It bothers him when I blog while he’s in the room. . .

The sparks were flying at Casa Larson this morning!

I have a great husband, he’s hard-working, funny, loyal and he helps out around the house from time to time.  However. . .

. . . he cannot handle my doing something private/personal like reading, writing or blogging when he’s in the same room.  He continually interrupts me with silly questions and comments — it’s like he can’t stand that I’m not paying attention to him.  A very fundamental observation, I think.  I try hard to just ignore his stomping about, his noisy thrashings, the sighs, the barrage of questions, but it’s not too long before I start feeling a tad guilty.

Now, that’s silly, isn’t it?  Why should I feel guilty because my focus is elsewhere?  Relationship quandary — still, after nearly 31 years of marriage!   I do love him though — he’s buttering my toast as I write this ( and complaining about our piece of shit toaster.)

Breakfast was nice, but then. . .

. . . we got into a stupid argument about trees!  He can’t stand anything that makes a ‘mess’.  Trees, being what they are, create a mess — well, I don’t consider it a mess, he does — they’re just trees, they can’t help it.  Life is messy, I said, to which he got angry because somehow that implied that I was saying he didn’t like ANY trees.  Truth is, he doesn’t — he got rid of every single tree in our back yard so he could build a monstrous garage.  Anyway, he’s cranky now, and I’m just annoyed.  Some yard work on opposite sides of the house should  correct that.

Don’t know what got into me last night.  Started cleaning house — it’s been ignored because of all the yard work and other activities that have taken up my time — and before I knew what I was doing I was taking down the curtains in the kitchen and washing all the cupboards and walls!  Trust me, those walls needed it, but all I was going to do was wipe the counters and wash the floors!  So, now that I’ve started with one room, I’m going to have to do the rest.  Ah, well, I’ve got the time, it’s just I’d much rather sit in a lounge chair with a book and a beer than wash walls.

And while we’re on the subject of reading . . . I haven’t done near as much of it as I wanted to.  So far , this is what I’ve read:  Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel, wonderful though disturbing book; The Fourth Hand by John Irving, typical Irving; The Independence of Miss Mary Bennett by Colleen McCullough,her interpretation of what happened to the sisters in Pride and Prejudice after they all(except Mary)  got married.  A nice summer read, a bit fluffy and fantastic, but it was great for the train ride to and from New York.  Now, I’m reading The Full Cupboard of Life, by Alexander McCall Smith.  He writes The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, set in Botswana, Africa.  this is book 4, I’m actually re-reading it, because I forgot where I left off in the series.  I adore these stories.   His characters are wonderful, the setting is amazing and he writes with an obvious love of Africa and its people.  Highly recommend these books.  Nice, fast read.

Well, I’m going to have to pull this to a close — it’s starting to get warm outside and I have lots to do.

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Monday, July 26th

A very, very busy weekend — will update and post pics later.  Trust everyone had a terrific weekend, as well?

Alberta Summer

Alberta Summer

June 21st is the official start,
but really, who knows when
it actually happens?

One day there is no snow,
maybe that’s the sign.
Or, perhaps it’s the day
everyone wears sandals
to work, slipping on
the bits of frozen dew
clinging to hopeful blades
of grass poking out from
among the moldy gum
and candy wrappers.

No, that’s too bleak.

Summer in Alberta
is a frame of mind — think!
24 above is beach weather,
pack a picnic!  Go —  enjoy it.

We’ve got eight weeks,
if we’re lucky. To embrace
the sun, laugh at the rain,
stay out ’til the moon is high.
Sleep in tangled, fan-cooled
sheets.  Pretend it’s tropical.

Alberta summer: gas prices sky-rocket
the highways hum with convoys
of motorhomes and trailers
followed by boats and atv’s and
compact cars.  It’s livin’ for
the weekends, short as they are,
and beer gardens, and ‘festivals’
and theatre in the park.

Even in July
there could be frost warnings.
Protect the tomatoes, cover the peppers!
It’s not unheard of to have snow
in August — but, let’s not
think on that!  Today the sun
is high, the clouds are sultry,
the wind is high in the tree tops.
It’s another day in paradise.

It’s what sustains us through
the long dark of winter,
keeps us sane while spring
waxes and wanes.  It’s not
long, it’s not warm enough
by far, most days, but
it is summer, in Alberta.

©KLarson 2010

Grrr. . .

Boy, people annoy me sometimes!

Some person has made a complaint to the town of Bon Accord about our rock garden project.  Can you believe that?!

