Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Me in Review

A word of warning: This post has lots of pictures of me in it, and has nothing to do with gardening. A scary prospect. I'll try not to overshare.

This past year, 2013, was my year to embark on a few personal, physical changes. I made some really effective changes to my diet, adding in more fresh vegetables and taking out processed foods, which was just the push I needed to finally get to my weight loss goal of 40 pounds. I don't have any pictures of the difference between the old me and the new me. It's not that noticeable. I hope the next 40 pounds will be a lot more noticeable (but that doesn't mean I'll take lots of pictures of that process either). I intend to keep going.

One big physical change that I made this year was letting my white hair grow out. I stopped coloring it right at the beginning of the year, in January, when I looked like this.

Now, it's December, the blonde has grown out and been mostly cut off, and I look like this.

I'm trying to remember what the impetus was, to make me want to grow my hair long and go back to its natural color. I told everyone I was "embracing my age." I remember about this time last year seeing lots of photos of actresses and models with beautiful, luxurious, white or gray hair. With my hair short and blonde, I do look younger, but I also thought I looked kind of generic. I wanted to stand out. I wanted to be that funky old lady with the long white hair and a sense of style. But I seem to have turned out to be just the comfortable old Grandma who gives nice hugs. I'm too lazy to be stylish.

I wore my hair quite a bit longer when I was young, down to the middle of my back. Here's a crappy photo from early spring 2005. The roots had gone white very quickly the year before, giving my hair a strange ombre effect.

I took that photo just before I had it cut shorter and started coloring it. I remember it being a lot thicker than it looks here.

Here's how it looked back in 2005 right after I had it cut.

And then about a month later, the first time I colored it.

Looking at these photos, I can see that my hair over the last 9 years has definitely gotten thinner. It's not obvious from that recent photo of me above with white hair, but nowadays I can see my ugly pink scalp through my hair.

So, with the approach of the new year, I'm on the cusp of a decision: Will 2014 be the year I go back to cutting and coloring my hair? Or do I stick it out and see what it looks like really long? I'm inclined to go back to cutting and coloring, and forget about all this "embracing my age" stuff. I don't think I want to go "gentle into that good night." Maybe I should kick up a bit of a fuss.


Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
By Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Winter Solstice!

Happy Winter Solstice!

And I do mean HAPPY!

I truly cannot remember a previous year when I was so happy to celebrate the winter solstice. While technically it is the first day of winter, it is also the day of the year when the Earth in the Northern Hemisphere experiences the fewest hours of daylight, and hereafter begins the long, slow climb toward spring and summer. From now on, the days start to lengthen.

Picture me at my computer, dancing like Snoopy anticipating supper, at the prospect of those lengthening days. It's been a dark December with record-breaking cold temperatures, and I've been challenged to find joy, despite it being the so-called holiday season. I have suffered from intermittent depression all my life, but I don't think I've ever had what they call Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is related to the number of hours and quality of daylight perceived by the brain.

I don't think SAD is my problem this year either. It's just hard to force false jollity.

But there's no false jollity today. Today the jollity is real. From now on, more daylight.

Jolly, Happy Winter Solstice!

Friday, December 20, 2013

I Have No Mouth...

...And I Must Scream

Any science fiction readers out there in Blogland? "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" is the title of a science fiction short story by Harlan Ellison, set in a post-apocalyptic world run by an artificially intelligent supercomputer. He would no doubt be dismayed to find that I've appropriated his title for a post about snow on my sweet little gardening blog.

If you follow my blog or know me on Facebook, you know I don't like snow. It makes driving dangerous (ok, the other drivers out there have to take some responsibility for the danger too), and driving is one of the few things I have to do every weekday. So wanting to scream over it, but being unable to, kind of sums up my reaction.

It does make for some pretty pictures out in the garden.

I was undecided about wanting to go out and take photos, but I saw these bird tracks through a window, and out I went.

I startled a cat who was hiding nearby, waiting for dinner to fly past
Off he went, over the fence

A closer look at the top of the fence reveals just how many kitties have visited since it started snowing

Snow on a Hydrangea

Snow on a sword fern

Snow on Agastache 'Golden Jubilee"

This Mahonia x media 'Charity' will be pretty once those flowers open further

Schefflera (delavayi, I think) seems to have survived our week of Arctic temps, so I think maybe the snow won't phase it

Behind the waterfall

'Blonde Ambition' grama grass

Snow on Mexican feather grass
Snow on Agave ovatifolia

Snow on Tetrapanax (and a good view of the indumentum)

The folly was set into the ground with concrete a few days ago. Now it looks like a weird jungle gym/climbing frame, or a cage for an invisible animal. I should hang a stuffed monkey on it.

Snow caught in the curve of a pin oak leaf

It's supposed to turn to rain later today, and all get washed away. I can only hope.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Brilliant Solution

I came up with a totally brilliant solution for what to do about the worrisome intersection between grass and gravel in my new front garden, and how to keep the lawn mower and string trimmer from picking up gravel and throwing it at either our front windows or the new greenhouse. Well, I think it's a totally brilliant solution.

Crazy might describe it too. But just a little bit crazy.

I needed to put something between the grass circle and the gravel walkway. We had extra compost, and nowhere to put it. What would be better than more beds? There are now two beds in the front that circle the grass area, in a spiral shape. In fact, we've now made the grass area smaller. So I've reduced my grass without ever having planted it to begin with.

But in order to reach the grass, there needed to be paths through the beds, so the new plan includes two short breaks that will have stepping stones in them.

One path is here just to the left of the culvert.
That break on the left is also necessary for drainage. Otherwise, in our rainy season, that circle where the grass is going would tend to become a pond.

More beds for planting. Less grass. I have a feeling that Chris the contractor and his assistant both probably think I'm a bit of a nut. Or maybe all of a nut.

But you don't, right? C'mon, I dare you to call me crazy.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Foliage Followup

Once again, I am refusing to go out there with my camera and photograph my own pitiful garden for December's Foliage Followup. Instead, I'm sharing some photos I took last summer on Vashon Island, during a Northwest Perennial Alliance garden tour that I took accompanied by Peter The Outlaw Gardener and his partner Tom. You can read Peter's post about this garden here.

This wonderful garden, North Shore Gardens, is the work of Jonathan Morse and had a striking emphasis on foliage, making it a perfect place to revisit on a cold, gray, rainy PNW winter day.

The purpose of Foliage Followup is to remind us of the importance of great foliage in the garden. It takes place on the sixteenth of every month, the day after Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. You can find more Foliage Followup posts on Pam Penick's blog Digging here. Check out the links in the comments.