Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Little Story Repeated Everywhere

A number of communities went through painful degeneration during that deep recession we were thrown into 8 years ago.  Even my little bit of a neighborhood was touched by this.  I remembered this while taking a walk around last week on a warmer spring day.  All of the homes in my neighborhood  are on 4 acres or more of woodland because the county was hoping to protect the waters by using limited development, and required this much land for a permit to build.  So this place is pretty rural.

If I walk to the end of my driveway and look to the right, this is what I see.

It is a little less than a mile to the main road in that direction.

This is what my driveway looks like if I am coming home.  Note the lovely landscape bed to the left that reflects we have deer!

Here is the gang hanging outside the tennis fence at my neighbors fancy house.

Above is the house of another neighbor who owns his own landscape company.  So, of course, his lawn is perfect.  He resides down at the cul-de-sac about a half mile in the opposite direction of my driveway.  (Note even he has plastic flowers under the mailbox because of the deer!)

Yes, those yellow flowers at the base of the mailbox are plastic and not spring daffodils.

This family that lives here has a very fancy entrance and actually won a lottery years ago!

The entrance to my "next door" neighbor's house is not so fancy.

But if we walk up to the main road we come to this house.  This is the house that has a sad story and I will write about that in my next post.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What Do Dreams Mean?

Today was my first day in some days without errands to run, speeches to give, meetings to attend, and other peoples projects to maintain.  I slept in until about 8:00 which is hours late for me.  I got into my sweat pants and top, glad to see it was a cool, gray rainy day outside alleviating any guilt that I might have for not working in the yard.  I had my coffee and half a blueberry muffin and read for a while.  The phone was reasonably quiet since the primary elections are over for our area.

When I did decide to move I finished the last of two loads of laundry that I had started two days earlier while I watched CNN.  I refused to be embarrassed by what our politicians are saying in the primary finale but when I saw the news that Hastert, former GOP Speaker of the House and one of the leads on criticizing Clinton for his Lewinski affair, had been convicted of a decades old case of pedophilia with wrestlers on a team he coached and using money fraud to try to cover it up, I had had enough duplicity! (Tom Delay asking us to go easy on this poor fragile old man, said more about Delay than loyalty to a friend.  I wonder if Hastert had approached Delay's daughter would he still be so forgiving?)

I turned off the TV, worked on my emails, had fun with photography "painting" for an hour and then returned to my book reading after putting some Yoga music on the CD player.  I ate some cold chicken and a bit of fruit salad for lunch.  Even though I had had at least 8 hours of sleep I began to grow sleepy in the early afternoon and went to the bedroom and collapsed on the bed.

I was in the deepest sleep very shortly.  I kept fighting to try and waken and could not.  I was dreaming that I was in a house somewhere and a lovely young boy maybe 6 or so was outside playing.  He was my son or grandson, I could not get my mind around it, except that this angelic child with a lovely laugh was having so much fun on a sunny spring day and I could hear him through the open window.  I knew in my heart of hearts that I was missing out on this precious time, but try as I might I could not open my eyes or lift my head from the pillow.  I could not wake up!  Later when I finally pulled myself out of the stupor I realized that I had slept for over an hour!

I am not sure what the dream meant, but I do know I must have needed that sleep.

Now as a thank you for your interest, I will provide a photo-painting that I worked on using filters, highlights and shadows, hue adjustment and even painting some colors with the mouse during this gray day.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Spring Surprise

Have you ever taken in an abandoned cat or dog?  Sometimes it doesn't work, but most of the time it works out quite well.  We did have a cat  kitten that insisted it would never be held, and since I had discovered I was allergic to cats years earlier, we knew we would be sending it to someone else to become a scratching post within days.  I never did hear from that girl...

Anyway, plants that have been abandoned can sometimes be like abandoned animals.  Back in the corner of the garden shop, sitting woefully and all by itself on the dusty table, was a Meyer lemon that had just been transplanted by the garden people as a last ditch effort to save it.  Citrus trees are very hardy and do not give up the fight for life easily.  It had bare branches with only a few leaves.  The scraggly orphan had been planted somewhat askew in the pot as if the garden people did not want to put out too much effort.  They offered a big discount if we would take it away.  Orphaned plants are our specialty and we did.

