Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Goodbye sweet summer...Hello spicy autumn

Sliding the glass doors open, I am greeted with a coolness against my skin, my head is filled with wren songs, and my nose catches the sweet fragrance of persimmon fruits as they lay decaying on the ground.  Autumn is slowly taking over the gardens, and I want to savor it all one more time before leaves start letting go and floating to the ground below.

Earlier uprooted some rather large weeds, and startled by rabbit making it's escape through fence and beyond.  Christmas ferns finally tucked into place today, as I'm gambling this yard has matured enough to give them a good home...time will tell.

My dog walker came by at noon to take Dustin on his daily hike, and asked me what's up with this weirdo dog behavior of my dog approaching her backwards...butt first.  Oh my gosh, I had to laugh, I've created a little freak...not intentionally of course, he he.  He loves his rump rubbed, adores it, pleads for it, whines for it, demands it.  Every time he re-enters the house I just give him a couple of scratches on the rear and a pat or two, and he is off to see which feline he can irritate the most.

He does seem to be always preoccupied with this tail end scratching routine, tail flipping ferociously to and fro, dancing just a step ahead, constantly looking over his shoulder to be sure I am within an arms reach of that canine derriere.  He always expects, so it's becoming a Dustin tradition I'll probably be married to the rest of his life...sigh.

Photo session with gardens today to spice up my blog, and highlight my love affair with nature.  Goodbye sweet summer goodness...hello spicy autumn playfulness.                       

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I'm Old, Crotchety, Stubborn, and Cantankerous...

Despite the title, this is a positive tale, so please keep your finger off of that left side clicker.  All that pops into my brain at the moment is my feline trio, and the approaching of old age for the eldest of them.  Having the tenacity to keep my babies with me in a quality lifestyle much longer than most people are willing or even care to think about (it's a daunting and frazzling task at best), I know for a fact that my oldest cat is no different from any little old fart of a person who wants it their way or no way.  In fact, all of my past centenarian felines have displayed this same unquestionably pain-in-the-butt trait.

Miss Molly, with us for 20 and 1/2 years, managed to stay fairly feisty until the last several months of her time.  She always demanded my lap whenever, wherever, I plunked down my tush, and although a very petite fluff of a cat, she never put up with the shenanigans of the others without a fight.  And the fight was usually with Jesse, my current 16 year bundle of mischief; and although he was a thorn in Miss Molly's side more times than I care to remember, I still have a soft spot for him.  He knows how to bend me right around his furry little paw quite well.

My kitchen is built with space between cupboards and ceiling, and quickly claimed as feline heaven for all who are agile.  I say this, as contrary to most popular beliefs, not all cats are extremely agile.  Zoe, cursed with stubby legs, only ventures to those heights when being pursued with intention of being stuffed into a cat carrier.  She somehow gets an extra shot of energy propelling herself up onto that refrigerator top and the security those lofty heights afford.  Of course, Mommy has a tall step stool, so that security is all too brief.

Jesse is the agilest feline I have ever set my eyes upon.  His removal routine from lofty heights was to walk out to the end of door top edge, and jump to counter or floor below with a thunderous thud that would wake the dead and make your hair stand up on end from shock.  This most persistent and unfortunate behavior eventually led to his demise as king-of-the-air due to arthritic complications.  Well, I've deviated from the original story line quite well, so let's get back to the intended tale.

The rite of passage from middle to ancient age in feline time is that day those lofty heights can no longer be navigated, and playing with toys is met with a deadpan face and total are-you-insane indifference.  It's that day when there is an old, crotchety, stubborn, cantankerous, mind of own, needy, Needy, NEEDY patch of disarrayed fur with slightly
glazed eyes complaining about dinner being late no matter the time of day or number of times dinner has already been served.

Vitamin and anti-oxidant tabs are met with jaws clamped tighter than a two sizes too small spandex girdle.  Medicine pills are amazingly held somewhere in that mouth throughout the entire meal only to be spit out later in another room.  Litter pan placement had better be a smart choice, or those little arthritic legs just won't make the distance.  That body, like a heat seeking missile, will demand your lap if lack of pet heat pads exists.  

