New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn.

Not much going on—which is a good thing.

We hired the gutters cleaned. We hired the trees trimmed.

We are concentrating on the maintenance only we can do—like actual gardening and garden plumbing. We had only one glitch: our gutter cleaners were supposed to bag the refuse and they did—in 80 lb bags which cannot be moved. Jane didn’t call me to help, darn it, but she had to open the bags and shovel, and is exhausted. Two very nice strong young guys, who probably haven’t a clue that we’d have to lift those bags to shoulder height to get them into the bins. They’re going to hear about this one.

I swear, Jane’s cat. The half-Bengal. I’m crossing the living room where he’s lying, and he reaches out and hits me. Hard. Then gets up and head-butts my leg, as in, pet me, feed me, I’m your friend. Just now he’s lying on my dresser, right under the telly, not bothering the telly. If it were on, it’d disturb him, and he’d get up and claw the screen, darn him—but he likes sitting there, warmed by the electronics, and watching out the window.

And why is he there? So he can be aware when I move, whenever I go near the kitchen…because—food!

OTOH, we do have him on a reduced-portion diet with a diet kibble. And it is working. He now has sort of a waist.

So today I cleaned the fish sump…


I disconnected all the equipment, pumped it dry, took it out and hosed it out.

Talk about a job postponed for 10 years. It should make maintenance easier.

What I dumped stopped the utility sink, and fool I, I reached in to unclog the drain—which involved a bristleworm, which has my fingers swollen—been stung way too often in my years of marine tank keeping. You don’t feel it at the time, but a few hours later, ow, ow, and it’ll be that way for a couple of days. Silly me. You don’t do tank work without gloves. Not even when it’s tank residue.

I’d have rescued the worm, if I could, because, well, I don’t like to demise things, but he was down the drain, and not in great shape. They arrive on rock and such and multiply in the tank, some as long as a foot. But—well, it’s running again, it doesn’t leak, and I think the tank will be happier.

Sigh. I had an endodontist app’t this morning…

…and had waited since the last visit to get in.
He x-rayed, agreed, and set the actual appointment for 10th Aug. Meanwhile I still have a sore tooth. And now I have a headache.
The air here is wretched, second-hand from somewhere: I haven’t had allergy this bad since Oklahoma or the heart of fire season. I really need my brain.
It’s just one of those days. Grump.
I should go out and sand down the baseboards for my room and varnish them. I haven’t the energy. Grump.

On the other hand, the sun hasn’t gone nova, nothing has hit the planet, and there’s not as much off as could be, on any given day, so I suppose I’d better pick up and get busy.

Bee-stung. I swear…

I have this absolutely wonderful hand-face-whatever cream I picked up on the trip to Chicago. Don’t laugh. Carmindy of What Not To Wear swears by it. It’s from the Prairie Soap Co, in Deadwood, (actually from a town near) and what I’ve got uses real buffalo tallow and lavender and sage. I can attest it’s real, since a bee very regrettably decided I was a flower, and when I tried to shoo him off, the poor thing gave his all, and stung me right above the elbow. Not in the joint, for which I’m grateful, but I went ahead and finished out the job I was on, at least for four of the eight filter pads that take algae out of the pond, before I decided it was getting painful and I really needed to treat it. So, topical Benedryl, internal Benedryl, and ice. I’ve discovered the bands you use to correct patellar tracking are real good for keeping an ice cell-pack in place, so here I sit. Mid-scene, and I have to take a med that makes me stupid.

Alas, poor bee. I do all I can to cultivate things they like and they liked me better. I won’t put on that handcream just before garden work again.

Had another demise, too: Huey, last of the EcoSphere shrimp, in the little glass egg I’ve nursed through 3 moves and an 8-day winter power-out, demised at the age of 16. Jane says I should get a new egg. I think I may. 16 years is a good lifespan for a shrimp. I could get the EcoSphere recharged, but it would be as pricey as a new one, and it’s serious postage. Amazon carries them.

I got the little fellow (and five others in the egg) when I sold off my marine tank and all the freshwater tanks when we moved up from Oklahoma. And I’ve had him ever since. When I was in University, my room mate dated a guy who was a son of one of the German rocket scientists, whose ‘thing’ was developing life support for space; and we used to help him (both of us being aquarium geeks) figure out how to balance an ecosystem that would run on sunlight. Well, his name isn’t on the project that finally produced the EcoSphere, but it was out of NASA tech, and I was intrigued. Originally I had Huey, Dewey, and Louie, Winken, Blinken, and Nod. Huey lost his last room mate Dewey a couple of years ago, and he soldiered on eating his algae and bacteria alone, but with a lot going on outside his pod, until his 16th year, almost exactly, since I got him in early summer of 2000.

