There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I couldn't resist....I was just scratching Penelope's neck and she smiled! See her smiley tooth?

Couldn't resist again....Fuzzy the best male kitty nurse in the world and Drake in the front squinting because the flash hurt her eyes. Don't you just want to kiss them? Actually they look a bit irritated with me.

Monday, March 26, 2007

It's Monday and I am, not bored...I am boring. No cartoons today, no outside pics, nothing.

Steve hit the road about a half an hour ago.....on his way to Pittsburg but he will be back tomorrow night. He was supposed to be home almost all of April but he is already talking about another consultation early April.....told you he was a workaholic. He got up at 5:30 a half an hour before the alarm, took a shower and put on sweats and a t-shirt as travel clothes weren't needed until 10. After breakfast he was walking out of the kitchen and I read the back of the t-shirt he had on...I'M NOT ONLY PERFECT I'M NORWEGIAN. The shirt was on backwards.

Speaking of showers....I have no time alone in the bathroom. No matter what I am in there for....tooth brushing and water pick, dabbing Rogaine on my pretty pink scalp, showering...anything...there is a pet in there with me. Each of the 4 cats eat a different special food...three of them are fed in the whenever they see me go into that special room it must mean feeding time right? If I am sitting on the throne there is a cat at my feet, stepping out of the shower a cat on the bath mat, tooth care a cat on the sink, first thing in in the morning a dog wanting to go outside. If I ignore them I either get a dog paw in my lap or a kitty claw ever so carefully placed on my leg. We used to have an outhouse....really.... before the building was finished in 1990.....I'll post a pic of that....yes, there were critters in there but as soon as I stepped into the house, they left. Much more private. I know it is my fault for starting the whole feeding in the bathroom...but it is too late and they would have a hard time changing now.

The sun is out, the temp is around 40 and the bambis are back in full force. When it was corn time this AM there was a doe and three yearlings. One of the smaller ones was backed into the forest when I approached. The others just stood their ground and waited until my back was turned to eat. They also were nasty to the single yearling when she tried to get a nibble. So, I just filled another pan and put it to the far side of the three piggies and she got her share too.

Off to listen to the report of how Anna Nicole died....MY GAWD....accidental overdose. Sorry if I spoiled it for those of you that didn't know.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Grateful Dead.....

Jan of left a comment yesterday mentioning a garden. No, I am not a gardener. Never had one in California and never really wanted to play in the dirt in Idaho. But, my wonderful husband not wanting to miss an Idaho opportunity did want a garden....not for him to play in the dirt but to give him another reason to ride the slut, dig up the yard, put cement posts in, wire and fence rails and plan and put in raised beds.

We started this masterpiece of a garden in 1999. The area was selected, posts and wire put up and the beds readied. I bought the book Gardening for Dummies and the bible of Idaho gardeners the Sunset Western Garden Book. The books bored me to pieces, so I asked my friends and neighbors just enough questions to not sound overly stupid and then went to the nursery to buy plants and seeds.

We started out small that year and were only going to grow radishes, tomatoes, onions and zucchini. I also bought some petunias and geraniums to put in a special place on the east side for color around our drab looking house. I have to admit I had fun putting in the plants and seeds and I was also really proud when the radishes started to sprout.

My friend came over to look at everything and said I had done OK. She looked at the petunias and geraniums and gave me a primer in pulling off dead heads. I had all of the garden stuff down.

The growing season in Idaho is really, really short...maybe 3 good months if we have a long summer. The radishes did well and I managed to thin them without losing too many. The onions never got past the green salad size but Steve loved them and said they tasted great. The tomatoes did OK too....I hate tomato worms however and cringed when I had to remove them. Brought back memories of my dad's garden....he would collect the tomato worms in a coffee can on a day when he was going to Bar-B-Q and would throw them into the fire! ICKKYYICK.

