So: different welcome

IMG_3905If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that I was born and raised in the US, moved to Canada when I was 26, became a Canadian citizen after living there for 5 years, and then I moved back to the US 6.5 years ago. And you know that pretty much any time have the opportunity to go to Toronto for work, family or friends, I go.

Here’s a little story that might explain why:

Last Thursday I hopped on a American Airlines flight at DFW to YYZ (Toronto’s Pearson Airport). It was uneventful and perfect for working since the miracle of a row with 2 empty seats happened. When we landed I grabbed my stuff and made the longish trek to Customs and Immigration. With a Canadian passport, you can now go through a automated line  which lets you check out faster. As you walk out of the section with the automated lineup, there is a line up of Customs and Immigration officers and each person speaks to one of them and shows them their receipt from the machine that scanned their customs form and passport.

I did not know the customs agent nor had I ever been in his line in the past. He greeted me with a hearty, “Welcome home!” and proceeded to ask me what I would be doing on my trip. I mentioned that I was having a girls’ weekend in cottage country with two dear friends. His next comment was, “Well, then, when are you coming home to stay? Your friends and family miss you and Canada wants you to come back.” I was a little shocked by his comments (you’ll understand why in a minute), but I laughed and thanked him. He wished me a wonderful weekend and I was on my way. I really wanted to hug him.

The weekend was wonderful, the weather was perfect, company excellent, everything you’d hope a fall colours weekend with your girls would be.

Late Sunday afternoon, I was back at YYZ. I got my boarding pass and took my completed US customs form and headed for the US Customs and Immigration line (flights to the US are often processed in Canada). After standing in line for 30 minutes, I reached the officer. He took one look at me and one look at my passport and asked me if I was going home to Arizona. I told him no, that I was born in Arizona but I now live in Texas. Maybe he was trying to stump me. Next he asked the purpose of my visit. I said, I was visited my friends and had a girls’ weekend. He said, “why would you come here for that?” to which I replied that we were at my friends’ cottage and left the husbands, kids and pets at home. He then asked me if I ever lived in Canada. Of course, I said yes, and mentioned that I lived in Toronto for 12 years. After that he grunted at me and chucked my passport at me. I took that as I was free to go and headed towards Security which ended up taking over an hour.

I boarded my plane, grumpy and hot from rushing to the gate. And while the miracle of the a row with two empty seats happened again (perfect for working on the way home), it took me a little while to feel cheerful. I was glad to that I was going to see Bruce and the Gs in three hours and a bit, but that’s because home is wherever they are.

Of course, everyone came to DFW to pick me up. There were lots of tailwags and kisses, then Gidget insisted on sitting in my lap for part of the way home.

Here’s your gratuitous G photo for tonight:

Gidget really likes to be in the car, even when it's in the garage.

Gidget really likes to be in the car, even when it’s in the garage.

So: foster fail

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Gidget: splendor in the grass

If you happened to read last Sunday’s post, you might remember that we have a house guest at the Mortroski Mid-century. Or rather, that we had a house guest. You see, Gidget found a great home. A home with other dogs to play with, soft couches to sleep on, yummy food, lots of toys, walks twice a day, and a nice lady named Tracy who visits while the people are at work and enjoys administering belly rubs, throwing the ball, and giving out treats.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, we have a new 40 pound family member.  Stella, aka Gidget, is staying.

Yes, Fransi, Simone, and Joy, you called it days ago. No, it didn’t happen at the same time as the name change on Sunday evening. Actually, Bruce and I talked about it on Tuesday night, after dinner.

Why so soon? Because she was so damn easy and had fit in so well, so fast.

The prize you get for calling it are all the free Gidget kisses and tail wags you could want. You’ll just have to come to the Mortroski Mid-century for their administration. And you don’t have to hurry, because most likely she’ll be here for a good long while (touch wood). Remember she’s probably somewhere around one, give or take a few months.

So Gidget is a foster fail. Or really, Bruce and I are failures.

How did this happen?

