Thursday, September 25, 2008

StoryBook Pond

Once upon a time there was a girl who had a yard with a big lawn. It was good for kids' soccer and lawnmowing.

* * * * *
Then the kids grew up and the fence blew down and the girl began to re-think her landscape plan. So she dug a hole and began collecting rocks from her neighbors.

* * * * *
Then the girl filled the hole with water and put in three goldfish, some water plants and lots of rocks. She built a retaining wall and filled it with lovely rich composted soil. She even planted the burning bush she bought at Costco last Spring and the red snapdragons that the Queen Mother bought for her at Lowe's.

The girl still has way too much black plastic showing and a giant sit-upon-and-dangle-feet-in-the-water boulder to move, but she also has a free weekend and a son with strong muscles. The girl's heart is filled with hope.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Yippee, jammie weather has arrived! It's warm enough to sleep with the windows open, but cold enough that a blanket, a bedspread and jammies aren't enough to keep me warm all night.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Agility Blooper Reel

I've thought many times that Kharma would do well in agility and that we both would have fun, although I've worried I'd make a fool out of myself. This clip has set my mind to rest. It would be impossible (I hope) for Kharma and I to be any funnier than these competitors!

Maybe I've watch Monty Python too many times but it seems to be that bloopers are even funnier when narrated with an English accent.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Currently I'd be happy if last weekend had been five days long. Or if the days didn't get dark well before 8 p.m. Or if my Fairy Clonemother would wave her magic wand and create a doppelganger for me.

'Cause then I'd actually have my water feature up and running, complete with nicely placed stones, swimming fish and healthy water plants. And my garage cleaned, the rummage delivered to the SPCA thrift store, my house immaculate and a restful, restorative eight hours of sleep nightly.


As it is, the pond itself is surrounded by mud and rocks awaiting placement. The cute little goldfish are happily swimming in an extra ten-gallon aquarium that also harbors the water plants I've been collecting. All the plants that is except the lotus tuber Zelda crunched on for lunch. I hope lotus is healthy for puppies to eat, but if she gets the trots it's her own fault. Also my garage is in disarray; the rummage has been collecting all summer in bags, boxes and bins of varying sizes that have somehow gotten mixed with Erkie-pie's storage; and a good night's sleep is a distant memory belonging with summer vacation.

I do have a closet full of freshly laundered and iron clothes though. Better than meditation is ironing. And tomorrow is Friday and the weekend is close enough to touch and hope springs eternal. And right now the thought of taking photos of my adorable little rescued feeder fish in their glass aquarium tomorrow is more enticing than a clean garage anyway.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rock Auditions

I stink of algae. Apparently soap and water and a scrub brush are not enough when you've spent the weekend marinating in pond water. And my bathtub had a layer of fine brown dirt after I washed my grubby self. So I stink, but I'm not dirty. Hopefully a morning shower and some Warm Vanilla Sugar lotion will remedy my little odor problem before I head off for work.

Why would I wade about in pond water? Because I didn't like the sound I was getting from my creek. It looked good but I couldn't hear it unless I was right on top of it. I started thinking that I hadn't gotten a big enough pump, but then realized that if I could create some turbulence in my creek flow I would probably have more, and louder, water music.

I enlarged the inlet to the pond, ripped out the old creek bed and filter/reservoir, and started playing around with ideas to add subtle riffles, deep-toned drops and babbling soprano tones. One thing led to another: I also reshaped the pond shelves which meant removing all the rocks from the pond; moved some boulders onto the edge; re-routed the electrical cord; and graded in preparation for landscaping.

I feel like I opened a can of worms when I started this whole pond project. I'm an idea person, not an engineer. Unfortunately, it's my project so I get to be Chief Engineer on this one. Now I know how my sweetie feels when I come up with a "why don't we do this...?" comment. That won't stop me from launching myriad remodeling projects in the future, but I might have a bit more sympathy for the poor guy.

One huge change that adds music to the pond is a six inch cascade from the creek to the inlet. Constructing the creek means installing the lower end first, so my current challenge is to find some interesting rocks to fit the space, ones big enough to seem like a natural fall yet not overwhelm the space. Seems pretty simple since I've collected a lot of pond rocks. It's hard to visualize things when I'm dirty, tired and sweating with no end in sight. So I grabbed my favorite decision-maker aka my digital camera. Then I began heaving potential boulders into place.

Here's a nice smooth tall dude.

* * * * * *
A little shorter and bulkier

* * * * *

Very similar. Also shorter, fits against the railroad tie and has a little topography for added interest.

Choice number three it is. Now to choose a rock for the other side: I have a big one that I was gonna put along the pond edge, but it just might anchor the left side and look great with the rock retaining wall that I have to re-build now that I've graded the soil.

