four plus three equals seven

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to bring you up to date on what’s been happening, as well as talk about some serious stuff, the way I sometimes do. You may remember me from such posts as “An Unexpected Thing”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I usually sleep in this direction, rather than the other way. 

I love my couch, as maybe you can tell. I’ve already told the story of the couch, more than once, but I really do love it. All the purebred border collies who have lived here have loved the couch.

Sometimes the guy I live with hogs the couch, but he never makes me get off so he can hog it. He sometimes takes a nap there, and I guess back when there was Opera Day here, he would lie on the couch while an opera was playing on the CD player, and Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me, would sleep under the living room window, which is also a nice place to sleep.

It rained, and then it snowed. I know this is May, and so does the guy I live with, but snow happens here. It doesn’t make that much difference, really. It melted, and then it was gone. Things are pretty green here. Green for us; maybe not so green for gardeners elsewhere.

The rare tulip, Tulipa butkovii, still looks good. This picture was taken with the phone, as the sun was going down.

The water in the canal suddenly stopped flowing (we’re not sure why), and so now the canal looks like this. Not very bucolic. 

So things here have been kind of different here lately. I mean, they’ve been very different for quite a while, but now they’re different from that, even. Things have settled down, as far as the first different part, especially for me not being left alone for a couple of hours every weekday, but in the past few weeks things have been going on here which usually don’t go on here. I wouldn’t say it was totally weird, just different. Maybe pretty weird. I have to think about it.

It started when a bottle of soy nail polish remover came in the mail. I really wondered about that. Then a couple of days later, there was a bottle of nail polish, which also came in the mail.

Then the guy I live with painted a couple of his fingernails. I had never seen that before. He removed the nail polish and gave the bottle to a neighbor.

He said the color was wrong and I thought that would be that. But no, another bottle arrived, and he painted his fingernails, then removed the polish, and said that would be that. The color was wrong again. Some people said he could go to a store and look at nail polish, but he said no to that.

By now you are probably wondering what this was all about. Well, so was I. He kept showing me the fingers on his hands, four on one hand and three on the other. Those were the ones that would have painted nails.
He even called his niece to see if it was okay if he showed up at her wedding, which will be soon, just to see if it was okay if he showed up wearing nail polish. She said it was.

He said he also asked a number of other women if they thought this idea was okay, and they all said yes.

Of course if this had happened years ago everyone would have totally freaked out. Totally freaking out about infinitesimally minor details was the way of things, as well as continual criticism and advice. (The guy I live with said those two things were pretty much the same.) But now he could do it.

It wasn’t until a couple of weeks after this idea had entered his mind that he looked at his hands and said “Four plus three equals seven.” That’s the state of the prostate cancer on what’s called the Gleason Scale, 4+3=7, which told the doctors the cancer needed to be treated.

Well so no nail polish. I was a bit relieved. The guy I live with is done with the radiation treatments and goes back in July for a blood test.

Meanwhile since this was all done he decided to take yet another picture of himself and post it on Facebook. At first it was going to be a picture of him with dark-red-painted fingernails, so I was really relieved when that didn’t happen, though it took him like 600 tries to get the picture right. (One reason for so many tries is that he had covered up the focus lamp with tape, because the light was so bright, and so about 550 of the pictures weren’t even remotely in focus.) He used a timer and walked over to the front door like a hundred times for six pictures at each little session.

This is him. He said he couldn’t smile more because his lips were chapped. I don’t get chapped lips.

And that was that. No more trying to figure out why the pictures weren’t any good, or trying to figure out what to do with his hands. Which don’t have polish on some of the fingernails.

Now back to gardening stuff. I’m sure you’ll be happy about that.

The goldfinches are happy too. I don’t know why the shed always comes out blue in these pictures because it’s green, but the goldfinches kind of go with it. We found the owls a few houses down, in a back yard, on a walk when we went down the coyote path.

The guy I live with and his friend went to the plant sale at Denver Botanic Gardens. He didn’t come back with an enormous number of plants. Maybe about ten. But he and his friend had a good time together, like they always do.

And because it rained and snowed, there was a lot of water in the creek, so I got to explore the sand bar. It was pretty interesting. Sandy, too.

Well I guess that’s all. The snow didn’t wreck anything, no one around here has painted nails, no more trips to radiation (for now), though there is one more tax appointment (number eight), so things are pretty much the way they always are, which I like.

Until next time, then.