We succumbed to a little street dog’s swift adaptation to life in a house. To playing joyfully with toys. To running laps with George and Godiva. To learning how to sit in less than 2 days. To crying when we left. To barking in happiness when we returned. To ears that detected Bruce’s truck as it was driving down the alley to our driveway. To knowing that the garage door going up meant another human was coming home. To barking at bicycles and baby carriages, but not other dogs. To “getting” how to walk on a leash just by following Guinness’ lead. To charming us out of bits of food. To charming George out of most of his food. To snuggles and kisses. To coffee table clearing tail wags. To razor-sharp puppy teeth. To sheer cuteness. To making herself right at home.

In short, we were soft touches, something that I know our friends and family are completely shocked about. It is completely our faults. We were weak. And Gidget knew it. So did the Gs.

When we made the leap from two dogs to three, I worried that we were upsetting the balance of our little pack. Guinness and Godiva were happy together, Mr. Laid Back with Ms. Sensitivity. But George’s goofiness and puppy-like playfulness gave Godiva a friend to romp with so that Guinness could have more naps.

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Making herself comfortable

This week, Gidget gave the Gs a purpose. Their mission: to turn a little street dog into a perfect member of the household so that they’d have another pack member. And they all gave it their all. From Guinness administering discipline to George showing her that sitting even when not asked usually ensures food when the humans are cooking. To Godiva reminding her that she is the alpha and must be shown respect. And all 3Gs played and played and played to wear the little street dog out so that she would be calm for walks and ready to turn in at bedtime.

Yes, we fully understand the folly of having four dogs. Four mouths to feed. Four times the vet bills. Four times the heartworm medication. Four City of Dallas licenses to buy each year. Four as many baths to give. Four leashes to hold. 16 feet to pedicure. More doo-doo to pick up. And lord knows how many toys that George, Gidget and Godiva will go through now.

We’ve talked about and thought about all of those things. And we are fortunate that our budget allows us to bring her into our home permanently. Yes, I said budget because sometimes when people think about pets, they only think with their hearts. That may be the very thing that landed Gidget on the street—someone who loved the cute puppy with all of his or her heart, but couldn’t afford to feed her or take care of her properly (she was not spayed). If we could not afford to adopt her and care for her properly, we would still be fostering and hoping like crazy that she’d find a great home.

The rewards will be priceless. One more four-legged friend that will greet us with tail wags and sweet doggie kisses, not just on the most craptastic of days, but every day. One more four-legged friend who will hang out in the garden. One more four-legged friend to snuggle with on the couch. One more four-legged friend who will make us go for yet another walk on those days when the weather is rainy/cold/hot/buggy and we really don’t want to walk.

Still, our days of fostering are not over. Over brunch with some of the Duck Team 6 crew, as we celebrated our upgrade to 4G, we let them know we’d be available for emergency fostering. One Duck Team 6 member who found her said that after meeting us last Sunday and seeing how happy Gidget was with the Gs, she was wishing for a foster failure. Maybe we all need to wish a little harder for the things we want to happen.

For more information, to volunteer, to foster, or to donate to help get Dallas’ street dogs like Gidget off the street, visit Duck Team 6.

 

So: Canadian content

It’s weekend like these that I miss Toronto the most. Never mind the surface of the sun temperatures here in north Texas. It’s not just that. It’s another three day weekend in Canada, people!  I miss all of the long weekends. If nothing else, it gives everyone who works for a living a chance to have an extra day to take a deep breath and enjoy an additional day off. Shops are closed. Businesses are closed. Everyone has to do something else.

No offense, but the US of A could really take a lesson from their neighbors to the north and add a few more holidays to the calendar…

But perhaps I need a break a bit more than usual since it was a crazy travel work week, spent mostly in North Carolina. That’s why you heard not a peep from me since last week at this time. Lots going on during the day and then of course, time to make up the work that didn’t get done well into the night. Rest assured it was all work and not much play, although I did attend a minor league baseball game on Monday night with some of my colleagues and their families. Good fun and so nice to meet their spouses and kids, plus how could you not smile with a grasshopper as a mascot?

