In The Garden–What Season Is It?

My oldest laceleaf Japanese Maple thinks its fall. I think it got a little dry and so it decided it was time to change colors!


Is it spring? The rose bouquet in the oak tree fascinates me ūüôā



There are at least six blooms up there!


It must be summer. All the annuals continue to thrive.




The white marigolds have finally started blooming in earnest. I put the short ones in too early this spring, and I think they did worse than if I had just been patient and put them in later.


I bought a new hibiscus a few weeks ago. Couldn’t resist, even though I know its not frost-hardy. Aren’t the blooms beautiful?


Beautiful, yes. But a bit too close to pink–Sophie was EXTREMELY interested.


Ha! A Sophie-proof container. Every morning she stops below the pot and stares wistfully up at the blooms. And then she goes and chomps down one of the little blooms on the Abutilon. Her look says “they’re not nearly as tasty, but they’ll do in a pinch.”



I am enjoying the garden and the cooler temps we are having. I hope you all take time to smell the roses along the way.

Nervous Little Dogs

Found this draft languishing in my drafts file. This is my all-time favorite Larsen cartoon. He MUST have had a dachshund–his cartoons about them are so dead on. Anyway, I do wish I could get Sophie to use some of her nervous energy to make my morning coffee ūüôā As I said in an earlier post, Sophie seems to get nervous when I do my PT exercises. Here’s how she gets rid of some of her anxiety when I get my yoga mat out. Maybe some of us emotional eaters could take a lesson from her–chewing on a bone has a lot less calories than that cupcake ūüôā DSCN2868 ¬† DSCN2862 DSCN2870 DSCN2866 DSCN2867

Storage and Garden Report

First of all, I want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU for all the nice comments on my last blog about Mr. Monk. You all knew him better than most of my friends! All of us are doing fine. Especially Queen Sophie. After she got over her worry that she might be the next to be “banished” from the kingdom, she has taken back her “rightful place” on the chair next to me in the evenings.

And, I also wanted to thank so many of you for your interesting and informative comments on the previous blog about my knee. Since I wrote that, my first ortho doc got back in touch with me. He had been battling the insurance company all this time (over their refusal to approve the Orthovisc injections), and now advised me to file a complaint with the State Department of Managed Health Care. I completed that today. It will be interesting to see what comes of this.

In the meantime, how about a report on¬†some everyday life¬†stuff ūüôā

Last week J. the contractor came back to finish the little pantry and add shelves to the laundry room. Squeee!!! MORE STORAGE SPACE. I hardly know what to do with it all.

Here’s the pantry. That’s all I’ve put in it so far. I have those two big corner cupboards with lazy susans in them in the kitchen. I’m not sure what to put there, and what to put in the pantry. If anyone has ideas or opinions, feel free to share.


And here’s the laundry room shelves. Plenty of extra storage up there for I don’t know what!


I also had J. put this little hanging cupboard in the mudroom. It used to be in my bathroom. I still liked it so finally decided that this would be the place for it.


I tell you, for someone whose ONLY storage space for many years was a big closet in her bedroom, I feel like I’ve hit the storage jackpot!

And here is a view of the garden. Still pretty bare, but things are sprouting. There are little buds on all the trees. Its fun to go out there and scope things out every day. I have to be careful to not get carried away with planting, because there’s still a real possibility that we will get some frost, up until May.


The camellia bush is chock full of buds. The Pink Flower Thief is keeping a close eye on it….



May I have a word?


The Queen has requested an audience. Much like her owner, when she is falsely accused¬†(scroll to bottom of entry), she is like a dog on a bone. She won’t let it go.

I am NOT a Pink Flower Thief.


¬†I provide photographic evidence. There is NOTHING to be had in this garden BUT pink flowers. (editor’s note: my latest purchases from the nursery.)



There has been much goings on in the garden these days. A new throne room has been added.


I await the installation of the throne.


It is the appropriate height. The Queen must ALWAYS be higher than her minions.


