Fluffy and Infrequent

Most of the time our sky is a big old blanket of light blue. Sometimes ashy blue. Sometimes grey. Sometimes dirty white. Fluffy clouds are infrequent so we notice them when they blow through. Like today.

Years ago when we worked hard to have Family Night, we sometimes made Pudding in Cloud as a treat. It was quick and inexpensive and fluffy and satisfying for the whole family.

Last night I made Pudding in a Cloud pie.

And today fluffy clouds adorn our blue sky.


I think not.

Also, since you brought up the subject of gratuitous food photos, Mr. Last was grillin' like a villian a few days ago. See for yourself.

I cuss.
You cuss.
We all cuss for asparagus.
Oops! Just looking at it made me say a bad word. Lemme go wash my mouth out with soap.

And speaking of things that taste bad, didja hear we've got Mad Cow disease right here in River City?

The assurances that our food supply is safe ring about as true as the assurances that a new guy in the lead position is all we need to fix our messed-up economy.

I'm not buying it.

Beef. Or the new guy.

But I will have another slice of that Pudding in a Cloud pie. Guaranteed to sweeten even the sourest disposition.

We'll talk about the pitfalls of comforting oneself with food another day. Until then, stay tuned for more pretty pictures of food and flowers on...

Oh My, Oma!


Party in the Berry Patch!


This is what it looks like, only darker. My camera on the night landscape setting makes it look lighter.
The berry patch is growing on the redwood and wire supports beyond the bench (mid left strung with lights) All the fairy lights and pathway lights are solar. They go on automatically after sunset. And they turn themselves off before dawn and recharge the next day. Thank you Sun.

We -- well, again Mr. Last does the heavy labor, but I cut tree limbs and tended the flower beds and sprayed the patio and washed windows -- spent the ENTIRE day outdoors and mucho much was accomplished so we sat and looked at it a lot.

And we ate grilled corn and strawberries. Not from our garden. But we do have a hanging planter with strawberries. And I spotted our first green berry on the boysenberry plants.

Feels like summer. Got up to 92 today. Degrees Fahrenheit, that is. It's a balmy 86 now.

I'll give you a grand tour of the progress on the grounds in the days ahead, but just for reference, here's what a similar view looked like a few months back:

And now (again! because it feels so good):



Last year it was Quintastic! and this year
I'm feeling FiftyOneDerFull!
My little Landscaper-in-Training called to say,
"Happy Birthday, Oma," just as we were enjoying
long-distance cake with cousins. It was awfully
cute to hear the little voices saying hello to one
another across the miles through the magic of
modern communication.
This delicious celebratory meal was lovingly
prepared by Mr. Last. He knows what I like.

Chocolate cake is standard, but the salmon fillet grilled
on a cedar plank with tarragon and dill was extra special.

I tease him about his inordinate fondness for kitchen gadgets, but I must agree that the right tools add to the presentation and enjoyment of a delicious meal.

Thank you, one and all, for taking the time and trouble to make Oma feel so loved.


The List

Wishlist via Valerie's Genealogy Photos
Mr. Last said,"Have you done everything you wanted to do when you were 50?"

And I thought Hmmm. Shoulda made a list.

Then I reviewed:
  • We moved into Our Home and are busily making it Just Right.
  • I did not expect 50 to be the last time I hugged my father but I'll never forget our last hug. It was a good one. If your dad is still around take a minute to tell him you love him. Your mom, too.
  • Visited a couple local National Parks. Always nice to visit.
  • Moved a grand piano. Three times. Same piano. First 90 miles. Then 1 mile, and finally -- 700 miles! Never doin' THAT again. OK, actually, I was just the assistant piano-mover. Mr. Last really did the lion's share of rigging the ropes, etc. Still. NEVER doin' that again. Too anxiety-provoking for me.
  • Met Charlie, our newest GrandBoy. Sweet snuggle bundle just like each of the others.
  • Played with all the Grands as much as possible.
  • Enjoyed many lovely visits from various family members. Hope that trend continues.
If I'da made a list -- then -- Yes! I've done everything I wanted to do when I was 50. Making a list of what you've already done can be every bit as gratifying as making a list in advance. But because I would rather plan to fail than fail to plan...

...when I'm 51, I think I would like to:
  • Eat lots of tomatoes from our garden. And also some cucumbers and squash and peppers and potatoes and onions and beets.
  • Visit Seattle and cruise to Alaska(!)
  • Spend some time looking at the Pacific and pondering.
  • Visit various loved ones nearby and some 700 miles away.
  • Skype with the Kids and GrandKids more.
  • Break in the snowshoes we got last year.
  • Take a class. At the gym, at the community college, or with a music teacher. Not on-line.
  • Write more love letters.
  • Eliminate more piles. 
This will be an experiment. I'll check back in a year to review what I've done on The List AND to round it out with the unexpected delights that I know will show up even though I did not conjure them in advance by putting them on The List.