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The Greensboro Grasshopper

As for the rest of the week, I’m really lucky to that I have great clients and colleagues from the other agencies to spend time with. Despite that, I was really glad when Friday at 5:30 pm rolled around.

Which brings me to the Canadian August Civic Holiday. Bruce and I did our part to enjoy an abbreviated one: we bbq’d, we listened to plenty of Canadian musical content this weekend, and we built something that even though it’s a southern US house party/tailgate tradition that we could bring back to the Great White North with us.

cornhole

a cornhole set

Yesterday, we put together our cornhole set. Yes, it’s a bean bag toss game favored by beer-drinking tailgaters and Texas bbq attendees. It’s a great way to spend an evening. Don’t worry, like everything in the Mortroski Mid-century, it’s not enough without a special paint job. A professional art director (thanks, Ward!) created graphics that will be printed on vinyl and applied as soon as I get around to sanding it and painting it ultra shiny white. Ward created the awesome red door logo for the MMC and we just love it. I promise to post photos of our cornhole game escapades in action.

In the meantime, here’s how to learn the game before you come by with a 2-4 and challenge us to a game: http://www.americancornhole.org/cornhole-rules.shtml. Canadian friends: want one for your cottage? If you do, invite us up for a week (or maybe more) and we’d be happy to build one for you too! It really is a lot of fun and a great way to hang out for an evening.

Basil-zilla

Basil-zilla

If you need basil, you may also want to come by. I’ve already given away a bag of okra to the G’s best pal Tracy because without me here in Dallas, it didn’t get picked or eaten (NOTE: apparently even more got given away and the stuff just grows like a weed too. Sorry, Bruce, I was not calling you out for poor caretaking of the Urban Farm.)

Holy cow, everything hasn’t been killed by the surface of the sun temperatures is just growing out of control. The malabar spinach is growing everywhere and we have to keep our eye on it to make sure that it doesn’t try to choke out a fall tomato plant. Gorgeous and leafy and insane!

If you live in Dallas and want some basil or spinach, let me know—you can come by and pick some at the Mortroski Mid-century U-Pick Farm. That basil in the photo is destined for the dehydrator and the food processor. Thinking of an Italian herb blend for holiday gifts and some pesto as a surprise and delight for friends this week. There’s still tons more. Please, help us out.

It was a catch up weekend across the board. We tore the spring tomato plants out so that I could plant the fall green beans tomorrow at 7 am. They’ll be ready in September, but I’ll be covered with sweat even at 7 am. It’s just too hot to work the garden much later than that. This morning we were out in the garden at 10 am and it was really hot and I feel like I got an insta-tan.

Despite it being so hot, it’s actually the time to start planning for fall. We also did bits and pieces around the house that we haven’t been able to get done and got the garage back in order. We’re busy hitting that DIY to do list right and left.

green yard

green yard

And an important milestone: our front landscaping has now been in for a year. Everything has established quite well and because of the unseasonable rain, it’s all very green. Usually this time of year, everything would be much more golden—we are so pleased with how it’s going so far:

front yard

front yard: see what I mean?

It was a great weekend for the Gs. Thanks to our friends at Three Dog Bakery Texas, we finally have some toys that Godiva and George cannot destroy. Though the gator and clown fish in the photo with Godiva do not look very lively on their backs, let me assure you that they have no holes and no fluffs scattered throughout the Mortroski Mid-century:

graituitous Godiva photo

Godiva is exhausted from trying to destroy toys

Truly a record for the Gs. The gator has lasted three weeks with no wounds and the squeaker still working. A record!

Hoping you all are having a wonderful weekend and making the most of your summer. As for me, it’s back to the RUSH program on the Palladia channel. If you’re reading this from Canada, I’m more than a little jealous that you get tomorrow off.

