Please Don’t Poop on the Dandelions

I was originally going to call this post “Please Don’t Poop on the Violets” because last weekend something amazing happened: a hearty little group of yellow and purple violets popped up out of the blue in my backyard which is mostly comprised of a loved and very tired inground pool, a hearty rosebush I have named Jezzelle, some planters filled with high expectations sitting upon irregular and wobbly concrete, and rocks, dirt and dog poop surrounding all of that. 

It was a pandDAMNic MIRACLE! 

According to my research, these violets are called Johnny Jump-Ups and need very little love to grow. They probably somehow migrated from the neighbors yard. Fools. (The violets, not the neighbors.) But I took it as a sign that this would be the year that there would be more than dandelions on the dirt and placed some river rocks around this little miracle bouquet thinking maybe I could keep them safe from the dogs. Cooper immediately pooped right next to the rocks. 

Fertilizer: it’s Cooper’s signature. He doesn’t give a shit what kind of flowers he poops on. He just does what dogs do: make manure and give unconditional love in exchange for treats and conditional love from his humans. 

This got me thinking about our conditioned hatred for certain people or things that when you look deeply at the said person or thing, may be a little harsh. 

For example: the dandelion.

Who decided dandelions were a bad plant? Who made that a damn rule?

Now I’m not gonna lie. I feel a little shame for having them. Especially in the front yard where other people can see them, and these days there are so many more people walking all around who ordinarily would not be. I can’t wait for them to go back to work and stop judging me. I can FEEL the neighbor across the street seething and tisk-tisking when he looks at our yard, the guy with the perfect mow lines in his yard, in FUCKING APRIL. 

Seriously though, I think this quarantine is starting to affect me because not only am I being paranoid about what people think of my front lawn, I have begun to feel this deep emotion for plants.

I have been putting coffee grounds in my high expectation planters every morning while talking to them in sweet coaxing whispers “Here’s some caffeine my loves, it helps me wake up, so maybe it will help you.”

When I was cutting back a few wayward branches from the wickedly beautiful Jazzelle, I apologized to her. Actually what I said was “Sorry BITCH”. She and I have a weird relationship. We each think the other is trying to kill the other, mutual respect for each other’s balanced power in that corner of the yard. 

The other day on my trail walk, I actually looked around to make sure no one was looking and put my hand on a tree that had been partially burned by a fire set by some jerk head kid a couple years ago and apologized for how stupid some people are. I somehow felt that by touching the tree I would help it feel better. I did an actual happy dance for all to see when the little cherry tree baby I planted in the front yard last fall BLOSSOMED despite being surrounded with dandelions: a beautiful sign of coexistence.

I’m practically a white witch plant whisperer.

Yeah, I know. She’s going cray-cray folks.

But the dandelions: why do we hate them? They are the bee’s knees of plants. Really! The bees need them! AND their roots, leaves and pretty yellow flowers are edible and filled with potential healing power for humans. To top it off their mode of transportation to the neighbors yard  populating is a simple wish and a faithful exhale of carefully directed breath. 

I know that the wind whispers in collaboration with me, a fifty two year old woman, who has deep faith that her dandelion prayer wishes will help all people (myself included) dig deep into the roots of anything or anyone they think they hate, acknowledge the mutual thorns, nod and humbly and respectfully say “Sorry Bitch”.

A Full House

I am up early this morning. Not to get the bird on. That’s Grant’s job. Though the way I wrote that it sounds like his job is to flip the world off. Close, considering the turkey is a whopping 27 pounds, requiring a custom made piece for the Weber so that the lid closes. 

My job is the pies

Which I can do with closed eyes. 

Plus a bunch of sides

A Thanksgiving Haiku. Sort of. 

No, I’m up early not to peel potatoes, but to write this blog post while my heart is full. Not that it won’t be full later. It just won’t be a peaceful full. More like pandemonium full. 

Yesterday, I was happy to have the task of making the eleven pies (Siwinski Dozen) because it kept me partially distracted from being anxious. Maria was traveling home from Portland with Jackson and Grant took Dave to go get Daniel from Pullman and there were warnings of fifty-five mile an hour winds plus some snow. We have had many a thing go wonky from wind in our lives so I was having visions of cars being blown off the road. 

But everyone is safe and sound and last night the house had volume again, only a reving up for today’s full decibel level. It’s interesting, I just did the math and it won’t be until the year 2021 that I will have been living with children as long as I lived without them, assuming I don’t kick the bucket by then. Or run away. So technically I have not had enough time to get used to the noise yet. 

BUT this will more than likely be the last year we have us all here for Thanksgiving. We didn’t expect Dan to be here this year because of his football equipment manager job at WSU. We have two kids who have found their person: Maria and Dillin and with that comes obligations for them to be at other family celebrations. It’s inevitable. One by one they will build their own lives and their own traditions and Grant and I will have a smaller and smaller crew for holidays until it’s just us and the dogs. 

