You say…

I bought tomato plants today. I took Arlene, because she knows about these kinds of things. I turned my little garden over yesterday, and I used a real pitchfork. I only say it like that because last year, I sat on my arse and turned it with a little fork thing because it was a few weeks after my surgery. I left it too late and put in really lousy little tomato plants – the kind that nobody else bought, and for good reason. A year goes by fast. Sort of weird being out there yesterday, realizing I’m baaaaaaaaack, just like that Poltergeist movie which they’ve remade I read today. It looks terrible, by the way.

We went to Hutchinson’s, which has heirloom tomatoes. Those are the ugly ones that taste really good. Arlene was picking some out. “Here, these are green ones. They’re great,” she told me. I looked at the little picture. It had a green tomato. I passed on them. “What? Why not?” she asked. “We’ll never know when they’re ripe,” I explained. I need to keep things basic. I bought some other ones that I’m sure will be ugly and yummy, as well as a bunch of peppers and chives and things. On the way home, we found out we’re supposed to get frost tonight, so I stuffed everything in the garage. I hope I don’t forget about them.

It’s been chaos around here this week, with two dogs now. Ari and his buddy fenced in the part of the yard that wasn’t already fenced. They did a fine job, and now two puppies are tearing around happily, and I’m walking around, carefully.

I hope it warms up so I can get my ugly tomatoes started.

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“Tell me if you hear her coming down the stairs…”

marco bad

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RIP, Henry Kissinger

Tonight’s weird dream starred Henry Kissinger. Sort of. I was, for some reason, sitting at an anchor desk waiting to go on camera to announce the death of Henry Kissinger. I was really, really upset because I’d had no warning that I was going to be doing this, and I had Laurie Partridge hair. I do not look good in Laurie Partridge hair. And then the prompter wouldn’t load, and they’re telling me that Laurie Partridge hair or not, I was going to have to wing it and make up a serious obit on the spot as we rolled. And all I could think of (besides my terrible Laurie Partridge hair) was that I didn’t know enough about Henry Kissinger to wing his obit. I could only remember things like small, trolly looking man who made people mention that phrase about power being an aphrodisiac because he apparently was a chick magnet, though if you’ve ever seen him, you’d wonder if it was Henry Kissinger who coined that phrase.

For the record: dude is still alive.

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“House of chaos, Lorraine speaking,”

As I’ve gotten used the idea of a dog who visits periodically (Shelby; see last week’s Motherlode), I’ve also become a little softer to Pammy’s yearning for a dog of her own. She’s always wanted one; I don’t like dogs much, and I’ve always smiled back at her and said when she moves out, I’ll be thrilled to let her have a dog. As the kids get older, I also started realizing that they will move out eventually, and I also realized that that dog she gets the second she moves out will be back here for visits, and no doubt when they go away or need a sitter. Oi. With this (and 4 cats) in mind, I told her maybe it would be okay to consider a dog. Better it was part of the household for a time and all the animals were cool with each other later on.

In about 24 hours, Pam had a dog. I got this pic from the SPCA; they went, “just to look”:
dog blog

When they came in the house with this little critter that Ari promptly named Shitrat, this was Mark and Cairo:
mark and cairo and dog
The look on Cairo’s face was pretty much the same as the look on my face.

Later that night, all 4 cats were on my bed, like it was an oasis in hell. They were looking at me with pleading eyes, but I reassured them “our” room was a haven. Then I heard little clicky clacky nails on the hardwood, and the little canine bugger barged in and jumped up on the middle of my bed. Four simultaneous puffy tails and arched backs. It was like Petaggedon. Sweat Pea has been rechristened George Zimmerman; she insists on standing her ground to the intruder and refuses to run away or give up her favourite perches.

By that night, Pammy had settled on a name: Alfred. I’m not sure she knew that was my Dad’s name, but I started laughing. Scrappy little bugger everybody had counted out, thinks he’s ten feet tall and owns the joint the minute he arrives, but is basically 7 pounds of attitude. Alfred works. His name is Sir Alfred Huffman. She threw the ‘sir’ in there because he looks like a bit of aristocracy, maybe. Maybe not.

The next morning she got him groomed, and it was like one of those movies where you take off the plain girl’s glasses and let her hair down and find out she’s beautiful. Okay, that’s a reach, but it was a transformation. Gilly and Kat had to run over to meet him; this is Alfie and Kat:
alfie and kat

Later that day, we realized his eyes were messed up. The vet said he has ulcers in both eyes. Tell me how a vet check at the SPCA could miss, this, please. Pammy is now saddled with instant vet bills, after paying way too much already for a little scraggamuffin. Who of course we all love, and will now pay for to keep healthy. In the meantime, Mama Lorraine is now trying to give a dog eye drops three times a day and not get bit. The cats remain unamused. Except by how Alfie now looks:
cone boy