Tim and I were out there working away when a town employee (who was very nice and supportive) came by to talk to us.  Said that part of our project was on town property.  We, of course, knew that.  It’s partly why we are doing what we are.  Before, that side was nothing but an eyesore.  Impossible to maintain, grass couldn’t grow, it was nothing but a giant anthill and haven for thistles.

So, we came up with this idea to turn it into something a little easier to care for and a whole lot nicer to look at.  Have put a lot of hard work and good money into it.  Only to have some, some, some nit-picking s.o.b. make a complaint.

Hopefully, it will all blow over — we are after all doing nothing more than beautifying both our’s and the town’s property.

Well, must go and  get back at it.

Wednesday, cough, cough, July 21

As I sit here coughing up what lungs I have left it appears to be a beautiful day here in central Alberta.  The sky is blue beyond blue, there is just a slight breeze and for the first time in over a week no rain in the forecast.  Let’s all sing hallelujah.

Went and spent some much-needed time with my grandkids yesterday — well, two of them — Ethan was sleeping.  Their poor mom is so sick, so I went to give her a little break in the afternoon.  The kids and I had a blast playing in the backyard and just hanging out.  They are just so good for my soul.

Tim and I (mainly Tim) made some good headway on our rock slope yesterday.  It’s tough, heavy work.  He’s taking a break from it today.  Good thing.  I’m going to concentrate on getting the weeding done and then whacking the grass and weeds down on the west side of the house between us and the neighbors.  That side is my next project.  Just going to kill everything off and then cover with about 4 inches of bark mulch — it’s not much more than a narrow walkway, anyway.  Think it will be much easier to maintain with a layer of mulch.

Everyday, I check out a new blog and today I found this one:   http://landanimal.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/parsley-the-forgotten-superfood .    She’s quite an interesting read, I recommend checking out her blog.  Especially, if, like me, you like parsley.

I’m posting a picture today of our little ‘friend’ who comes to stay at our front door each summer.  He’s been with us now for about six years.  I don’t know what their lifespan is;  hopefully, long.  I’m always so happy when I see his poop for the first time.  I think he lives up in the eaves somewhere, and wonder how he survives the winter.  Or, does he migrate?  Perhaps I should do a little investigating. . .

Also posting a couple of pics from our friend’s farm where my friend, Heather’s, daughter held her wedding reception this past weekend.  It was lovely.  Joe and Rita have a beautiful place and are the most wonderful, sharing, generous people I know.

Well, should get on with my day — was up shortly after 7 today — hooray!

It is summer time, isn’t it?

I can’t believe how bloody cold it’s been!  Yesterday a measly 18 degrees.  Today it’s going to be a whopping 22 — wtf!

and to add to the joy of cool, rainy days I’ve managed to pick up some kind of virus.  Got a nasty lung thing going on, the only upside is that it gives me a sexy voice.  However, don’t much feel like talkin’ sexy to anyone the way I’m feeling.  Hopefully, it’ll run its course by the weekend — have a wedding to go to and grandchildren to look after. Their poor mom is sick, too.  And in the wedding.  Hope she recuperates in time.

Went for some more acupuncture on my shoulder yesterday.  I HATE acupuncture — it hurts!  But, my arm feels better today — I’ve actually been able to type all this without once having to stop and shake feeling back into it.  Yay for pain.  Poor Dr. Richardson, though, he was suggesting by the end of our session that maybe I find an alternative treatment as I’m so sensitive to the needles.  It’s probably hard on the nerves to have your patient shrieking and screaming while you jab them with sharp pointy things.  But, then again, that’s why I pay him.  I am not a lover of pain, believe me, but I think I’ll stick this out.

I cannot believe how late I’ve been sleeping in since I got home.  Today I didn’t wake up until almost 9.  It’s been 8 o’clock the other days, but even that is late for me.  Am going to have to make a concerted effort to get up earlier.  Don’t want to waste my vacation time by sleeping it all away.  I’ve got a list about a mile long of things I should/want/need to do before going back to work and so far, I haven’t accomplished much.  Other than weeding my gardens – which need it badly.  I guess, though, when you’re sick, rest is required.  I think I’ll ease up on myself just a bit.

Thought I’d throw in a couple of pictures of our  landscaping project.  It’s a big’un, but it’s coming along nicely.  We should be all done by the end of the week.  Cross my fingers.  Tim deserves some holiday time, too!

Ciao for now, have a good day!

Monday, and I’m b-a-a-a-ck

. . . that just never looks as good in print as hearing Jack Nicholson saying it.

