An Emotional Extortion Exercise

“So are you celebrating Valentine’s Day or are you not a believer?” asked Naomi with a somewhat smirky smile.  I sat down on the bench and smirked back “You mean emotional extortion day?”  Naomi laughed as she slid a weight onto the end of the barbell.  

“So you’re not a believer then!”  she said as the weight clanked into position…

“No I suppose I’m not… mostly because it’s silly to single out a day just to sell cards and flowers”

“So you are a romantic – I knew it!” Naomi quipped.

“Yea, I can do romantic but Valentine’s Day seems superfluous”  I grabbed the barbell and lowered the weight down to my chest.

Naomi walked around the barbell; “Well, I’ve never gotten a romantic Valentine card… I mean, I have gotten cards and flowers before” she said as she moved in to spot me.  Grimacing I started to press the weight up.  “…it’s just that they were from weirdos”

Suddenly, I lost my concentration and started laughing about the weirdos; entirely at Naomi’s expense I might add.  The barbell instantly came back down on my buckling arms, impacting my chest abruptly; knocking most of the wind out of my har de har har.  I laid there spitting up muffled little chucklets of laughter, while my eyes bugged out; the veins in my neck were popping out hard enough to bounce a quarter off. Naomi quickly grabbed the barbell and helped me get it back up on the rack; she too was laughing and she quickly apologized for not spotting me close enough.

“No, I’m sorry for laughing but you’re young; you’ve got time to find a guy who will treat you right… and he won’t need a silly holiday for the hint.  He’ll do it because he wants to.” I grunted as I attempted to lift the weights back down to my chest again.  She kept her hands on the barbell as a precaution and then asked…

“So how long have you and your wife been married?”

Again, Naomi’s timing was perfect; catching me midway in my bench press… “Comon, you should know this” she smirked… I put the weight on the rack and asked “What year is this?”.  A very shallow and obvious attempt at stalling… she snipped “You seem to have lost count of your reps too cuz you’re not done yet”.  I pretended not to notice her comment and continued… “2017, would beee coming up on… 38 years”

Naomi’s eyes got wider… “Really? How old were you when you met?”

“Umm, Suzanne was 15 and I had just turned 17.”

“That’s just incredible” she said.  

She motioned for me to continue my bench press as I asked “You mean to tell me you haven’t had a nice young man give you flowers?”  

“Well my last boyfriend gave me a card the first year we were together but he stopped doing that kind of thing after a while.”

I continued to do my reps as I grunted advice; it wasn’t pretty and I should have known better but I kept on blabbing… “That’s the thing right there Naomie.. [Ughhh].  We should do these things because we want to.  [Ughhh], Not because we think we have to; [Ughh] especially because it’s some commercialized date”  

Now I was barely able to press the weight; I realized my arms were shaking like a California quake… “Wait, how many reps have I done?”

“You passed 10 of them a little bit ago”

“Why didn’t you stop me?” I protested, as I slid the weights back onto the rack.

Naomie smiled… “You seemed like you were doing it because you wanted too”

She chuckled a bit and then, turned and started walking… “Follow me.  We’re going to do some core”  She lead me over to the mats and grabbed a small medicine ball for me to do stomach crunches as I tossed the ball to her and she tossed it back.

As the ball knocked me backwards into the mat she asked “So what are you going to do today since you’re all emotionally extorted and stuff?”

I grimaced as I sat up and tossed the ball back to her… “I don’t know – probably get some flowers and take my wife to dinner”

“You are a romantic”

“I’m not stupid either” I said as I tossed the ball a bit briskly back to her.

She caught it and the gave me a look as she announced…  “Alright, screw the ball”

Suddenly I was faced with a dilemma.  I could have just replied “Ok” and then got up and listened to what’s next quietly.  That’s not what I did.  Before I knew it I replied wistfully… “Well I don’t know what to say.”

Now my timing was perfect.  Naomie, was on the floor in a planking position, about to demonstrate a perfectly good planking torture for me to try.   I said “I can’t remember the last time a nice young lady has suggested something like that to me on Valentine’s Day”.  Suddenly she was trying not to laugh, but her arms gave out and the laughter came; and she turned beet red in the process.

“I’m sorry” I said, as she laughed face first into the carpet.  

Naomie’s answer was muffled… “You’re fine, you’re good… I just need a moment”.  