Well, where is it??? A queen MUST have a throne. (editor’s note: all of this conversation must be read in a high, squeaky, demanding, queenly voice.)


In addition, I feel the need to unburden myself of the extreme vexation of living with unruly servants. This bed was installed for MY pleasure. I must be as close as possible to the lady (editor’s note: I put this little bed right next to my sewing table to keep Sophie from pacing.)

My manservant. As usual, doing NOTHING. He has gotten old and relatively useless to my purposes.


My lady in waiting. She has turned out to be quite the challenge. I am not done training her yet.


I finally tried sharing it with her. It DID NOT feel right.


Ah. This is how things must be.


Still, I must not be too hard on my servants. That is the true nature of The Royalty. Generosity of spirit is what we are known for (editors note: oh brother…)

The manservant, though relatively useless, is a very loyal soul.


I bid you all a fond farewell. I shall keep you informed of the latest comings and goings in my kingdom (editor’s note: there will be more garden updates in the future.)



Project Garden Improvement Update

MLG (Master Landscaping Guy) (is that a better name, Lori?) was over this week. I haven’t ordered the landscaping stones we need (300!!) so he got busy putting plants in the ground. I can’t really explain how delightful this is to me. After living here 27 years, and always planting things in pots, its almost miraculous to me. The ground is just clay and rocks and tree roots. So each time he digs a hole for another plant, he makes the hole extra big, and improves the soil all around the plant. This time he got FIVE plants in the ground.

This is the camellia, and three hydrangeas. None of them have been happy in pots.



Already the camellia looks better than it has looked in years!


And here is an updated picture of the bed. I planted two bleeding hearts (one pink and one white, some little begonias, and some irish moss. I love ground cover. I also planted my favorite corsican mint under the tree, and I am attempting (one more time) to grow elfin thyme between the pavers.


Here is photographic evidence that The Queen is a Pink Flower Thief!!




Y’all have a good weekend. Its finally warming up here, so I am planning to get some serious swimming done today! Right after I get some serious quilting done.

I Grew A Tomato

Tonight I didn’t take a walk. ¬†I watered my plants instead, hoping that Noah would get enough exercise running around the yard (sorry, Dog Whisperer, I know its no substitute for THE WALK.) ¬†Anyway, look what was ripe on my little tomato plant! ¬†I am such a proud mother. ¬†I got some old planter boxes from my mom, and thought they might work like raised beds (because the bottoms of the boxes were rotting out,) so I got one tomato plant and one zucchini plant. ¬†I laugh at myself every time I see them, because they were little plants when I got them, so I very nicely planted pink petunias in the corners of the boxes, thinking how pretty and decorative it would be while I was growing vegetables. ¬†Poor petunias. They don’t see much sun these days.

Anyway, this is not a good picture of my tomato, but it is the funniest ever. ¬†A good follow-up to last night’s photo op.

Along the lines of vegetables (we were talking about vegetables, weren’t we?,) as always, when I come home from a trip I am absolutely crazed for vegetables. ¬†Seems I get enough fruit on trips, but veggies are hard to come by. ¬†I know, salads. ¬†But I like cooked vegetables a lot. ¬†So I guess that’s my version of mindful eating. ¬†I just really really want to eat a lot of vegetables. ¬†Tomorrow I am going to make a pot of steel cut oats and push the envelope to see how much zucchini I can add and still enjoy it. ¬†There’s a lot of zucchini in zucchini bread, so I think it will work well. ¬†That makes me think that it would also work really well in baked oatmeal. ¬†I will try that in the fall.

