The Gardens - In the Beginning

Saturday, July 26, 2014


I've always thought adversity and heartache, burdens and misfortunes; mingled with gladness and comfort, good fortune and self-indulgence were the abstracts in life that made it all so darn super interesting…even though at times our destiny, as it unfolds, makes us want to run for our lives to the nearest exit.

Friendships, pseudo-friendships, trust, misplaced trust, believing, questioning, speculations that are sometimes obvious, other times invisible, coupled with logic, instincts, and luck…all that pretty much determines our successes and our failures, determines whether we are losers or winners…labels we sometimes attach to ourselves, but mostly to others.

Am I a success?  I’d like to think so, but it all depends on how one chooses to look at the individual and the whole.  I've had tremendous successes and I've had miserable failures.  It’s all by-products of a life lived to the max.  We can be fatalistic or we can be optimistic at how we view our lives unabridged.  Chose positive!  The other choice just leads down the wrong road to the wrong destination in a bad way.

I had a sole mate and am dealing with the misplaced trust issues, although instinctively I knew there was a hint of problems, with the family; issues that run deeper than I could have ever imagined.  In dad’s obituary they were listed as survivors, in his we’re not mentioned at all.  There’s a lot of hate that has surfaced and I can only console myself that I truly was loved by this individual. 

We were an open book to each other.  We talked about ourselves, feelings, family and the future.  We trusted each other completely and kept no secrets.  They think they can hurt me, but they don’t know me very well.  I've had to divorce the wonderful memories of him from the awful truth about them with me.

A beautiful day as I look out my window, a day for tinkering in the gardens and relaxing on the swing with fond memories drifting through my thoughts.  And yes, as with the ending of that last bitter email I received, I do enjoy my cats immensely, and my dog, and my niece, and my husband and all my truly great friends.

Miss you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Million Little Thoughts

What if…

What if the last time I saw my brother I hadn’t heard his wife’s telephone conversation saying they didn’t tell me they both were sick before I flew in to visit, because the money they paid for the plane ticket would have been lost?  I paid for the ticket myself, and I could have applied it to a later flight if I had canceled that one.

What if when I caught the flu from all that hugging and kissing, she hadn’t said the drug store was too far away when I needed some medicine?  I could have walked the half mile to the store myself if I had known it was that close when I finally was driven there.

What if he hadn’t said things to me he never should have said, then apologized…what if I could have just let go of it all right then instead of holding onto it forever. 

What if the birthday party I felt too sick to be included in but was, to prevent the cancellation of his celebration…what if they had made him the center of attention instead of placing us at the children’s end where we could not converse with the adults at the opposite end?

What if when I went to bed while the celebration moved to the house with partying and movies downstairs, someone actually felt bad enough to make sure I was okay? 

What if when I flew home the next morning, I hadn’t been feverously sweating up a storm and forcing myself down that hallway to the boarding gate not caring if I ever returned for a visit?

What if all the times since when he called me on the telephone I could have understood more than just the opening sentence in any of his conversations that were constantly interrupted by random punching of the keys on his end?

What if I had tried harder to figure out how to keep in touch, would his death this last week from Parkinson’s disease have been easier to handle?   

What if…what if…what if it all had been different?  Would I feel any better now?

What if I hadn’t taken responsibility for the outdoor family of cats, would attending my high school reunion next year seems more of a possibility and less an exercise in futility?

What if I trap the other stray cats that want to join the cats I currently take care of and drop them off at metro animal pound; will that decision to make the coming winter survival of my cats a reality instead of just a dream leave me the mother of all guilt trips?

What if I’ve permanently turned my calico into a bad mood bitch by adding a new kitty she can’t stand even half a percent?

What if I’ve jeopardized the possibility of an easy retirement by all these extra mouths I’m feeding?

What if Vic’s job ends sooner than later, will I be back on that merry-go-round I’m never able to completely escape?

What if I had played it safer, would I have been all I could be?  What if I had played it chancier, would I have been all I could be?

What if I had learned to make decisions earlier in life, if I had made better choices in the beginning…would I be happier?

What if when I lost I hadn’t lost the lesson so much?

What if when I look back I could actually enjoy it a second time around?

What if I could just look forward instead of always glancing backwards…what if, what if, what if…?

I worry if I look back one more time at the complications that follow me, at least in my head, I’ll turn to a pillar of salt.  My head spins forwards and backwards a lot these days.  Maybe I should watch The Exorcist and take a few pointers, or wait…did that really have any kind of good ending?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ms. Butterfinger Trippytoes - Mistress of the Gardens

I wish,
I wish,
I wish,

no rain would fall on my garden ground
until all the grass was mown down
weeds heaped in a dreadfully high mound 
every plant was pronounced fit and sound


Silly me
by then all that could be seen
of my once-upon-a-time leafy green
would be a Sahara desert scene
cause I'm stuck on impossible dreams
a master of disaster in jeans

well sell me down the river,
stab me in the back,
bite my dagnabbit hand
the thesaurus is bluntly unkind
to us mismanagers of our fingers
entering into that cute little search box
I'm going to pretend
I don't know how
this collection
concrete disaster
showed up

Kitty loves me
that's good enough.






Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Iraq - Balancing on the Razor's Edge

He tells me to not believe everything I see on the news, but things are happening there that are difficult to leave on the doorstep.  His 'To Go' bag is ready, has been since he arrived, and he's next to an airfield...he doesn't see a problem.  He was told he had to have PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) armor, and since a container full was waiting to be destroyed, he custom fitted himself with two sets; one for the work site and one for his living quarters.

He thinks when he tells me all this that I won't worry anymore.  The worry really started the moment his plane left Nashville on its way to Atlanta, then Dubai, then another to Baghdad; but he's an adventurer wanting the freedom to fly to the moon if need be.  I settle for what's left...bits and pieces of a relationship spent mostly alone, while (as he calls it) my Rambo ready man chooses to live on the razor's edge for another year.

He's at the BDSC (Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center) next to the Baghdad International Airport.  It's about one third what it used to be when the U.S. military occupied the area.  It's been nicknamed Slum Dog Millionaire by those who live and work there.   The other compound is the BEC (Baghdad Embassy Compound).  It is referred to as Downton Abby by those who live and work at the BDSC.

His living quarters have a bed with a thick mattress, fridge, big closet, big double desk, night stand and book case.  Compared to other places he has stayed this is extremely good and he's happy.  There's a gym and the DFAC (dining facility) is the same as when the U.S. military occupied the area, although they are no longer allowed to call it a DFAC because that is a U.S. military term and use of those terms is no longer allowed by the Iraq government.

If he wants the email service the embassy sponsors he's charged $60 a month.  The PX was taken over by a store called Taylor's.  Taylor's has an expensive  liquor department, a huge change from the military days.  His first week: A small thin bath mat $15.00, air freshener $8.00, bath towel $17.00, tooth paste $15.00.  He tries to buy from the local shop that is much more affordable.   He still has no mail service, so he cannot order online or ask for anything to be shipped to him.  If he can't buy it there locally, he's out of luck, and he pays the Iraq government 10% of his salary for the privilege of all of the above.

The Baghdad Embassy Compound grounds resemble a college campus with all the amenities anyone could wish for; yet, because they walk while he can cruise his short compound in a vehicle the embassy Pilates group, the party goers, and the club joiners tell him he has it so-o-o-o much better.  Yes sir, yes sir...three bags full.  

Phone calls are uninformative...he jokes he'd have to do me in if he said more...ha-ha-ha...laugh, I thought I would.  Secrecy...I'm not amused. He did let me know that after weeks of complaining about the snow storm reception on his only form of entertainment, he was enlightened by the repair people to the fact that the exiting contractors who lost the contract sabotaged some of the electronic equipment including his.

Despite all this drama he actually likes the job and is proud of what he has accomplished in transitioning the previous operation into the first current operation of its kind.  Vague, isn't it :)  Cleaning up the previous contractors mess, establishing an accountability system, writing and implementing policy, coming up with efficient ways to accomplish the job...almost everything he did himself, by himself.  He should be proud of his accomplishments...I am.

He labels it all a learning experience - gungho verses laid back and confused.  He confides that all his years of working in those areas made most of it child's play, but it has impressed the hell out of those he works under.  Remembering his conversations of the pressures he was experiencing to create a well oiled machine out of chaos; I'd say his drop in the bucket was more like flood waters breaching the top of the dam walls.  I'm so filled with wonder at the man he truly is, and I'm never letting go of him...ever.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Just breathe...

She sighed as she finished off
that small slice of juicy steak
And pushed her baked potato
to the left side uneaten
Nibbled on her ten pieces
of broccoli andante
Passed up the dessert menu
and sipped instead on a cup
full of steamy hot coffee
Then...unwrapping her small stick
of sugar-free chewing gum
She stood on that cold hard scale
of many disappointments
And wondered if dieting
was transforming her to a 
pessimistic little sourpuss.

Just breathe...

I'm magnesium deficient thanks to all those calcium citrate tabs I've been taking to prevent arthritic pain with a ratio of 2 to 1 instead of 1 to 1 calcium and magnesium.  I'm on the 1 to 1 ratio now, but read that it will take at least a year for my body to balance out.  In the meantime extra malic acid with magnesium capsules come in handy when the legs begin cramping.  Wish I had known before all those hundreds of charlie horses of my before today know what they say about wishing.

The little red Toyota Solara past 3000,000 miles last week.  2002 was a very good year for that little bugger being born.

When one begins to name their outdoor cats, they've gone down that slippery slope of its just temporary to cat lady purgatory.  I don't now how to find the other two kittens homes.  There have been nibbles from the vet clinic techs that are on the lookout, but no one has been reeled in hook, line, and sinker.  To think beyond today is to feel oneself whirling around that vortex towards the center of the whirlpool and into drowning mode.  I've never been fond of breathing water :(  I've never been a fond one of betrayal either, so...

Jamie's a talker...I guess that's what we'll call it.  Like higher pitched purrie trills when he's intrigued or engaged in the moment with play by himself, another cat, or person; his mother's trademark inherited by him.

