In 2018, I hereby resolve . . .

It’s that time again, time for New Year’s Resolutions. This year, I’m not fooling around. I have some serious resolutions to get to. Number one: stop ending sentences with prepositions. The rest I’ll share with you in case you need a resolution or two. No need to feel left out. They are as follows:

  1. Eat the chocolate. All the chocolate. Right now. Today. You won’t regret it. (Well, chocolatemaybe you will, but it will be worth it.)
  2. Don’t worry so much if you forget a, um, don’t help me . . . um, word. If you forget a word, just replace it with another one. No one will notice (probably). Best case scenario: they will run out of patience and supply your missing word with their own and you can stop searching for it.
  3. Take naps. Do you have any idea how wonderful naps are? If you don’t, this is your chance to find out. I tried them as part of my new Hygge lifestyle. I’ll never go back to that old fashioned, staying-awake-all-day thing. That just does not work for me.
  4. Don’t be afraid to throw things away. Like the living room rug. If you mistakenly 170904 Pippin restingbuy a green one and your senile beagle thinks it’s grass and pees on it several times a day, it’s okay to let it go, even if once upon a time you really liked it (before it got smelly) and you’re pretty sure some store somewhere sells something that will get the stench out. No. Let it go. Throw it away and buy a cheap one so that your senile beagle can pee in peace and you can have peace of mind.

That’s all I have for now. If I come across other issues that need to be resolved, I will post them here, or I will vague-book about them causing unnecessary intrigue and concern across the social medias. What are your resolutions?


The World According to Sarge

The mom-woman. She writes sap. She doesn’t tell the truth. She hates beetles and slugs and never plays with them. That’s dumb. 170905 Kristin Sarge blogShe sprays water on plants but I do that too, so she is wasteful.

170905 Sarge tongue 2I never pee on her, but I do stick out my tongue. She doesn’t know how things really are. I tell you how it really is.

She goes into the woods and doesn’t take me. She says it’s because I kill chipmunks. And rabbits. And snakes. So what? This is good. I do good.

These are the people I live with.

170905 Sarge family

The big-girl-I-love-the-most went away during the sunshine days. Then she came back. She spoke Italian. At least she said it was Italian. I don’t know what that is. The other dogs don’t know either. I was brave enough to ask them because I really wanted to know. I don’t think they like me.


The big-boy-who-makes-me-pee went away. Then he came back. He still makes me pee when he comes near, but I bite his ankles so he won’t know that I’m afraid.

The younger-boy-who-used-to-make-me-pee is now allowed to pat me. I’ve known him for 35 dog years and now it is time for him to rub my belly. But I still bite his ankles. I must make him afraid.

The man-I-bite-the-most still feeds me breakfast and cookies. I think if I bite him more, he will give me more. This is how it works.

They are all getting ready for the cold time. I know because they all have new shoes. The new shoes taste good. Pretty soon, life will be like this:


I can’t wait.

Where the Wild Things Are

It’s almost back-to-school time for me. I know I haven’t posted much anything about the Garden of Envy this summer, but trust me, it’s still there. It’s got flowers and bugs and other pests that both sting and bite, I mean surprise and delight.

There are my new friends, who come by to visit with I least expect them. This guy landed on my knee to chat about I don’t know what. He was darling but not very articulate: 170904 bees knees

I also have a regular meet and greet with a red squirrel whose picture I do not have due to an irrational fear of squirrels that developed suddenly when I was 5 and I was bitten by one. (I feel the same way about jellyfish thanks to an unfortunate run-in that same year, but I am less likely to run into one of those in my woodland garden.)

Anyhoo, here are some other new friends that live with me but do not pay rent. I’d call them squatters, but I’m not sure they even understand about mortgages and deeds and property law.


And even if you don’t get to meet them in person, the wild things let you know that they’re nearby.

170904 feathered friends

Though I love my little animal friends, it is the flowers and plants that give the garden life. The last two years out in the woodland have been about building the garden. This included lots of digging, planting, mulching, scratching unidentifiable rashes, and crying about the heat and the mosquitoes. I persevered, and the rewards I reaped this year were many.


