Wednesday, July 23, 2014


The wrap up:  116 people have taken the quiz - I don't know whether to feel pleased or alarmed by that.  I was hoping that at least four or five people would click the link and answer the questions, but I see you are a curious (or bored) bunch.  And here are the results, which does seem to resemble the distribution in an actual garden.  Ish.

Okay, florascopes.
The purse!  ish.
Dahlia:  What I remember about the moon landing is this:  the rest of the family was in the family room (is there still such a room or was that only in the 60's? Oh.  I just looked it up.  First mentioned in 1945 in this cool book).  Meanwhile, I was upstairs in my bedroom gluing rhinestones onto a big ugly purse.  It was a craft kit that my grandfather's wife, whom I only met once, gave me.  (I guess I met her twice if you count the time she was still living with husband #7, but I don't.)  They lived in a strange senior citizens mobile home park in the desert near LA, and we had to get special permission to visit because children weren't allowed.  It was the first time I had been in a house that had a license plate on it.  Anyway, she gave my sisters and I and each a kit to make a cardboard purse with a plastic rhinestone peacock on it.  (Can you get any more fake than rhinestone?  YES!  Imitation rhinestone!)  My sister's purses were turning out exactly like the picture, but mine was gloppy with glue; the fake jewels slid down the side of the purse to create a jeweled glob of shiny plastic disappointment.  I decided to use the time when everyone else was occupied with the lunar landing to try to catch up and see if I could make mine look like a real peacock.  So I missed the moon landing.  I've seen the movies though.  Dahlia, don't miss out this week!  Stay tuned.

Indian Pipe.  So many mysteries!  Here's one:  I received another mysterious package, this one with a honey bee theme, a sweet but anonymous note, a small china hutch, and 5 tiny beer cans that seem denser than most substances on this
planet.  I've set up a little white trash doll house situation (tiny cans of beer in a tiny china hutch isn't something that occurs in nature).  Oh wait -- maybe there was something like that in my grandfather's mobile home in the desert; I don't remember.  I gather there's a message in all of this, but I'm not sure what it is.  One of my friends thinks the sender is a reader who lives in his/her parents basement, and this blog is his/her only contact with the outside world so it's taken a bizarre importance in his/her life.  I don't really know whether to find that comforting or creepy, but I'll go with comforting.  From one lonely basement dweller to another, sans the basement?  Another theory is that the recent package is a copy cat, someone who followed the example of the sender of the steins (SOS).  Of course, that idea appeals to me, because it would mean more packages for me....

Kalmia.  We're going to use science to solve this mystery, because that's what we do.  But before I go on, can we all take a moment to love science together?  It's the only discipline in the galaxy that is both humble and curious, never dismisses information, never assumes beyond the data, and ultimately, gets to the bottom of things in the most elegant, proveable, repeatable way.  Oh, science, how we love thee.  Here goes:

Let me know your theories, Kalmia.  We'll put on our gloves and get out the bunson burners and Erlenmeyer flasks and start researching!

Columbine.  Here's another mystery:  I found a long strip of bark in the garbage can right in the middle of town.  Who does that?  As I was searching the can for clues, a neighbor walked up; I think he assumed I was looking for a new wardrobe or something, but nope.  I went in to the flower shop to see if the proprietor had seen anything suspicious, but nope.

It's a rainy day here, which is good because it will give my bees a chance to be housebound with their new queen and see if they can grow to love her.  I'm not supposed to look in there for a bit but I like to imagine that they're in there, a bit restless, playing monopoly and eating crackers with their little tiny bee mouths.  Maybe building a fort.

I guess that's it.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

What flower are you?

