Sunday, August 19, 2007


Except for soggy behind syndrome, I came out of my second (and third) kayaking experience relatively unscathed. And, yes, Monica finally got out on the bay. My oldest daughter was working a remote radio booth at a kayak demo day on Sunday. The stores that were doing the demos are good customers of the radio station and she was enjoying some good-natured ribbing from a coworker and the store owners. Monica does NOT do water in which the contents are in question. She doesn’t want to SEE what’s down there but she REALLY doesn’t want to NOT see them either. Anyway, they had a nice Hobie Mirage kayak with pedals and they convinced her to try it. And she DID! Yeah Monica. She was hell on pedals, scooting herself out beyond the Samoa bridge and back. Then they used her as a good example of .... "Seeee? Monica did it and if Monica can do it ANYBODY can do it."

I came down to the dock with some trepidation after a virgin voyage at the last Paddlefest. I took beginner lessons from HSU Center Activities and while it was really fun, it was also a little scary. I didn’t dress correctly (who knew "cotton kills") and it was a little chilly. I was nervous and afraid of embarrassing myself. It was a regular enclosed deck kayak so I had the “ingress and egress” issues one would expect but a basically positive experience. However, I was by no means relaxed on my second time out. In fact, the longer I had to wait (we’re talking mere minutes here but it feels like SO much more when you’re nervous), the more ambivalent I became. The Outdoor Store staff were great and put me into a Hobie Quest “sit on top” model as requested. The ingress was much easier than with the enclosed model. I grabbed the paddle and off I went towards the Samoa Bridge then west to Woodley Island. Got fairly close to a few egrets and had a lovely conversation with a seal. Came back and tried a second model, a Caper, just for comparison. I do enjoy the quiet and the ability to get into little still-water spots you can’t access on foot.

I was REALLY intrigued by the fact that Monica’s co worker had paddled in that morning by putting in at slough near his house in Myrtletown and coming in on the water. That’s TOO awesome. Guess this means the expense of the kayak and, of course, a roof rack and proper pants. I’ll need a “dry sak” for a camera because I can’t go ANYWHERE without a camera. Ooh boy….this could get pricey, huh?

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I could SO be a professional berry picker. Is there such a thing? I guess it would involve traveling but, in our family, I’ve got the fastest fingers. Check out these beauties. Gloria and I had puppy duty so we took Vince with us down to the turnout by the old tallow works on Herrick. I remembered seeing bushes along the path but, upon checking, they were still green. Undaunted, we walked down to the slough but found no berries there either. There WERE a bunch along the road so, while she supervised the sniff-happy dog, I picked and picked and picked. Considering there not very many bushes, I ended up with four baskets full and nary a stain on my hand. Then we came home and I made a pass down the alley behind our garage for another couple of baskets. I had plenty to make my second batch of jam this season and put away a tray in the freezer. I figure I should be able to make one more batch before the berries are done for the year. Then I HAVE to cut down those brambles behind the garage. I think there's a couch under there.

Friday, August 17, 2007


That's what the damn raccoons get when they wake me up a half-hour early with their bickering. I roused out of a sound sleep to this odd, squeaking noise. My first thought was a transient wheeling a stolen shopping cart down the alley in search of aluminum cans. A moment of lucidity presented another option -- raccoons! Damn.

We've had some problems with varmints in the neighborhood. This summer, we've been "woofed" several times by skunks fending off attackers....unfortunately they're residing under the house and it sneaks through every crack and crevice. This hundred-year-old house has a LOT of cracks and crevices. Last week it was an opossum that woke us up four times in the night. More accurately, it stirred up the hens and it was the girls distress that woke us except for the time the silly critter got his big ol' butt stuck in a ground-mounted wind chime and did a bunch of ringing before he pulled himself free. I'm sure it was sheer embarrassment that kept him away after that. Worst of all, it was raccoons that killed the neighbor's bunny that was in a hutch in the back yard. Their little girls were the ones that discovered the grisly mess left when two raccoons had fought over their prey. I'm sure it those coons I spotted this morning.