Naomie made me do so many of those one handed, one legged, planking things (I’m sure there is some evil spell required to actually do them right) that I could hardly hold on to the flowers at the check stand that evening.



Thoughts on the Swing

Happy 2017 from the Co-op

Hello friends and family of the Boyd Orchard & Garden Co-Op!

I can’t believe it’s nearing time to open up the orchard and garden already!  If you’d like to join our community again this year, our first work day is FEBRUARY 11, Saturday.  We will be pruning all the trees to prep for spring.  It needs to be done rain or shine, so we’ll be out there with our pruners and loppers, boots and rain coats!  Bring your own if you can; I do have a very limited supply of pruners to share.  I will have a crock pot full of something hot at lunch.  It will be a pot luck style shared meal, so bring what sounds good to you!  Our work will being at 9am and ending at 4pm.   Welcome All!

Send us an RSVP if you find a minute; it would be nice to have a head count to begin the year.  Recruitment is on!

Still charging $25 for the season, plus one work day for all the harvest you can carry away.  This is a Co-op with open arms and bridges policy.

Our future dates:  Planting Day will be May 6, and then weeding/gardening days will be June 17, July 8, August 12 and harvesting all over and in between. September into October is heavy harvest of orchard.

All our best wishes for this coming spring and summer; this will be a place to share, contemplate and enjoy working in the dirt and trees,  and celebrating with good food.

We will have 2 new bee colonies as well; as new beekeepers we learned much and look forward to understanding the bees a bit better through 2017.

See you in the trees,

Suzannamaria & Dario


Garden, Orchard

The Countdown to Wetter Abs.

There ought to be a law or something; for construction sites, whether they are commercial warehouses, track homes or just plain traffic light repairs. A law specifically prohibiting the stopping of traffic on notoriously busy thoroughfares during “rush hour” traffic. What should have been a 20-minute drive was in serious trouble when I realized 30 minutes had already gone by. I was not quite halfway to the gym, where my trainer was about to get paid for surfing on her smartphone. Oh, I’m sure Naomi would have been a little put out, considering I was the reason she had to get up and be at work by 7am only to find she had no one to torture for her efforts.

I inched my car forward a few feet, beeped the horn and put in a call to the gym.

“Hey you!” she said with the distinct undertone of “Where the hell are you?”… “I’m in traffic, still barely out of Sherwood… I don’t think I’ll make it by seven”… After going through a few rescheduling options which wouldn’t work for me, she asked… “Well, how long do you think you’ll be?” I moved the car forward a few more feet and stopped… again. “Well considering I should have gotten there early but now I’m gonna be late, I would have to say I have no reliable math equation for that question”… Naomi was not impressed as I was by that answer. “Just do the best you can and when you get here, we’ll see what we can do.” she quipped… “Ok, bye!” I chirped as my car lurched a few more feet.

When I finally arrived at the gym I was 10 minutes late, and still needed to get changed. I rushed so quickly to get my workout clothes on that I missed a very important detail I had already missed earlier that morning… more on that later. As I hobbled out of the locker room my old friend Tony appeared and proclaimed “Odb, what’s happening?” I had no time to chat like normal so I kept moving as I shouted, “Oh man, I’m late”. I could hear Tony’s laughter fading as I turned the corner and made my way to the gym. By this time I was now 15 minutes late; more than half my session time was gone.

So we rushed out to the floor and Naomi started running me through exercise routines I was already familiar with; thus cutting down the amount of time she would spend demonstrating exercises I didn’t know already. We focused on my core with things like weights, planking and the, oh so much fun, “Superman”. While I was on the floor doing a series of stomach crunches she said we’re doing the 5-minute core program; I started laughing. “What’s so funny?” asked Naomi. “I was just thinking about a joke I saw in a movie about 8-minute abs,” I said, grunting as I rushed through another crunch. “8-minute what?” she asked. “8-minute abs… you know, in the movie?… Something about Mary?” – “oh yea” she chirped, “I think I saw that when I was a little girl”… I stopped my crunches for a second and looked at her in utter disbelief. “Crap I’m old,” I said. “Anyway, it jokes about the silly notion of 7-minute abs being better than 8-minute abs. It struck me that’s kind of what we’re doing now, trying to get my workout squeezed into half the time”… Naomi just looked at me like I was speaking in high-pitched bat noises. Jokes are not funny if you have to explain them.