The revealing flower quiz that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Lose belly fat, obtain 20 20 vision, eternal youth AND a guaranteed income stream.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Bald-hip rose.  (Rosa gymnocarpa).  I have a new app for my phone (when do we get to stop saying, "for my phone"?  Like, "I have this new app for my _____ (knee?  Yoga mat?).  Anyway, it's called Shadow, and They are gathering data about our dreams.  Creepy or cool?  I am perhaps the only person on the planet who doesn't give a rip about my privacy.  Learn about me, try to sell me shit.  As long as I get to keep the internet, sure, I'll tell you my hopes and dreams and let you track every single thing I search for on line, and sure, use the phone that's in my pocket to detect where I hover in a store, what I might be interested in, and try to sell it to me.  But most especially, have at my dreams.  (By the way, internets, if you're actually listening?  I could care less about belly fat.)  But anyway, I get notifications on my phone every time someone somewhere has a dream.  I know.  Don't think too hard about that or you'll wind up in a pool of tears.  Trust me on this. All the humans, sleeping and dreaming and repeating their dreams into the phone so an anoymous audience can catalogue them, and random people click "like" or offer a comment, such as, "wow, that was a weird dream!".  I don't really do much else anymore but listen to the dreams.

It has just occurred to me as I write this that I spend my night-time hours listening to (mostly) coherent wide-awake people telling stories or talking about science via podcasts, and I spend the daytime hours listening to sleepy incoherent people saying stuff like this:  Several people [yawn] wanted to either take pizza from me or give me pizza, [yawn] but they also wanted to talk about my dream, and we were standing around but then I realized it was just a dream and it wasn't appropriate for them to be inside my house, so we went outside, and there was more pizza, but there was some laundry on the line and I couldn't reach the shirt.  -Dreamer from L.A.

See how fun this is?  It's like waking up with someone all warm and sleepy and semi-out of it without the hassle of having to negotiate all the time.  Your week will be like that too:  warm, sleepy, and semi-out of it, but unfortunately, there will be hassle.  I'm sorry to bear that prediction.

Wild ginger.  (Asarum caudatum).  I had a lovely time doing the advice column game with a few awesome smart people the other day.  The game, in case you're unfamiliar, goes like this:
1.  One person (and it's always me, fyi), reads the headline.  The players have to decide if they're better than, equivalent to, or worse off than the writer of the letter.  [Hint:  better than is a safe bet.  This might sound arrogant at first, but once you play for a while you'll see my point.  How often have you had a problem that is best solved by writing to a random advice-columnist?]
2.  I read the letter aloud.
3.  We each propose our response.
4.  We read the actual response, and decide how we fare (better than, worse than, etc.)

Okay, we can play that here, people!  Just send in some advice questions.  I'm so on it.

gigantic meadowrue (Thalictrum something or other).  I heard something interesting about lines (do you like how I didn't say I listened to not one, but two podcasts about lines?  Yes, I know!  That's me being slick.), which is that there aren't many you can't buy your way out of anymore.  You can pay for expedited review, you can pay to get into a HOV lane all by yourself, you can pay to get out of the airport hassle, and even pay extra to skip the lines at water parks.  But there's one line that is totally in old-fashioned order, which is the queue to get in to SNL.  There's one guy who goes every week, stands out there all night, just to make sure no one cheats.  I'm glad that's not my volunteer position, but still, I do wish there were more situations where there was an actual arbiter saying, "You, time out.  Bad behavior."  But, let's each be our own line-watcher.  Don't cut, be kind, apologize if you hurt someone, etc.  Don't rely on that guy, I can't remember his name, but he is out there every week telling people not to cut, and that you can't hold spots for people who aren't there, and so on.  And I think he might have some terrible medical condition too.  Be that guy.  (Not the part with the medical condition though.)

Common Turks Cap (Malvaviscus penduliflorus).  Oh, the flower that never really opens.  Arrgh.  
I don't even know where to begin.  Pollinated by hummingbirds though.  That's a start.

Bougainvillea  (Bougainvillea sp.).  You people love the alabaster, you do.  I kind of see the allure, all smooth and impenetrable, but I don't think it works out for you.  Kind of one-sided.  But that's not the point here.

My booty call boss asked me yesterday to help put together interview questions so he can hire my replacement.  I know.  It's like, "Hey, you know better than anyone what I like in a gf; can you help me find a new one?"  Of course I said yes.