So: 3G Network

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As you can see, the Gs really enjoy each other’s company. Godiva and Guinness are the most closely bonded since they’ve been together since Godiva was 6 months old. She’s 4 now and we don’t know how old Guinness is since he was a stray. He was instrumental in her change from rambunctious puppy to pack leader.

Little did we know how sick he was when we got him. It’s amazing that he had the patience he did with an active and rambunctious puppy. But he did.

George showed up on July 22, 2012. He’s now been around just over 1 year. As you can see, he’s been accepted into the pack, we just need a bigger dog bed in the front window so everyone can be comfortable.

So: out of shape (extra long post)

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I worked 62.5 hours last week. I know that, because in advertising, creative folk like me must complete timesheets (we do it via web portal these days, not paper or clock punching). In this photo, taken by Bruce on Friday night, you can probably tell that it was a tough week. (He also has video because apparently my snoring was so impressive. My whole body moved with each snore. Pretty.)Don’t worry: George was just being an opportunist for a human pillow and a sleeping snuggler.

The week consisted of important meetings in small rooms. Plane rides galore, mostly in the commuter jet kind of plane. Hotel beds, some better than others. Late nights. Early mornings. Lots of writing at the ends of already long days.

Needless to say, after last week, I recognize that I’m painfully out of shape for that kind of marathon. At one time in my career, weeks like that were fairly  normal. And it was exhilarating. Exhausting. Exciting.

There were definitely parts of last week that I loved. I did some solid work. I got to tap dance and sell my little heart out. I did my best to educate and entertain.

Like anything else, unless you use it, you lose it. And I must have lost my stamina and ability to keep that pace for 5 days straight or more about 5 years ago. By the time I arrived home on Thursday night, I was done.

But the week wasn’t over.

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It was so nice to get home and see how much had grown on the Urban Farm. Okra, sweet 100s cherry tomatoes and Anaheim chiles that were marked as poblano transplants were harvested. Good thing they are also delicious. The okra and tomatoes were rehomed since Bruce had been picking tomatoes diligently while I was gone. Several friends and neighbors have been enjoying this spring tomato crop — certainly our most successful so far, despite the weather issues.

And I didn’t want to disappoint this week’s canine coworker:

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Last Friday was Guinness’ turn to go to work. During the summer, we have Summer Hours which means that if you work your 40 hours before noon on Friday, you can head out and enjoy your afternoon. I like to bring a dog along because often I’m one of the last people in the office because it’s nice and quiet, making it the perfect time to get caught up.

Of the three Gs, Guinness is the best office dog because he’s a great listener (Sit. Down. Stay.) and he’s very chill. Plus, he makes every single person he sees feel like a million bucks. He wags his huge puffy tail for everyone like they’re his long lost best friends, sits on feet to keep people from leaving, demands to be petted by putting his big noggin in naps, and lies down on command during meetings, staying put through the whole thing, though he’s very bored. My boss, who isn’t the biggest fan of our dog-friendly office policy (it’s one of the reasons I chose to come to the company), loves Guinness’ well-behaved, laid-back vibe. Although she’d never admit it, she’d be cool if I brought him to work every day.

Friday was actually National Take Your Dog to Work Day in the U.S. I had no idea, honestly. I just planned to bring the Gs into the office one by one this summer and see how they did so I’d know if I’d bring them in again.

The photo above was sent in to a contest that The Three Dog Bakery was having — you just needed to show your dog at work and you could be chosen to win a gift card (the Gs love TDB so it would be awesome to win). I like that Guinness blends in with the office carpet, like he’s in camouflage. He slept under my desk when I wasn’t in meetings. I only knew he was there because I’d hear his soft snores every so often.

Godiva was very put out that again, she wasn’t the office dog, but she’ll be going next. I promise. When she was an only dog, she started coming to work as soon as she was potty trained pup. She had a travel crate, a bed, lots of toys. People bought treats and kept them at their desks just for her. And they bought her fun toys and balls. They had Godiva breaks. Then Guinness came along and separating those two wasn’t a good thing at all.

