Off to Seattle for the weekend to see my beloved stepmother Susan and hear my friend Jim Fergus read from his terrific new book, The Wild Girl : The Notebooks of Ned Giles, 1932 I am thoroughly looking forward to a few days in a real city — I havent’ been to Seattle since the summer of 1994, when I worked my first high-tech job there. Just think — reliable shellfish, raw oysters, actual Asian food, Elliott Bay Books, and I get to see Susan’s new house.
Susan, my stepmother, is only 7 years older than I am, which for a long time was very very weird. She married my dad when she was only 21, and got us in the bargain. I was 13 and Patrick was 11 and Susan had graduated from my high school a mere four years before I moved in with them at the start of my freshman year. So in many ways, it was great — she knew the scene, knew my teachers, knew how brutal high school could be. In other ways though, it was all very odd, and I am sorry to say that Patrick and I were pretty awful to her those first few years. But she hung in there, and over the years proved to be someone who was always on our side — she went to bat for the to of us on countless occasions and so when she and Dad split up about 15 years ago, we told her that he could run off to Europe if he wanted, but that we were keeping her. Susan bought her house about the same time I bought my little house here in Montana, and we joke about being the only two homeowners in the family. I’m really looking forward to seeing her house, and especially her garden. The photos are enough to make a girl green with jealousy — in only two years her perennials are gorgeous — that’s what happens when you live someplace where it actually rains. Of course, we had another 2 inches of snow last night, and I’m enormously relieved to say that my cold frames are proving worth their weight in gold. It’s 29 degrees out there this morning, but a balmy 40 degrees inside the cold frames, which is good because it didnt’ even occur to me to bring in the tomato and pepper seedlings last night. While we desperately need the moisture these last couple of waves of storm have brought with them, I’m also looking forward to getting out of the late-spring snow zone.