Wednesday, June 29, 2011


In the house where I grew up, 
Monday held two guarantees...
it was laundry day
(deposit yours in the laundry pile on your way off to school)
and a pot of red beans and rice...
a meal, once its ingredients are in the pot can be ignored except for the occasional  stir... while laundry is done.
A hold over from my mom's southern upbringing.

Monday remains "laundry day" to me.
Sadly, the red beans and rice are for the most part a thing of my past.
The man says his ex used to make a pot that lasted a week and they still had to give left-overs to the dog.
He's got heavy duty red beans and rice burn out.
I understand after living on mac and cheese for my college years.
I tell him... that's  because he's never had MY red beans and rice.
He is diplomatic and has graciously agreed to try them...
next winter when its cold.

So I got up on Monday and began to do the laundry in the hamper.
Most of the clothes are his.
I do not fit the stereotype of a woman who can't have enough clothing or shopping.
I don't enjoy shopping because I hate to spend money.
Shopping takes me twice as long as it should...
the initial picking out of things...
followed by the retracing of my path to put things back...
that I don't REALLY need.
Truth is, I cannot shop without guilt.

But I am off subject... again.
The man gets up and I'm already a load into the laundry process.
He says to me...
"Do I have a clean shirt?"
I resist the urge to strangle him with one.
You see in the pic above what was in our closet at the moment he said this silly thing!
The bar on top, with it's meager pickings... is mine.
The bar below filled with a variety of long sleeves and short sleeve tees
are his.
19 clean choices...
in that closet alone.

There are another 14 short sleeve clean shirts in this other closet
(plus a variety of coats and flannels).
I do not need a second closet!
I can't even fill my area of the other closet.
I called him a smart ass.
He says... you'd rather I was a dumb ass?

That's okay.
He helped fold and hang the laundry as it came out of the dryer.

I think we have made it to normal married life.
Well, shoot... we lived together for almost a year before we tied the knot.
Its time to move into that comfort zone
where we can mildly annoy each other and still enjoy each others 
Its a good place.
Besides, it gives me grist for the blog mill.

Monday, June 27, 2011

 He looks like the Illustrated Man.
Tats all over, bald head, kick-boxer strong body.
His rides reflect his style...
a pick up truck with a "murder" paint job,
a blood red Crystler 300,
and a big mean Harley that rumbles like a dangerous cat.

There were predictions of doom for the neighborhood.

There was excitement.
There was something new and unknown in a place where things generally stay the same.
What the heck was this going to be like?

The day they bought it, they moved in, just as it was.
mediately the lawn got a buzzz cut and the shrubs neat trims.
Within a week the house was painted light olive green with charcole trim.
By the third week, the spotty long neglected lawn was pealed up and taken away.
Rich sod was laid in a bean shape outlined by wood chips
and interesting lawn ornaments.

Meanwhile, at least once a week a big black barbecue was rolled into the drive
and things slow cooked there parfumed our air.
They began to wave... we waved back.

That's when the lawn jockies began showing up across the street
(not the kind pictured above)
in a battered old pick up from the 60s, with a big trailer filled with monster machines.
A crew of four jumped out, and did both front and back yards in 20 minutes tops.
I developed a fascination of this weekly process and deep non-malicious envy!

We guessed that this was the Illustrated Man's business.
I had a desire to ask if he knew what would kill my endless weeds.
Chicken that I am, I did not follow through.

A few days ago, after returning from taking Roxy for a ride,
the Illustrated Man asked if he could meet her.
No suspicious growls or rumbles...all wiggles... her new best friend.
The subject of his assumed landscaping work came up.

You know what they say about assumtions!
It's his cousin's business, not his.
But he promised to ask what his cousin would suggest to stop my weed wars.
We visited a few minutes more, then he vanished back into the best kept home on the street.

True to his word, yesterday the Illustrated Man returned with awesome news.
His cousin has offered to kill our weeds for us... for good
The cost? A mere $25... just for supplies, labor is free.
An offer too good to be true!
Then as our mysterious neighbor turned to go... he asked for "a favor".

Ut-oh, I thought, here's the catch to the great deal.
"Whenever I barbecue, we have so much left over that I end up throwing food away...
next time I fire her up... will you come over and help us eat it?"
Yeah, I think we can do that.

In the meantime, I will laugh at my weeds instead of spending endless hours attempting to remove them by hand.
Clearly, that is not working out for me.
Three utility trailers of weeds have gone to the yard recycle center!
Still they keep a comin'!
I'll focus today on mowing the rear yard
and working in my new flower bed...
with a little help...
I'll get this right yet.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


We're chill'n in the hole today!
Its Sat. Scavenger Shots day.
Our word is "cool".
I'm all iced up for the game...
as a snow bunny!