...this morning. Five o'clock. Squeaking. Mark is out of town so I grabbed the flashlight and scanned the yard from our upstairs bedroom window. No sign of anything. The hens were nestled all snug on their perch. I listened a little more then shined the light into the neighbors' yard. What were those four shiny things? EYES! Those two critters were sitting on the footbridge (we call it the Bridge on the River Koi) preparing to feast. I cocked my BB gun and "pow" -- BULLSEYE! A couple more successful shots (not bad for five in the a.m. with an underpowered and inaccurate weapon) and they were gone. I heard them again about twenty minutes later but couldn't see them anywhere. I'm sure they heard my window fly open and thought better of bickering around that crazy woman.

What an invigorating start to a Friday! Don't these critters know we live in the damn city?!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Carnivorous Ms. Judith Hindle

This is Judith. Judith Hindle. SHE is a Sarracenia, aka Pitcher plant and an amazing bit of divine engineering. I’ve looked at Venus Fly Traps with passing interest until it struck me that a carnivorous plant is JUST the thing to clear out those nasty little fruit flies and such that gather around my summer fruit bowls. Up until now, my cure was to put the hose on the vacuum and stand in the kitchen CHASING the flies with the hose. Need I say that this was LESS than dignified?! Although I did get some small pleasure thinking about those pesky flies meeting their maker in the form of Kirby’s little turbine from hell, it seemed so…..violent.

Several weeks ago, browsing the farmer’s market, I came across Judith. She looked tropical and lovely yet a little like something from Little Shop of Horrors. I set her in a pot with stones in the bottom and set it on the table near the baskets where I keep fruit and veggies. We occasionally hear buzzing coming from her cones though we don’t see anything actually happening. There are far fewer fruit flies and gnats. Very cool and much more attractive than hanging a fly strip in the middle of my kitchen.

Friday, August 10, 2007


According to employees at the Child Development Center at work.....the words "bye bye" followed by the flushing of a toilet. It is almost always followed by a call to the custodian.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


Recent iPod trainwreck....Carly Simon - The Way I Always Heard It Should know the nice, quiet ending where she fades off into "ma....rie......ed".....then RIGHT into Alice in Chains' Them Bones. Ho-lee crap. I was grocery shopping and seriously jumped. I'm not sure if the lady who was passing me in produce KNEW what happened but I'm sure she thought I was quite insane.

This week I turn 50 and, for some reason, that doesn't bother me. Today I did do something for me ... for my self-confidence..... to remind myself that I can do some things that other women won't try. I got on the motorcycle for the first time in better than a year (or was it two?). We sold my BMW a while back and I haven't had a bike or, honestly, the time to ride anyway. Today, I asked Mark to make the "extra" bike ready. It's an older beast he bought and fixed and decided it was quick enough to take to the drags -- an 86 Yamaha Faser with a lightswitch for a throttle. Apparently they used the same engine for sport-bikes so it's zippy and a little scary though lacking style as most things built in the 80's are. It took some acclimating but I rode. I'm sure Mark was worried the entire hour and a half I was gone but I did it. I rode around Old Arcata Road, up 101 to 299 and through Fieldbrook back south to Arcata and Samoa. Haven't done that ride for a while. Some twistees, some freeway, some potholes, some sun dappling the pavement making it a little hard to tell where to FIND the potholes. I adjusted to the hair-trigger throttle about the time I pulled into the driveway. It felt nice knowing I could still ride. Although Mark assured me I wouldn't forget, I wasn't convinced until I headed down the road. I'm not sure I like the Faser....I CAN sit flat-footed which is nice but I'm not fond of that immediate throttle response Mark loves so much. I'm not really a speed girl...more of a cruise the twistees kinda girl. Now I'm thinking it's time for another bike. Something Glo and I can ride to campus and I can go on weekend putts with Mark. Maybe I'll take the time.