After running me through a fairly aggressive series of core exercises Naomi bid me farewell. To make up for my lost time, I continued with a few more exercises working up a good sweat, and then headed to the locker room to suit up for the pool. That’s when I noticed a key item missing from my bag; I had no towel.

I sat for a moment and debated what I should do next. I could run to the front desk and see if a towel was left at the lost and found. But the thought of a used towel seemed a bit desperate. I could just change into my cloths and put up with my stink all day long but that didn’t seem like a good business decision when it came to my customers. I decided I would go ahead and swim my laps, get a shower and do the best I could to get dry.

So I went for a swim.

After my swim and getting a good sweat in the sauna, I showered off and proceeded to do – for lack of a better term – the squeegee dance.

The Squeegee Dance: Using one’s hands to swipe away excess water from various parts of one’s naked body, being very careful of course not to injure one’s tender parts.

Not only was this not effective, but the whole process seemed to generate a lot of attention from the locker rooms. But then I suddenly realized the sauna might be just the ticket. I spent the next 10 minutes stepping into the sauna and stepping out, trying to find that magic balance between wet, dry and sweaty. By the time I was done I had pissed off two guys trying to work up a sweat only to have me letting their hot air out of the sauna every few minutes. Frankly, the whole method didn’t work very well anyway because I was still fairly wet, and my internal thermostat was so whacked that for the next 15 minutes after getting my clothes on, I was still sweating like a kazoo player in a rock band.

As I was leaving the gym I noticed a young lady asking for something at the front desk. While I tried desperately to peel my damp shirt from my flabby aching abs, she was handed, what appeared to be, a nicely folded, fresh smelling, clean, dry, towel. Tony was finishing up his workout across the gym, but he swears he heard a noise like Chewie the Wookiee as I staggered out the front doors. Like I said, there ought to be a law; or something.

© 2016 db, Darrel Boyd

Thoughts on the Swing

Last of the Harvest!

Hello Farmer Friends!

Last Harvest Call:  We are looking at the end of our picking season for pears and apples!  Come soon (this week through the weekend)  if you’d like to share in this harvest.  There are about 6 pear trees that need picking, and still lots of apples.

There are a few things left in the garden also, including the best egg plant harvest we’ve had.  Lots of herbs left, and a smattering of tomatoes and cukes, squash and lots of pumpkins.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the bounty of the garden and orchard this year; we’ve certainly have enjoyed your company, hard work and enthusiasm! (not to mention the great lunchesJ)

Sincere wishes for a peaceful fall and winter,

Suzannamaria and Dario


Harvest 2016

14021480_10207006803997224_8256913271998100128_nHello  and warmest of greetings!!  (hee hee)

There is so much to pick in our garden and orchard now!!  Come help yourselves to this bounty. The pears have never been so good!  Pick all you want, store in fridge and take out a few at a time to ripen for a day or so on the counter.  Apples are

Beginning to be ready – especially the yellow Chehalis about ½ way up into the left side of the orchard. If you want to know if an apple tree is ready, pick one, taste it.  Too tart?  Wait… Plums are delicious!

The garden:  herbs, tomatoes, egg plant, cukes, CORN! Beans, squash, peppers… Pick to your hearts content!  If I’m not home (as I am frequently out and about)  just make sure Bella is fenced in.  She loves to wander up to Bill, or Mary’s, or Francis…

Thanks for all your work this season!   All we do now is pick, pick, pick…

The bees are great!!  So far we have a very lively couple of hives, and I’m feeling very optimistic they will make it through this winter.  They are fascinating to watch.

All the best,



Garden, Harvest, Orchard

WeedFest 3.0 – HARVEST!

Hello Summertime Gardeners!

WeedFest 2.0  - 2016Our last weeding party for summer is coming up Saturday, August 13.  We’ll weed, prune and pick until lunchtime.  Bring a dish to share if you’d like to potluck with us!

WE HAVE HARVEST!   The tomatoes are ripening, cucumbers, zucchini, beans (look for them in the corn patch!), beets, carrots, parsley, basil, dill, kale, potatoes, and some squash, etc.

Apples, pears are good this year, and the picking will begin soon, also.  I tried some apples, and they are still quite tart – need more summertime.  They take until fall to ripen, really.