OMG. I’m crying. 

Fucking full heart.

The dogs will be so sad!

So today, I’m going to capture the noise level and keep it inside me, like fireflies in a jar. 

Only the fireflies really need to be set free at some point in time so the rest of the world can enjoy their light. 

Sticks and Stones

I quit work early today and have been making pies since 1 pm so as to avoid kitchen chaos tomorrow: 

  • Four pumpkin pies. 
  • Three fireball whiskey pumpkin pies (as an experiment)
  • Four Tollhouse Pies

Grant and I got the food shopping done yesterday, which is a miracle in and of itself, especially because there was very little of our normal bickering. Though it did take a long time just to MAKE the list because Grant kept interrupting me when I was trying to write something down by saying something HE wanted written down, which then made me keep forgetting what I was about to write and then we would both stare at each other with these blank looks: a clash of things forgotten. Somewhere up in the universe are little floating cartoon thought bubbles with works like “butter” and “charcoal” colliding into each other.   

There are a lot of things to remember for our holiday food traditions and we didn’t want a repeat of the “Cool Whip Incident of 2018”. 

Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday of the entire year. Food, Family, Football and the traditional Thanksgiving Day FIGHT where at least one of us loses their cool every year because they are not able to overcome someone else’s snarky words.

Whoever wrote the poem…

Sticks and stones may break my bones

But works can never hurt me. 

…has not met any west coast Siwinskis. Sticks and stones are soothing compared to the trash talk that happens in our household, especially during the holidays. It usually involves a board game or the mad rush to get the food prepared and unburned but fully cooked in perfect synchronicity (which has happened maybe 5 out of 28 times.) 

One of the boys has a video from a few years ago when our youngest Mitchel blew his cool and spewed a very gruesome but quite epic threat upon his gloating oldest brother Duncan who was I’m sure taunting him relentlessly with words “that can hurt you” during a game of Monopoly. To tell you exactly what he said would mark me publically for potential Bad Mother Prison because it’s always the mother’s fault when the child does or says bad things. 

But one thing is for certain about these Siwinskis of mine: they are not fragile people who are easily offended. Most of the world’s nonsense (and there is a lot of it) rolls off them like water on a duck because their skin has grown thick from rude word calluses. Unless of course the words are from one of their own. Those still sting.

I just hope it’s not me on video this year. I’m generally pretty joyful (wine) on Thanksgiving, unless of course SOMEONE doesn’t give me enough warning about when the turkey will be done, which can result in lumpy mashed potatoes. Like the Tragic Thanksgiving of 2017.

Something You Need to Know

I’m a little worried about my tongue right now. I was cleaning the turtle tank and I had a brand new bottle of ‘Poo be Gone’ (it’s actually called Sludge Destroyer) and could not get off the little foil cover over the top because I keep my nails short. I’m too reckless for pretty nails. Anyhow, I could HEAR my mother: “DON’T USE YOUR TEETH TO OPEN THINGS.”

Her voice was super loud even though she’s dead.

So I actually looked over my shoulder to make sure she wasn’t there before I used my teeth. 

To open a liquid product called SLUDGE DESTROYER. 

In my defense I was trying to get a lot of things done in a short period of time and did not have time to walk the ten steps into the kitchen to get a pokey thing.  I was just hoping to get a start on that little piece of foil with my teeth and then use my fingers for the rest. But the foil thing pulled off quite abruptly and then somehow (and I have tried to mimic this in my mind several times since and can not see how it could have happened) landed “wet side down” on my tongue. 

I keep trying to tell myself that so far TurdZilla has managed to thrive in water containing a heck of a lot more sludge destroyer than what landed on my tongue. She has been with us almost seven years of her twenty to thirty year life expectancy and thus far has shown zero signs of an early death. No one likes her, by the way, except me. So it’s gonna be me and TurdZilla at the old folks home even though she is David’s turtle. Grant will be across the hall because I’m probably not going to live with him when we are in a nursing home. I’m thinking we will just steady date each other then, to add a little spice. Besides, I only promised forty years of actual marriage. 

But I got a lot of that stuff on my tongue and it did NOT feel or taste good at all. My theory is that because I had just brushed my teeth there was no sludge on my tongue from a long night’s sleep for a good defense barrier to the ‘poo be gone’. I ended up spitting a bunch of times right into the newly cleaned turtle tank, mostly out of shock but also (once again) the kitchen sink was a whole ten steps away. And that made me feel bad for the turtle because that’s pretty rude, but more importantly, it’s been a whole day and the sludge destroyer spot on my tongue is slightly rougher than the rest of my tongue. And while this could be because I have been dragging my teeth across it since the incident, I’m still a little worried.

The lesson here is of course that land turtles are much easier to take care of than aquatic turtles. 