The gnome-like plant was the saddest looking little tree that sat in my kitchen all winter but hung on to the dozen or so leaves through the cold gray days.  I fertilized it just before spring and it seemed to perk up.  Then as the weather warmed in mid-April, I took it outside on the deck to adjust to storms and winds and direct sunlight.  The leaves got bigger and greener.

In a little more than a week it put out buds and blossoms.  Close to 100 I am guessing.  It was screaming with rebirth energy and demanding to live.

Meyer lemon blossoms are larger than one would expect, and they bloom on branches even when there are no leaves like many fruit trees.  Yes, I will have to remove many when they begin to fruit because the tree is so small, but for now I am enjoying their beauty.

Then today I was happy to see my first lemon.  I have never owned a Meyer lemon tree and I am as proud as any new parent or pet owner.  It will be hard to pick most of these off as they first form so the tree can put energy into growth and I will miss their tangy goodness.

Another bit of knowledge is that these blossoms are tremendously fragrant and can pretty much overwhelm your senses if you are sitting next to them transplanting seedlings as I was doing the other day.  I had to get up and move away.  They fill the air in the quiet of the early evening when I go out to share that time between daylight and night.  I close my eyes and pretend I am somewhere in Greece on a rocky island in the moonlight.  It already is a magical plant.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Magic Bullets

It is spring and in spite of the beautiful rewards of re-growth outside I have been forcing myself to move on task each day.  Being alone gives me lots of time for thinking...too much thinking.  All kinds of issues, ideas, regrets, plots, plans, and philosophical ideas tumble in my brain.  I have never had a quiet mind and that is one of the reasons, I think, that I like to read and watch television.  It is escape and helps me push the pause button.  Otherwise I resolve and re-resolve problems and relationships from the past endlessly.

As Jane Fonda says, this is the third (and final) act and we hope so much to get it right.  We hope to adjust with lessons from history, to be more accepting of changes and to pick our battles much more wisely.  We hope to be more motivated and better at seeing opportunities to contribute wisely.  We are surprised when age has brought with it only some wisdom.

I have been in a bit of a slump.  Nothing big.  Nothing to write home about.  AND nothing I can really put my finger on, which is the conundrum.  But it seems lately I have been thinking more pessimistically than optimistically.  Even avoiding the news has not given me a boost.

And then two things happened this week which turned the corner at long last.

One was a nice long call from my daughter whom I do not see often enough.  She has a SUPER BUSY life filled with work and weekend activities and we had not talked in a long time--over a month.  I hesitate to call as it never seems the right time at her end.  She had been meaning to call for weeks, but was so busy she never could pick up the phone.  Then we had an hour to just chat and laugh and tease and love.  Better than any pill or sunset.

Second, a former work friend of mine, whom I see once a year if time permits, texted me that she needed a babysitter for her grandson for a little over an hour while she went to the chiropractor.  This little guy is 9 months old and could be into everything.  I love kids, felt deep down somewhere I needed a baby fix, and thus said yes.  He was a mellow fellow and calmly crawled around the house until he found the toys and spent the rest of the time tasting them.

Two magic bullets.  What are your magic bullets?

Monday, April 18, 2016


So where has she been?  Is she still sick?  Has she gotten her car repaired?  The answer to number one is that I am still here plugging along in my month of freedom.  Number two is my cold is gone but I seem to be having mild allergies from the pollen which is a bit annoying.  Number repairs.  Hubby has needed some emergency funding for, well it is a long story and I don't want to go into it here, and so that money for the car repair will have to wait until next month.

Well why has she not blogged?  Each morning I log onto Skype and wait for a call from hubby who is on the other side of the earth and winding down his busy day.  He has meetings, his is disorganized, and he has Internet connection problems, all of which mean I may sit for an hour in the morning with my coffee waiting for the call.  It is annoying and gets the morning off to a slower start, but I am glad to see he is healthy and still smiling, so I wait.
Later when I have gone through email, for some reason the settings on my laptop have to log me out of Blogger to use my email...I have no clue why...but I forget the Blogger logon and so I do not post to Blogger and only think of it later in the day and then the day gets away from me.

I posted this from the PC upstairs which auto-logs me on when I click the link.  Much easier.