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the sea of brome

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here to bring you up to date on the latest goings-on around here. You may remember me from such posts as “Mistletoe And Snow”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.  (This is a phone picture, so smaller. I don’t know why it’s smaller; it’s the only one taken with the phone that is.)

Today was a pretty leisurely day for us, which was a pleasant change of pace. We worked in the garden; it was over seventy degrees today, so of course it’s supposed to snow tomorrow. And snow for the next three days.

If you’ve followed our blog for any length of time, you know that it now snows regularly here at the end of April. It never used to do that, but it does now. The guy I live with of course detests snow at this time of year (and, really, at any time of the year), but there’s nothing to be done about it, except move, which we are not going to do.

This past week was anything but leisurely, though. On Monday I went to the doctor for my checkup and shots. That was okay. Then on Tuesday the guy I live with went back to the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center. He’s been there before. Nothing to do with the prostate cancer, which may actually be gone now. (We have to wait and see, on that one.)

His doctor sent him there because of low platelets, which he has had before. The first time he went, he was also sent to a place where he got ultrasound on his innards. But anyway, this time it turned out that his platelets were fine, and so he wasn’t put on a diet of kale, much to his relief.

Then on Thursday he had his eyes examined, because he’s supposed to do that every year. He has cataracts, but 20-20 vision with his glasses on. Weird, huh.

Then on Saturday he went to the dentist to have a new crown put on. I guess this isn’t like becoming a king, though I don’t really know.

So maybe you can tell that for us, who are used to doing mostly nothing, the last several months have been pretty chaotic. The guy I live with said he hoped this was the end of it, for a while.

Anyway, as I said, today was nice.

It started to get windy, and that was nice too, because wind has been so rare here the last few years.

There are things flowering in the garden. Iris bucharica, the latest to flower and easiest to grow of all the Juno irises. This is one called ‘Top Gold’.

Tulipa butkovii is flowering, too. 

And Fritillaria pallidiflora. The guy I live with grew these bulbs from seeds, a long time ago, and now they’re spreading by seeds, too.

Here’s a not-very-good phone picture of the clove currant, Ribes aureum, which is scenting the whole garden right now. It usually flowers in March, I think. There are a lot of these currants in the garden. 

And here are a couple of pictures of the garden, too, which show how dry it is right now. There won’t be enough snow to help with that, and the cold at night also won’t do any good, either. The guy I live with constantly wonders why it can’t rain in the spring, like it used to.

My walk this evening was a pretty long one, which I enjoyed, of course. Yesterday the guy I live with noticed that the owls were back, but in a different place. This evening there was only one in the tree. Maybe the other one had to go to the store. The guy I live with is always having to go to the store, too. 

The field where we walk has become a green sea of grass; a sea of brome. The guy I live with said that smooth brome, Bromus inermis, had been seeded in the field and now its taking over everything. It’s invaded the garden to such an extent that the guy I live with has become a bit discouraged. He says this grass is exponentially worse than bindweed or practically anything else he can think of.

Sometimes people who live in places farther south come to Denver and say how green it is as they drive along the highway west of here, but it’s really because of the smooth brome, which doesn’t need a whole lot of water in the spring in order to turn green.

It really is a nightmarish grass. It can be dug out, and just comes back again. Nothing kills it. The guy I live with doesn’t spray anything in the garden, but years ago there was a time when spraying was done occasionally, and it never did anything to the grass. The smooth brome just pretended it had been killed, and then came back with a vengeance the next year.

But it’s a good place for a purebred border collie, like I’m, to hunt for voles. There wasn’t a movie of me searching for voles in the grass, like there might have been, because the guy I live with said that since it was so windy I thought there were voles moving everywhere, and would have looked like an idiot on film. We wouldn’t want that.

But we did get some pictures of the kind-of-creepy willow. 

I think someone lives here. This is a different hole from the one I showed a while ago.

It was so windy that the guy I live with suggested we move out from under the willow, because of the huge broken branch.

The guy I live with said he thought he saw a meadowlark in the willow, but changed his mind. He said he hasn’t seen or heard a meadowlark in years. That makes him sad.

We went back to the path. The guy I live with struck up a conversation, over the fence, with a neighbor he’d never met. That always means I just stand there, or try to find something to do, while he talks and talks.

Eventually I got to go home. It was a long, long walk today. I’ll leave you with a picture of me, going home as usual, but I think you can see some of my hair being blown back, which shows how windy it was. I still had a good day, sailing along in the sea of brome.

Until next time, then.


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