But I had just listened to a podcast on that very subject, interview questions; they suggested to ask, "What do you think I'll have for lunch today?" because it gives an indication of how people behave when they don't have a clue, which is most of us all the time, and you want to weed out the people who get mean or cocky or too uncomfortable when they don't know the answer.  I didn't say I heard it on a podcast, though.  I said I heard it on the radio.  The radio doesn't sound quite so cat-lady-ish.  The radio could have just been on.  Like in the car, or a store or something.  It's not like I'm some weirdo that listens to podcasts about random shit, all night long.  Oh, excuse me, Booty Call Boss, a dream has just come in on my phone, gotta go.  You see what I mean?  Always say the radio, and act a bit vague.  "I heard something somewhere recently -- maybe it was on the radio?"

Anyway.  He said it was a great question and he even typed it up on his list and showed it to me, there it was as question #10, and I was kind of pleased until someone else told me there's no way he'd ever ask that question, he was just trying to make me feel better.  Right?  I'm so damn easy.  It would totgally make me feel better about everything, mortality, loneliness, how I keep wrecking computers, disappearing friends -- the whole damn business -- if he would just ask the people who are about to get my job for way less money if they can guess what he's going to have for lunch.  Oh my god.

So sorry that I didn't get to all of your flowers this time.  But I will!

Sunday, July 13, 2014


I'd like to write some horoscopes because I have a few tiny semi-coherent thoughts, but jeez, 12?  That's a lot.  So we're developing a new system, botaniscopes, and if I weren't so lazy I'd write a quiz so you could see what flower you are.  That's all the rage, online quizes to see what fruit, punctuation mark, fictional character, or work of great art you are, and whether your feet are egyptian or celtic.  (Mine are celtic.)  But it's too hot to do anything strenuous like type up a quiz.

Those of you from other parts of the world are laughing at us for complaining, but it got up to 90 degrees yesterday and I had to swim three times and still got cross and irritable.  I'm wearing a giant flowy moo moo (is that a word? Did we really name a dress after the sound a cow makes?  Apparently yes.) and even without the heat I know this thing about myself, which is that I have about 2 productive hours a day, maybe three, and I can either do yoga, work, or write.  The rest of the day is waiting around for the next burst of productivity, which happens predictably between 6 and 9 am, and I often spend the first hour of it lying in bed thinking and looking out the window and listening to my productivity clock go tick tock loudly, and wondering / deciding what I should do with the last glimmers of possibility.  I would always prefer to make something, but then I think I should do something to earn some money, like write a dull report, or I should clean up my surroundings so it looks like a sane person lives here.  So, botaniscopes.  I was going to use just what's flowering now, but I don't really want to be confined like that.  (Remember, I'm the person wearing a gigantic moo-moo.)  So, here goes.  Tick tick tick goes the productivity window.

Wow, just as I started to write, I found a dead squished mosquito in the crevase of my keyboard and screen.  Ick.  I'm sorry it had to go down that way, little bug.

Bald-hip rose.  (Rosa gymnocarpa).  You, my friends, are rugged and beautiful and last a long time and pretty much take care of yourself.  You're subtle and steady and no one even notices you until suddenly they do, and they're all, wait, why have I been fussing around with these needy high maintenance roses when I could have this?

Yesterday, I tried to do some yard work and it was about a thousand degrees out, I think the earth has gone off orbit and is really close to the sun, so I didn't last long.  But while I was out there I scared up a very tiny baby rabbit, I think Geoffrey has adopted a crack bunny, and she was awfully cute, about the size of my hand, and she wasn't just brown the way regular rabbits are, she had white and black spots too and she looked so soft, I felt like Lenny.  Through a vote of the people, we have named her Janet Marigold (I know, we did agree to Marigold Janet, but Geoffrey insisted we switch it around.  You can still call her Mari-Jane.)

Ocean spray.  (Holodiscus discolor).  So generous, you.  Abundant and sweet and flowy and just the right amount of fragrant.  What's not to love?