You already know what I did on Friday night. It’s also what I did on Saturday night. And Sunday night. I can’t remember being that tired in I don’t know when. It reminded me of times in high school when I had to pull all nighters to get the school paper out and study for an exam. Or when I had two finals on the same day in college because of my poor planning. On the plus side, three days later, I now feel back to normal.

Never fear that I rested all weekend. Saturday we needed to get countertops ordered for all of those cabinets. This photo kind of shows what we’re getting, although the photo is too dark. Ice snow is the name of the color:

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It’s whiter but this photo shows all of the flecks in it. The substrate is called caesarstone—it’s quartz and reminds me of travertine which was a popular flooring choice in mid-century homes. The installer will be coming out to do final measurements next week and hopefully it will be installed by mid-July.

It wouldn’t be a weekend without time digging in the dirt. I found out about this cool plant on Saturday morning while I was drinking coffee and reading gardening blogs:

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It’s not really spinach, but a juicy leafed plant that is grown in India and Africa for it’s spinach-like qualities. You see, salad isn’t really a summer food and leafy greens don’t grow very well in the North Texas surface of the sun heat. But apparently this stuff does. I’ve eaten a leaf and it’s delicious. A little citrusy in addition to spinach’s green iron-y taste. And it is a vine so it can climb the trellises that Bruce picked up for me. The photos of it are gorgeous and it would bring lots of visual interest to the months where not much is happy to grow (except okra). Stay tuned for further details.

photo[6]By Sunday I was feeling much better rested. Although it was very hot (98°F), I spent some time outside and did another big beet harvest, which I promptly roasted. We had lots of yummy tomatoes and some additional okra. I peeled, chopped, and froze the remainder of the peaches, although I saw a few in the tree up fairly high this morning. I guess it’s time to get the ladder out again. The jam will get made when it’s cooler.

I’m also thinking about making some pepper jams. Down here in the South, people pour pepper jam over cream cheese (or baked brie) and serve it with crackers or baguette slices. Since I couldn’t make plum jam, it might be nice for gifts.

Bruce made dinner (and extra dinners) on Sunday night. We’ve been enjoying the okra grilled. It’s very yummy and a quick side to just about anything.

photo[4]If we get enough okra, I’d love to pickle it, but we’ll have to see how it grows.

Last night I also ordered the fall seeds: beets, spinach, lettuce, collards, mustard, bok choi, snow peas, kale, chard, arugula, carrots, radishes. It’s funny to think about fall when it’s finally summer and it’s predicted to be over 100°F this week.

Yes, it’s back to “normal” for me. Get ready for more “sow” posts.

And I have something exciting to look forward too. Bruce and I will be starting a stay-cation on Friday (through the entire July 4/Canada Day week). Between now and then I have the usual work, plus a day trip to NC on Thursday.

I must rest up since we are going to use the time to get more of our projects completed. I want to break out the sewing machines. And plant the fall tomato crop. Don’t worry, I’ll post photos.

Sow: mort

These days, with North Texas temperatures headed back up to the 100°+ days, early morning is the best time to head out to the raised beds and stock tanks for a little harvesting, cleaning up, watering by hand, and digging before work. It’s getting closer to surface of the sun weather, by next month, it will be here and I’ll be devising shading systems for some of the raised beds. And even at 6 am, it’s still hot. But it’s cooler than at 6 pm so I doused myself with OFF, grabbed my buckets, garden scissors, watering can, and compost bucket and started to get busy.

It’s usually a good time to clear the mind and get focused for the day ahead.

Just not today.

While watering the tomatoes, I found something that made me very sad: a poor bird that looked like it died trapped in a bit of the bird net. The net covers the tomato plants but this bird was on the part on the ground. It’s the part that I pin down to keep the critters out.

