Anniversaries of Nothing Special

The main purpose of my journal is to help remind me of my life. What did I do last year on this specific date at this specific time? I don’t live an extraordinary life. Yesterday, for example, aside from emails and journaling and watching the Red Sox lose, I spent the majority of the time in my vegetable garden. I took last year off, making this reunion with the soil and dirt extra special.

I can go days without ever needing or wanting to go off the “hill.” We live on the edge of the road known as Blanton Heights. High enough that I haven’t touched my bike in the dozen or so years we moved into the dome.homeandgarden040716



I have done a lot of work since April when this photo was taken. Due to some unusual warm weather and some part-time days, I managed to get crops in early. I knew I was taking a gamble, but my chance paid off and had corn knee-high by the fourth of June. I’ve got tassels on some of them!


I can blame the sabbatical year for over planting, but I always over plant. I try to imagine how much room the squash family plants are going to take or how big the root system for brassicas are, but I lack that ability or perhaps I just turn a blind eye on the entire thing. I’m eating squash already. Do you think that stopped me from buying another squash start? Blue Hubbard aren’t as prolific as Zukes or Crookneck, but they still take up a lot of space.

I started this blog because Facebook created a On This Day page, which is exactly what my journal does but in a more convenient fashion. For me to go back year by year, I either have to look up the date in an electronic file, each month of the year gets their own document, or for the older years, I have to pull down a three-ring notebook. Facebook just might make my journaling obsolete, though there’s plenty of things I tell myself and not share to the rest of the world.

Four years ago I was slugging my way through more graduate classes to get my reading endorsement. Oregon doesn’t trust Language Arts teachers to teach reading. Four years later and I haven’t taken advantage of this special endorsement. Maybe this summer will be the springboard of doing something about that.

Abby081211Five years ago, Abby the Labby Number Nine joined the pack of two, Ricky and Lucy. Ricky had only been part of the family for a few months. I didn’t know him well enough to predict his reaction to an eight-week-old pup. For not that long, I called her a bag of potatoes, but it wasn’t long before I couldn’t pick her up. She never did grow up into the size predicted and settled on fifty pounds or so. She’s half Lucy’s size.

Seven years ago I dined on steamed beats, turnips, peas, and onions, not a typical noteworthy event, but they all came from my garden. As did these wonderful Garter snakes. According to, a male Garter snake can emit female pheromones to trick males.wpid-616104_4510443484403_1024497440_o.jpg

“They will secrete female pheromones to lure other males toward them rather than to the female. After the other males are away from the mating ball, the males posing as females will dart back to the female to attempt to mate. [Related: Estrogen Turns Male Snakes Into Same-Sex Charmers]”

Being able to look at days long gone provides me with the opportunity to think about people long gone. Sunny McHale, one of my first friends after moving to Oregon, was one of those friends that physical proximity wasn’t a requirement of growth; years could pass without seeing one another, but when we saw each other, our friendship had grown even closer. Cancer snuck up on him and took him so quickly. Such a beautiful song bird; when Sunny smchale-sunny-maleang, I found myself melting. I treasure being able to re-read his emails and Facebook comments from seven years ago and earlier.

All of these moments that make up my life help remind me that life is precious even if all I am doing is weeding and battling Western Cucumber Beetles. There is no such thing as just weeding. Just, in this demeaning definition, has no place in my life.




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