Friday, February 17, 2017

Nesting herons

So -- a sure sign of spring is the sight of herons nesting in trees down in the pond area. There are lots of nests in two different groups of trees, but today I only saw two pair of them actually working on nests.

These trees are on an island in the middle of the ponds, not accessible by any of the paths or trails and a long shot (literally!) for my camera. Even with a 24x zoom lens, the images were still pretty small.

Then! I discovered something new, which was the ability to zoom in on Windows photo viewer then open in Paint, and crop. That's how I got these closer views.

Actually, I have to say that this little camera surprised me with the detail it captured from so far away with full zoom, hand-held, and the extreme amount of enlargement from there that enabled me to get these views. Always love it when I discover something new like this.

Other than that, I seem to be feeling better today, finally. Don't want to jinx anything, but so far, so good. Not tons of energy, but enough to walk around to the other side of the ponds to get these photos. And more.

A few sun breaks today, but mostly cloudy. BUT  -- it's not raining, so no complaints.

Yesterday I drove downtown and picked up some swiss chard seedlings, and today I planted them in the garden. No signs of radish or carrot seeds coming up, but it's only been a week and I think they both take longer than that.  The little peas I planted a week ago are doing great. I got some 35" bamboo stakes to use to make a little cage for them to grow on, but don't think it'll happen today. No rush. Maybe next rain-free day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


So -- I've been a bit under the weather for almost a week now. Last Friday I woke up and felt normal, but then after breakfast, after food hit the tummy, everything hit the fan. Nausea, diarrhea, a general feeling of malaise. Yuk! Pretty unusual for me, and I blamed it on the pickled eggs I'd had for lunch the previous day.

People here suggested I had the flu, since it's been going around the building, but I didn't think so. I work hard at keeping my immune system strong, and I'm rarely bothered by anything that's 'going around'. The symptoms were short-lived and by Saturday I felt fine, if still lacking a certain amount of energy and my tummy was still queasy. Since then, I've been mostly ok most of the time. Just a bit of queasiness here and there, but sleeping a lot, including daytime naps.

On the other hand, I've still been going to the gym most days, or walking in the sunshine when there is any. Yesterday, and again today, the lack of energy is the biggest issue. All I want to do is sleep! And last night, my tummy was unhappy. But that was probably because I bombarded it with things that no sane person would consider to be sensible food for an unhappy tummy. When I'm sick, I tend to indulge in foods I like, forgetting the diet and not caring what the tummy is going to think until afterwards.

So, I kinda gave in. Maybe it is a touch of the flu -- a very light touch, if that's what it is -- and maybe I'd better give the tummy at least one day of proper food. I took a container of luscious chicken stock I made a couple of weeks ago out of the freezer last night, since real chicken soup (as opposed to the canned or boxed variety) is one of the best immune system boosts there is. That old wives tale has been proven correct by modern science.

This morning, breakfast (after the requisite kefir) was a bowl of egg flower soup, minus any spices. Just chicken stock, salt, and a beaten egg drizzled into it once it reached a boil. Yummy, and healthy. Lunch will be similar, though more substantial. I love to make Asian-style noodle bowls using chicken stock to make it into soup.

So -- I have a 9am appointment, but until then I think I'm gonna chill, rest, and see if this damned thing will go away! I don't like being sick.

Saturday, February 11, 2017


A sunny day! Word was that my fav garden store would have plenty of veggie starts delivered in the last couple of days, but once I got over there this morning I was disappointed to find that mostly they just had peas, and things I can't use like asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, etc. So I bought some sugar snap peas and parsley, and some seed.

Earlier, I'd picked up a couple of big bags of veggie boost soil amendment to top off the bed with, so it was ready to plant when I got home with the plants and seeds.

Yes, a wiser person would have taken photos before the tent went up, but since I'm not that wise, I took these through a hole in the fabric, rather than take it apart. These are the little  peas -- or the part of them that shows, anyway. They will grow. And with the lack of rain due for the next few days, hopefully they will grow fast.