Come on over and take away all the “fruits”  of your hard work!

I picked the ripest tomatoes – they are on my counter with fresh honey we scooped out of our hive! Yum  J

Thanks for all you wonderful spirit and enthusiasm for this gardening adventure.

Suzannamaria & Dario


Garden, Harvest

Two Weeks

The thing about working out is that you need to keep the schedule regular.  It’s bad enough that you find new muscle groups during regularly scheduled workouts that can seize you up for days at a time.  But taking two weeks off means you have a whole new empty slate of muscle groups ready to make you pay dearly in the very depths of lactic acid hell.  And so I missed the first week due to a business trip where I had no time to find a gym or pool.  The second week I was down and out, recuperating from a spinal injection procedure on my lower back.  My trainer, Naome walked up to me as I lay on a mat stretching my reticent muscles; she smiled coyly and said “Hey you, it’s been a while”

I grunted as I yarded my ass off the mat “Two Weeks” I said.

The pleased look on her face from that point on was like she got a new puppy.  “Ok” she said as she clapped her hands together “We gonna work upper body or lower?”  I put my hands on my lower back and tried not to whimper “Lower” I said… “but we need to take it easy on the back and…”  Naome interrupted “We’ll slowly graduate each superset toward those muscle groups in your lower back and see how it goes”.  I kind of protested a bit with a “but, but…” she interrupted again  “Let me know if you get any kind of shooting pain down your leg and we’ll back off”… I nodded my head and started following her around the gym like a puppy that’s been whacked with a neatly rolled newspaper.  

“Two weeks” I whimpered.

We went through several supersets and gradually worked our way to planks.  Now there are a number of variations on planking and their creative sadistic artform seems limited only loosely by the laws of physics.  So Namome had me do several variations interspersed with lunges, lunges and more lunges.  By the time I got into the pool I couldn’t feel my legs but my back was just fine.  Crap!… I hate it when she’s right.  After thrashing out 20 lengths of the pool I staggered back to the sauna, anticipating a nice long sweat with my eyes closed.  I didn’t see the sign as I walked right into the -nice and cool- sauna… as I turned back I saw it.  The sign said “Closed for Maintenance”  … well shit.

Two days later I was back in the gym, and having significant trouble getting my sore legs into a stretch position when Naome greeted me with “Hey you, how are you feeling today?”  Between squeaks and grunts I indicated that my legs were in business for themselves.  “Ok, so it’s the upper body today”.  Little did she know I was in a lousy mood that morning because I still wasn’t over the cold broken sauna; and there was a bit of an incident in the locker room where I became the unwilling viewer of an old man BA as he bent over to get a drink out of the fountain.  I closed my eyes in a defensive move and pivoted right into an open locker door.  Then while I sat rubbing my head in front of my locker, the old guy walked over and proceed to unlock his locker; it was the one directly above mine.  So there he was fumbling like a toddler with his combo lock, with his bare ass booty right at my face level.  “Oh for the love of…” I mumbled as I turned away – much more carefully this time, so as to avoid an additional contusion.  No amount of painful stretching could help me unsee this.

But Naome didn’t even seem to notice my foul mood… “Ok then, let’s get cracking” she said as she turned and walked off toward the weights section of the gym. Meanwhile I was still on the floor, pulling my legs somewhat under my body and belly crawling up the wall in order to stand.  I made my way over to the bench where she was waiting with a 25 lbs barbell.  Geeze, I had no idea there were so many ways to make a 25 pound barbell seem like it weighed 100 lbs.  By the time she was done with me, I could hardly lift my arms without them shaking like I had the DT’s.  

“That’s enough weights for today” she said, “…follow me to the training area”  I staggered somewhat following her over to an exercise ball.  “Now I want you to do a standard plank but I want your elbows balanced on the top of this ball.” she ordered… “Do you think you can do that?”  I just shook my head and placed the ball in front of me.  While still on my knees I placed my elbows on the ball… then I lifted my knees.  My elbows sunk down into the ball and it made that familiar noise with air and rubber looking for a way out of the whole situation.  The shaking was sudden and violent as I struggled to maintain my bridge and balance that friggen ball.  Then very suddenly and very forcefully, the ball left the scene.  I mean it shot out from under me like somebody squeezing a watermelon seed between their fingers.  There was a crazy “Pfffffffffffttttt”, sound as the ball seemingly broke the sound barrier, striking Naome in the head.  There was a very distinct “whap” reminiscent of the old dodgeball days and, I remember this; a “Squeal”.  I do not know if it was from the ball for from Naome but the whole gym turned their collective heads to see what was happening.  Then of course, with no ball to hold me up I hit the floor like a sack of old hams and added another lump to the lump I already had on my head.