You’re welcome. 

P.S. My mom just told me to also tell you to not open things with your teeth. She too says you’re welcome.

Music Meloncholy

Today I put all of our CD’s in storage.

Music CD’s not Money CD’s in case you were confused. (As if.)

I found it really hard to do. 

But I’m on a quest for de-cluttering my house before the holidays start. Those babies are nothing but dust collectors and space taker uppers. 

But they also symbolize over twenty five years of Grant’s and my life together. 

When we first met I think we were both still listening to the occasional cassette tape. I still have two huge cases filled with cassettes including some of my favorite mixes that I had recorded in high school using a recorder sitting NEXT to the RADIO. You had to totally pay attention if you wanted to cut out the commercials. The Walkman was the greatest invention of all time and pencils were not just for writing with: they were, with their erasers, the trick to winding messy mayhem back into crucial life tunes. 

We also both had (and still have) an extensive collection of records that we combined with our vows of ‘till death parts us unless you decide suddenly you don’t like music-then you’re OUT’. I have known a couple of really nice people in my life who don’t care all that much about music but I would NEVER have married one. 

Did you KNOW that the invention of the compact disc is mostly credited to James T Russell who was born in Bremerton Washington in 1931? He lives in MY STATE! Who knew?! In 1965 he joined Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of the Battelle Memorial Institute in Richland Washington. He is still alive as of right now but I’m not sure where he is living. I’d like to write him a thank you letter. Anyhow, that is your history lesson for the day. You’re welcome. 

Putting the CD’s away I was filled with melancholy. There were SO MANY homemade playlists: ones we made for our kids and ones our kids made for us when they got tech savy. “Stuff Mom Will Like”. Hundreds of purchased CD’s, used until they skipped from the scratches. Thousands of songs that would take a book to list, because of the memories they bring to the light.

When I was working in Montana for a week, super pregnant with Maria, I came home to a major event: Grant had traded his beloved truck in for a fifteen passenger van, later named The Rambuski. It was the ugliest thing I had ever seen and I honestly thought he had lost his mind. “I just thought it was time to show you that I’m ALL IN with this kid thing. I’m down. But I also spent two thousand dollars on a stereo system with six speakers.”

That van rocked Spokane and we filled it up with kids, their friends, football teams, soccer players cub scouts and there was NEVER a time when the stereo was not playing full blast, little heads and big heads bouncing up and down to request of the minute. Oh those memories, they just fill my eyes. Every kid remembers that rocking van, and the white one we bought later, the Whitebuski, that was traded in this year, with a Tom Petty CD still stuck in the player, for Grant’s dream truck. It took fifteen years to come full circle, complete with Bluetooth to play songs on his phone. 

We can put the CD’s away because now we have a family Spotify account. I lied about the Walkman being the greatest invention of all time: it’s second. To be able to listen to any piece of music on the face of the planet with a 4 second search? 

An epic gift from the universe. 

I can climb into history, take myself to a life moment that comes back in full color and smell from a song. Or into the minds of my children when then send me a song they love via text. I love to try to feel what they feel when they listen to a song. 

I will put the CD’s next to the box of records and cassettes and we will play them for the grandchildren and they will be in AWE of our ancient and strange artifacts.   

Plus, just in case there is a zombie apocalypse we will still have music to listen to, provided there’s gas for a generator. It’s good to be prepared. 

Playing the Field for a Minute

I received an email from my husband today:

“Do we need to talk about anything?”

Below his words was a forwarded email from Apple: 

Dear Heather, 

There was a billing problem with the service you subscribed to: Clover Dating App. To continue enjoying this service, please update your credit card information. 



Grant has an Android phone and does not subscribe to any Apple apps, but he still gets the email notifications on all purchases which keeps all us iPhone users who share the same Apple account in check.

I went down the list of our iPhone/iPad/iPod/XBox users. 

I knew Duncan had only just recently separated his Apple account from ours so I sent him a picture of the message from Apple along with the text: 

“Hey there. Any chance you happened to subscribe to a dating service under my Apple account? I may or may not be in trouble with your dad. He thinks I’m playing the field.”

His response was three laughing face emojis and a “WOW.”

I wasn’t sure if that was a guilty response or that he was saying WOW because he thought I was guilty. It’s hard to tell people’s tone with texts.

His follow up was “I would not get an app like that” which I mostly believed. 

Dillin has been self sufficient for years when it comes to all things techy, so I sent a group text to Dan and David:

“Did one of you two fancy young gents download a Clover Dating app? Your dad is concerned I’m trying to find someone new to replace him so fess up and get me out of trouble.”

David: “I did not.” (This overly simplified response COULD imply guilt. Or it could be he was in class and not supposed to be looking at his phone.)