Today I transplant about 50 tomato and pepper plants to larger pots.  Detailed work as they are various cultivars and I have to make sure that they are marked correctly for the garden sale as well as transplants into our garden and others.  I also have to move more plants outside and clean up the deck and get it organized once I get the seedlings transplanted and downstairs onto the patio.  Then weeding, weeding, weeding.

Now that I have bored you beyond belief with my simple little life, you can go back to you busy lives with fulfilling tasks and fun activities and loving people.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Like the colored bits of paper confetti after a party

Like the seeds from a newly sewn lawn

Like the spring hail that bounces on green grass

I am feeling scattered and distracted.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Healing Time

The week ahead is  not filled with  places to be or  things to do---at least.  I finally have some space and as luck (my luck) would  have it, I am fighting a small chest cold.  I think my body waits until it knows I can focus on the discomforts of an illness before attacking the germs with the lymph glands to fight the good fight.  Lungs are my  precious weak organ.  My joints repair, my muscles release their strains, my stomach rarely finds itself  in battle with some cellular being, but my lungs open each little  elastic sac to do battle like an eager puppy dog and as the dead germs pile up, I spend the night coughing up their little bodies.  Yes, it is not a pleasant image.  But is it not true that you get sick just after completing some major tasks?

On the glass is  half full side, I went shopping last week and replaced my 10-year-old worn pillow and amazingly am getting better sleep now!

It is a very mild illness and only inconvenient during these days when the nights are pretty cold and the days not much warmer.  Spring is a dyslexic tease painting everything lime green and filling the air with familiar fragrances but keeping an icy wind at your throat reminding you it is in charge.  Hubby had planted flats of tomatoes and they have all had to be removed from the outside mini greenhouses and brought inside the house once again.  He is this optimist every year that gets smacked back by the weather, except this  year he is gone and I  am getting smacked.

I am reading books (Robert Harris's An Officer and a Spy,  Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot by Kim Baker and Bird Cloud, A Memoir of a  Place by Annie Prouix) the last of the three is by far the best.  I  am a pig when it comes to literature and cannot be patient just reading one book.

It is just past 4:00 A.M. and I cannot go back to sleep and so have made myself some hot honey and tea to sooth the  lungs.  The heater is still on and the tapping as the duct-work expands is the only sound in the bedroom.  But in just days I am sure the windows will be open and the songs of birds will arrive once again to my bedroom as dawn breaks.  Patience.

In the mean time, between times, I will select the Kindle or the book and go back to Paris during he war or to Wyoming in the spring and get lost in space and time while my body heals.

Friday, April 08, 2016

On a Dime Re-run.

Spring is bugs and they show up everywhere.  Murr wrote a post about her generous hosting of those 8-legged spidery visitors to her home in the spring---actually I think they take up residence in her home year-round.

I will relate another type of encounter with a spider that happened last week and that was much more compelling.  It is spring and spiders are exploring.  The other day a spider swung from his trapeze wire unexpectedly right into my face and drifted behind my eye glasses as he tried to gain control of his movements.  It took several seconds for me to figure out why I had gone blind in one eye and then when I swiped with my hand I saw all those legs working across my wrist and under my left sleeve.  The greater problem  at this time was I was actually driving along just leaving our town on 4-lane divided road at about 40 MPH.  There was not much traffic as it was the mid-afternoon before workers were rushing home.  But, by the time I refocused on the road (only seconds has passed) I discovered to my shock that I had swerved into the left lane and then onto the grassy median with a ditch dividing this highway.  There were a handful of cars on both sides as I bounced along the ditch briefly before getting control of the car and coming to a safe and soft stop just avoiding hitting the fence pipe directly in front of me.  I took a deep breath, forgot completely about the spider,  felt embarrassment wash over me as the panic waned and gathering my wits put the car in rear gear and pulled back a few yards avoiding looking at drivers in the one or two passing cars.  I pulled ahead gently on the median, and seeing a large truck far in the distance, I turned the steering wheel as I pulled onto the opposite side of the road, made a careful U-Turn, and then took a left in the lane ahead  and made another U-Turn and headed home once again.  On a dime, folks, on a dime.

I have lost the fog light and created some limited damage to the driver's side fender as well as permanent grass stains.  I am calling the body shop today and will be punished for my distraction with an expensive estimate I am sure.

