when, that’s how long it’s been. I cannot wait.

It's martini time! (April 2011)