If you're the traveling kind, you had better have a pet nanny on call cause old cats go on hunger and drinking strikes when boarded for more than five minutes.  And those insane mealtimes, when dementia, like a spinning wheel of fortune, can pick out a different flavor of preferred food with every stop of the spin, and it's quite possible to open up an amazing number of kitty food containers before the correct combination is revealed; and the old fart may eat only a couple of munches before wandering off to see where the food really is at.  You're left following cat from room to room with food plates
in tow, cause you never really know when mealtime has
actually ended until plate is licked clean, and that could
be three rooms and an hour away. 

My tension's right up there in overdrive, my brain frizzled, and body wasted, cause I now get up two hours earlier than what used to be normal to try and out guess what works this next time around.  Old cats, old people, old farts...you've got to love them all; otherwise, you would have been headed for that looniest of loony bins ages and ages ago. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

What I did on my summer vacation 50 years ago...

...give or take a year, or two, or three...that was ancient times, and my brain has reached an impasse, as I seek to refresh my memory on the multi-details of that time.  A younger sister, by ten years, seems to remember every freakin little incident of my life trudging through adolescence.  She reminisces fondly (at least to me) of my puppet shows, fortune telling, family plays, and so on, that I am now totally clueless to on our 4 to 5 hour marathon phone calls (don't ask).

I do vaguely remember coercing (I don't think they would have done it willingly) my two younger sisters and a younger brother to play school, with me as their teacher - ha ha ha.  Of course, sister could be a total fruit cake memory-wise and I wouldn't be any wiser, since I haven't yet been able to agree or refute her tales of my childhood that she seems to remember not too far out of the cradle.  I need to find a Dr. Frankenstein to hook me up to her and transfer my life back into my own head.

I was in a small town of a little more than 2000 bodies, in the middle of a dry, dry, dry desert, next to a naval base that was next to a lake...not an ocean...just a lake that wasn't all that big.  Just after finishing sixth grade, I'm pretty sure it was sixth grade, I already knew my teacher from that year as my summer started; some organization, we'll call it BH (Bah Humbug), thought it a wonderful inspiration to put into place a summer work helper program for kids who hated the idea of a summer of leisure.

BH published an article in the Mineral County Gazette announcing this wonderful summer program for the youth to earn spending money and the adults to get out of doing spring housecleaning.  Considering myself poor ($1.00 a week allowance that I had to work to earn), I jumped at the opportunity to flush my leisure life down the toilet that summer.  I telephoned BH, and had myself put on call on their summer schedule of odd jobs program.  BH had me running here and there all summer working my little butt off.  I only remember two of the big bucks jobs...one because of fond memories attached, and the other because of nightmare that ensued.

Sent on a cleaning job to an address I didn't know, I was surprised to be greeted at the front door by my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Booth.  He was small, thin, dark complexioned, bushy eyebrows, quiet, somewhat mysterious man, with a slight crookedness to his neck and shoulders.  Introduced to his wife who was kind of like a carbon copy of him, they had me help them clean and straighten the house up for the next several days.  I was in another world I never knew existed.  A lovely small house surrounded with trees and gardens...but it was the furniture that was magical to me.

A fact has to be introduced here to explain the gravity of all I beheld in this wondrous home.  My own home was linoleum floors, vinyl fiftyish type furniture, and not all the walls and floors were ever completely finished with paint and coverings while I grew up.  It was always a work in progress, being fixed but never finished.  We didn't have "nice" things, and nothing matched except mom and dad's modest art deco bedroom set. 

I still remember the Booth's bedroom vividly...the massive carved wood 4-poster bed with the pineapples carved at the top of the posts.  I remember thinking it looked Hawaiian, and all that carved bedroom furniture matched.  That was my first taste of the finer things in life.  They sat me down to lunch at a beautiful table, and I was introduced to a bowl of fresh raspberries just picked out of their garden with cream poured over the top.  Mom and dad's raspberries just came as raspberries.  This was luxury to me.  I fantasized they had an adventurous life before settling down in my little town, but sadly I would never know what it was.