And at the same time (coincidentally, I think,) I have watched a couple of documentaries: ¬† ¬†Food Matters and Dying to Have Known. ¬†Both are along the same lines, about the great qualities of a vegetable based diet. ¬†Dying to Have Known was all about the Gerson Diet/Therapy/Cure, ¬†¬†Dr. Gerson was a physician in the 1920’s who discovered that a plant ¬†based diet could cure quite a few incurable diseases, including ¬†cancer. ¬†Even if you don’t believe all of the evidence that they provide, you can’t help but think that eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is a good thing. ¬†I know I don’t get sick very often. ¬†Dr. Gerson also believed in coffee enemas, which I used to think was REALLY weird. ¬†But this time when I heard it, I thought about all the recent articles I’ve read about the “hundreds of helpful components” of coffee, and studies that show that coffee drinkers live longer (raises coffee ¬†cup to Lori!) and I thought, why not? ¬†If it works good in one end, why not the other? ¬†Its not any weirder than some of the other things they use from that direction. ¬†And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Here’s a couple of other random thoughts I’ve had about these documentaries (and others like them.) ¬†One thing they never mention (on both the vegetable and the paleo side of the fence) when they talk about how much better people feel/lose weight/are cured/etc. is that ¬†most of these people are going from a highly processed crap-food diet to a purely whole food diet. Whichever end of the whole food spectrum they are changing to, it has to be a wonderful shock to their body.

There is one thing I kinda disagree with the vegan documentary people about. ¬†That is juicing. ¬†They seem to think its necessary to juice to get enough vegetables in. ¬†Is that because it would take too long to eat the vegetables the normal way? ¬†Because in America we are in too much of a hurry and couldn’t spend that much time eating? ¬†Or is it because your body wouldn’t allow you to eat that many vegetables? ¬†They don’t address it. ¬†It doesn’t seem right to me. ¬†God didn’t put a Veg-A-Matic in the garden. ¬†On the other hand, it sure seems like a good excuse to get one of those super VitaMix machines that I see at Costco.

Oh, and now that I’ve mentioned God, let me give you my opinion on the whole Paleo, eat like our ancestors did thing. ¬†I kinda think that before the fall, when God first created everything, man ¬†didn’t need to eat meat to have a perfect diet. ¬†All those plants were plenty. ¬†And I think there were grains in the Garden of Eden too.*

(*disclaimer: ¬†I did not go to theology school or Bible college. ¬†I haven’t even spent a lot of time reading Genesis for proof of my theory. ¬†So take it with a grain of salt. ¬†BUT NOT TOO MUCH SALT!!!)

Good Food

Thought I’d report in on some good eats from the past couple of days. ¬†First of all, in spite of the cold weather, and my usual reluctance to eat salads when it turns cold, I have thoroughly been enjoying my salads this winter. ¬†When I travel, I find myself actually looking for a reason to eat lettuce. ¬†If you had told me this when I was a kid, I would NEVER have believed you. ¬†Lettuce was just something to be picked off of the hamburger bun.

My version of the California Chef's salad: baby lettuce topped with chicken, oranges wedges, carrots, blue cheese, and pecans.

So I told you about the food I was going to fix for ‘sewing day,’ and I have to tell you it was a resounding success! ¬†That¬†triple berry granola crisp¬†is a no-fail recipe. ¬†People absolutely love it, and they seem to really enjoy hearing that it is a low-cal healthy recipe. If you have access to a Costco, their frozen triple berry blend works great, and is the most economical way to buy berries. ¬†I served it for ‘brunch’ (we meet at 10am and always have some sort of treat and coffee to start the day) and I had a bowl of Fage mixed with cinnamon and splenda to top it with. ¬†Yummy.