Ah, well, the point is, I’m back.  My trip to New York was fantastic.  Just the break I needed.  Although. . .

. . . we had full, busy days — up early and then out pounding the streets and riding the subway.  It was just all too much fun!

We saw two plays while we were there — Wicked and Race.  Wicked is the untold story of the relationship between the witches before Dorothy and Toto ever make the scene.  It was wonderful — very funny, with lavish sets and a great story line.  Can’t wait for it to come here so I can take my grand-daughter, Hailey.  She would love it, especially Glinda, who is really a girly girl.  Race, was a dark comedy exploring society’s attitude towards well, what else, racial stereotypes and prejudice.  It was very thought-provoking while at the same time crazily funny.  A David Mamet play, so lots of profanity and no fear of saying the politically incorrect.  Loved it.

There is just something about New York.  I, like millions of others, simply love the place.  And I say that with the full knowledge that my love of the place is superficial and naive.  I am a tourist when I’m there, nothing more and I know little or nothing of the average life of a true New Yorker.  In our travels about the city — and those were confined to Upper, Middle and Lower Manhattan — we encountered very few real citizens.  Those we did were working and for the most part seemed resigned to answering the touristy questions we posed (and they’d heard for probably the millionth time).  They weren’t exactly friendly, but they were polite, which is okay.

The funniest thing I heard was when we were coming out of Tiffany’s.  (I bought myself a lovely little silver chain and initial pendant — surprisingly very affordable!)  A little boy of about 5 was complaining to his father about the streets being too busy.  His dad said, “I know, son, it’s because there’s so many tourists right now.  Unfortunately, we need the tourists to survive.”  I laughed right out loud.  With my pretty little blue Tiffany’s bag swinging gaily from my hand.  I guess Audrey shouldn’t have made the place so famous.

This was my second trip to the big apple and having been there once before really came in handy.  As Tim and I had taken the subway before I wasn’t at all hesitant about getting in to them again.  Each day we would go and get an unlimited ride pass and then we would take that subway all over the place.  Though the terminals themselves are nearly unbearably hot, the cars are blessedly air-conditioned.  Well, except for one.  Day two we’re down in the terminal waiting for our train.  It’s busy, lots of people.  We worry about getting separated when it’s that busy, so as the train pulls up we see a car that is practically empty.  We make a bee-line for it.  The doors whoosh open and we rush in — it’s stifling hot!  But now it’s too late to switch cars, so we’re stuck.  We laughed so hard at our stupidity, and, never made that mistake again!

Now, let’s talk about the food.  All of it was fantastic.  We ate at Tom’s Restaurant — the one from Seinfeld — our first night there.  Very good, homestyle meals.  Tom, I believe that was him, anyway, came over and talked to us — a couple of us got our picture taken with him.  He was a nice man who runs a landmark restaurant.  The service was fast and friendly, I would definitely recommend this as a place to go.  Other than that we ate hotdogs and kebabs off the street carts, had Chinese in China-town, dinner at Carmine’s — the BEST for Italian food — but avoid the drinks, too pricy and not sure they actually have any booze in them.  We also had Turkish food at a great little restaurant in Morningside where we were staying, breakfast at a French cafe,and  pizza at Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge.  Other than Grimaldi’s, where we stood in line in the sweltering heat for 45 minutes, but it was so totally worth it, we never had to wait for a seat in a restaurant, ever.

Around the corner from our apartment were a couple of grocers.  One was 24/7 and you could get anything you wanted there, any time of day.  And it was always fresh!  They had a wonderful fresh salad and deli bar, a coffee bar, vast fruit stands, freshly baked bread, cookies and pastries, a large dairy case, and a really good selection of dried and canned foods which reflected ethnic diversity.  This is where we picked up stuff for our breakfasts — it was called the Westside Market on Broadway and 110th.  There are lots of these places around, really worth checking out if you’re planning a longer visit to New York.

The only problem we ever had was locating a place to buy wine.  We could get beer anywhere, but buying wine was a bit of a trial.  Then we were told, on our second last day, to go over to Amsterdam Ave.   There were dozens of little wine stores over there.  Never fear, though, we made sure we stopped several times throughout the day for a drink at some little cafe or restaurant.  I think the most frivolous fun we

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had was the day we went and had drinks at the Plaza Hotel.  What a stunningly gorgeous place!  And we in our shorts and tees, covered in sweat and looking every inch the Canadian tourist.  But, they were extremely gracious and seated us in the champagne bar.  We had our server laughing and in the end I think we got a complimentary tray of nuts because of it.  Suffice it to say the drinks, a tray of cheese and crackers with  a few grapes and a halved strawberry, and a plate with two large pieces of bruschetta (the most amazing tasting bruschetta I’ve ever had!) cost us a pretty penny.  But you know what?  It was so worth it!  Drinks at the Plaza — you only live once, I say.