I'll tell you what I don't love right now, is the library, because it smells bad, there's some sewer issue going on and so now I have all these overdue books and I get e-mails every few minutes reminding me, and my amount owed is too high to place a book on hold, etc.  But they say we need to look at the dark side too, and if the library stinks, as in, an actual horrible aroma, well, so be it.  Don't stop reading just because of the sewage smell.

Wild ginger.  (Asarum caudatum).  You aren't showy, but really, you know you're the coolest, smartest flower of all.  People think you're pollinated by flies, but no, self-pollinated, Asarum.  Rock on!  You have a small but devoted audience of people who appreciate you, even if they're sometimes like, "Really, ginger?  Self-pollinated?  You should get out more."  But they love you anyway.

So I have this customer who writes newsy e-mails that don't really relate to the topic at hand, and I'm a big fan, but I don't really know how to respond.  Example:
Me:  Could you please send over a site plan showing your proposed house?
Him:  Our peas came up early this year, so we're havesting already.  My wife is growing some Lonicera for you in our green house.  Oh, and did I tell you that we had a surprise party for Aunt May last week.  It went really well!

Sometimes it makes me tear up just a tiny bit, and then I say something like, "Sounds great!  Could you send over the site plan?"

gigantic meadowrue (Thalictrum something or other).  I have this growing in my garden and its about 12 feet tall, maybe 18 or possibly 63.  Sort of jack-in-the-beanstalk-ish, and you wouldn't even know there's a gorgeous flower way up there because you'd have to be a giant or perhaps a pollinator to enjoy it.  So I look outside and then google images to see the actual flower.  I would need a ladder.  Which I have, but sheesh, who ever heard of climbing a ladder in a moo moo to see a flower?  That's why we have the internet, people.  Al Gore didn't invent the world wide web so we would get our moo moo snagged on a ladder viewing a flower.

Speaking of which, I spent almost a million dollars on a new oven/range this week, and it will be installed soon and then I'll actually begin eating like a modern woman again, not so raw food and microwave-y.  Confession:  I don't really have a hot plate.  I made that up.

I was in the field on friday, in the middle of the sweltering afternoon, and no, I wasn't wearing the moo-moo.  Carharts, people.  And the customer, and older man, wanted to tag along, and after about five minutes he said, "really?  You just crawl around out here in the thickness?"  And he was sweaty and and out of breath and I was sort of worried that he might die but he didn't, so that was good.  Your week will be good too, Thalictrum.

Okay, I have about 45 more productive minutes this day, and I plan to look out the window some more, so that's all for now.  Send your flower, though, and I'll totally incorporate it into this madness.  I will.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Unsolved Mysteries

Mystery #1:
The other day, my little m. and I were eating at a restaurant, and midway through our meal, the waiter just disappeared.  He came around to check on us, we each ordered a second beer, and that's the last we saw of him.  I have two main theories:

  1. Rapture.  He was sucked up.  But that theory doesn't really seem to fit the data.  For one, he was the only one in this busy restaurant who disappeared.  For two, it seems like his shoes would have been left behind.  Soles, but no souls.
  2. Arrested.  Right?  What else could come between him and his customers besides handcuffs?
  3. Little m. thinks that perhaps he fell down a steep flight of rickety stairs, but I would hope that would generate some commotion:  an ambulance, a stretcher, etc.  So this isn't one of my main theories.
(Oh, and we had to wait like a long thirsty hour to get a check from the sketchy waitress who, I'd like to say, could benefit by trying to be in the moment more.  But perhaps she was distracted and full of guilt because she is actually an FBI informant, and ratted him out.)

Mystery #2:
Still, the beer stein thing.  These are tiny plastic replicas of a beer stein, probably an Archie McPhee's purchase.  I was telling R. about it, how I got this fun little mystery gift in the U.S. Mail! and I don't know if I'll ever figure it out.  He said no, it's not really a gift, it's someone messing with me, and he says I haven't seen the last of it, there will be more.  I tend to disagree, because most people I know aren't lazy, exactly, but sheesh, finding envelope, stamp, etc.  That's a lot to gather.  I don't even have any main theories on this one.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 etc.