Now that summer has arrived...
a nice "cool" shaved ice would be the ticket!
While we're thinking about food,
which I often do...
Here's my new neighbor,
Chester Cheeto!
'Cause he's a "cool"
dude in a loose mood with cheese that goes crunch! 

That's all I've got in the hole to 
contribute today.
Except that this is a "cool" game to play and it's really "cool" that you showed up today.

If you are interested in playing the SSS
game too... join the fun!
Each week we get a new word, then
set about our merry way taking photos of the various meanings and connections for the word.
Search through pics you already have in your photo files, or if you get into a real bind,
you can use copy right okay images from the web.
So even the camera impaired and 
camera-not can play!
Are you up for a game?
Next week's word is:
Be sure you stop in at 

Eclectic Spaghetti

to let them know you are going to be a 

Friday, June 24, 2011


The bamboo has had another growth spurt.
I've kept it trimmed into sort of a ball shape.
Recently, J pointed out that it looks a bit like Wilson,
the volleyball from that Tom Hanks movie.

I had a teeny tiny visitor yesterday...
can you tell what it is?
Its a freshly hatched baby Preying mantis.
How can something so cute grow up to be a monster bug?
I did not sleep well last night and got up several times.
I had a nightmare.
I dreamed that I was at the wedding we have to go to this evening
and I managed to sit in something in the church that made it look like I'd had a scary accident... so I had to hide in the truck for the reception.

I am sure it's anxiety over how well I'll be received.

Somehow I have managed to be cast into the 
wicked step mother role.

Well, I've got errands to run...
wedding present to buy...
I need to find a skirt to wear...
and pay bills.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
I hope I do too!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


As a little bunny... "family time" was required.
As in mandatory.
I know, all families do that.
But in our home the big rabbit had a very strict code about family events.
He did not allow for exceptions and there was no sense in bothering to ask for a reprieve.
It was not going to happen.
Nor could you ask to have a friend included.
I suppose I can understand that as an adult...
would I have wanted to add in a sixth  body to the back of the station wagon?

He drove a 1956 black Buick.
There was room up front for parents and one small child...
the older you were, the better chances you had to have your own spot on the rear bench seat.
In all my years in that car, I never had a spot on the bench seat
before it was traded in for a Mustang in 1967.
It was one of the lists of blessings and curses of being the baby.

The big rabbit had the attitude that once a week we needed to go 
somewhere... as a family.
If he was tired, it might be a picnic in the park to listen to
a free band concert... with a cooler of beer.
If it was a weekend where he felt energetic,
9 times out of 10,
it was a day trip to some historical place
in California usually involving Gold Rush days.
Those included old timey towns, museums
and quaint places to drink beer.
Hey... you drive 5 kids around in a station wagon all day and
you'd deserve a beer too!
Once a month in the summer we'd all head out for GG's and
Disney Land and  Knott's Berry Farm.
But the real vacations... those that did not involve a quick day trip,
were a tribulation.
When big boo (the brother my oldest was named for)
and I were wee ones, we were shuffled from
the space between mom and dad...
where you could not wiggle or fiddle with anything...
to squirming on one of the big sister's laps in the back seat.
A pre-schooler's nightmare.

Once we got older...
I suspect that this was defined by our level of chattiness...
we were kicked to the back of the Buick.
This space, normally occupied by baggage on shorter weekend
trips was freed up
when the luggage rack was stuck to the top of the car
by big suction cup things with tie downs
and family bags webbed inside.
At least once a trip the big rabbit would have a fit when
mama rabbit had... HAD... to have something from the depths of the web, which required pulling to the edge of the road
with the big rabbit muttering while he tried to extract
whatever from the inner web,
and had to lace and re-lace it back together.
Mama rabbit gave him encouraging directions and all the little bunnies
peeked out the windows.
"Don't touch the glass!"

As if that was a reasonable expectation.
(When we'd stop for the night... the big rabbit would unpack the car and take his bottle of Windex out to remove evidence that
a pack of wild bunnies were riders inside.)
The back of the Buick was a great place in our heads...
big boo and silly little rabbit.
No seat belts in those days!
We could sit cross legged or lay on our backs.
"Get your feet off the roof of the car!"
Or lay on our stomach and color, draw, etc.
We could make faces at cars daring to pass 
the Buick speed racer.
We had pillows and sleeping bags.
Why hadn't we thought to be too chatty sooner?

there were other more dubious reasons for our banishment.

I was prone to asthma attacks... which often prompted mama
rabbits need to have the big rabbit unpack a portion of the web.
"Why wouldn't you put IT in the glove box?"
I'd cough, wheeze and cough some more, bringing up phlegm into my pile of tissues in a paper bag.
Once my lungs calmed down and my sisters stopped trying to help me over the back seat to my mother's direction...
I'd have to lay still and get a grip.