I say it looked like it was trapped, because I have a feeling that it was dispatched by one of the Gs, most likely Godiva the Huntress, since she wasn’t coming near me or the garden. It didn’t look crushed or torn, but a little bit flattened, like maybe someone tried to de-squeak it. I’ve found dead birds before, killed by cats or other predators, dead on impact with windows or walls. But this one made me feel terrible as I wondered if the bird net wasn’t there, this little bird would have had a chance.

resting up for tomorrow

resting up for tomorrow

Death was a theme in the garden from that point on. As the weather gets hotter, the lettuce crops are on their way out. I pulled some that was going to seed and began to ready their bed for the fall tomato crop (yes, it’s almost time to start thinking about planting them). I noticed that all of the cucumber plants were toast except one (partially because of not getting watered while we were in Canada). I pulled out the dying and dried up pea plants. I pulled some of the brown bean stalks. I harvested the remainder of the 3rd crop of bok choi and put the stalks in the compost bucket. As the bucket got more full, I felt even more sad.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve gotten really attached to these plants. Yes, of course, I talk to them and encourage them to grow and do their thing. I know they have a lifecycle and that when they reach the end, they have to go to make room for new plants.

Today it was a little like saying goodbye to old friends. The lettuce and all of the leafy greens have done so well for me. They’ve looked so pretty and brightened up the Urban Farm. And for just $2.50 a seed packet, they produced tons of green stuff since January. An excellent return on such a small investment. But they’re done.

today's leafy harvest: bok choi (right), lots of lettuce (left)

today’s leafy harvest: lots of lettuce (left), bok choi (right),

It’s really taking me a while to get used to the garden circle of life. Just when I get used to a rhythm and a routine, something changes. That’s life though.

But in the midst of all of this death, life. A small toad hopped by as I was doing my thing. He startled me out of my funk. I’ll take him as an omen of unexpected goodness to come.

So/sow: day job + play job

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Another fabulous photo by Bruce. I had no idea that he took it because I was so engrossed in my work yesterday (Sunday) morning. And don’t worry, the cling on my Mac isn’t hurting it, just keeps it from getting stolen at airports.

Hopefully it doesn’t surprise you that I’m actually a professional writer. I’ve been writing advertising and marketing copy since 1991 which everyone knows is a long, long time ago.

Yesterday, I had to do a little “homework” before Bruce and I went to a seminar on “Planning for Your Pets”. Without getting into the details, just know that you should plan ahead for someone to take your pets if you (and your legal spouse) croak. If not, they’re following you to the pearly gates if you live in Texas. And you should get disaster kit together for your four-leggeds. And know how to do first aid on them. We’re remedying all of the above with 1 ) paperwork, 2) a kit, 3) a class. The class is Sunday. I still have to put the paperwork together. I’m giving myself this week as a deadline.

I really liked Bruce’s photo though. I didn’t even notice that he was taking it. That’s typical for me when I’m writing. I’m definitely in the zone. As a manager I’ve been less in the zone than I’d like but in the last little while, it’s been my home. Works for me.

Tonight the lines between work, home and other have been very blurry. I’ve been trying to understand why something so dear to me in college is being compromised. Ah California. Your obscene “view” property values makes civic/charitable organizations with amazing property amazingly greedy. A conference call. And another tale for another day.

On to happier topics: Last night we had some neighbors visit. And in Texas, walking the dog often includes a plastic cup filled with the alcoholic beverage of your choice (wine in this case). Bella the chocolate lab needed a long, long walk. And the Gs were prepared to play. As you all know the mosquitos love me so I minimize my time at dusk/night outside. Our sweet neighbor Emily (5) decided to harvest a few things from the urban farm: tomatoes especially. Her lucky parents were not paying attention at all, but were probably surprised by the brown paper bag of fresh veg that she and I gathered! Tomatoes and carrots mostly, with a bit of lettuce for her parents.

Even still, this morning’s harvest was pretty impressive:

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notice the quarter. those are Texas sized Sweet 100s.

The tomatoes are making me happy though I’m a bit worried we won’t eat them fast enough. Oh well, time to make sauce, right? The Sweet 100s are doing great. The rest, not so sure.