French breakfast radishes and rainbow carrots are underneath some of the lovely soil.

This is the rosemary plant from the big pot I had out here. The pot was so rootbound that I'm really not sure there's enough roots to make it thrive, but we'll see. If not, small plants are cheap enough. There's parsley on the bottom and, out of reach of the hole, thyme out of the same big pot.

I need more space! But, I'll figure out a way to make what I have work. In retrospect, I could have done without the peas, but I've got 'em, and they'll taste good. But I think they'll outgrow the tent and need support and all that, and I'm not sure I think they are worth it.

So that's it. Feels lovely to have some sunshine, even if it's not overly warm out there (or, wasn't early this morning when I was out there working).

I'm told that leafy greens, which I want, will be in stock later in the coming week, so I'll make another trip and fill up more of that space.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Spring is around the corner

My meditation cushion has become her sleeping spot of choice. It's cushy, but I wonder if she can sense the peace and such that's left in the area, and perhaps on the cushions, from the hours of meditation? Cats are pretty sensitive to such things, so it's possible. We do have a bit of a conflict in the mornings when we both want to use it, but of course, I win because I'm bigger. I lose peace and an atmosphere conducive to concentration, however, because she tells me all about it for awhile, talking and pawing, even nipping, until she gives up and finds another place on the cushion to sleep/groom herself. There is plenty of room there for both of us. Photo shows that the cushion needs to be de-cat-haired, certainly.

Not sure just when I took this photo -- found some on the camera when I downloaded the cat photo. I remember taking them, one sunny day in the last week or two. Rare sunny day, I might add, though more are forecast starting Saturday. But rain or shine, spring is definitely in the air around here! Bulbs are poking their spikes above ground, robins are everywhere, and there are tiny buds on the trees outside my windows.

That springtime urge is also clearly evident in me and in another of the avid gardeners here. The first shipment of veggie starts is due in today, so tomorrow we will head down there and get the stuff we want, get them in the ground. I also need a couple of bags of soil and manure to top my bed up from settling. Looking forward to getting my fingers in the dirt and building my protective tent around the bed until after after frost date.

Not much else is new, really. Got tired of walking in the rain over familiar paths, so I've started going to the nearby gym again. At least for now. I like being able to read while I walk the treadmill, or ride a bike. Both are part of being ready for warmer weather and longer walks and bike rides in the sunshine.

Friday, February 3, 2017

New cat toy

So --- I am remiss again. But peeps, there's really nothing to write about. I'm walking a lot, but in the same old places with the same old river and ponds and such. Nothing photo-worthy. The rain has started again today, after a week or so of respite. Just rain, which is fine. No ice, no snow. We should be grateful, and I am, because Portland is getting slammed with ice. Sheets of ice, everywhere.

The cat continues to amuse, thank goodness. I bought her a new wand toy yesterday, with feathers at the end of it, and she went wild! Will chase that thing all over the house, showing some pretty darned good acrobatic maneuvers in the process. Mid-air twists, leaps with so much force that she rams into things. I try to keep them to small leaps when near furniture or such, or at least near soft furniture such as the sofa or bed. But this morning she threw herself right into the corner of a wall, with a resounding bang. Didn't seem to bother her. With all those leaps, though, she does get physically tired and ready to chill easily enough. Lots of energy being expended! I can't leave this one on the floor because when I do, she will chew on it and it's life will be significantly shortened. So I hide it in a closet and she will beg for it until I relent. It's fun for me, too. Makes me laugh. She was tired of the old one and thus I also bored with it quickly.

So -- that's it. Maybe something more exciting will come along.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hi Peeps!

Yeah, it's been awhile. Lazy and not much to say. Too wrapped up in little things to find something to write here.

Nothing to write today, either, just allaying the minds of some of you who would wonder. Had a doc appointment this morning, got zapped good with the liquid nitrogen gun. Maybe 15 spots removed.

