Sunday, April 29, 2007

I Won, Well, Sorta

I started a fight with about a thousand wild roses and a few hundred honeysuckle vines and just a dozen or so large grape vines that were trying to bring down my tulip, dogwood and oak trees. In spite of the picture above, I have won the first battle. Yes, I know, there are many more to come. I will know in a day or two if the poison ivy got in a few swipes. Only one little tick and a beautiful lizard after all that tromping through the woods. We were wary of copperheads, but didn't disturb any from wherever they were hiding. Gee, I make my yard sound like a dangerous jungle!

We also moved the pile of rocks and pile of bricks that the builders had left behind to a less obvious place. That move disturbed a few dozen beetles.

Above is the first bloom on the lovely clematis that I planted near the front door. It is so fulfilling to start to see the plants come out of dormancy and open their blossoms.

My weekends are so full trying to get the yard in order that I have little time to think of problems at work or otherwise. I guess this is a good thing. It is kind of a scary thing also, because I am afraid that when I retire the sudden lull will be like hitting a brick wall. I better have something lined up. Any ideas?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Referral to Me

Click on the link to Room Without Walls on the right side of this blog for a new post on my other blog.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Taking a deep breath

Life has been a little crazy recently. Nothing bad, but I am still doing two jobs at work and both of them have become a little more demanding. I am trying hard to please everyone and come home at the end of each day exhausted. No room for photos, poetry, or thinking about my little guy. Next week is even crazier, but I am taking Friday off and that is when I am going to regroup.

Life is so weird. I was getting depressed at work because I didn't feel I was being used effectively. Now I am being drained of every minute of the day, every idea in my brain cell, and given every bit of paperwork that I can handle.

I am such a little bureaucrat. I actually used a bunch of acronyms in a meeting the other day, and I didn't throw up! Only a few more months of this idiocy. Can you believe I work in a Federal office that STILL doesn't have a firm budget. Also as a Federal office we are required to get everything spent by June when we do get it.

It won't even begin to talk about the mess with Congressional earmarks.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Homage to the Salt of the Earth

Who was this man, the salt of the earth?
The foundation of each day for me and others?
His day was never filled with fire or passion.
His day was always the same.
His day was one foot in front of the other.
His day was being there, without complaint and without recognition.
His day was meeting his responsibilities without expectations other than Friday's paycheck.
Other's were smarter and richer, and yet, he was without greed or envy.
He left each morning before the sun came up with that black lunchbox packed by Mom and in his gray worn work clothes.
Sunday fried chicken, the baseball game, his sons on the floor reading the Sunday Post, this was his happy reward.
I remember his quirky smile when we discussed the concept of celebrity.
He would cross the street for a friend but never for a famous idiot.
I remember his uncomfortable smile if we talked of God.
He dropped out of school in the sixth grade and became a man at 12 to save his parents' farm
With his final soldier's paycheck, he paid off that mortgage.
He had faced the War and survived keeping all the ugly memories to himself.
He raised five children and saw them all go to college with money made by hard labor.
He always felt intimidated by those with formal education.
Yet his children who were all well-educated knew they never could be as smart as he.
He was part of that great generation who went quietly into that good night.
That great generation that only asked for a roof and a meal and a healthy family.
That great generation whose sacrifices we cannot even imagine.
He knew good from bad and right from wrong by feeling in his gut.
I will never meet his stature, he raised the bar very high.
I can only hope to hang on to his values, to pass them on as best I can, in this crazy world.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bird Brained

This little fellow (a titmouse) showed up on a regular basis over the weekend. He (she?) would stop at the deck chair and look at his/her reflection in the deck door windows. I was able to stand next to the window to photograph without bird dismay.

Eventually he/she hopped to the door handle to admire the reflection. There was much cheeping and panting and heavy breathing, so I think it was in love with its image.

Eventually this led to much flapping of the wings as the bird tried to attack-mate-meet with the image it saw. It would fly up and down the window pane tapping with claws and beak until either my husband or I attempted behavioral managment and chased it away. I even threw out some frozen peas that had hit the kitchen floor to see if I could bribe it.

Without fail it would come back and the process would start all over again.

Here I swear he is watching the TV on the wall!!
(For more birds go to the Room Without Walls.

Friday, April 06, 2007

A Dance of Love

Robert Brady, Claude at Blogging in Paris, and Chancy have all written recently about the pollen or yellow desert dust or air born stuff and in some cases the resultant allergies. Their posts brought a recent but slightly different image and experience to my mind.