We did so much, saw so much, experienced so much — I could probably write all day trying to get it all down.  But I think I’ll take a break for now.  Post a few pictures from our trip and get back at it again tomorrow.

Monday Afternoon

I should be packing.  But I’m posting this one last blog before I go.

We got as much done in the yard as we possibly could.  My lovely new boulders arrived — they are much bigger than I remembered them!  We’ll need to rent a bobcat to get them in place.  But you know what?  That slope is gonna be gorgeous when it’s finished.  I can hardly wait to get it done.  My husband, I think, has secret plans to have it done by the time I get home.  Love him for that.  Don’t want him to hurt himself, though. There’s five yards of crushed limestone to move, plus another 1/2 yard of limestone scree, 1 yard of pea gravel and, of course, the boulders.  That’s an awful lot for one man to take on alone.  And believe me, he’ll try to do it all by himself.  Stubborn, hmm, he is, yes.  That’s me channeling Yoda.

(Sorry, there’s a Star Wars marathon been on for the past month.  Every time I come into the living room Tim’s re-watching one of the episodes.  I love Star Wars, but seriously, it needs to be on everyday?)

So, it’s off to Ontari-ari-ario tomorrow.  Then by train to New York.  All is in order, I’ve checked and re-checked our reservations, the weather in New York is in the low 30’s, which is a good 10 degrees hotter than it is here, so I’m packing light.   When I get around to packing that is.  My biggest hurdle right now is deciding which camera to take.  I want to take my D90, but I get tired and sore from lugging it around in its big case all day.  The little Sony takes fine pictures and is just so much more compact — it will fit inside the new purse I bought.  But, the Nikon takes absolutely fabulous pictures and there is so much more I can do with it.  Sigh.  Decisions, decisions.

Have got to get out into the garden a little later on — if the rain stops — and get the last few marigolds plunked in.  Along with some chard and a few other odds and ends.  Hope my lilies don’t bloom until I get home.  Hate missing them in their glory.

Anyway, the yard will be here when I get back.  There’s always something to be done — I just hope Tim leaves something for me to do.  When it’s finished I’ll post a pic so you can see the change.

I’ll be back in about 2 weeks — warm summer wishes to all (and to my new friends in South Africa — wishing you short, sunny winter days).

Overcast Sunday, Early July

I am sitting here in my kitchen clandestinely typing this on the union’s laptop.  Don’t feel the slightest bit of guilt.

However, Tim is out slaving in the yard and I am experiencing some slight pangs over that.  I should be there, too.  Finally, the east side of the house is going to be done.  Our midnight blue limestone gets delivered today, along with a couple of boulders.  I am very excited!  Tim and I both love rocks.  We have collected them from everywhere we’ve ever been.  Some are quite big, others, just pebbles.  We display them wherever we think they will be at home.  With this lovely rock garden on the side of the house I’m thinking some of our rocks will be getting a new home.  Where they can receive the attention they so justly deserve.

Okay, I had to take a break to write a poem about rocks.  As a way of explaining my fascination with them.  Hope you like it.

I’m two days away from leaving to New York.  Am very excited, can’t wait to get gone.  In the meantime, however, I really should quit procrastinating and get outside to help.

I am so happy with life right now!  The pressures of work are behind me, there is nothing but ‘free’ time ahead of me, and I’m looking forward to getting some writing done when I get back from my escape to New York.  Other writing, not just this blogging.  although, I love blogging.  I love the wonderful new friends I’ve made, and I love how this keeps me on track in my life.  Makes me think, makes me see.

Ah well, there is a shovel with my name on it outside waiting for me.  Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

Rocks

Inspired by new rock garden.

Rocks

If trees are the breath of the world,
then rocks are its soul.

They hold within their petrified  hearts
the stilled pulse of the world.

Transplanted from river beds and
ancient gorges to my suburban

garden they lend an air of indifferent
grandeur.  I have stolen them

From whence they came;  a poor attempt
at communion.  They bear it well.

Jutting and jagged they sit among the lilies
and the poppies.  With ancient calm

they breathe their memory of place into
mine.  And the earth and the air

and the birds and I listen intently,
then tuck their whispered song

into our living  hearts.

© Kathy Larson 2010

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