And, as it turns out, I’ve got a veritable vineyard of wild grapes back there, as well as several blueberry trees that I had never met before.


After carving some walking paths into the brush, I found some white birch trees that make an excellent tea, and a bunch of blackberry bramble for tea and for snacking.

I also found a nest of bald-faced wasps and a bee hive, both of which I have left alone. I’ve grown wiser in my years as a budding gardener. This summer, for me, was about sitting and relaxing. Maybe next year I’ll get back to work.

My New World of Hygge

It’s been about a week since my girrl headed out into the world into parts unknown, and by parts unknown I mean Italy, which has Wifi and other modern conveniences like FaceTime and WhatsApp. She has used these modern conveniences to post pictures of the charming medieval village where she lives: the gorgeous architecture, the cobblestone streets. So, we’ve been in touch and it turns out she’s okay. Happy even. Who saw that coming?

I have decided to follow her example and experiment with new life philosophy. This week I’ve chosen the Danish concept of Hygge, which, loosely translated, means that I should be 100 percent comfortable 100 percent of the time.

Luckily, this has been easily accomplished. I have simply gone out into the woodland garden and created spaces where I can lose myself in complete comfort. I have cleared brambles from beneath a blueberry tree to create a spot for my morning coffee.


I’ve moved stones (sorry for the thunderstorms) to plant roses to enjoy while I take my mid-morning tea.


I have enjoyed reading time (which may or may not have turned into nap time) here.


Or sometimes I switch things up and do some reading or restful contemplating here. Though Hygge advocates for the comfortably familiar, I want to be careful not to get too complacent. (Or maybe that’s missing the point. I don’t know. I’m new at this.)


My late afternoon coffee is taken here, near my way-in-the-back vegetable garden, so I can meditate and tell the deer not to eat my spinach.


Or sometimes here, for a better view of the roses.


Late-night chamomile tea, taken to offset the late afternoon coffee, is enjoyed outdoors under the stars and the moonlight, which is not crazy at all, no matter what people say.


I’ve also made some lovely new friends, who also speak a language that I don’t understand.

In short, I have stopped at nothing to create a world in which I am always comfortable, all the time. I believe the complete and total physical comfort promised by Hygge is a worthy goal, and if I have to suffer poison ivy rashes, insect bites, burns, bumps and bruises to get it, then I’ll do what I have to do.

So you see? Though my girrl is far away, she’s still inspiring me. I’ve embraced a different culture and a new way of life right here in my very own back yard, thanks to her ambition and boldness.


By the way, I’ve found Hygge to be exhausting. Next week I’ll try something else.

Leaving Day

Well, today is the day. My girrl is headed to Italy on the adventure of a lifetime. I don’t think I’m ready, and not in any melodramatic or meaningful life-metaphor sense—I really don’t think I’m ready. There is still so much she hasn’t taught me.

I don’t know how to take a screen shot on my computer OR on my phone, for example.And only yesterday did I learn how to contact Siri. I need help shaping my eyebrows and wearing decorative scarves just so. I need encouragement, practice, and praise when I do things right.

I knock on her door frequently to ask if my hair looks presentable and am I young enough to get away with a certain pair of shoes. I’m sure she just loves these interuptions because she is always honest. Brutally, painfully honest. Who will take care of me now?

And even though she really doesn’t need it, I still like to parent every now and then. I think it’s something I do automatically. My cruise control is set to “parent.” Did you charge your phone? Did you eat? Would you please feed the dogs? Will you go get me a coffee? Okay that last one isn’t exactly parenting, but it is something I’m going to miss—a LOT.

Potatoes June 2015And though I love it, taking care of the garden, specifically the potatoes, really isn’t the same. For example, the kind of care my potatoes need involves throwing dirt on them so they will make more. This is not the kind of parenting my girrl needs or would ever allow. So you see, the garden really isn’t at all a good substitute.