The zucchini were another story all together. The plants were HUGE. We had four of them and I thought they were aliens in disguise and were going to take over North Idaho. I just couldn't figure out why they weren't making cute little squash. I love fried zucchini with ranch dressing and my mouth would water just thinking about bringing in a huge squash to cut up and deep fry. My friend dropped by again and I told her my squash issue.....she asked what I was know, fertilizer, watering and general care and I told her. The last fact I described probably still has her laughing. I described perfectly how I had removed the dead was I supposed to know that those little shriveled up yellow flowers went on to become those delicious squash!!! I had seen tomato flowers turn into the little caps for the fruit and had seen strawberries flower and turn into beautiful pieces of art...but not squash.

My gardening has been limited to radishes and tomatoes since that first adventure. Good thing we don't have to survive on that garden....we'd be long gone by now. Here is a pic of the garden area. I am really going to give it a good try this year..... but those books are still really boring.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring in Sandpoint

To the left looking out from the balcony east. Below looking out the door to the north. I counted 7 Bambis this morning so the word is out....Corn at the old lady's place!

Friday, March 16, 2007

My son called me last night to see how I was feeling. He is a 7th grade math teacher in Southern California. He teaches in a really low income district and has had a tough year so far with the kids and state funding. He is also a pro bike rider as in bicycles and is looking forward to riding every day of Spring break, spending time with his children and wife and getting their kitchen back together after a re-model. Spring break for me??? I'll be lucky to go from the chaise to the shower. This virus must have taken steroids because it is a really strong something or other....and yes, I did have my flu shot. A pic of my son is below.

This pic is a few years old....and of course this bike is long gone....crashed several times over. The wheels on his brand new bike that he crashed in Merced, California a few weeks back, are pencil thin and he has one of those helmets (with a huge crack in it) with the "tail" on it. One of the most pleasurable things in the world that I used to do was go to my son's races and cheer for him and watch him grow into a professional rider. This man made lemonade with those bike wheels.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A picture of one of my dad's relatives therefore my relative....Rodley.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ahhh, Saturday

Steve is home and all is right in the world. He has more trips....every week for the rest of the month....but this last one was the longest.

I have taken on a really simple at home volunteer computer project for the Library and that will help keep me busy while he is gone.....and out of the blog bars a bit. Funny how just a few months ago I was at my wits end trying to keep busy while Steve was traveling and now....I blog. Wonderful. It can be a bit O/C however....but it does keep me off the streets!

The picture above is of a Pileated Woodpecker. When I went out with the dogs this morning there was one on the big Ponderosa Pine where the suet is hanging. These birds are absolutely, positively magnificent. The have a really distinctive caw and this one announced himself loudly as I approached the tree. They are large birds, with a slash of brilliant red on their head and a wingspan that I have only seen on our local crows. They also like carpenter ants which we have a ton of in the stick around wonderful bird, I have work for you to do.

After yesterday's post I thought I must provide proof positive that Spring will in fact arrive this year......see this...see it? That is ice melting back from the cement on the east side showing our gravel drive that I guarantee will have weeds along the edge by June! I promise.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

St. Joe

March 19th is St. Joseph's Day....a big celebratory day in the Italian Catholic least it was when I was a kid. We lived in a middle class neighborhood in California that was filled with Italian families young and old. While I didn't know as a kid the reason for the day, as an adult I figured it was to honor the head of the family, fatherhood and the sanctity of marriage...I think!

St. Joseph's Day was also the day the swallows traditionally returned to Capistrano......more about that in a future post.

St. Joseph's Day was not an official Catholic holiday, but it was a day off from school. I looked forward to it every year.
My mom spent the days before the holiday baking like crazy....Italian cookies, cakes, canoles, sandwiches filled with cream cheese, tuna, pistachios and olives, and rum balls.....I loved every single thing she made and was her official taster.

