Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Big Return To New York!

Kyle is nearly halfway through the laying of the bricks for the patio, or as I like to say, The Sistine Chapel in reverse.

French Breakfast Radishes grown from seeds!

Last Fall I hacked this bush to pieces to restore some shape and because it was being bullied by my huge Cedar tree. It's rewarded me with lots of new growth! Now if only I could identify it!

If you look very carefully, you can see cherries growing!

Thyme and Chives

Basil, Rosemary, Oregano, Spearmint, Italian Parsley, Green and Purple Sage, Cilantro, Red Leaf Lettuce, Butternut Squash and Hubbard Squash

A tiny Iris from my neighbor's garden

I've always wanted Peonies and now have two plants.

My very first blooming Rose--this is a "Peace" rose.

Beau, enjoying the sunshine.

Tomatoes grown upside down from my balcony.

View of my new bricked walk-way to the new patio area from my balcony.

Balcony pot of sweet potato vines and some Coleus that I rooted from a mother plant.

If you want to know why medical costs are through the roof--at least in Oregon--let me tell you why. I went to a dermatologist today for some routine things and in the screening room first came a kind of medical note-taker who put me in the room and told me the doctor would be there right away. Sure enough, a minute later, a pleasant young man introduced himself to me as the nurse/practitioner and he was there for the initial interview. He inspected me, asked me questions, and then told me the prescribed ways in which we could treat my eczema and the disappeared to fetch the doctor. Suddenly we were three people in the room. The young woman was writing down notes on a computer. The nurse/practitioner was silent while the doctor basically reiterated everything the nurse/practitioner said to me. I left having paid $50 in co-pay fees. Lord knows what they billed my insurance company for.

I grew up going to a doctor in single offices. Maybe there was a nurse there. Certainly there was a woman who handled all appointments, and managed the office. This "dermatology" center had three MDs, a cadre of receptionist/clerks and lots of people walking around in nurse/doctor mufti. The officious woman at the desk demanded that I show her a photo ID. I don't drive, so no photo ID despite the fact that I had a valid insurance card, lots of credit cards and offered cash on the co-pay. She said to make sure that I brought a photo ID the next time I came!

Later picking up my prescription, I ran smack into a Nanny Law. If you are using a prescription for the first time, a licensed pharmacist must talk to you about the medication. This is patently ludicrous as they don't want to do this any more than you want to be held up as they fly through the process of superficially telling you what the doctor has already said to you. Yes some doctors are careless. "Take this," they say without much explanation, but really, it's the consumer's responsibility to understand what they are taking But that particular Nanny Law and those extra bodies in the doctor's examination room are adding $billions to the cost of treating people.

Forget calling a house a money pit. They are far worse. They are work-sucking, effort-making, exhaustion-inducing, and never-endingly needy. While Kyle slaves away in the back yard on the swell brick patio, I'm chopping away at my holly tree, planting seeds for what I hope will be a vegetable garden, planing Dahlia bulbs, feeding my roses, and endlessly watering everything. The new raised bed got seeded on one end with Atomic Carrots (photo attached), Chiogga beets (a kind of pin and white bulls-eye beet) and French breakfast radishes--long red in shape with white tips. I found some yellow squash--you know those round little ones you see at farmer's markets, and some butternut squash. At the other end, I'm growing herbs: Italian flat-leaf parsley, red and regular sage, Italian oregano, rosemary, spearmint, cilantro, and basil. I have another planter that is overflowing with thyme, chives and a variegated thyme that looks beautiful. They are all thriving with the radishes already throwing up young shoots and my roses are on the verge of blooming. Hope I get to see them totally open before I leave.

Sadly, Walden has gone back to his original owner. I've learned that puppies simply are not for me. Beau has not had a good time of it either, peeing on my couch, getting sick three times in one night, twice in my bed, and leaking all over everything. Walden had taken to his crate well enough at night to sleep, but in the morning, you have to get up all he will scratch the door off the wall. You expect puppies to have accidents, but he is a very smart little dog and sometimes he goes outside in the mornings and sometimes he just goes. Last night I got home from dinner. I have to separate Beau and Walden when I'm away from the house. Most of the time Beau goes with me, but when he doesn't he is upstairs in his bed sleeping until I get home. I went to the kitchen to check on things and to my absolute horror Walden has clawed his way through the paint of one of the baseboards in my kitchen and then started on the corner of the wall--he simply scratched his way through the paint. He then managed to find the zipper of Beau's daybed, unzipped it and tore a ton of the stuffing so it was everywhere. I immediately went into a red zone fit. And then decided I needed to take total charge. I moved his crate into the kitchen. He would simply stay in his crate when I was not around to supervise him. It also meant, I could keep him out of the upper part of the house where he was confined in the bathroom while we went through the process of house-breaking him. He settled down nicely and went to sleep. He woke me at 7:00 am this morning yelling and screeching his head off. I ignored it. I followed Cesar Milan's advice about his food. Walden simply goes nuts whenever food is around. I'm trying to teach him to be a good citizen. I held the bowl and stared at him, waiting for him to sit for a second before giving him the bowl. It worked and then I practiced taking it away so he wouldn't develop any possessiveness about his food. That also worked.

Out in the backyard, Walden played while I gardened last Saturday. Kyle and I went off to Lowes's for more top soil and potting soil. When we got back home, I opened Walden's crate to the sight of his having found the zipper on his cushion inside and totally trashed the cushion. And later on he trashed a small rug outside my kitchen door. Again, I saw red. I could leave him in the crate without any comforts at all. The war of wills between us escalated. He's a puppy and he really bugs me. This is sad, but I had visions of his attacking my furniture. I can't risk the rage I might feel if he did that. And he will. So back he went with some regret. The story of Marley never amused me. I've been spoiled. Beau has been a virtually perfect dog. Walden may well grow up to be a perfect dog, but right now he's a puppy and I can't control a thing about him. A week later, I went to check up on him and found out he's enjoying hanging out with one of his brothers, who was also returned for bad behavior!

The grill is out and and in regular use in this beautiful weather. And the best part is that I can now set the table out on the wide walkway into the patio that is more than a third finished with more than 1600 bricks anticipated. Kyle is turning the project into his own version of the Sistine Chapel--he literally checks each brick to make sure it is level. With all the flowers and greenery exploding, I'm thinking that by August this backyard will be my own piece of paradise.

So off to New York on Friday for ten whole days of work and reunions.

No comments:

Post a Comment