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Sunday, 26 March 2017

More exceptionally wet weather kept me indoors.  Even though I’ve heard of our region being described as the Pacific NorthWET, I feel (without checking statistics) that February and March have been exceptionally rainy.

I took the briefest of walks out into the front garden.

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Pieris and flowering plum


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pieris


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needs detailed weeding!


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one showy tulip


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pleased that my rosa pteracantha has leafed out; I had been worried about it.


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narcissi


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Japanese maple


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also relieved to see Tetranpanax leafing out after a cold winter


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No feline had come outdoors with me.


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Skooter


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Smokey

I applied myself to finishing Thank You for Being Late…

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Parts of it were good…

…and then turned to a much shorter book that I’d been looking forward to and that was soon due at the library.

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I had read all of Betty’s books, enjoying both her acerbic wit and the Seattle and Vashon Island settings.  (Warning: The Egg and I, her most famous book, published in 1945, has some passages of racism toward the local native tribe that bothered me very much when I read it.  This is addressed in just one page of the biography.)

As I had always suspected, there was a more harrowing truth to the egg farm story than was revealed in Betty’s fictionalized autobiography.

I had started young on Betty’s books, with Mrs. Piggle Wiggle being a favourite of mine in grade school.

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I was astonished to read that in the 1930s, Betty lived just three blocks east of where I grew up (6317 15th; I lived at 6309 12th).  I must have walked by the house many times.

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Betty’s home, as it was

I was even more astonished to read that the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books might have been an influence on the name I chose in 1994 for my gardening business.

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In spring of 1994, I somehow ran across (before I had internet!) a mention of a place in England called “Tangley Cottage”.  I wonder if my memories of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s “tangly garden” is why the name appealed to me so much.

Paula Becker felt compelled to find Betty’s story.  That is just how I felt about Mass Observation diarist Nella Last, and about Gladys Taber’s memoirs.

“Why do some moments in history, some people’s stories, resonate for us more than others?  Perhaps because on some level, our own histories are deeply listening for them.  Listening to the quiet voice saying, Find me.”  —Paula Becker, Looking for Betty McDonald

Someone else that I found more about this week was Samuel Mockbee.  First, he was mentioned in the real estate listing of a hidden garden paradise we recently toured, and then his Rural Studio was mentioned in the great book, Deep South, by Paul Theroux.  Last night, we watched Citizen Architect,  a video about him.  It made me want to be young and a student at the Rural Studio.

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As you can see, rainy days are in many ways quite perfect.

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Guest photo from last midweek, from THE Oysterville Garden:

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photo by Melissa Van Domelen

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Now it feels like we have returned from spring to winter:

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early morning hail and thunder

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Having missed our garden club dinner last week, the North Beach Garden Gang met for brunch at Salt Pub.  (All but two photos today are by Allan.)

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This is the next garden awaiting our attention, west of Salt Hotel.

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It did not get awfully weedy over the winter.

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Melissa and Dave arrive

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our view

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two egg breakfast

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eggs benedict

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heuvos rancheros

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coming soon-ish.  Allan and I have tickets already.

The five of us lingered over our table for two hours, catching up on all the gardening news. It was especially pleasing to me to be greeted by another diner there, Lorna, who used to own Andersen’s RV Park and was one of our top favourite clients for the many years we gardened there.

I had just been thinking how now that we have six fewer big spring clean ups than we used to have, bad weather is not a crisis in the early spring.

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clearing but still cold and windy

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Todd, me, Melissa, Dave

In the afternoon, I simply finished a book I started last night.

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Yesterday evening, I read a short post apocalyptic novel (Thirst, by Benjamin Warner) that I only mildly enjoyed. Today’s choice was excellent; I especially appreciated that the protagonist was autistic and I could well identify with her ways of coping in the world after a comet hits our planet.  Turning from political non fiction to post apocalypse fiction hasn’t been that much of a change.  Coming up soon is Swallows and Amazons which should be much cheerier.  I haven’t even started it and I’ve already dreamt about reading it.

