June 03, 2004

My Other Roommates

Okay, I've finally given in after a year and a half. It's pet blogging time. (With apologies to dog people.)

Miloblueroom.jpg

Here is our cat Milo. He doesn't have a job, so all he really does is lay around and complain. Good thing for him that he's cute.


Backyardpond.jpg

And here in the pond behind the house is where our four little fishes live, two koi and two goldfish. They donít care too much for our two cats.

This yard, by the way, was only a sad-looking patch of grass when we bought the house. Since then my wife turned it into her largest-ever art project.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2004 01:55 PM
Comments

And a beautiful piece of work it is.

So the sun actually shines up there, huh?

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at June 3, 2004 02:14 PM

Thanks, Christopher.

We do get a lot of sun in the Summer and Fall. Spring is iffy and Winter is dark.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2004 02:23 PM

Looks nice!

Posted by: Mike Silverman at June 3, 2004 02:59 PM

Michael, killer backyard. Did you have to lug those huge flagstones into position? (my S.O. is the brilliant garden designer, I'm the one heaving around 80 lb rocks and shovelling sand and gravel)

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 3, 2004 03:11 PM

Did you have to lug those huge flagstones into position? Yep. Lots bricks back there, too. (You can't see them all in the photo.) One day I had to laugh because we had literally a tons of bricks delivered and plunked down in a crate the driveway.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2004 03:18 PM

that is a beautiful backyard. I've been trying to come up with some ideas for improving our small, soggy backyard. Thanks for the inspiration.

Posted by: mary at June 3, 2004 03:20 PM

Mary,

Our yard is very small. When we took out the grass it suddenly looked a lot larger. When we sectioned it off into different "zones" it appeared to double in size. What you see in the picture is about one third of the total surface area. The pond is higher-maintainance (only because we have fish), but a LOT cheaper than I expected it to be. I highly recommend a pond, but make sure it's three-feet deep if you get fish because otherwise varmints (like racoons) will eat them.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2004 03:38 PM

Yep. Lots bricks back there, too.

Well, fantastic job. Are those mosses beside the path? About the same colour as Scottish moss.

That looks like a great spot to sit with a book and a cool drinkie, hopefully one of those coconut jobs with an umbrella in it.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 3, 2004 03:38 PM

It is Scottish moss. (I think.)

I can sit back there and blog on my laptop because I have wi-fi in the house now. :)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2004 03:41 PM
We too have a tiny space, but my gardening-obsessed S.O. has made it into the talk of our neighbourhood. Some of the things she's sone to making a small garden into a bigger-seeming place are:
  • Putting up old found windows on wall to add reflected light, and break up otherwise plain walls
  • As Michael says, break it up into zones
  • Lots of different level stuff, with parts you can see through to other parts
  • Lots of stone paths between the different parts
  • Many bamboo trellises with wisteria and clematisis and other creepy vine things
  • Containers, containers, containers
I figure we've invested about 10 or 20 bucks a square foot in that garden. Probably why all the neighbours keep coming over and hanging out on our patio. Place is creeping with wildlife, too. Hummingbirds are the latest addition. Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 3, 2004 03:47 PM

Now that is what I call a yard! If I'm ever fortunate enough to have my own house, I'd like something like that out back.

Oh, and you should continue with the Cat blogging.

Posted by: Patrick Banks at June 3, 2004 04:19 PM

Thanks for the yard compliments. You're all making my wife's day here.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2004 05:00 PM

Michael-

Milo is adorable. I'm a cat guy myself. I have a Russian Blue named Elliott. He can fetch, and he takes showers with me every morning. No kidding. He's very considerate too, because he waits on the bathmat (he gets out before I do, I have to shave) so I can dry him off. Russian Blues are known for peculiar behavior to entertain their owners. If you get a new kitty, I suggest a Russian.

Posted by: James at June 3, 2004 05:54 PM

Wow. You have a sweet pad Michael.

Posted by: David at June 3, 2004 06:31 PM

When we sectioned it off into different "zones" it appeared to double in size

that's what makes it so appealing - I've always liked japanese gardens, but my husband likes the more free-form style. This design combines the two.

I don't think we could have any fish. My gardening style is kind of low maintenance. Stone paths, vines that grow with practically no effort and outdoor wi-fi access would be perfect.

And compliments to Milo too. He is a cutie.

Posted by: mary at June 3, 2004 06:50 PM

>>>"Here is our cat Milo. He doesn't have a job, so all he really does is lay around and complain. Good thing for him that he's cute."

Misery loves company. Have you found a job yet Michael?

Posted by: David at June 3, 2004 08:44 PM

Cat blogging is so 2003. I am enjoying this new trend of bloggers taking pix of their living spaces. First Michelle and her new house, then Roger and his LA hacienda, and now you.

The garden is lovely.

Posted by: Yehudit at June 3, 2004 08:57 PM

David: Misery loves company. Have you found a job yet Michael?

Yes, I have three. All are telecommuting writing jobs. So I work from home and in the coffeeshop. Life is good...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2004 09:41 PM

I'm so jealous!

We've spent YEARS of our life trying to figure out how to make a sad-looking patch of grass into an art project!

Beautiful!

Posted by: Catherine at June 4, 2004 07:50 AM

Michael--excellent work! I'm very impressed. As a side-note that will interest few on this board other than me: can you recommend a good source of flag-stones in PDX?

Posted by: David J. at June 4, 2004 08:55 AM

Two koi and two goldfish. Now all you need is some ornamental carp.

Posted by: triticale at June 4, 2004 10:04 AM

Great cat.

Posted by: miklos rosza at June 4, 2004 04:39 PM

My thoughts: Pretty much what everyone else has said (including David, with whom I may have just agreed for the very first time).

And did you actually use the word "varmints" back there, Michael. Hella cool points.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at June 5, 2004 01:08 AM

PS...

An original thought: I'm 22, looking at your 30-something life and thinking, I only hope I have it so well. A good wife. A good house. A good city. A very cute cat. And a beautiful backyard with a neat little pond/statue thing.

I dunno if I'd be all that happy with the techie end of things, but if I have all that stuff 10 years from now, I'll be an extremely happy guy. Be really really thankful for what you got, man.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at June 5, 2004 01:13 AM

Thanks, Grant.

And, yes, I used the word "varmints" up there somewhere. I picked it up from my dad who occasionally likes to pretend he's a redneck. (He is very much anything but.)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 5, 2004 01:22 AM

I thought all people on the Left Coast would have hot tubs in their back yards...

Posted by: Finnpundit at June 5, 2004 01:14 PM
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