Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Too much

I'm overcommitted, and I hate what it does to me. I'm making deadlines, but missing birthdays. People talk to me and I can't hear them because there are already a dozen other voices talking in my head, each one a monologue about a particular project.

To make it worse, the first four weeks of this month have been filled with deaths and illnesses in my social circle. Illness that involve things like chemotherapy, radiation, and amputations. Things that make you look at your plate and wonder about additives and cholesterol. Things that make me sure I get my butt over to BF Day for least two of Susan Powter's workouts every week. Last week I made it to three, which meant my days looked like: shower, work, workout, work, bath, sleep (repeat).

This past weekend some social events, arranged weeks ago, required making sandwiches. After slicing two of my fingers, I ended up making sandwiches while wearing bandages and gloves. The cuts are ugly, but not serious, since I can still put enough weight on my hands to do yoga and the bandages can be peeled back far enough so that I can use my fingertips to type. But I've managed to duck any further cooking or dishwashing activities.

This week looks to be even more pathetic, with multiple trips to Olympia for early morning meetings. Apologies to everyone, in advance.

I'm reminded of my mother, who ran a schedule like this for years on end. She not only managed to keep up with everything, she frequently got ahead of herself.

One day she drove her usual hour-and-a-half commute from Cape Cod to work at the Boston statehouse, worked all morning, and the walked to her elderly parents' apartment to clean and make lunch for them. She was in such a hurry to get back to work that when the elevator arrived on 7th floor of the apartment building, she dashed in and opened her umbrella — scaring several people.

Fortunately for everyone, I don't carry an umbrella.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Explaining Massachusetts to the West Coast

The liberal state of Massachusetts went and elected a Republican senator. How did this happen? Let me explain.

"Liberal" in Massachusetts is not like "liberal" in Seattle. It's working class liberal — people who believe in the right to organize, fair pay, job protection, free speech. But they don't really like seeing women get too much power — the gals should be home raising 10 kids.

And the working class liberals just can't resist handsome young male candidates — particularly ones who look like the local Irish attorney for the labor union. So they picked Scott Brown — someone who looks like a young Ted Kennedy even if he doesn't think like one.

Oh, where is George V. Higgins when we need him?

Now don't go and get all complicated about this one. That is so...West Coast.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


This month, and next month, are extremely busy for my business, as a result of the commuting involved in my Olympia project. On Sunday night I feel like I'm about to jump out of an airplane and am wondering if I packed the parachute correctly.

I plan to dial things back in March and April.

This weekend had too much going on. I was very happy today to finally get an hour out in the garden. It's going to be a great gardening season. The early winter cold killed off last year's foliage, so it's easy to clear the way for all of the wonderful things that are already coming up (wood iris and crocuses) for spring. I am determined to get rid of plants that just aren't right for the space (a two-foot high pieris japonica that isn't happy in the front yard, and a rather lovely espaliered camellia (three feet high, deep pink) that just doesn't belong next to the house. If you are interested in either shrub, please let me know.

My other gardening ambitions are:
• Get the spring rituals figured out for the columnar apple tree (spraying with mysterious environmentally correct oils or some such)
• Do something about the lousy grass in the small but lumpy and difficult-to-mow back yard. I suspect I'm headed toward a grass-free back yard, with winding pathways of inexpensive embossed concrete (where the stepping stones now are) and ground covers and ornamental grasses (where the grass now is). The one thing I do not want anywhere is gravel, which seems to be an invitation for weeds to dive in and take over.
• Remove all of the invasive Cricklewood hardy geraniums from the garden. They look great and grow fast in the spring, with fabulous bright pink blossoms, but turn mildewed in midsummer. I could deal with this if they stayed one size and in one place, but they tend to push aside other plants, creating a big sea of mildewed leaves.
• Move Tom's giant planter out to the driveway, and use it to replace the mid-size planters that currently look like clutter. I saw a pretty wonderful planter of evergreen foliage in front of Habitude in Fremont this week (see photo) and I think I'm going to try to recreate that.
• Plant more blueberry bushes. Everywhere.