 

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Thursday, 2 March 2017

With the rainy windy day that had been predicted, we did not get the port spring clean up done.  I must confess that maybe if we worked between 8 and 11 AM we might have accomplished some of it

The rain increased considerably after 11 AM.  Allan went to pick up books at the library and took this photos of the early crocuses and irises at the community building in which the library is housed.  You can click on the photos in this mosaic to view them individually.

I had finished the excellent book The Shock Doctrine and was pleased at the prospect of a new batch of library books.  While I waited, I photographed a pile of old postcards (from the collection of our friend Joe Chasse) for my Grandma’s Scrapbook blog.  They will begin to appear there later this year.

A sneak peak:

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My books arrived.  What excitement opening the book bag! This new assortment contains some fiction, for a change.

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I settled right in with one of them.

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It is poetically written and its only flaw is a plot twist that I did not much like.  The parts about Scrabble, I liked very much.  (A boodle is what I call a bingo.)

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Even though I only play online now, I remember this sound:

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I finished the book.  It was a much easier read than the non fiction I’ve been perusing lately.

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Skooter had been helping Allan read.

 

Our garden club weekly dinner was postponed because of members being under the weather.

For the next two days, the actually weather won’t matter much because we have indoor political activities to attend.

 

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books 2016

For the bookish, an overview of what I read in 2016, with a few comments.  Thanks to Goodreads for the neat organization.

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Above: The title you can hardly read, top left, is My Mistake by Daniel Menaker, about being an editor at the New Yorker.   (Another good old book about the New Yorker, from years ago, is called Here at the New Yorker.)

Elinor Lipman was not as good as I had hoped, but good enough that I read all her novels over the winter.

A fat book of delightful cat cartoons and stories from the New Yorker had been lent to me by Steve and John.

A Seaside Knitters mystery, Trimmed with Murder, transported me happily to the fictional town of Sea Harbor.

One of Us is long and harrowing and worthwhile.

Gay Seattle brought back memories of my 1970s, and filled me in on previous decades.

Get it While You Can is by Nick Jaina, who sometimes performs locally at the Sou’wester Lodge.  His prose writing pleased me as much as his song writing—very much.

I have recommended Body Of Truth almost incessantly all year long.

Two great gardening books in the above patch: Oudolf: Hummelo and The New Shade Garden.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up was useless to me.

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The Road to Little Dribbling was perfection.

Gardening for the Home Brewer by my friend Debbie Teashon (with Wendy Tweaten) has a much nicer cover than that.  AND Debbie is giving a talk about it THIS Wednesday night (January 18th) at Salt Pub in Ilwaco.  I interrupt this book post for this announcement:salt.jpg

In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution, brought back so many memories for me of feminism in the 1970s.  Little did I know I would be reliving a lot of it by the end of 2016.

I liked Lorrie Moore well enough to read three books by her close together.

The film Star Wars: The Force Awakens started a brief reading theme.  My heart was broken at the end of Dec. 2016 when Carrie Fisher died.

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Above: I adored the Elizabeth Howard Cazalet Chronicles series.  I was lost in that world for days.

Our Kathleen got Crucial Conversations for free at work. I got some useful ideas from it. I wish I could say it solved all my communication problems.

Loving Eleanor ties in well with WWII books I read later in the year.

Being Mortal, PushOut, A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles – excellent.

Future Crimes began a spree of reading about internet woes.

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Above: The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck was more my style.

Do You Believe in Magic?, about the science (or lack of it) of alternative medicine, is another book I have recommended frequently since reading it.

Felicia Day…not the best of the books about the social internet.  Allan had checked it out because she had something vaguely to do with Joss Whedon (Buffy).

All gardening books by Dan Pearson were superb.

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I was on a kick of reading books about internet bullying.  Lindy West’s books had a good chapter on that.  Above, you’ll also see Hate Crimes in Cyberspace and This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things on that topic.