Yet, I cannot help but wonder about other outcomes.  Hubby is far away and the rest of my family and I touch base every few days or so.  If I had been in a serious accident, when would they find out?  What if I died before they reached me?  I guess they would eventually adjust, but life is shorter and sweeter than we think, is it not and not being able to say goodbye maybe one of the greatest worries.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Busy and no Bees

Sunday I was up early and dressed to go out and buy the rest of the lawn seed since I ran out on Saturday and this coming Tuesday was supposed to bring some rain.

At 10:00 AM just before I left there was a knock on the door. (Hubby is gone and the driveway gate is closed!) I was cautious. Out front were the two helpers that hubby hired to do the lawn while he was away. I was told they were coming on the NEXT Sunday. Oh well, at least I was out of my PJs.

After telling them what I wanted done, I rushed out to get lawn seed, buy them some quick lunch and go to the bank so I would have money to pay them. I only had $20 in my pocket.

Then in the early afternoon I began my Powerpoint presentation for the Commissioners. By mid-afternoon I had to run out again and take some photos from the volunteer garden for the Powerpoint. (I am a bit nervous about this VERY SHORT speech...our coordinator was clearly relieved when I said it was only 5 slides...and hope that Tuesday comes sooner rather than later. I cannot remember the last time I gave a public talk.)

I finished the presentation later in the day and sent the workers off after some further instruction and then took a well deserved bubble bath and ate a cooked frozen turkey pot pie while watching mindless television until bedtime.

This Monday morning a list of phone calls were made. A list of emails completed. I now have to call the Adult Basic Ed folks as they seem to have another student for me, and this time it is NOT help with math but reading that is needed which I feel more prepared for. Yes, my schedule is busy, but they need me...they actually need me.

Now e-bills to pay!

Next post might be about a spider and a car...if I am not to depressed to share.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Other People's Projects

Yesterday I was upstairs blogging peacefully for the first time in some days while hubby and house guest (in his early 80's) are in the basement doing prep work for a big trip.

Hubby: "We have to keep all the lithium batteries in our carry-ons.  I bought some cheap towels to wrap the big C-clamps and wrenches together."

Guest and fellow traveler:  "No, you bought some large washcloths!"

Me: "How is it going down there?  Do you need help?"

Hubby:  "Nope, we are getting there.  Just trying to balance the 50 pounds between the two suitcases. At least we are not over 100 pounds."  (They later learn they have $70.00 overage in weight.)  There are valid reasons for this weight problem and it could not be helped, unfortunately.

Someone from the basement..."I don't want you to do this now.  DON'T do it!"  Followed by grunting and shuffling sounds and someone dragging something upstairs.

...They finally left early this morning and I am exhausted as the scenario above is just a small portion of what has been going on the last three days.  Last week hubby learned a number of items (heavy tools) had been stolen from the locked container overseas and he had to rush out and buy them.  To my own credit I had warned him years ago when this plan was in its infancy stages that theft was going to be an issue on this South Pacific isle if he insisted on trying to do this project.

Our guest, who will be keeping him company, has traveled much and accomplished much and wishes to share much of his over 8 decades of life as he follows me from room to room during the three days he stayed with us making the bathroom the last resort for my peace of mind.  At least he was a good eater and ate everything I put in front of him!

Well they are off.  I now will try hard not to worry about hubby diving in the open ocean trying to set up hardware!  I will peruse the lengthy list of stuff he wants done while he is gone.  (Note to husbands:  Go on a long trip and list all the things that you do for your wife and home which she has to now do, and she will certainly appreciate you when you are home!)

Today is rainy and other than a quick spreading of lawn seed from the tiny bag left in the garage and going to purchase another large bag of lawn seed this morning, I will most likely take the rest of the day off and just be a slug.  The beauty of not moving, not thinking, not doing chores, not straightening up (the luxury of living like The Donald.)

A last minute hint that the 80-something might also be diving did concern me.  I will not tell his wife as she currently is nursing her son from a heart attack and installation of a pacemaker as well as healing from a fall herself and needs no more stress in her life.  She also will be getting a houseguest on Monday, hoping so much this mean help for her and not more work.

When it rains, it pours....

The happy boys.