Daniel: “No” with another damn laughing face emoji followed by “I should though.” (Another possible guilty response: the reverse psychology approach. He is taking Psych 101 this semester and getting way too smart for his own good.)

This just left Mitchel and Maria to ask. But Mitchel was in the middle of two days of basketball tryouts so I didn’t want to stress him out over the idea that I might soon be dating someone new instead of his dad so I left him out of the texting inquisition.

I CALLED Maria because I can always tell by her voice when she is lying. She just laughed and said someone probably hacked our account and that I should just change the password. That seemed EXTREMELY suspicious to me. Especially when she abruptly changed the discussion to the Disney Plus channel that everyone in the family seems to be super excited about. Except me. Quite frankly I have enough pressure keeping up with Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube channels I subscribe to. I need to take a vacation to get caught up on all my shows. Maria was worried that she was going to be bumped off because you can only have 7 different profiles per account. “Your dad and I share a profile on all the other streaming apps so why not Disney Plus? We share everything.”

But then an evil little voice whispered in my brain: “Or DO WE?” I DID take my wedding ring off in the TSA Security Line last week. That’s where it starts you know: one tiny step in the wrong direction. Maybe after that brief moment of not being married, my alter ego got caught up and subscribed to the service just to have some creative fodder to write about: all the men I COULD have if I WANTED to have them. And what’s with all the laughing emojis from the boys? Am I not date-able? Is that so far off the spectrum of reality? 

After I had my little mental temper tantrum I realized my thinking was very small picture focused. Besides the obvious fact that I don’t have TIME for a dating app (it’s hard enough choosing what series to watch in the evening before I go to bed), I have big picture ideas that mostly involve keeping Grant on my team. 

So I changed the password to our Apple account. 

Mitchel’s probably going to be super bummed about all those girls he will miss out on.  

Godzilla is Stomping on My Roses

Do you ever have days where your brain is just foggy and slow and the simplest things are difficult? Sometimes I have days like this right after days when I’m super “ON” and yesterday was all roses and sunshine where everything went my way, which used up a lot of energy, probably because I was movie star walking all day. You know what I mean, right? When you walk-strut to your inner theme music with total self assurance and you’re pretty positive everyone is saying: “Who IS that girl with the perfect hair and all that confidence? Is she a movie star just PRETENDING to be a flooring sales rep in order to get into character?”

Today I left the house with mascara and eyeliner on one eye.  

Then I lost an envelope of cash and I felt like Uncle Billy on “It’s a Wonderful Life” all freaked out and flusterpated wondering who the hell was acting like Mr. Potter and not letting me know I had misplaced my cash, because my NAME was on the envelope. I found myself being angry and all scowling at this mystery person, even though I only saw four people during the time I HAD and then LOST the envelope of cash, and not one of them would have kept it. But DO WE REALLY KNOW PEOPLE? I back tracked my steps and tore my car apart. Later I got home and found the envelope in my front pocket, folded in half. Which tells you there wasn’t THAT much cash in it. But STILL. In what universe does one not check their pockets FIRST? 

The same universe that let me leave the house with half my face in makeup. 

The same universe, I might add, that made my brand new car named Penelope have a lit up exclamation point on her dashboard. Nothing else, just an exclamation point inside a parenthesis. (!) That could mean ANYTHING. Maybe Penelope was trying to tell me my wad of cash was in my pocket. (!) OR it could mean the she was about to detonate and I’d best get out asap. But you’d think that there would be a few more exclamation points for that: (!!!!!) Right?

I pushed a bunch of buttons to see if there was any further explanation and all I managed to do was click off the speedometer with the lit up numbers so I had to look at the actual meter with the little clock hand pointing to ABOUT how fast I was going. Then I clicked the same button and my stereo turned off which meant it was just time to go home before any more trouble happened. I simply can’t drive without music. In my defense Penelope is complicated and her manual is as thick as a bible and I’m super busy right now. Though I wonder how thick my manual would be if I had one.

My brain fog was also partly because I was tired from Godzilla chasing me last night in my dreams. It’s been forever since I’ve had a monster dream and this one felt like it went on all night. I kept running from house to house trying to hide and thinking: “Godzilla is just going to step on this house and crush me but I don’t know of any bomb shelters anywhere and it’s not like I’m just going to stand out in the open”. So I was super exhausted when I woke Grant up to tell him about my dream. He didn’t seem to think there was any explanation other than it being another ‘Heather Thing’. My book ‘12,000 Dreams Interpreted’ was zero help so I googled it on a site called ‘Dream Dictionary’ and apparently Godzilla represents a person or a situation that I am worried is going to destroy everything I have worked for.

So all day I was a little worried and distracted about the idea of this person or entity that I DON’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT trying to destroy my life. Plus how can I go from movie star walking down a path of roses to a metaphoric Godzilla stomping on my dreams in less than 24 hours? 

You know what I think? 

Fuck Godzilla.