To Helvetica and Back was an enjoyable cozy mystery, not as good as the always reliably good Susan Wittig Albert, here represented by Blood Orange.

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Lower left title is So Rich So Poor, one of several books I read about class inequity.  Another is, of course, White Trash. (Further back is $2 a Day.)

Chop Suey was a not quite as good a read as I wanted about Chinese Restaurants.  Lab Girl was one of the best of my year. Girl on the Train had me in suspense, and I always love Laura Lippman’s mysteries.

I do not recommend the Farmer’s Market mystery series by Paige Shelton, even though I liked two other cozies by her earlier in the year.  I think she might be writing too many series too fast!

I read Nella Last’s War before Nella Last’s Peace.  Both are so wonderful, and I love her.   The books are in reverse order in these photos, and so Jambusters came first in my reading.  Before that came the telly show Home Fires, based on Jambusters, and Jambusters mentioned Nella Last, and so my “civilian live in WWII Britain” reading spree began.

Stranger in the House (about men coming home from WWII) and When the Children Came Home continued my WWII reading.

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Above, more of my beloved Nella Last, and Murder at Lambswool Farm, the new Seaside Knitters mystery (a series about which I wrote a whole blog post in the past).  An Agatha Raisin cozy, Pushing up Daisies, was fun and endearing even though I usually find the series not well written.

Liane Moriarty is a psychological suspense genius.

The gripping YA novel, Goodnight Mr. Tom, continued my WWII reading about evacuated children.  The move adaptation was disappointingly off-plot, as was Housewife 49, made from Nella Last’s War and absolutely terribly different from the book.

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I do not recommend A Thousand Naked Strangers; the flippant attitude toward patients of the author paramedic made me put the book down halfway through.

How We Lived Then, about civilan life in WWII Britain, had me completely absorved, and through that book, I learned about my favourite books of the year, Austerity Britain (here represented by the cover of A World to Build; each of the three huge David Kynaston volumes contains two books), Family Britain, and Modernity Britain.

New Yorker’s British correspondent Mollie Panter-Downs was oft quoted in the Kyanston histories, and above is her book of WWII short stories, Good Evening Mrs. Craven. January started with London War Notes by Mollie Panter-Downs, now another favourite.  I wish her peacetime columns would be made into a book.

More political reading: I had checked out What’s the Matter with Kansas, whose liberal (my kind of) author did not like Bobos in Paradise much…which I had coincidentally checked out at the same time.  (I found Bobos—bourgeois bohemians—very funny.)

If you want more details, including the number of stars from 1-5 that I gave each book, here they are again.  As you can see, I am pretty good about picking out books that I will like.

 

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Monday, 2 January 2017

Posted from my phone, which explains any odd formatting. 

Today was Allan’s 64th birthday!

Skooter’s favorite daytime sleep spot is in the hallway.

Better yet was Allan’s new birthday book, Atlas Obscura, which had to be sat upon


After a day of reading, we attended the monthly Living Liberally in Pacific County meeting at Adrift Hotel. Productive  ideas were formulated and discussed. I’ve been reading voraciously online about white feminism vs intersectional feminism…one of the issues of concern as liberals resist the new and bigoted ruling party about to come to power. I look forward to participating in anti racism workshops being organized by a group member. 

At the Living Liberally meeting

Following the meeting, Dave and Melissa joined us at the [pickled fish] restaurant upstairs. A scrumptious Thai Brussels sprouts appetizer went down too fast to be photographed.

Two fennel sausage pizzas and Dave

 

One birthday wish

An excellent guitarist


Having recently read the book Forked about the restaurant industry, I was pleased that beginning on this day,  [pickled fish] restaurant had abolished tipping, a practice historically rooted in slavery. It is now factoring in a service charge that guarantees all the restaurant workers a living wage. Hotelier Tiffany Turner, one of the organizers of the Living Liberally group, is to be commended for leading the way locally.

Forked: We recommend it.