It's a kitten thing...his playtime, or hell time as the rest of us like to call it.  Kitty dearest taking a flying leap at you with needle point claws extended and teeth in gnawing mode is a lot to reckon with.  Lacey's becoming a little sadistic in her playtime encounters, tackling him to the ground with front legs wrapped around his neck, and hind feet kicking the bejeezers out of the little stinker.  That half-pint masochist kitty just keeps coming back for more.

There's nothing that sends this gardener to hell in a hand basket quicker than the forecast of another day of rain while she's waist deep in weeds racing the cloud covered sun for that last bit of plant strangulation before nightfall.  I've fallen from that pedestal of gardening master, to that low lying weed lady whose butt seems to always be above her head as she yanks out one intruder after another.  I feel like my entire summer job is the Weed Slayer of Down-The-Drain Gardens.  

The vegetable's still in the seed packets, which are still in the kitchen.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Head in the Clouds, Feet in the Mud

Rethinking paradise...that's hell's the cat's paradise, my paradise the cat's hell.  The perfection of it all, I guess, is that we're both right and we're both wrong.

Some observations are a dime a dozen, some are priceless; so here goes with the dime a dozen 'cause I'm imperfection at its max today.

Birds eat bugs, ticks, fleas and mosquitoes;


when cat eats bird

cat eats bug, tick, flea, and mosquito pest eliminator (bad cat),

causing human to moan and groan

at the discovery of each demised siting (Bad Cat!),


forcing human to buy excessive amounts

of Frontline and Heartgard for cat (BAD CAT!!!)


by the way...

can I interest you

in the sweetest little tyke

south of the North Pole?

You did say

you can't stand

bird shit,

didn't you?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

This isn't what I had in mind, when I fussed about life becoming as dull as dishwater.

Of course, the above isn't true.  Day one, dead mouse lay on the back deck. Day two, the inedible part of a dead mouse lay upchucked on the back deck.  Day three, dead squirrel lay on the garage floor and sneaked out before I could retrieve it.  Day four, the inedible remains of a dead squirrel lay upchucked on the back deck.  Day five, two dead baby robins lay side by side under the back deck...  No respectable wildlife garden would ever have a loose cat roaming the grounds...never, until now. I'm not thrilled.

I think tonight this post will just come from my heart, and lately it has felt like it is breaking in half.  I cry a little, I cry a lot, I'm so sick and tired of crying when I start thinking too much.  Two of the kittens found a foster home.  I should be ecstatic, right? All I do is worry about the other two.  Chasing the feathers tied to the string tied to the's the only way I know to get them friendly enough to touch.  If I can't catch them, they're not they really have any chance, do you think?

Luck of the draw, the only factor with the first two.  Some rescue group for some reason chose me out of the hundreds of desperate calls, and reminded me over and over that it was for only two...the two friendliest.  Like I had a choice.  Two only were friendly enough to catch.  Two that are now living in someone's home, cozy and warm with fat tummies.  The others might be so lucky, if they don't grow up too fast, and if I can pull a miracle out of my empty head.

Stressed out over her becoming pregnant again, the little mother (Charlotte) was boarded a day, spayed and shots received the next day, and then boarded again a third day until she was level headed enough to be out on her own.  With flea, tick, and heartworm prevention, I bought extra time, like I really know what to do with this extra time.

Just a little note on transporting an adult feline that has never been put into a portable pet carrier ever in her short experience I'd rather not live through again.  Top loading carriers are great for in and out.  They are also fantastic for those razor sharp claws jutting through the metal bars of the top in hopes of grabbing some tender flesh off a few of your fingers while she's a manic freaking out feline in a psycho frenzy bouncing off the four walls of her prison.  Thick work gloved me carrying a growling hissing furry spitball livened up the vet clinic quite well.

Her sibling or child, the one that lived with her in the neighbors junk heap of rotting furniture last winter moved in the day before yesterday.  I tried chasing him to kingdom come, but they have a connection...mother and brother...mother and son...whatever, it's a very close one.  She's upset when I run him off.  Now I'm stuck with him also.

The inside one

So.....during all this, that little jackrat terrier of mine decides to make my house his house with me as the guest, I guess. Peeing and pooping to his hearts content in the back bedroom, it quickly escalated to a test of who would win in the battle of wills, and it wasn't going to be that terrier no matter what his little pea pickin' brain was telling him.  It all came to an end when I became a very uncool mom and squished his little black nose into all that pee and poop.  Now, if I could just get him to quit snacking on kitty turds faster than the little tyke can pop them out...(sigh)...he's such a disgusting connoisseur of those poopy little snacks.

THE JOB.  Sucks!  Vic's leave was canceled and he won't be home the first part of June as planned.  I'm devastated.  I need to escape the work place, and who better to do it with than my lesser half :)  My boss, upon hearing my news, said he was sad for me, but also glad.  Why would he even think he had a right to say that to me?  I do my job well, and I get used quite a bit because of that.  His star doesn't shine bright for me anymore. He's on my **** list for a while.    

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