A couple of people messaged me to know what our beet salad looked like. Here’s a visual:

go to beet salad

go to beet salad

It’s pretty but truly nothing special. Beet greens, roasted beets, goat cheese, olive oil, salt/pepper. Yummy, yet common. Cheap and cheerful!

Hope you all had an enjoyable Monday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So: lacking super powers

This week the Gs have all been a bit off. Exhausted. As cranky as happy go lucky dogs can be.

Me too. I’ve been severely lacking in super powers this week. Work, usually the place where I could spend hours, drains me in eight hours. On Tuesday, in an internal meeting, I could barely be articulate about one of my clients that I’ve worked on for more than five years.

So I haven’t been writing much outside the office. And I haven’t really done much in the evenings when I get home. Or in the mornings before work as I usually do. Taking a long weekend off has brought me to a grinding halt. Not much gardening (tonight it was too wet after today’s storms). I’ve been resting. Going to bed early. Taking the easy way out when it comes to meals, chores, attire, everything. Believe me, the dog hair tumbleweeds on the floors are getting bigger by the day. If I sweep them together, I might get another Guinness.

But tomorrow’s Friday.

At work we have something called summer hours which means if you’ve worked 40 hours by noon on Friday, you can leave. Because I was off on Monday, I don’t qualify. Even still, Friday’s my favorite day of the week in summer because everyone leaves early. It is blissfully quiet and the phone doesn’t ring. No meetings after 11 am. Everyone is nose to the grindstone all morning long so they can get out and start the weekend a little early. If you need me, I’ll be at my desk all day and when I leave at 5:30 or 6 pm, I’ll ensure my to do list for Monday is a lot smaller.

George may come to work with me tomorrow. We have a dog-friendly office and well-behaved dogs are allowed to visit. Godiva started visiting when she was a freshly potty trained pup. Guinness has been too, although neither of them have really enjoyed visiting once they became a pair. Godiva freaked out when Guinness had his heartworm treatments (thought he wasn’t coming back, we think) and when he had his TPLO surgery (same thing). But George hasn’t really visited yet and Guinness and Godiva don’t mind as much when he leaves (ah, the puppy). I’ll see what he thinks in the morning.

Right now, he’s pretty wiped out.

It's also really hard to type with George in your lap. He likes to put his chin on the mouse. Photo by Bruce

It’s really hard to type with George in your lap. He likes to put his chin on the mouse. Photo by Bruce

 

Sow: first tomatoes

first tomatoes

first tomatoes!

When we got home from Toronto yesterday, I was anxious to see how the Urban Farm did when we left it alone for four days. Last week was very wet, but unfortunately the weekend was not. We watered on Thursday night and rain was predicted all weekend.

No such luck.

Everything got watered well last night and again today. I think everything will be mostly ok, although several plants looked a little crispy. The okra has tripled in size.

But best of all, the first red tomatoes have appeared. The tiny ones in the picture are sweet 100s. The heart shaped one is a Celebrity. We do have some casualties though: blossom rot. It appears to still be isolated to the Burpee Big Boy plants and maybe the plants that got frost bit. I need to get out there tomorrow and clean up—harvest and compost the bad tomatoes and clean up some of the yellowing branches.

On a separate note: the Gs are exhausted from their four days of playtime with four other dogs. Their humans tired too.

So: to do list

Library

 

My oldest friends won’t be surprised that I still am a slave to my lists. In high school and college, they kept me on schedule and made me feel like I was in control. To this date, I have home to do lists and work to do lists. And despite my love of technology and constant grip on my iphone, they are on paper. Written in pen. In my handwriting. Usually with a brightly colored Sharpie.

One college friend pointed out to me that I don’t usually cross out. I like to check the box next to the completed task with a big mark. Because I am goal-oriented!