Two excerpts from Forked:


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Allan’s birthday get together was so small because we did not know when the meeting would end, so we could not easily organize a larger party. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

I had to leave my cozy  home and my book for a dentist appointment (an easy one). Afterward, back in my sanctuary, I took a quick garden walk. 

A winter Joseph’s Coat rose

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Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’ and a successfully transplanted conifer

Hebe in Allan’s garden

Hellebore  foliage needs cutting back. It was too cold for gardening. 

Time to cut back old foliage


I barely entered the back yard. The gale warning flags flew over the port office and the icy wind discouraged me. 




Cold!

Nevertheless, I did feel the first stirring of desire to garden since Winterval began. That’s encouraging. 

I like the new shop-the-eye fencing.

Frosty would enjoy a gardening day.

I now hope for four non-peopling days in a row. (Allan has his own quiet pursuits.) My goal is to read all of these:

Later, one down. I learned about Elizabeth David in the David Kynaston British history series. 


Because I don’t enjoy cooking, I skipped reading the recipes. Any friend  is welcome to try them out on me. Her food essays are gorgeous. 



I’d like to read this one soon:


Next, Behind the Kitchden Door by Saru Jayaraman, the author of Forked. 

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I had planned to not post again till after this weekend’s Crab Pot Tree festivities.  Then, this morning, I got a nice email from a friend and reader asking if I was ok because there’d been no blog post.  I realized I had better make a proper announcement that there won’t be posts every day this winter.  Maybe once or twice a week!  Or more if I manage to do a gardening project or if Allan takes a boat trip, or if I read a really good book.  My plan for this staycation/winterval is to go out as little as possible.  If I follow through, that will lead to less blog fodder.  I can’t even wrap my head around decorating for the holidays this year because it would take a day away from reading.

To go along with this announcement, here is the rest of November, to show how not much is happening (which is just how I like it).

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

view north from the living room

view north from the living room

ageing in the garden

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reading for the day

Ruth Bancroft began her garden at age 61, just the age I am now.  Some people told her she would not live to see it mature.  (Nice friends!) In fact, she was alive and enjoying the garden at age 107 when this book was written.  She had worked in the garden until she had to resort to a walker at age 100.

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At age 107…

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I love this illustration from a favourite book of hers: When the Root Children Wake Up by Sybille Von Olfers.

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Look how beautiful the book is.  And, OH!, I did not know yuccas even had flowers like those arching yellow ones.

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I very much agree with Ruth about small plants:

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A couple of years after she began her garden, a freak cold winter killed it all.

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I am deliberately taking “bad” photos because it’s not right to swipe from the book.  I just want to share with you my inspiration that I should dismantle my scree garden around my garden boat, add more soil, and make it a bit taller, like this:

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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

I continued with The Bold Dry Garden.  My reading is going slowly these days because I have to keep checking back on various news sources for unpleasant updates.  I’ve written the suggested emails, letters, made the appropriate phone calls to government officials, and other than that I feel stuck—well informed but with little I can do other than read all about it.

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Most of Ruth’s plants I could not grow. I do like the many spiky flowers in her garden, and the way she designs could be translated to any garden.

I want this grass, even if it could be but an annual here.

I want this grass, even if it could be but an annual here.

Ruth.  How I love her now.  Gardeners: Do read the book.

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Now, at last, I can begin a book that I have already renewed twice: 500 plus pages of extra small print about life in Britain during WWII.

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In the first 100 pages, here’s what especially got to me.  Some readers might recall that, if I believed in reincarnation, I would feel that I HAD lived then and there.

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Television went dark in 1939:

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The black out begins in a town rather like Ilwaco.

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This explains why you often see depictions of people clustered around one radio for an important broadcast:

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Declaration of war:

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Many eyewitness accounts showed that the famed “stiff upper lip” was not much in evidence during the first air raid warnings.

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Even though I live in a small town, on my street security lights blaze on houses and blank out the sky.

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People were fined for showing the slightest chink of light:

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People got lost in the blackout, finding themselves in the woods, or in a pond.