Getting out from under the load…

We’ve hit a natural cycle of a rain-rich year in a maturing garden, to the extent that even our gutters have foot-high weeds growing (thanks to the gutter shield which admits seeds) and trees are out of bounds as well.

So Jane and I have finally admitted there ain’t no way we are climbing on the roof and the weeds along the street have gotten entirely unreasonable and we can’t wait another year for the trees.

I got on the phone and internet, reading reviews and company statements and have found a) a licensed, bonded arborist, one on the city’s list of such for the storm damage. b) a company that maintains weed-free beds by pre-emergent spray and gets rid of noxious weeds, and since they are a garden company we have some confidence they know what they’re doing. We’d rather not spray, but we’d rather not spread noxious weeds, either, and they’re too tough to pull. c) and somebody to clean the gutters and bag the contents, leaving them gutter-guard-free for the next year. We are not having spray near the fishpond: back yard, we can handle; but the side and front, oh, yes.

If these people work out, we will be happy to have them back. Rates are not that bad, and having those jobs off our plate, including the spray people saying they can delicately spray pre-emergent on the pathways in spring and leave us just the beds to maintain—

This and other sanity-saving measures.

Getting real tired of dental issues…

But I think we are finally on track to fix things. The hitch is, I have to put up with this (mild) headache, I fear, until the 20th, when I can get the endodontist to fix something another dentist did ten years ago. This is good, understand, but I am real tired of painkillers, pain, headaches, jaw aches, antibiotics, and appointments.

The good news is that through a chain of improbable connections I have finally gotten a dentist that has located the problem. So this is fixable. Just kind of drawn-out.

Meanwhile I’m making progress, just not as much as I’d like.

Dental woes.

Oh, woe!
First a bridge came unglued. Then I got an appointment with my old dentist in another town, who now has moved, and couldn’t be found once I got there.
So I got ‘worked in’ by a local dentist I found on the internet…and they (quite reasonably) took xrays and discovered an abscess. Oh, joy. Extract, root canal with a new bridge (4000.00), or implant? If an implant, five of them, because of the bridge. And they’re costlier than the bridge.

Well, I decided to spring for option B. And faced a root canal with a completely unknown dentist who sort of specializes in root canals. It truly was an abscess: I asked to see the xray.

Today I went in for the procedure, and I’ve had worse discomfort from fillings. Wonderful job, very fine doc, very meticulous, and the best news—he was able to temp-glue the old bridge back in, and it looks as if that 36-year-old bridge is going to work fine. The doc said that bridge was a real work of art, to have lasted this long, in that shape.

So I’ve got a sore jaw and am reduced to soup, but that’s from the strain of a long procedure, no pain from the tooth.

IF I’m not going to have to spend for a new bridge, I may have another one looked at. I had a bad accident back in the 80’s, pitched headfirst over the handlebars on a downhill—the city had installed one storm grate the wrong way, and I dropped a tire into it after a car veered over at me (stupid joke—and when I fell, they ran like rabbits). The result for me was a lot of dental work and jaw troubles. But the good news is—my original dental team were aces. And the fact that this one didn’t hurt at all, except the pesky little xray tabs, says I’ve found another good one.

Jane’s got new pix from our travels…Miscon came after…

but it’s easier to do the pix for, so here they are.

Raining—happy us.

We’ve had an uncommon burst of high 90’s weather in early June—shouldn’t arrive until July. But now it’s set in for cool and rain for the next week, back into the 70’s. Much nicer! Understand that Washington rain is what other regions call ‘intermittent drizzle’, for a week, not the pounding tropical downpours of the south. Even hail here is more like styrofoam chips, not lethal missiles from heaven. First time it had hailed and Jane proposed walking to the store, I thought she was crazy—but indeed, it was not a life-risking proposal. For Washington rain, you just walk a little faster to the car and from car to store, and you don’t need an umbrella. Oh, now and again Spokane gets the tropical-style rain, but it’s rare, as in, every couple of years, once.

Wind, now, we do have that: when the wind come sweeping over the fenceless hills of the Palouse, we get serious 40-50 mph gusts, but once or twice a season. The unprecedented one that left us without power for 8 days was hurricane-force for about 20 minutes. The city still has roof crews repairing damage from that one, last November.

Right now, just a tranquil drizzle and cool air.

Editing and writing, editing and writing…

gardening, editing and writing. That’s about all we’re doing.