The celebration was held at the family home of one of the older church parishioners...Italians of course. The night of the 18th was spent setting up the table. A room was cleared and folding chairs set all around the table and throughout the house. Plates, silverware (no plastic here), glasses, cloth napkins and various serving pieces were set out. The kitchen was a flurry of old Italian women all dressed in black dresses with their cotton stockings and black tie up shoes. It seemed to me as a kid all of these women were overweight, wore no bras, and had husbands that were male copies but with heavier mustaches..... black suits, black shoes and starched white shirts. The kitchen conversations were a mixture of Italian sprinkled with fractured English words and it was loud and intense.......hurry, hurry, hurry, get this done, that done, fix this, take that, get the kids out of the kitchen.

The younger families were the set up crew and I had the task every year of setting up the chairs; low end of the food chain there. The primo child assignment was the day of the feast; carrying in the Lamb......a cake cut and formed into a sitting lamb (no cake molds in those days) with white frosting and covered with coconut. The cake was made by a "selected" family....through some secret Italian ritual. The lamb was put in the middle of the table and was surrounded by all of the yummies. The local parish priest blessed the table and the food was passed out first to all of the old folks sitting around the table, then to the other families.

While my mother was a 100%-verified-card-carrying Italian, my dad was not and therefore neither was I. I had a German last name; I was a blond/brown haired, fair skinned, light eyed, skinny kid with frizzy hair. I was the Italian afterthought in the St. Joe group.

My babysitter was Mrs. Guidera. I never knew her first was Mrs. I loved her, she loved me. She was the grandmother I had been denied by miles and death. She bought me gifts...nothing large...a pencil with an eraser, plain sketch paper, carbon paper, a stamp set. She was the "newest" old woman in the St. Joe group but eventually the St. Joseph's table rotated through her house. The big surprise that year? My mother was given the honor of baking the lamb. I remember her making extra cakes in case she didn't get the lamb quite right....spare part supply. I got to put the eyes on the lamb...two of the biggest chocolate drops I have ever seen.

This particular feast day I was dressed in my usual mother was a frill freak where I was concerned...lace, bows, ruffles, hair tamed and curled with rags, white socks and black patten shoes with grosgrain ribbon bows...yep, I was decked out but not unusually so.
The lamb cake was put in the trunk of the car in a special box along with all of the other treats and we were off to Mrs. Guidera's. As soon as we arrived I was shuffled into the living room and told by my mother to behave myself, sit still and stay clean. UmmHmm. I joined the rest of the kids and hid under the table, slid across the hardwood floor and acted like.....a kid at a party. Eventually my mother came and got me with her usual really angry-at-me-grab to my upper arm with the whisper in my ear..."You are in big trouble little girl. You just wait until we get home."

Of course I carried the lamb that year with dirt on my knees and the hem of my dress and one sock sucked into the heel of my shoe......I was nervous, worried I would drop the cake plate because my arms weren't long enough to reach the middle of the table. But, Mrs. Guidera was there to help and I finally felt a part of something special as an Italian kid. Just a sweet memory...I miss some parts of my childhood.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Steve and me...a few pics below

Well, here it is Sunday...again. Funny how that day keeps coming back. Sunday is usually Steve's travel day if he is off on an adventure. The last two weeks Sunday has started on Saturday night. He has had 6 AM flights and he drives down to Spokane 96 miles away the night before so he doesn't have to leave at 3 AM and hit nastier weather.

I miss him horribly. He has been travelling for 18 years. He has a really prestigious job and has "made it" in his profession, but he is worn out and I am so very lonely these is time to stop the merry-go-round. He knows it and for sure I do. I am selfish, I admit it. I want him home, I want some semblance of a normal life what ever that might be....I want to wake up at 2 AM for a potty run and come back and get my feet warmed by him and still have him there in the morning. I'm a cheap date for sure.