On to lunch. ¬†Helen, the soup was the smash hit of the day (I made¬†Helen’s coconut curry kale soup.) ¬†Everybody loved it, and every last bit of the soup had disappeared when I went back to the kitchen. ¬†I made the recipe just as printed, including the chickpeas. ¬†I didn’t have a can of tomatoes, so I chopped up a couple of tomatoes and then I found a bag of frozen cherry tomatoes in the freezer and threw them in too. ¬†I think that was about the same tomato content as a can. ¬†I put in 36 mid-sized shrimp. ¬†One of the ladies, who is an excellent cook, took the recipe home to make for her husband, and she mentioned to me that the flavor was very similar to the soup served at Lemon Grass, which is a very nice Asian Bistro restaurant around here. ¬†Now. ¬†I have to admit. ¬†I still don’t like the flavor of curry very much. ¬†And I picked out all my chickpeas! ¬†But that’s just me. ¬†I really wish I liked curry, because it just seems like the ‘in’ thing. That’s okay, there’s plenty of other food I like just fine LOL. ¬†Case in point: ¬†I LOVED the¬†low fat corn bread¬†that I made. ¬†LOVED!!! I don’t know if its because I’ve been corn bread deprived for a couple of years, but I thought it was quite delicious. ¬†And I tried to make a ‘healthy’ honey butter by combining Smart Balance Lite and some honey. ¬†Its probably because the smart balance lite has a higher water content or something? ¬†It kind of separated, or became weepy. ¬†It looked weird, but it tasted DELISH on the bread. ¬†I was never so happy to have one piece left over! ¬†Guess who had a second piece of corn bread with dinner.

Which brings me to my next topic. ¬†The whole idea of a ‘treat day’ or a ‘treat meal.’ I’m a little on the fence about this whole idea as it applies to me. ¬†Of course, I LOVE the idea of a day to eat what I want. ¬†But there’s so much I want LOL. ¬†I have a tendency to go overboard. ¬†And then there’s the inevitable ‘unplanned’ treat days that just naturally occur in real life. ¬†So if I fully subscribed to the ‘treat day,’ and had it planned for the end of the week, but in that same week, 3 unplanned treats occurred that I partook of, I would still be wanting my ‘treat day.’ ¬†Which leads to a whole lotta overeating. ¬†Now that is JUST ME. ¬†Just what I know about me. ¬†And the funny thing was, when I was discussing this with my BFF, she described the exact same thing (eating the unplanned extras and still wanting the planned treat day.) ¬†So for the most part, I think its best if I don’t plan (and look forward to) a WEEKLY treat day or meal. ¬†I think maybe once a month might do it for me.

That said, I did decide that Tuesday (sewing day) would be a treat day.  Quit laughing at me LOL.  I had my favorite cottage cheese/pear/walnuts combo for dinner, along with that second piece of corn bread, and some leftover broccoli, just to make it healthy.  And then I tried a new recipe.  That chocolate covered katie has it going on when it comes to single serving recipes.  You heard it here:  I will NEVER buy another bakery cupcake.  There is no way they can compete with the deliciousness of her single serving cupcakes.  I tried this little chocolate cake, and I had some pre-made vanilla icing that I had bought at that Harvest Festival.  Oh my goodness.  It was quite worthy.  I made myself look the calories up (300 for just the cake.)  That helps me to eliminate it from any kind of regular rotation.  But for a once in a while treat?  Quite worthy.  I had some kettle corn too.  See what I mean about going overboard?

But back on track today. ¬†And no problem doing so. ¬†And this is the low-cal day of the week–no fruit, and one grain. ¬†No problem. ¬†I tried one more thing this morning that I want to pass along. ¬†That¬†multi-grain oatmeal¬†that I told you I loved? ¬†I made it custard oats today–FANTASTIC. ¬†The most fantastic part is that you fix it in the microwave, so there is only one dish to wash. ¬†After I microwaved the oats for two minutes, I took them out and stirred in 1/4 cup of egg beaters. ¬†And microwaved for maybe 30 seconds more. ¬†Yumm yumm.

Today I had to go to the lawyer’s about my dad’s trust, and she talked lawyerese at me for over an hour. ¬†QUITE anxiety producing. ¬†But did I eat? ¬†No I did not. ¬†I went to the gym as planned! Like¬†Lori¬†says,¬†you never regret a workout.¬†¬†I felt quite victorious after that. ¬†Had one of Vicky’s California Chef’s salads for lunch, and then went to Starbuck’s for a little session with my Kindle Fire. ¬†I had a¬†Quest protein bar¬†for a treat with my coffee. ¬†Those Quest bars are hands down the best protein bars I’ve ever had, but they have a pretty hefty price tag too.

I’ll end with a stealth photo of the Queen. ¬†Her majesty has some new crown jewels.