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It’s Me Day

…apparently. The kids have very gallantly offered to take me out for lunch. I told them they’re crazy; everywhere is nuts, especially my favoured diner-type places. They pushed. I let them have a party last night and they’re hungover. This breakfast isn’t about Mother’s Day, it’s about hungover kids. I accepted. Girl can’t get too picky. I made my requisite platter of homemade burgers last night, which makes a bunch of drunk 20-somethings think I’m a goddess. It’s hilarious. Sauted mushrooms, caramelized onions, oh yeah, baby. Good burgers. And of course, the thing I get teased the most about in my family, my veggie platter. It’s one of the only things I can make that turns out pretty instead of the usual don’t-worry-I-know-how-it-looks-but-it-will-taste-just-fine. Taryn was impressed enough (it’s her first veggie platter experience chez Lorraine) that she took a pic:
veggie platter

The piece I wrote about my mother for the drive section this week has popped up on the cover pages of Postmedia papers all over the country. Editors do that – grab anything that’s topical to fill the hole – but the problem? In order to supply a nice pic of my Mom, I had to use one of both of us – and I am sporting what just may be the worst hairdo in the history of hairdos. It was at a surprise bridal shower (those always catch you at your best; you show up in your pajamas and everyone else is all doodied up) but I figured, well, maybe he won’t use it, I sent him a bunch, whatever. He used it. And now that damned picture is everywhere. My Mother’s Day gift to myself is humility.

Oh, and guess what? We have party kittens. The two of them were everywhere last night, all night. Mingling, social, partying hard. I finally lured them up to bed around midnight and they crashed like two little drunken sailors. Someone said Marco ate a gummy bear. The only problem is that the gummy bears were soaked in vodka. Ari shrugged and said YOLO.

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So many men, so little time…

Good grief, she said, channeling Charlie Brown. I was pondering a piece on internet dating (I had a bold new idea guaranteed to get very few results) because I couldn’t believe what a younger friend went through a while back. The responses she got should have been bronzed (or manured, if that’s such a thing) and provided hours and hours of free entertainment. Well, for me at least. Rather more traumatic for her, I’m assuming.

I made the mistake of looking at a site. Looking. I posted nothing. No information. No pic, no profile, nothing. And yet, 4 times a day, there are apparently 24 perfect matches for me. Nearly 100 men a day. Perfect matches. I’m not sure what they’re matching, except ‘female’, which makes me weep for the algorithms as well as the future of relationships everywhere. I’m not dissing the form; most people I know met this way; and many are in very happy relationships, something far better than I do the old fashioned way. But if peeking in the door gets you run over like a stampede in a cartoon, I can finally imagine what my friend went through.

Think I’ll just stick to writing about cars.

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“Leave us alone. Can’t a guy get any privacy?”

Mark and his teddy

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Lorraine circa 1966

me trike
Even at age 2, I got pissed if you messed with my wheels.

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“For while it is a woman’s prerogative to change her own mind, changing it for her can be very difficult, to understate it greatly.”

Ah. From the advice columnist in one of my favourite magazines, Texas Monthly. I know, I know. Be quiet. But dig around in David Courtney’s archives and I dare you not to see even though it’s about Texas, it’s not just about Texas.

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Messed up woodpecker

For two days in a row now, I swear I have a messed up woodpecker in my yard. It has a red head and a stripey body – I even doublechecked on the googler even though I know a woodpecker when I see one. The thing is, this thing has only been hopping around my grass, pecking at the ground and eating. Eating hard, in that woodpeckery way. It’s not injured; it doesn’t take a break and fall over or anything. It also flies away when I open the door. There’s also some squirrels and a bunny out there right now because I tossed some bread, but Woody is determined to aerate my lawn. First person who says I have grubs gets a punch. I’d take a picture but even though I finally replaced my busted phone, I don’t have it set up yet. I broke the screen on the old one the day after I got it a few years ago, and while I’m happy to have a new one, I can’t stand setting them up. The kids think I’m nuts.

Two recommendations. If you have Netflix, find Bloodline. What an awesome show. I initially put it on because it stars Kyle Chandler (never could get enough of Coach Taylor) but the cast is excellent, and the writing is strong and the setting is beautiful. Linda Cardellini is one of the most underrated actresses out there. She was spectacular in Freaks and Geeks, and unrecognizable in Mad Men, and in Bloodline she’s hitting her gorgeous stride. It takes place down in the Florida Keys, a family with lots of secrets. I’ve only been there a couple of times (the Keys, not visiting the family), but watching this show puts me right back. They do the overhead shots of the coast and the highway, and I start thinking it’s time to head to Miami and Key West. Plus, check out the vintage Chevy pickup.

If you’re lucky, you’ve seen Appaloosa, starring Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris. Oh, I know. Shut up, Lorraine, with your dorky westerns. Thing is, Harris pushed for years and years to write and direct that move and get it made. And if you read the book it was based on, you’ll see why. There’s actually three by the late author Robert B. Parker – Resolution and Brimstone followed – and there is no better dialogue, I swear. And OMG I JUST GOOGLED THAT HE APPARENTLY WROTE A FOURTH BOOK JUST BEFORE HE DIED and now I have to try to find it. Anyway. I bring this up because I’m rereading Brimstone because the cats that are still kittens got me up at 3am, and I was reminded that these characters – Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch – are awesome. And funny. And the late Mr. Parker is gone too soon.

So. I’ve given you a bird mystery, something to watch, and something to read. And now I have to go write a couple of columns. And set up a phone.

Here’s the link to the Bloodline info. I really, really think you should watch it.

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