So there we were – me on the floor, too weak to lift my arms to cover my lumpty lumps and Naome on her butt rubbing her pink splotched forehead.  “Are you Ok?” she asked as I lay there.  “Yes – Sorry but my arms are jello.  I couldn’t keep my balance on that dam’d ball.” I quipped.  “Well I think we’re done for the day…  See you in a week.  Try not to make it two…” she said while looking down at me as she past by, on her way to her desk.  

After a moment, I managed to get myself up off the floor and limped back to the locker room.  I changed and headed out to the pool, hoping the cool water would calm my arms down a bit.  While I managed to complete my 20 lengths my arms refused to acknowledge any feeling whatsoever.  As I swam, all I kept thinking about was the sauna.  The lactic acid was pooling, prepping my body for days of stiffness and soreness so I was looking forward to the relaxing warmth and the total lack of activity and/or contusions.  

As I turned the corners to the hallway where the sauna was I could see the sign was still there… “Closed for Maintenance”.  I just hung my head and shook it.  About that time a nice young janitor man walked into the hall.  “Excuse me” I said “Can you tell me how long the sauna is going to be down?”  The young man turned to me, shook his head and said “Two weeks”

Two Weeks!

© Copyright db 2016

Thoughts on the Swing

WeedFest 2.0 – 2016

Garden, Harvest

WeedFest 2.0

Hello Fellow Farmers!

Another harvest and weeding day coming up this Saturday the 16th – and we will be working from 9am to 2pm, or until the mood strikes us to quit!  The garden is beautiful, and we have a lot of garlic to dig up and braid!

There will be enough for all to pack home and hang in attics, garages, basements and bedrooms to keep all the vampires away!   There are some plums in the orchard, and in the garden:  spinach, beets, carrots, kale, herbs, zucchini

and berries are still thick on the vines.  I picked the first few cherry tomatoes, and look forward to tomato season, which is still very early.   Come help out and pack your baskets full of produce!  If you’d like to join us for a meal, it is pot luck as usual.

See you Saturday!

Suzannamaria and Dario

Garden, Harvest

Picking up the Load


It was the smell that struck him at first. LeRoy motioned to the wounded Forceman to lay still as he reached for a bit of rope from his backpack. He thought he recognized the young Canadian man but he couldn’t be sure. As he looped the rope around the soldier’s shattered leg he looked around for a something to tighten the tourniquet. It was the smell; the mortar smoke; the steaming mud; the blood and the burnt flesh. All around were the chaotic sounds of mortars, burp guns, bullets singing and a young man’s cries of pain, but it was the smell that had Roy’s attention. This was Roy’s first true battle and he was separated from his platoon.

After setting the tourniquet, LeRoy had little choice but to continue with his backpack. He marked the spot as best he could in hopes that members of his regiment coming back down the slope would find the wounded soldier and take him back to the supply staging area. As he negotiated the flats below the mountain slopes, he avoided following other Force members into the trees. He had already seen some of his buddies cut to pieces when a mortar round turned trees into deadly swaths of jagged splinters. No, even though he was in plain view of the German spotters above, it was better to be out in the open where the mortar rounds would sink into the wet ground before detonating.

Above him were the slopes of Mt La Difensa. The clatter of weapon fire was intense from the summit.  The 2nd regiment had scaled the northern cliffs to the summit the day before and surprised the Germans from behind their defenses. Now it was the 3rd regiment’s job to haul supplies and ammo up the slopes to the base of the cliffs in support of the mission; it was too steep for the mules. LeRoy strained for each and every step, fighting the ever increasing slope of loose rock and slippery thick mud. More than once he went down to the ground only to have that 80-pound pack beat him and drag him back down that awful slope.