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I recently read two other books, one non fiction, and one a novel, about wartime evacuee children: When the Children Came Home: Stories of Wartime Evacuees by Julie Summers and the glorious Goodnight, Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian.

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an interesting fact:

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My grandmother used to invite soldiers for dinner during WWII in Seattle.  Like this:

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You can read my grandma’s guestbook entries from some of those soldiers here.

And that is just the first 100 pages.  I’d be reading more (or the news) right now, had I not needed to boot up today to do the tiresome but so necessary monthly billing.

Allan felt bad because he forgot to help hang the floats on the crab pot tree yesterday.  (He was dealing with our medical insurance issues, and his brain got consumed by bureacracy.)

crab pot tree today

crab pot tree today

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Enjoy your December, and I’ll check in when I have something to share.  Meanwhile, if you missed it, I created a whole new blog about my grandma’s story, here.

 

 

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Mary, 2014-15

In memory of Mary, our red tabby cat, mother of Frosty and Smokey.  The family of three joined our household when their guy, Terry, died of lung cancer.  Terry, a Vietnam vet who lived in a trailer in the court next door to our old house, had become our friend when he walked his two old dogs up our road.  His dogs, Annie and Jasmine, predeceased him.  His last wish was that he would take his beloved kitties.

They had been feral when Terry took them in.  (Maybe he took in Mary as a pregnant mother to be.) They spent most of their well-loved adult lives as indoor cats inside his old motor home.  When they moved in with us, they soon learned the joy of being in a garden.

Mary, who passed away from lung cancer on March 18th, 2016, was a round ball of purrs with very short legs and a rolling gait.  She and her son Smokey were especially bonded and spent many hours snoozing together, as you will see in this gallery of photos.  Both of them liked to snuggle on my lap for book and movie time.  Mary is the one without a collar on; her sons wear BirdsBeSafe collars.

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1-20-14, with Frosty

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1-20-14; a rambunctious dog had come to visit.

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1-27-14, with Smokey

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1-30-14, Smokey, Mary, Frosty

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2-7-14, with Calvin and Frosty

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2-22-24, with Smokey

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4-19-14 on the front porch

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4-29-14; all the cats loved Nora’s warm driveway next door.

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5-5-14, being followed by Onyx from next door

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6-28-14, all four cats, including Calvin (the black one)

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1-17-15; Mary especially enjoyed the lap time of my six week long winter reading staycation.

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2-3-15; it was the winter of Kate Llewellyn books, mail ordered from Australia

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2-5-15, excellent author recommended by a blog reader

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2-20-15, with Smokey

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2-20-15 (CALVIN, the black cat, is the naughty boy who scratched my chair!)

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2-21-15, Frosty, Smokey, Mary

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4-17-15, Frosty, Smokey, Mary

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5-10-15, Smokey and Mary lounging on the driveway next doorway

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5-17-15, cats on Nora’s driveway (Allan’s photo, Mary, right)

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7-22-15 (Allan’s photo)

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12-1-15, staycation begins again

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12-2-15

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12-2-15

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12-2-15

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12-3-15

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12-6-15

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12-7-15

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12-8-15, last book by my favourite author

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12-8-15

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12-8-15

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12-14-15

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12-15-15

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12-15-15

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12-22-15

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12-23-15

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12-24-15

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12-27-15

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1-1-16

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1-5-16

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1-5-16

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1-5-16

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1-5-16

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1-7-16

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1-7-16

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1-10-16

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1-12-16

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1-13-16

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1-14-16

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1-22-16

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1-22-16

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1-24-16

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1-28-16

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2-3-16

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2-3-16

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2-4-16

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2-13-16

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2-13-16

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2-13-16

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2-13-16, with Calvin (right)

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2-15-16

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2-15-16

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2-18-16

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2-18-16

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2-20-16

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2-21-16

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2-23-16

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2-28-16

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3-17-16, at the vet

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3-17-16 (Allan’s photo, the last one of Mary)

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3-21-16, Smokey watches me make this blog entry about Mary.

 

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