In any case, the bon voyage day is here. Elsie leaves in a few hours for fantastic adventures. She will eat delicious Mediterranean cuisine, speak and hear foreign languages, see and appreciate the exquisite art and architecture from one of the world’s most ancient civilizations. I’ll be sure to give you frequent updates on how I’m doing.

This is what I think Elsie still looks like:

Elsie baby pink dress0625 Elsie with duck

But the fact is, she has one of these now:

Elsie degree


So, in fact, she’s more like this girl:




Elsie trip 3

But now it’s time for me to step aside.

Time for an April Fool’s Snowstorm

Sorry. I’ve missed you. I took some time off from blogging to have some quiet time.Zen frog 2

I spent my quiet time being quiet, in the garden and in the greenhouse mostly, meditating and resting.

Also, I was on a treasure hunt for the cause of some weird health issues. The whole thing is not completely sorted out, but I’m on the mend after months of doctor visits and blood tests that left me looking like a boxer who punches solely with her inner elbows.

Also, I worked very hard at work, because I love it so much. When asked to take on an overload, I can’t resist and won’t say no. I know am blessed to feel this way.

Also, I wrote a series of nonfiction children’s books on the U.S. military, which I found to be challenging because military information is, by nature, classified and top secret. I learned some kind of gross things that didn’t make the final edits, but I can’t un-know them and they’re really fun and gross, trust me.

Okay, I see it now. My quiet time was not all that quiet, but it was quiet enough for me.

Now I’m back. I supposed there’s no better time celebrate the noise and chaos of a busy life than right before an April Fool’s snowstorm.

Elsie and Nick April snowstorm 2

This picture is from the last time we had an April Fool’s snowstorm. Elsie is a college graduate now and Nick is in his junior year at UConn. May it be that long before we have another one.

Happy Anniversary, Garden of Envy!

It’s been a year since I celebrated Father’s Day by going off by myself and enjoying a local garden tour.

BLOG GT roses at Jackie Marro's I want them

I saw things that filled me with envy: strawberry patches, flower beds, climbing roses, sun-dappled frog ponds. I wanted them all, and I’m pleased to say that following a year of dirty, itchy, back-breaking work, I now have them, but they come with a price.

The strawberry patch has brought with it a game of drama and suspense. The strawberries are delicious—when I’m allowed to eat them. The chipmunks swoop in and grab them just before I decide they’re ripe enough to pick. So far owl decoys have not worked. I’m thinking of installing a motion sensor security alarm.

160619_strawberry pink                     160619_strawberry red


160619_coneflowers2I love the flower beds. Love them. But they’re new, so they’re not yet yielding anything I’m willing to cut. In fact, I wonder if they’ll ever yield anything I’ll be willing to cut. I planted those seeds, watered them, nurtured them, talked to them (yes, I do this constantly; do with that information what you will) and I can’t imaging going at them with a scissors. So much for fresh cut flowers in the house. You can only see them if you go down the hill in my back yard and sit among them on the bench next to this little fairy.

160619_fairy      160619_honeysuckle

Oh, and the climbing roses. I wanted them so much. I’m so happy to finally have them. 160619_roseskyHere’s the thing though, they attract caterpillars. Caterpillars turn me into a barbarian.

Never before have I gone after a species with such violence. I step on them indiscriminately. I squeeze them with my bare hands. None are spared. I’ll take my life in my hands and climb to the top rung of the ladder to squish one single caterpillar. One. No leaf is worth sacrificing, and no caterpillar will be left behind. I look in the mirror after a killing spree and think, “Who am I?”

16MaygardendayfrogThe frog ponds are the best.

They started out as vernal pools. They were always there, filling up in the spring and emptying in the fall; I just never paid them much attention. Now that I’ve cleared paths around them and created places to sit, I see that they are frog ponds. Frog ponds!

The music is majestic. Come sundown in my back yard, you’ll hear the birds, crickets, and frogs all singing together. It’s gorgeous, and worth every thorn, poison ivy rash, and muscle sprain.

I’ve spent a year creating the Garden of Envy. Now it’s time to sit and enjoy it.