Also been cleaning house, because the building is having its annual inspection, where the management comes into the apartment and makes sure things are clean, safe, all rules being abided by, healthy, blah, blah. Remove everything from under the sinks so they can check for leaks. Turn the bedding at top and bottom of bed down to expose mattress so they can check for bedbugs. Kind of a pain, particularly the latter. Haven't done it yet -- if they get here before tomorrow, I can do it for them.

Lots of sunshine today in forecast for the next couple of weeks. Brisk, but in the 50s. Feels wonderful. Nobody cares if it rains anymore, as long as there's no more ice and snow. Saw a bunch of daffodils coming up today when I went for a walk after lunch. The river is beautiful -- full, flowing, more blue than muddy.  Everything is lovely out there today.

See? Nothing interesting. Won't bore you any longer, but I'm alive and well.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


We haven't seen temps over freezing for a week or more, other than an occasional hour here and there. With temps hovering in the 20s, it's been brutal for us who are not used to such things, and it's kept me inside far too much.

But this morning, the need to escape the house and the body's need for movement drove me out there anyway. Big 25F! I was well-dressed for it, a rare occasion to use a balaclava I've had for decades. It does the job. Theoretically, it's supposed to warm up for a few days but really, as long as there is no more snow or ice I can live with cold.

Restlessness and frustration are another thing, though. Eased by meditation, but anxiety builds daily and depression -- real depression -- is trying very hard to follow right along with it. That's the one I fight. Don't want to go back to that dark abyss again.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Really, little brat?

So, this happened while I was in the shower this morning. Heard a clatter, peeked out the shower curtain, and there she was. Not much I could do about it so I finished my shower. She was still prowling the scene of the crime, mostly eating bits of food from the floor.  What you can't see is the water all over the floor. Sweet little feline.

I'd love to know how she did it, though. That frame that landed upside down is around 5 feet from the place it usually sits, against the far wall. She's done a smaller version of this before. My guess in watching her once is that she's trying to reach one little tidbit of food under the plates, even though her food dish is full. Paws are very busy.

Yes, other things happen in my life aside from the cat, but the cat is the only thing that is actually positive, that makes me smile and lightens the anxiety a bit, so it's the most important thing. As someone who lives on Social Security and uses Medicare (albeit very little), life is something of a roller coaster right now, not knowing how long either will be in place. Not knowing how I will live when (not if) things change with the new politicians coming into office. And then there are the limitations of Medicare, which even now make it almost useless for me, even with a supplement. My only claim from last year was denied because the provider used the wrong code, and won't change it. I have no trust that this won't happen again in the future, though it's never happened before. Ever. And there's more, but you get the gist. The cat is the only thing that brings joy.

It's hard to be alone, old and poor.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Boss cat and snow woes

I  have created a monster. A very sweet monster, to be sure, but a monster nevertheless. Can you say, spoiled?

In other words she has, in her inimitable cat way, trained me very well. I am her servant, here to follow her every whim and demand.

As you can see, she has recently taken to sleeping on my meditation cushion. I don't mind this, since I only use it for an hour a day. Sometimes she wants to use it at the same time, but she finds room to cuddle up next to me somewhere and I like having her there.

So what's the problem, you ask? That little wand toy with the fuzzy orange ball is a big part of the problem. She is totally addicted to it, wants to play with it during all waking hours, and knows quite clearly that she can't make it move around without me.

She will follow me, whine and talk to me, lead me towards it until I relent and move that little orange ball around the house until she's ready to rest again.

I've never seen a cat be this demanding over anything other than its food dish, so this is new to me.

She's also in love with this new toy, the curvy scratching 'post'. I spent a whole dollar to bid for it at a raffle here last Saturday. Best buck I've ever spent.

At first, she turned her nose up at it, but then I made the orange ball go all over it, under it, around it and she followed. First time she landed on it she noticed the rough texture and stopped playing to sharpen her claws. She's sniffed it, rubbed against it all around to make it 'hers'.