Only hours after the battle had started returning Forcemen from the 3rd announced that the summit had been taken. Shouts from the 3rd could be heard all over the hillside as the news spread up and down the slopes. But there was little time for celebrations; the Germans would counterattack and this ragged supply chain consisting of men and heavy packs was vital to holding the newly won summit. And so they kept hauling, one pack at a time. LeRoy turned and leaned into the hill; the cliffs were just a bit further ahead; he could get rid of this hateful pack for his trip back.

Late that evening LeRoy was headed back down the slopes; by this time he had lost count of how many trips he had made up that hillside. He never found out what had become of the Canadian Forceman he attended to. If he survived he undoubtedly would be headed back home without most of that leg; A life-long wound.

It was getting dreadfully dark. At least the night provided a bit more cover, but it also brought a surreal intensity to the fight with flashes of artillery, tracers, and flares. The darkness also made the trip back down the mountain paths treacherous under the cloud-shrouded skies. As he walked he realized he hadn’t seen another Forceman for some time. To make matters worse, a bitter cold rain kicked up. Roy decided to try and get some rest before continuing back down. There was no comfortable place on that slope; just a rocky and barren ridgeline with little cover. He pulled his jacket up and tucked his cold wet hands underneath. As his head lay back, his helmet found a slot between two rocks to cradle his head. By now he hardly noticed the sounds of weapon fire and the percussion of mortars; totally drained, he drifted off to sleep.

The approach of the mortar round pried Roy’s eyes open to the sting of cold rain. The flash and concussion of the blast found him rolling in a desperate attempt to take cover. Instantly he felt his left foot go numb as rocks and shrapnel ricocheted all over the ridge line around him. As the deadly shrapnel slowly turned back to the torturous rainfall, LeRoy realized he was afraid to look down at his foot. Is this how he would go home?… foot blown off while napping? He slowly sat up; his heart was racing and he still couldn’t feel that foot. For the longest time, he didn’t want to look. As the cold wind whipped another squall of rain up the mountain side he finally heard the voices of other Forcemen. He had to get back to the mission.

Slowly Roy lifted his leg to look at his foot… it was still there – numb, but he still had a whole foot. What was missing was the bottom of his boot. It appeared the mortar round had cleanly blown the sole of his boot away leaving a good portion of his foot exposed. The faint light of morning was beginning to highlight the mountains to the east so Roy cut a chunk of his jacket pocket and tied the material to the bottom of his boot. He then proceeded to hobble down the mountain, into the misty, rain-soaked, smoke and fog… to get another load.

LeRoy taught me a great deal about carrying loads. He was not my real father but Roy became, and always will be, my Dad. LeRoy was my step dad, but the reason we share the same last name is that he started out as my uncle.  LeRoy was my father’s half-brother.  At some point during my parents failing marriage, Roy fell in love with my mom.  It was not a pretty process, the timing of when LeRoy and mom had become a couple was a contentious point for my father and many family members, but trust me when I tell you it couldn’t have worked out better for myself and my siblings. This man stepped up and calmly took on the 5 children of the woman he loved.  He often told me that’s when his life really started.

For me, it was a turning point too but I was too young to fully realize the importance of that juncture. I was caught in the swirling emotion of our family struggles and I risked losing my way many times. Through it all Roy became the steadfast anchor in my life. Through it all he was there to take me aside and calm me with that steady, soft voice, that was like a blanket; warm and safe. “No matter what’s going on around you son, it’s important to keep your wits about you.” he told me “It’s all too easy to despair”.

Roy knew a little something about despair. For years after the war he wandered… from job to job and relationship to relationship. During the days he was simply my uncle, he would visit our home in Toledo and help my father with the ongoing construction of our house. In those years it was common to see him carrying a gallon wine jug throughout the day. He never talked about the war unless someone else brought it up… even then he wouldn’t say much. I didn’t see it then but now I know, he was hurting from that war.

I do not know exactly when my mom and Roy fell in love. Frankly, I’ve never really cared about the timing. All I know is that after the divorce of my parents, Roy asked mom to marry him and the wine bottle disappeared. I suppose in a way it was much like that day when the mortar round blew off the bottom of his boot; finally deciding to look at the wound Roy discovered he could continue. He realized he had a new family that desperately needed a steady supply line of love and stability; something he needed too.  All he had to do was, pick up the load.

For LeRoy, my Dad

© 2016 Darrel Boyd

Thoughts on the Swing