Today, nothing made me happier than to blow through my work to-do list. Yes, I was motivated because I promised myself if I dotted my eyes, crossed my ts and made it through my meetings with no new immediate to-dos, I would be leaving early. And I did at, wait for it, 3:20 pm. I know, not that much early, but trust me, I made my goal happen. And I was grateful (those of you in the ad biz know exactly what I mean).

Unfortunately, my next to-do list was waiting: my errands before I got home list. Luckily, that all got completed pretty quickly and now I don’t have a birthday gift rattling around in the back of my car and my dear old dad will get his Father’s Day gift on time. Whooohooo!

Now, I’m officially on vacation. Dinner has been eaten and Gs have been walked. Now, it’s time to pack, x a few household things off my list, and hopefully grab a great night’s sleep to fuel up for the fun ahead.

Truthfully I’ve never been a great “night before” sleeper, whether it was a big test, a job interview, a family vacation, a monumental occasion, etc. So, I’m in no hurry to plow through my list. I’ll need something to do later when George and I are up at 3 am.

My ipad is loaded up with several books plus lots of samples to enjoy. Yes, perhaps for tonight, if I can’t sleep. It’s my contingency plan to read at least one. Although I definitely do NOT want to sleep on the plane. Why? Because my newest, most favorite place to read, other than outside on the patio, is high above the earth in one of those Coors Light cans* in the sky.

Why? On the plane, especially in the fancy class I’ve cashed our hard-earned points for, it’s lovely and quiet. Best of all, your needs are taken care of. Warm nuts, ma’am? Another glass of wine, ma’am? Would you like a blanket, ma’am? A pillow, ma’am? A glass of water, ma’am? A freshly baked cookie, ma’am? Would you like a mint, ma’am? Believe me, I take advantage of the offers. And I enjoy every minute. At home, Bruce will hook me up with drinks and bedding, but he draws the line at cookies. He’s not a baker, you see.

As you’ve probably gathered, I fly a lot for my job and it really is a special treat to have legroom (remember I’m only 5’2″ so that’s really unbelievable that I’d mention it), not being elbowed by the person in the middle seat who is usually a lot bigger than me, and having someone being super nice to me because I might be the manager of a washed up musical act, a captain of industry (ha!), or just a lowly ad hack who enjoys gardening and hoarding points is kind of cool. The flight attendants just know that I’m up there in the “special section”. I sure wouldn’t pay the prices that it costs in dollars with my own hard earned cash, although I’m sure I’ve “paid” for it in some other way. Nothing is free these days, except for produce from the Mortroski Midcentury Urban Farm (yes, that is a little commercial for my local pals—I may be setting up a u-pick situation if things get too out of control).

Don’t worry. Bruce is getting a fancy seat too, even though he’ll probably get bored with the stash of magazines we’ve saved up and watch the movie or chat with the person across the aisle from him. You know, another captain of industry!

We’re also lucky because we’re going to be horsing around at DFW with our pal Mike. He’s headed to Toronto and will be at the same dinner party we’re attending on Friday night. He’s been in Austin for the past couple of days for work and it just made a lot of sense for all of us to be on the same flight. You really don’t realize how much you enjoy spending time with your friends until those time are really few and far between because you all live so far apart now. Thank goodness for Facebook, cell phones, and the internet so you can keep up and keep in touch. And long weekends.

Ok, I’ve procrastinated enough. Produce is harvested. The forecast for the next four days is rainy/stormy so the Urban Farm will be fine. The Gs are going to have a wonderful time playing with their pals while we’re gone. Packing and my to do list are calling. And then a glass of wine reward.

Hope you’re enjoying your Thursday, the Gateway to the Weekend(TM) and that you have a fabulous weekend.

*I can’t take credit for nicknaming American Airlines’ planes. That credit goes to my Canadian pal Scott who was appalled the very first time he “enjoyed” a flight on AA from DFW to Las Vegas. They are my airline of necessity (hub is DFW) and every time I get on a plane, I hear his voice saying “flying Coors Light can”. If nothing else, it puts me in a better mood to be elbowed by the 6’4″ business man built like a linebacker crammed into the middle seat next to me.