I have not been very productive this weekend. Spent most of my time reading and thinking while the washer and dryer worked on three loads of laundry.

I finished May Sarton's journal, After the Stroke, and moved on, incongruently, to Ivan Brunetti's Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice.

I read the entire book in about 90 minutes. I did not do any of the exercises.

But I drew a squirrel.

Then I browsed Lynda Barry's blog.

And Austin Kleon's blog.

And Keri Smith's blog.

And somewhere along the way I stumbled into Meg Hitchcock's blog and read her entire archives.

I've been kinda lazy, but not entirely slothful. Somewhat lacking in structure and direction, but open to whatever presented itself.

I took out the trash, pulled weeds, had a nap and made a nice dinner for two. We dined al fresco this evening on the back patio, enjoying a leisurely meal in warmish weather amongst happy green growing things.

We are making steady progress on the old homestead and find it quite satisfying to survey the results of our labors. Recently, Mr. Last erected the first half of a redwood trellis for the berry patch. He also got another stretch of concrete footings poured for the next section of The Wohl. I removed the last of the old vine on the park arbor and planted fresh pink jasmine in its place. The roses are beginning to bloom. Sounds beautiful but it's not quite there just yet. Definitely developing, but in its pre-beautiful state right now.

When I feel kind of unfocused like I have this weekend, I avoid beating myself up about it and think of it as incubation. Wandering and gathering and doing undemanding random tasks. Waiting for something to show up but not entirely sure what's around the corner. No real anticipation, just gentle curiosity. Sometimes it is nice to just go easy. To sit in your nest and fluff up your feathers and keep the eggs warm. Incubate.
via Wikipedia


"This Way Please"

Let's play Follow the Leader, OK?

We'll see if we can find some of Central California's world class scenery. How about a mallard?

No?  Maybe a grey squirrel?
High Sierra hiking, perhaps?
How 'bout a slice of a giant Sequoia tree?

This is the tree the Spring Breakers who visited us earlier were looking for in Sequoia National Park a few weeks back. Turns out the sequoia slice that measures history in tree rings is NOT in Sequoia National Park.

It's at Yosemite Village.

Where Niece and I spent some quality time this past week in celebration of her Spring Break.

Spring Break, Part II, if you will.
'Twas snowing when we arrived at The Park, and sunny blue skies when we departed the next day. We enjoyed every single minute.

Including our accidental accommodations at the luxurious Ahwahnee Hotel.

So, that's the end of Follow the Leader for this week.

Tag! You're IT!



peter clark
I love collage.

Bits and pieces that seem to have no relation to one another coming together to create a whole that was unimaginable before all the bits and pieces came together just so. Like a puzzle, but not. I love puzzles, too.

"Found poetry" was something I played at a little during high school that I remembered this evening listening to this lovely conversation between Carolyn Forche and Michael Ondaatje. Very near the end of the interview the term "literary collage" is used and Michael exclaims that he loves collage. Some scholarly or critical writing about another of my favorite writers, Annie Dillard, introduced me to the idea of "literary collage" a while back, but that tidbit was tucked away in the folds of my gray matter until hearing the descriptor used again this evening.

And suddenly a bunch of pieces slipped to the front of my brain, but they did not assemble themselves into any order.

I will not attempt to connect the pieces tonight, but I have to save these bits here for assemblage another time:

-My friend is flying to Texas tomorrow to visit her parents.
-My niece is arriving here tomorrow on the evening train.
-Semi-trucks were flying today in tornadoes in Texas.
-A semi-truck tried to kill me in 2008, but failed.
-"It's a twister, Auntie Em!" "There's no place like home."
-Earlier I was looking at the pitch of the blade on the ceiling fan above my bed, thinking about propellers, when the roar of a military jet passed over my house.
-The fragments and torn pieces of my life hold art beyond my current imagination. Let them fly around and maybe they will land on something wicked.
-Striped socks are fun.
-Birds can fly.
-I used to think I was a cat person, but I'm really a dog person.

That's all for now.


Spontaneous is My Middle Name

Late this morning I checked with Number One Son and his family to see if I could drop in on them. Just wanted to deliver some hit 'n' run love from Oma, and they invited me to join them on an outing.

We visited our friends at the zoo!

We saw an orangutan with a baby orangutan. We saw a tiger. We saw an alligator. We saw a camel. We saw an ostrich (it was almost as exciting as having a friendly neighborhood ostrich). We saw anteaters wrestling. We saw lemurs. We saw elephants. We saw zebras. We saw seals and sea lions. We saw flamingos. We saw a grizzly bear. We saw a blue macaw. We walked among the sheep and goats and llamas. We oinked at hairy pecaries and made a kookaburra laugh at our crazy Australian accent. I haven't been to the zoo in ten years or more. Paul Simon is right. It's all happenin' at the zoo!

It was so much fun I forgot to take pictures. Except when we lunched with the giraffes.

When I got up this morning I had no idea what today would hold. It's good to say "Yes!" as often as possible. And it helps when Spontaneous is your middle name.