I'd have it almost finished if it wasn't for a soccer game which SOBO won 7 to 1, planting the Queen Mother's new deodor cedar, mowing her lawn and trouble-shooting her pond which somehow is losing six inches of water a day. Weekends are just not long enough.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Actually that IS the way the cookie crumbles

How to find a runaway Ginger Bread Man (known hereafter as the GBM):

  • first make sure that someone else didn't take him out of the oven
  • check around for a trail of crumbs
  • ask every parent if they've seen him anywhere
  • send the kids home to look for him
  • tell the kids to look while they are riding the bus/walking/biking/riding in the car
  • sniff everywhere for the scent of cloves, cinnamon and ginger
  • ask bigger kids at school if they've seen him
  • when the kindergartners come back to school the next day, ask if anyone saw him
  • call a mommy when one girl insists that they caught him at her house and he's under Mommy's bed, 'cause who knows--stranger things have happened
  • have the kids make a wanted poster with his description which will probably involve the pound and a half of sprinkles they used to decorate him
  • make sure the librarian, music teacher, computer teacher, nurse and secretary know their lines before you visit
  • visit the librarian, music teacher, computer teacher, nurse, secretary and principal as you track down clues
  • tiptoe from place to place so he won't hear you coming
  • check carefully in each location in case the GBM is hiding
  • keep a straight face
  • if you should hear the GBM as he tries to hide in the principal's office, hold tight to the box so he can't get away
  • have the kids says the magic words, "turn back into a cookie", before you try opening the box
  • make sure the kids go to the bathroom BEFORE you start your hunt--because hunting for the gingerbread man is so exciting that they will try to "hold it" and might not be successful
  • wash your hands really well after discovering that the urine has soaked not only underwear and pants but has trickled down into the shoes
  • having a kindergartner come up with a "that's the way the cookie crumbles" comment is very appropriate as the class munches on their gingerbread.

There are worse ways to spend 9/11.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Politics-free Zone

Having gotten that political rant off my somewhat meager chest, I now return you to our regularly-scheduled minutiae drivel mindless chatter trivia.

Well, maybe it's not that meager. I'm not sure whether it's age, a chocolate addiction or an inability to resist visiting the kitchen when I'm reading/watching TV/finished with dinner/bored/alone/avoiding someone/tired/happy/ or depressed...but my new bra is a 36B. Anyone who has struggled to fill a 32A for their entire lives can appreciate that statement. The rest of you can just skip ahead and refrain from any comments. And no, there are NO PHOTOS. I've gotta draw the line somewhere.

Besides the aforementioned chocolate craving, after twenty years I'm still in love with our annual Balloon Races. I'll cheerfully sacrifice sleeping in on a weekend. I'll happily get in the early morning darkness year after year. The Balloon Races only happen once a year and are my absolute favorite special event here. Better than the Rib Cookoff. Better than Hot August Nights. Better by far than (yuck) Street Vibrations.

This year I realized that a "balloon race" is a bit of a misnomer. A hot air balloon races about as fast as a tortoise does although with a lot more style points for color and grace. I think it's possible I have more balloon photos than pictures of my children and my dog combined. They are so colorful (the balloons, not my kids) and the process of inflating the envelope is so magical (although inflating the pup would be interesting too if I got mad enough at her which will never ever happen no matter what she digs up). I get on that field with a hundred balloons around me and my camera seems to take photos all by itself.

Imagine listening to flight themes like Superman and Star Wars and Close Encounters softly playing in the coolness of a September dawn while color and life slowly blossoms around you.

I love this place.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What Color Is Your Nose?

Character counts. Even for a politican. Heck, especially for a politician!

I have a long memory.

I remember a senator waging a bitter rivalry against G.W. Bush for the Republican nomination back in 2000. That senator didn't have much good to say about his rival. I remember that war-hardened politician frequently being critical of the Bush administration. I remember when folks thought John Kerry might choose a fellow senator for his running mate. One who incidentally had an -R. showing his political affiliation. (The 2004 polls showed that that possible team would have trounced the current incumbents soundly, BTW.)

Yep, I remember a certain Republican senator being a thorn in our president's side. I actually kinda liked that guy. Then, magically, not long afterwards that former gadfly was introducing President George W. Bush on a stage right here in Reno, complete with lots of lavish praise, manly hugs and on-camera camaraderie. That was the afternoon I lost all respect for John McCain. He could have made a difference; he could have provided our country with a voice heralding a different point of view; he might even have changed the course of history.

He didn't. Character truly can count. And he flunked the test.

I might not have remembered such flagrant and egregious brown-nosing had it not taken place right here in The Biggest Little City. For me, the stench still lingers about his person after four years. And part of that odious smell has been a suspicion that a deal was struck back in 2004.

I want to stop defining a politician as a cynical creature to whom the end justifies the means. I want to know that my vote goes to someone who has some integrity. Is it too much to ask that the welfare of our country comes before a politician's win-loss record?

I'm just saying.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Pond Progress

Look! My pond is no longer just a big hole. Here is the underlayment cut to size and laid in place. Looks pretty cushy doesn't it? It's a great way to recycle old carpeting instead of taking it to the dump.

Let's get the liner in place. You can't believe how heavy a ten-by-fifteen piece of rubber liner was! I started smoothing the bottom first; then I gradually worked my way up, smoothing and folding carefully as I went, occasionally placing a rock to hold the folds in place. It was trial and error but when I was finished, it was smooth everywhere. It's almost time to fill it with water!


But first Kharma had to check out her mysterious new watering bowl.

Oh my gosh! There is actually water in the pond!

Just right for a dog swimming hole! We never actually saw Zelda get in the pond, but she was very damp and the pond quite muddy.