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20)
:  I found myself watching this video the other day.  Please don't click on the link because life is short, and, contrary to the title, you will believe what happens next.  I don't want to spoil it, but it's a love story, of sorts.  Your week will also be a love story.  A great one.  May it be so.

Aries (3/21 - 4/19):  Hey, speaking of the elements (love is an element, right?), the Smart People figured out how to make a substance for 3D printers that's lighter than frozen fog.  Big sigh, it makes my heart pine.  Why?  Well, for one, using frozen fog as a unit of weight.  I'm accustomed to the ordinary units of measure: pounds and ounces and fuck-tons.  But being delicate enough to discern the weight of frozen fog, arrgh.  It's a mixed blessing, Aries, but be that.  Feel the pain of a dandelion aging and turning to fluff, but keep on getting up anyway.

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  I've been taking a picture of one frame from a beehive every few days, which I thought I could make into a little time lapse movie, but it turns out that I'd need to take pictures more frequently and from the exact same place.  Duh.  I'm not so great at consistency and exact sameness, as you may have noticed.  So here's the movie, so far.  Blockbuster, to be sure.

A few cells of capped brood

Capped brood gone, one large queen cell

More capped brood, and still the queen cell
Even more capped brood and a bunch of queen cells.
Anyway, we call the queen of that hive, the one that's about to be beheaded, Mary, because yes, those big white things are queen cups.  (Not to be confused with her hearty next-door neighbor, Queen Lucrezia, who will sting any rivals and end up with more honey.)  Anyway, the little worker girls spend so much time tending their queen that they know right away if she's not at the top of her game, and create themselves a new one.  Wouldn't it be cool if it worked that way in the workplace?  All the little worker bees would just create a new boss when the time is right?  

Gemini (5/21 – 6/21):  I'm reading a book about the Fibonacci numbers, which is fascinating and I'm learning useless things that I'd like to use, which is somewhat of the metaphor for my life, but let's not go into that today, Gemini.  But here are two cool things you should know:  

  1. The sum of any ten consecutive Fibonacci numbers is always divisible by eleven.  Do you care?  I think yes!  Because here's a scenario:  what if the apocalypse happens (or should I say, when the apocalypse happens), and you need a number divisible by eleven, and all  the stores are closed, the government has broken down into fragments of a former cubicle infrastructure, and algal blooms are covering all the swimming holes?  Yep.  You know the answer.  You're welcome.
  2. I heard this on a podcast, turned out to be incorrect:  the greater of two consecutive Fibonacci numbers divided by the lower equals the golden ratio.  I checked this out, and it really doesn't occur until the 27th number in the sequence, but then it pretty much holds true after that, at least if you don't go out too many decimal points.   This, my dear Gemini friends, makes me realize that 27 is the auspicious number we've all been waiting for.  I think if you're up for it, you could start a religion based on this number.  And here's a tip:  Petronious, a great hedonist and fashion advisor to Nero, was born in 27.  I know.  Remember, you heard it hear first.  

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21):  I'm told that the world cup is half full, or possibly runneth over.  Is runneth over a unit of measure?  I know it sounds like a tired out question, but what would the humans get done if we stopped worrying about sports and hair and shoes?  Seriously.  Your song lyric, Cancer, is from Son Volt:  "May the wind take your troubles away. Both feet on the floor, two hands on the wheel, may the wind take your troubles away."

Leo (7/23 – 8/22):  I was on the Huffington Post the other day, and this popped up.  It's disturbing enough without the "You May Like" tag.  Really, google?  I have perhaps googled smoothie recipes at some point, and I've grown a few placentas.... Leo, the point here is that we don't always know what's going on.  Two data points don't make a line.  Try not to assume.

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22):  I got this little anonymous gift in the mail this morning, four tiny plastic beer steins.  It made my day, maybe my year, even though it came with $1.83 postage due, and when I opened it the postal lady looked sort of sad for me, like, really?  You went and rummaged in your car seats to find change for that?  But yes, I did.  Thank you, whomever you are.   I'm not exactly sure if there's a message in there?  Like, "you should drink more and worry less about the Fibonaccis?"  Or, "I owe you a beer, here's four?"  Or, "You should take up the hobby of making tiny dioramas out of bar scenes?"  But thank you, from all the sides of my heart.  (What's so great about the bottom of the heart, anyway?)

Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  It's completely beautiful here;, every single day has some sky and light and it almost never gets dark except in our heads, but if we look around, arrgh.  It's almost too much beauty to take in.  

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  I was visiting a customer who I've known for years as he's permitted and built this complicated house; he and his family have lived in it for a year or so now, but they've decided they don't like the sink, so they're planning to buy the lot across the street and build.  I'm so far at the other end of the spectrum that I can't even SEE their end from here.  I don't even know enough about sinks to have an opinion.  But, in case you're wondering about my stove/oven situation, I actually made two phone calls to the same repair guy (audible gasp, please), and the second time I even left a message with the error code (F-7, in case you're wondering.)  That was a week ago, and I expect he'll call back any moment.  So I'm kinda busy, Scorpio, waiting to hear what F-7 means.

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21):  Do you know those people who talk about themselves in the third person?  I can't tell what that's about, but it creeps me out.  Even the term, "third person".  Right?  That's kind of weird.  But I'm WAY off topic, Sag.  The topic is that picture, which was taken by this photographer, and it's what happens when you stand in the same spot and photograph the sun every day for a year; its called an analemma.  I'd like to recommend you do that this year.  Every day, one picture.  You might need a pinhole camera or something, I'm really not sure.  I just know what happened to Icarus.

Capricorn (12/22 – 1/19):  When my kids were little, we used to read a book over and over; I don't remember the whole plot, but on about page 15, a camel yawns, and I have a pretty strong sympathetic yawning response, which my kids got a huge kick out of.  It got so they could just say, "Page 15" and I'd yawn.  In fact, I'm yawning just thinking about it now.  But I just learned that people who score high on empathy tests are more likely to contagious yawn, so I guess that's good-ish.  Cap, keep being Zelda/ F. Scott-ish, but stop before you end up in full blown, mental institute craziness.

Aquarius (1/20 – 2/18):  I believe, at my unshakable core, in the goodness of people.  I think everyone does want to be good, do good, care, be part of something bigger and better than their own miniscule or gigantic needs.  And when it looks like people aren't acting well, I assume I don't have all the information, that there's probably a scar or situation under the behavior, an invisible force at play.  Your lyric, Aquarius, is from Josh Ritter: "Every heart is a package tangled up in knots someone else tied."  Not much you can do about it but be gentle with the knots; treat them with care.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sock #2

I've thought of bunch of questions I have, like what is a sock hop (we all sort of know, right?  A h.s. dance with no shoes.  Confirmed.), and what happens to all those missing socks (I know, a dumb house-wifely mystery, but a puzzle, none-the-less). A blog hop is like a sock hop without the high school, the dance, the shews (shouldn't we spell it that way?), the hopping, the angst, the not getting asked to go, the big hair, the girls gathering
Time-travelling portal in the Snoqualmie Valley
and weeping in the bathroom over some boy, the drama, the vomiting in the parking lot.  So, in almost every single way, the blog hop is better, especially because you'll get to meet Beth if you don't already know her, because she's generous and interesting and a beautiful poet, and also, not to make this about me or anything, but she carted around a gigantic box of Sun magazines for a long long time and then gave them all to me.  

The only thing wrong the the blog hop is no music.  So here, try this.

Beth Coyote is a writer whose day job is catching babies. This means that she is remarkably unreliable for normal human activities like movies, dinners, parties and all holidays. Her circadian rhythms often resemble the lenticular halo over Mt Rainier, an endless cycle of sleep deprivation and annoying insomnia. She recently bought a new house that has every possible type of garden pest: bindweed, blackberries, ivy, horse tail and moles. This situation could be depressing as she is an avid gardener but she is invigorated by many creative and probably hopeless strategies for full eradication. Moles? Really?

Oh, right.  And she's a poet.  Go visit!