Now, it's her second largest addiction. She rests on it, is a prolific claw-sharpener, and will play all around it by herself with the little mouse toys I hide under the arch. This takes a little pressure off me to play all the time.

She will crawl through it, right side up or upside down. And as you can see, she really wants to make that orange ball move but can't, because it's too heavy for her to bat around like she does with small toys.

Sometimes, she'll grab hold of it and tow the whole thing, wand and all, around the house. Never know where I'll find it.

Gotta love her, though. She is equally demanding when she wants to cuddle. For serious sleeping, it's either her bed under my bed or lately, the meditation cushion.

But there are times -- lots of them -- where she wants company and she'll come jump up wherever I am, settle down on my lap or chest or whatever is handy and go to sleep, sometimes fully expecting that I'll put my arm as a 'shelf' so she can sleep on what might otherwise be a rather vertical surface.

She's been known to even jump up my leg and dig in. Thank goodness for thick sweats, though that's something I discourage with her.

So, a very sweet little monster.  She fully (at least 90%, I have some dignity left) rules this house, but also knows that I'm her person and is really affectionate. And for the most part, she doesn't object when I feel the need to pick her up and cuddle for a moment.

We have still been caught up in snow and ice. A new layer of snow on top of ice came down on Saturday. Weather eventually warmed a bit and by yesterday morning the temp was well above freezing and had been all night, the road in front of the house looked fine. Snow/ice piled in the center and sides, but traffic lanes clear. So, I opted to head to the grocery early in the day just to get out.

Bad idea! Barely got out of our parking lot, and the side street that takes me to the main street was mostly ice.  Off I went anyway, soon found that there were plenty of large patches of ice on the road, and of course the freeway overpass bridge I had to cross was iced up. I was committed at this point, few ways to turn back, so off I went onto the freeway onramp. More ice. Ice on the freeway, though less of it and thankfully, traffic was lower than normal. Back on surface streets near the shopping center, that heavily traveled road was super icy. Turned into the parking lot, more ice, everywhere. The driving lanes were somewhat slushy and driveable, but the parking spaces were badly icy. I found one where I could leave my front wheels on bare pavement, to be sure I could get out. Ice next to the car was really slippery and after I'd gotten in and out of the store I actually slipped on it. Thankfully, I had my hand on the car door handle and managed (rather inelegantly) to keep from falling.

The biggest challenge, it turned out, was getting back into the parking lot at home. I opted to take a chance and go in the back way rather than retracing my steps. Mostly ice, thick, with a slight uphill rise that I wasn't sure the car was going to manage. But it did, and it managed the long length of the parking lot and ice to reach my parking space. Whew! This is the first time I've ever had that car on ice/snow, since I typically avoid such things like the plague, and I was pleased with the way it reacted. Never felt unsafe, although very uncomfortable.

Rain and above-freezing temps all day yesterday and all night have hopefully helped. I need to go out again, but will wait until afternoon and give everything a better chance to thaw.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

More snow!

We've had some serious snowfall in the last hour or so, as well as earlier today. Huge, fat flakes and lots of them. Naturally, by the time I decided to try taking a photo out my window, it had slowed down and none of them actually show here. Bummer! But it's nice to know that my camera will take a photo through window glass without focusing on the glass (or dust or smears on the glass).

I'd love to go for a walk out there, but underneath all that soft snow is a nasty layer of ice, so I'm not even thinking of going out. Not worth it. Sometime tonight it's all supposed to turn to just rain, with warmer temps. But that means little, really.  What matters is what actually happens, not what somebody thinks is going to happen. True in life as well as weather. For the moment, at just after noon, the temp has gone down, rather than up. That doesn't bode well.

People are a little tired of being trapped at home -- me included. I got out to the doc yesterday, but that's all I did. Fortunately, the roads were clear enough that I felt comfortable driving.