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Ondine Brooks Kuraoka


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Posted By Ondine Brooks Kuraoka


Where did January go?!

"Welcome 2010!" is old news by now but I continue to welcome it anyway. I also welcomed some happy news about my knee last week. An orthopedic surgeon at Kaiser informed me that I have no evidence of a rip or tear; my right knee has a "pre-arthritic condition." Most likely brought on by playing too hard. But it has so improved over the last six months that I'm apparently taking good care of it. My swelling is gone. Gone! My range of movement is greatly increased. He said it's even possible that I had a minute tear that didn't show up on the MRI and it healed on its own in the meantime. But there are pre-arthritic changes, so I need to take good care of my dear knees. No running/high impact/jumping, etc. He was impressed with the improvement, though, and no need for surgery. Not for many years, or perhaps never! I was one happy mama when I left that office, practically skipping, I tell you. 

Best of all: I hiked Cowles Mountain again with no difficulty. Yay! We had storming rains for many days and afterwards the waterfall (we can see it from our front door) was rushing. It was too irresistible; I had to try hiking up. I decided to play it safe and return at the mid-point loop, but next time I may to all the way to the summit. I wasn't sure if I would ever get up there again, so it was quite the sweet celebration. The waterfall is such a rarity here in our dry East County landscape- I'm elated that I was able to hike up that day. 

So instead of high-impact aerobics I now do Tai Chi (beautiful form of midlife dance!) and yoga and Buddy is such a happy dog; lots of walks! It all feels good. I also take Zyflamend, an herbal anti-inflammatory.  

Why Cheese and Bees, Please? Well, because I still adore cheese. I don't eat a lot of it, but I have fond memories of it when I'm not eating it. About a week ago, I had a delectable roasted pecan/pear/arugula salad with bleu cheese crumbled on top. Just the right amount of cheese. Not too much. And God forbid, not too little! At ClaimJumper with Roy to celebrate his Good Citizen award. So proud of him! Proud of Leo, too, who received 4 out of 6 smileys today. Sweet pies, the two of them. 

Why Bees, though? I planted Sweet Peas, arugula and kale, and I'm visualizing happy bees in the vicinity to help all grow well. Please.



Posted By Ondine Brooks Kuraoka

Yesterday my mom came over and helped me install a bunny-deterring fence around our veggie-patch-to-be. Very sweet of her.

A good time, and Roy and Leo were the only way they could be: completely troll-like, but I mean that in a hilarious way. They created endless games out of the metal wire fencing rolls- it looked like barbed wire Olympics from afar, I’m sure. It wasn’t barbed wire, but I kept saying, Don’t poke your eyes out! Don’t get hurt! And they just kept laughing and rolling around, making boot camp-like tunnels and "traps" for each other. It was satisfactory entertainment for my mom and me while we did the hard manual labor. Buddy did his best to help, too.

The boys also picked a bunch of weeds and set them out for the rabbits to munch on, taking pity on them for being excluded from our Victory Garden. A generous gesture.

I don’t know if I want to call it a Victory Garden. Maybe Home Sweet Home Garden? I know- that’s a bit cloying, isn’t it?



Troll Garden.

Veggies and Trolls Garden.

Gobbling Garden.

Goblin Garden.

Garden of Misfit Toys.

Sprouts and Spooks Garden.

Dig for Dollars Garden.

No Gnomes Allowed Garden. I’m sorry- that’s really awful.

Rabbit Stew Garden.

Mr. McGregor’s Garden.



I’m done.

But lists are such fun.

Mr. McGregor used to scare me silly. You know, Mr. McGregor from Peter Rabbit. There was something just so menacing about him in Beatrix Potter’s illustration. Sheer genius, Ms. Potter was, that’s all I can say.




Posted By Ondine Brooks Kuraoka



I machete’d my way through some of the jungle in our yard this morning, just to show myself that I wouldn’t fall through a wormhole of disbelief from clearing some vegetation.

I’m trying not to succumb to feeling overwhelmed by my plans for the garden. I had all these elaborate ideas- I’ll make an archway out of sturdy branches and twigs; I’ll create a labyrinthe garden with all kinds of herbs and vegetables thriving in beautiful, loamy, compost-amended soil; oh yeah, and we’ll have an entire community of funky birdfeeders hanging from the trees, too. Can’t you just see it? But the problem is, the twiggy arch is a fire hazard, at least if I place it right next to the patio. Maybe I’ll figure out a different place for one… And the other thing is that our dear Buddy, Terrier-Chupacabra mix that he is, eats anything and everything. And he chases all birds away too. (Good for fruit trees, but kind of cruel and anxiety-provoking for the poor bird feeder visitors) What to do… maybe cayenne sprinkled around the tender young veggie plot? I don’t know. Anyway, so far these are all just ideas running around in my mind.

I plan to soak the proposed area for the plot before we go camping (it’s hard, dry remnant lawn right now), and put a layer of newspaper, then a layer of compost, then another layer of newspaper, and soak it again and hold it down with rocks. That way it will do its work while we’re away and then I’ll see how it’s doing when we get back. I’d like to plant in the fall. Any thoughts, Garden Angels?

Tomorrow is Panda John's birthday!

Windchimes to you!