Big boo had his own bag... lined with a plastic bag.
I used to think it would have been great to have vacation photos of that...
Here's big boo puking in the Sierra Nevadas!
I can still hear mama rabbit
"George! He's puking!  Pull over!"
The big rabbit would swerve to the side of the road
encouraging another round.
Big boo would lay back and moan.
It was inevitable that the bunnies would become restless and start to fight and fuss.
The big rabbit's cure for this was to begin to sing
"99 bottles of beer on the wall..."
initiate license plate bingo games...
or my favorite, beetle bug slug fests.

If there was one thing the big rabbit hated about the trips,
it was bathroom stops.
I clearly recall him pointing out cows or rocks... something,
anything to keep mama rabbit from saying, as a  sign approached
"There's a rest stop ahead... anyone have to go?"
Some bunny always had to go!

Finally we reached a decent motel.
Mama rabbit determined what was or wasn't decent.
She would wait an extra half hour to hour for decent
while the lure of stopping and a cool beer drove the big rabbit insane.
This was a dangerous time... and all the little rabbits
knew better than to whine.

The big rabbit would leave the car running while he checked us in and arranged for roll away beds...
all the little rabbits craned their heads to look for the swimming pool.
We had a pool at home.  We swam every day that it was warm.
But there was something about those kidney shaped motel pools...
the slide!
Did it have a slide?  Where was the slide?

We could unpack the Buick faster than a jack rabbit on a date.
(A great line from A Christmas Story)
Mama rabbit always put the suits on top.
We'd gather pool side and wait for the big rabbit to arrive with his magazine and beer, give the nod and jump in.
I can't tell you much about any of the cities we visited.
We traveled mostly in the mid-west
on down to Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.
Cities bored the snot out of me.
Between there were weird relatives, horned toads and turtles
that I recall clearly.
But those are stories for another day.
Most of what I recall as a kid on those trips is that the big rabbit always seemed to be very cross.
I couldn't help but wonder why he took this sort of misery upon himself.
He could have stayed home and worked on my mother's endless home improvement projects
in the comfort of a noisy swamp cooler, reading his encyclopedias...
sipping his beer.
I suppose it didn't matter.
At the end of his day, there was always something to read and a beer.
May as well tucker the bunnies out, see the sights and visit relatives
who likely as not were just as glad to see the brood go as they were to see us arrive... until the next trip.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Blogger is not cooperating today.
It won't allow me to upload my photo planned for this post.
Weird, but blogger has been funky of late.
I was somewhat inspired by another blog post...
as often happens.
Pics from a lovely, peaceful yard.

Over the years I have encountered many wonderful yards.
Places of beauty.
Spaces enhanced by the sounds of life.
A spot where one can unwind in the cool of warm evenings
or wake with delicious slowness
on golden mornings.

GG had a glorious flower garden for "cutting"
that filled her home with color and sweet scents.

My mother was
not much of a garden bed sort of person.
Her home was in the woods and she allowed God to decorate the space where her patio ended.
However, her patio was her gardening space.
She loved "found items"...
pots of the various typical clay or ceramic ilk
gleaned from yard sales or second hand stores,
as well as things...
a hibachi filled with hen and chicks that spilled over its edges...
an old dented and battered enameled laundry tub
or hollowed out rock or stump.
She had a knack for looking at something and seeing potential.
What began as a simple, large concrete slab,
became an interesting space filled with these odd and not so odd
containers displayed on top of other found items to add height dimensions,
with plenty of room for chairs and tables.
I suppose that's where I get my love of being outside
whenever the weather allows.
We lived on her patio more than in the house.

My yard, despite my recent use of family work crews...
is in need of evolution.
It is fine, in that you don't look at it and think
of it as an unkempt mess. 
It simply has not matured into the yard it can be yet.
Interesting focal points are few and far flung.
It needs to be tied together.

There are spaces where old projects were ignored and allowed to
go back to seed... as in the case of the area just off our covered concrete
area and raised deck, that had once been a gravel extension...
and has now gone back to a mixture of grass and weeds.
When mowed, it seems to be spotty lawn.
I also have to wear heavy boots to mow and dodge flying gravel.
There are other neglected beds that need to be restored.

Its an on going project for me and one that I take great pleasure in doing.
I like to re-do or create in small areas at a time.
It gives me a sense of success to be able to look at a finished area.
The "aaahhh..." moment of satisfaction.

The yard isn't going to be what I envision for years.
I know that.
The best gardens evolve over time.
Unless you have the inclination and money to hire a professional
landscaping company.
I do not.
(either one)
But its more a matter of selfishness on my part.
I do not want to deprive myself of the pleasure of creating something
beautiful out of ho-hum.
I intend to be here for a long, long time
watching my garden grow...
living most of my life here