Twice in the past few years while hiking I have experienced what to me was a special and marvelous event. It was unexpected, quiet, and very subtle; and had I been looking the wrong way, I would have missed it. I probably had missed it many other times in my life. The first time I saw this natural phenomena was on a hike in the Colorado Rockies. We had just crossed a ridge and somewhat out of breath had paused just below the crest to look down into the next valley of firs and pines and junipers. It was a quiet spring day except for the call of the jays and the occasional spring breeze that touched the evergreen branches.

I was staring at the tops of dozens of elegant pine trees. Then just below their tops, and without warning, a puff of yellow dust covering yards of space flew from one tree drifting like tiny sparks of life down the valley and across the other trees. Less then one second later the next tree released its pollen and so on down through the valley just like a wave of golden phosphorescence. The magic was in the timing and the silence. It was clandestine and confidential as if I was observing the lovemaking between the trees, which in a sense, I was.

I observed this same phenomena when I was in the desert in Arizona recently. We were hiking back into the valley and paused to gaze back at the trail while standing under an Arizona pine tree. Then just above my head the pine tree released a golden shower across the area. The thing I noticed this time was there was no breeze, no air movement that I could feel although clearly the air was moving above my head. I touched the pine branch above my head to see if I could release more pollen and nothing, not one little spore, was released.

I did some research on the process and the science indicates that there is "no explosive dehiscence" in the process. Maybe not, but they "talk" to each other in some way. It is some dance of love that we cannot understand and it is sacred when you see it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sick of Being Sick

I came down with a sore throat two Sundays ago after spending the two days before holding hands with my favorite little guy who was running a temperature and had a runny nose. He shares everything! I was down at the new house and didn't have any mouth wash or vitamin C for the sore throat so spent the afternoon gargling with rum--really--probably not the best approach.

I nursed a little temperature and upper congestion early in the week, and then feeling better, went to work last week for two and a half days, then totally lost my voice at the end of the week and stayed home once again. I pushed myself over the next weekend, because I really wasn't feeling all that sick, just not sleeping well at nights due to coughing.

I had to go to work this week as two new 'head' people have come on board and I am doing work for one in an Acting position and had to debrief him and the other is a new supportive person to my other program, so felt I had to be there. I was also asked by my boss to coordinate a new project that may be like pushing jello uphill since no one seems to have a vision for how this project will contribute in any way to our colleagues and 'customers' needs but everyone wants their name on it so that they get visibility. I am trying to bring some semblance of reality to this...but may end up producing something flashy and useless as my illness has compromised my energy and diplomacy. I have been pushing and pushing at work and now feel I need to reboot.

Soooooo, today I am calling the Doctor after having another rough night, and while intellectually knowing he probably can't do anything, at least I hope to rule out bronchitus or pneumonia. Maybe he can give me drugs. I have caught two -- maybe three -- illnesses this year that seem to be due to my love of a grandchild who is building his immune system the hard way. This reminds me of the first two autumns that I taught in the public school system. I was sick on and off for weeks as I caught each child's germs.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Lived-In Look

The Painting Contractor Chickie may appreciate these photos. I have the wallpaper guy in all week putting up wallpaper in the front formal room---we really are using it as a quiet room rather than a formal room as we are the farthest thing from being 'formal' folk. Anyway, I did pick a wine and gold abstract design and the room did take on a plumish color after we painted it ourselves. I was surprised, but I think that I will like it. I do not have any furniture for this room so will have to find something that goes with plum wine? At least if people spill their drinks, it will blend. Hubby painted the trim on the bay window and deserves an award for that work.

And below the wallpaper guy has taken on the dangerous job of completing the kitchen. (I really like him and his work style, by the way.) Thank goodness we put up the pictures already so that he could just rehang them! It also is a strange wallpaper. I bought it because it was a faux finish pattern...but it ended up looking like a birch bark canoe I am thinking. Oh well. And, yes, we are going to re-paint the living room to better coordinate. The great butter yellow just doesn't go so probably something called "bagel". Wallpaper guy has agree to paint the high harder walls and we will paint the easier stuff. I have to put up the two samples this weekend and decide.

As you can see from the photo below of the master bedroom, we are really getting settled in now and developing that lived in look. I had to make curtains for the masterbath as I was tired of feeling strange walking around in the nude even though no one within miles can see in and no one would look twice if they did! I was going to sew the curtains and then got lazy and just used the iron-on tape and they came out pretty good, even if they do look a little cheapo!

The two framed harp shells are from something I did in Indonesia when I was working in batik. The colors don't really go anywhere in the house, but the frames were so nice and matched and so we decided to put them up in the masterbath. Yes, they ARE too far apart, but between my cold and the difficulty of hanging stuff at the end of a long day, we just decided to live with it!

For what we did outside go to the "Room Without Walls" blog.