We met at the hospital where we were both working in Southern California. I was a staff R.N., he was a staff pharmacist. He worked graveyard, I was working an extra...on graveyard. We had probably passed each other dozens of times in the halls or talked on the phone but never registered with each other. The particular night we connected was one of those nights...under staffed, two R.N.s for 52 patients with one aide to work with each of them. It was 5:30 AM, I was trying to get everything caught up and called the pharmacy for an IV I couldn't find.....we had an interesting conversation...him...The IV should be right isn't and I want it now....him...isn't it running a little fast? worry about getting me the bag, I'll worry about the rate. He brought the IV up to the floor to meet the "5th floor bitch" (his words not mine) that in the end turned out to be IV where it should be....or anywhere else. That was April 17th, 1982.

We were both in messy marriages; he was separated, I was still living with my third husband who was also my 2nd husband....yea, stupid I know. Anyway, we connected and eventually became friends and then after getting divorces on the road, lived together and married in 1985.

Steve is my best friend. He is my confidant, my bud, my homie, pretty much everything to me. As we have gotten older those bonds have just gotten tighter and tighter. Oh for sure, we have had a rocky trip together....we have 7 children between us and not one single one of them came into our relationship happy and well adjusted. I really was a wicked step-mother to three of his four children. Step-mothering was the class I guess I ditched for the movies. Steve on the other hand was pretty much a perfect father and step-father; patient, gave meaningful advice, talked to all of the kids on their level yet with authority and all of them loved and respected him and still do.

We have weathered an ex-spouse hauling us back to court every 6 months for what else...more money, kid troubles from a to z, financial problems from our business failures to the accident 2 years ago. But through it all our friendship and love for each other has kept us solid.

Steve said to me last week that of the few blogs of mine he has read, it seemed as if I portrayed him as "uninvolved and boring." He is not. He has a wonderful sense of humor, is thoughtful, kind, loving, generous and supportive. If I said I wanted a 20 carat diamond ring and he thought it would make me happy, he'd get it. He is the same way with his kids....sometimes to a fault I'm afraid. When he arrived home Friday after being stuck overnight in Chicago, the first thing he said to me was what a wonderful job I had done with the snow throwing....and an hour later he was on the slut taking care of the side I didn't manage at all. He worries about me in general, worries about my health, my mind, my soul and my longevity. I have seen Steve cry 5 times in 25 years....and the last time was when we told each other we didn't know what we would do if we lost the other one.

We have our bad moments.....I have chronicled in pictures and words Steve's hamster cage of an office. He is messy, can barely put his dirty clothes in the hamper, leaves the bathroom a mess after he showers, can't throw anything out and I mean anything, doesn't think to wipe his feet, and worst of all loves winter. I am a control freak, yell, constantly remind him that there are things I want him to do around the house, worry about everything and never miss a chance to tell him how I worry...and so many other faults that it would take me another lifetime to tell you about my failings.....and I hate winter and for a long time hated Idaho and blamed Steve for all things sad about Rosemary. As an excuse I was going through Menopause but it was in pause mode for 5 years I am sorry to say.

But regardless of all of this crap, we love each other and I really don't know what I would do without him. Today I am missing Steve horribly and the 59 kazillion daily phone calls we make to each other just don't cut it anymore. I am old, I selfishly want him here with me. But, until this accident thing that has plunged us into financial hell is over he will continue to work like 5 men and I will continue to feel sorry for myself and have to deal with Sunday...that damn day just keeps coming back.

Here we are in Las Vegas in the late 80's...we sat next to Sheena Easton at a restaurant in Caesar's Palace. We were having a good time, felt like movie stars, and spent an outrageous amount of money on dinner and wine. My hair was red, I had a few wrinkles around my eyes and Steve still had dark blonde hair!

The summer of 1982....Steve with his 60's "fro" and those beautiful green you honey-sweetheart.

At my 20th high school reunion October 1982. Steve was recovering from his second hip replacement. He went through his post op recovery on the floor I worked was an ortho/neuro floor AKA bones 'n brains.
What's with the white bra under a see through blouse??? Where was my daughter when I needed her? I obviously dressed myself that night.