Monday, June 27, 2016


Daniel's 22nd birthday is today. And he just graduated from college, and he's getting ready to head out to Washington D.C. and the Capital Fellows Program in September. We're pretty excited for him, and proud of all he's accomplished. If you're in town this weekend, there's an open house at our house from 2-5 on Saturday.

Following tradition of the last few years, Daniel grilled for his own birthday; today it was chicken in an apricot/honey marinade and salmon in a citrus and chili marinade; grilled asparagus and grilled corn on the cob. I did potato salad and a blackberry pie for dessert. It was all very nice.
The argyles are finished and were presented. By this time it was not a surprise, other than the fact that I finally finished them! We also bought him a pair of  Chaco sandals, which he requested and I drove to three different Portland shoe stores looking for on Saturday. It was an adventure. I aspire to be hip enough to shop for shoes in Portland on a regular basis.

Other exciting events of today: a raccoon was hanging around early this morning when Steve left for work, sniffing around Smudge's food bowl, which was empty at that point. He returned in broad daylight today when Daniel was on the back deck, and when I came along and growled at him to move along, he did not display what I thought would be the proper respect for humans... he bared his teeth at me and did not retreat. I ended up turning the hose on him and he climbed a birch tree, and there he stayed for the rest of the day, grooming his paws and taking over what I think was a jay's nest to nap in. He is the uppermost of the two dark blobs in this photo. Stay tuned. I'm hoping he moves along without the confrontations becoming a daily event. The bared teeth were a little creepy.

I really need to get cleaning for the party Saturday. 16 years of Latin books and files are still spread out over the living room floor. They are gradually getting sorted and somehow I'll find room to store them. I still feel like I need to have a big retrospective post about my years of teaching, but it's all still too exhausting to think about. I'll settle for clean enough, and process later. In my mother's Latin for Americans test booklet, which I've had for over a decade, I found a mimeo copy of a letter she wrote to friends in 1968, when I was 9 months old and we were living in the Netherlands. It was a beautiful treasure that I don't remember ever reading or knowing about before... maybe I'll scan or type it in to share here in the future.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Randomday and the Final Final

I am grading my last batch of final exams, ever. I might be tempted to feel a bit melancholy, were it not for my aching neck and the fact that the difference between the ideal and the actual is so vast.

Sentence translation, where I am currently stalled:

e.g. Christus, "Nemo servus," inquit, "potest duobus dominis servire."
(Christ said, "No slave can serve two masters.")
Student writes: Christ said, "Serve no one, but serve the Lord double."

e.g. Omnis, qui diligit, ex Deo natus est, et cognoscit Deum.
(Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God.)
Student writes: He said to all, God is out of nothing, yet God knows all.

Sixteen years is enough; someone else can do it now, and I wish them very good success with it. Shortly I will regroup my nerves and soldier on, deducting a point for every wrong word, verbs and verbals count double, but squeezing in as much grace as I can manage. I do love my students, but sixteen years of middle school is enough. They will all be civilized by 10th grade for sure. I hope by then I've recovered what's left of my health.

Tertia is away at her school play. It's a student-written production, incorporating high school theater students, time travel, and Shakespeare. We saw it last night and it was a hoot. Tertia's role is small but she plays it with heart. That's pretty much her in a nutshell.

On the subject of things I should probably have emphasized more carefully with my special needs daughter, the other day she was walking home from play practice and I picked her up on the way. She had a Dutch Bros straw cup with a watery substance that she was drinking from. I asked her about it. "I just found it," she replied. I may have panicked slightly at this point. She had found it, less than half full of something she said was lemonade, on the box where the button for the crosswalk was. And it was a hot day, and she was thirsty, so... Well, we are counting on her guardian angels for this one, and I think she knows not to do that again.

Tuesday on the way to school the "change battery" indicator blinked on. So on the way home from school I took it to the dealership where they diagnosed that yes, the battery was failing. Fortunately the dealership is a short walk from Barnes and Noble, so I spent a pleasant hour and a half getting lunch at their cafe and reading. Who knew going to the dealership for unexpected work could be so...refreshing?

We are having a heat wave, with temperatures almost reaching 100 today. A few days ago on our walk, Steve and I had some ripe cherries, and then even found some early ripe blackberries. When inside temps go over 80 I start melting and asking for the AC. And I'm significantly less ambitious to do tedious work like word-by-word translation corrections. Three more pages of those to go, and then the sayings and mythology matching questions. I'm going to finish making a pitcher of mint tea and eat some raspberries before tackling it again. Or maybe even put it off until Monday.

For a few short weeks, we had all family members at home; Peter is off doing his 2 weeks training with his unit now, but will be back after that. This will probably be the last summer with all family members around. Daniel is off to Washington D.C. in the fall for an internship. Right now, he and Steve and Quarta are playing Minecraft. Quarta has a Chicken Run style enterprise, with chickens laying eggs that drop to a holding pen, where they hatch and grow until they are tall enough to get cooked by the lava blocks just above them, providing her an endless supply of "cooked chicken." In real life today, she baked a giant, pizza-sized chocolate chip cookie.

Tertia is now back from her performance, where she received a very pretty pink and white rose from a fellow cast member.

Well, I have randomly blogged my way to the point where it's too dark to grade finals with natural light, and so I might just finish one last page and read in bed instead.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Lazy Blogger's Garden Tour, Part 3

So, I think I've established this year that I'm a lazy blogger, and after this final installment of my series you'll agree that I'm a lazy gardener, too. I favor herbs and pretty flowers that are hard to kill, and that spread easily, and don't usually die of neglect in the hot and dry stretches of summer. The key to my "success," such as it is, is wise choice of climate. I live in the Pacific Northwest, where it's cool and rains a lot. If you can limit the slug infestations, you're pretty much home free with this philosophy.
Case in point: Nigella Damascena, also known as Love-in-a-Mist. We dumped a bunch of seeds by the raspberry patch a few years ago, and they have thrived.
 Lobelia, one of our favorite annuals.
 Lobelia again; Steve bought these this year. We don't plant a lot of annuals normally, but there are some exceptions.
 California Poppies, going strong in the sunny garden behind the garage. There are also some wallflowers in the background and plenty of Lemon Balm mixed in.  All of these are completely naturalized in this spot.
Hardy Geraniums; they have been in our front flower bed since the previous owners moved out 17 years ago. I guess that makes them hardy.
 Here's a little-known gem of a flower; Rose Campion, which has fuzzy silver leaves and those extremely hot-pink flowers; it reseeds itself from year to year. It can get a bit scraggly looking toward the middle or end of June, but it's just a charming flower.
 My front porch planter with a bicolor ivy geranium and a sweet potato vine. My front porch is another example of when I like to buy a few annuals.
 Lithodora, bought this year from the Walmart plant section. I think it is a newer variety of Lithodora, because the older kind is monochrome blue:
Very tiny flowers but a beautiful little blue treat in the front rock garden by the fence.
 Speaking of little blue flowers, here are some remnants of the Veronica blooms.
 The Clematis is just now blooming on the fence. Steve has been busy over the last week, painting pickets and replacing the parts of the fence that were smashed by vandals after Christmas.
 Here you have our south-side bed in not very great order, but a case in point for the lazy gardeners; parsley, nigella, rose campion, forget-me-nots, daffodils, and probably some lemon balm all mixed together.
And the golden raspberries, just coming into season. Life is good!