My last job of the summer was a hellish one day affair that would of had an arachnophobic committing suicide.  The towns sheriff's wife hired me to vacuum their entire house from floor to ceiling, removing dirt and dust from everything.  I slaved away most of the day, but I'm pretty sure I took the short walk home for lunch, as being a very small town, I lived only a block away.  The last room of the day was a rather large bedroom.  Starting at the opened door, I proceeded to vacuum across that floor with determination, my eyes glued to the floor, as it was getting late in the day, I was dying to get home, and I didn't want to have to redo the job.

As I approached the far end of room, I caught sight of some things clinging the corner.  OH-my-god!  Tons of them...those things mom and dad call daddy long legs...piled on top of each other...going up that corner crease from floor to ceiling...did I say TONS OF THEM?  I panicked...rethought my options...want to get paid for a complete job...think, girl, think...removed floor brush...sucked those little monsters into that bag of death with lightning speed...I could feel them crawling all over me...deed done...leave that machine running...they might try to crawl back out.  Smart enough to know those thousands of legs
wouldn't be just in that one corner, I quickly assessed my situation.  OH-MY-GOD!!!  They're everywhere!  The other three corners, ceiling, in things, on things, under things, behind things.  I must have caused a zillion deaths that day, and I know I had another zillion crawling all over me.

Sleeping with a herd of daddy long legs...how could anyone do that...I mean like were they special pets or something...were these people nature freaks...did they all need glasses?  Afraid to remove the bag of death to garbage can, they might start crawling back out of it, I left it for the sheriff's wife, kept mum about the whole affair, got my money, and made my escape.  I had thousands and thousands of those legs crawling all over me for days to come, and it was years...many years...before the thought ever entered my head again that cleaning another person's home was a good source of spending money.       


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where is that Alternate Universe when I need one?

Everything breathes in my world, everything...wild gardens encircle my home, and they are breathing...constantly breathing.  Ok...beetles, bugs, moths, butterflies, toads, frogs, rabbits, birds, plants, water, rocks, soil...whooooooooa...right on!  It all breathes...the Feng Shui way...inhale - exhale - inhale - exhale - inhale - exhale...the life of nature.  And get this... my house also breathes!!!  THAT'S RIGHT...the four walls, furniture, carpet, tile, clothes, appliances, you name it...it's expanding and contracting, inhale - exhale - inhale - exhale - inhale - exhale.

I heard that, and no, I'm not a nut whirling around in the blender.  Page 11, Feng Shui Step By Step by T. Raphael Simons...Chi..."Chi is sometimes described as the cosmic breath...Everything breathes and moves in accord with it.  Everything comes from it, exists through it, and returns to it." 

Happiness abounded in my corner of the world until this book enlightened me to all my numerous frailties and compounded fallacies.  Chapter read, exercise completed, information added to personal data chart.  The more I read, the more discontent I grow.  The more discontent I grow, the more my little black cloud begins to billow up and shed some drops of rain.  My life's raining on my own parade.

My dwelling is a hoarder of malcontent, a breeder of discord, reeking of negativity with constant coughs and wheezing.  Fortune of my front door is "a castle falling to ruin", room doors all seem to be ill placed, clutter gathers like flies to garbage, inauspicious window placements (ooooooooo...sounds so mysterious) crowding corners blasting chi from house to outer space, furniture arrangements screaming chaos, and middle-of-house bathroom dooms my whole existence.

My north double indented dining room signifying mental depression, obstructed flow of thought, poor adaptability and anxiety is my marriage corner.  My money corner is a closet...a freakin closet with all that stuff one puts in closets...you know...CRAP.  I de-clutter, it re-clutters, de-clutter, re-clutters, de-clutter, re-clutters...AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAck!!!

I've mapped out all eight directional points of house, charted noxious rays and secret arrows,  tabulated color and furniture placement corrections, researched symbolic decorations of symbols, colors, plants, patterns, numbers, and fabricated crystal fixes, yin, yang, pin, pang, din, dang, my head's spinning out of control, tape it up fast before it explodes.

Threw book in garbage, calmed down a bit, then dug it back out again.  Going to try one more time, like I've done all those other times.  The individuality's of all those irregularities and their peculiarities are not going to get the best of me...no way, no how.

Pounced on the marriage corner with a fanatical enthusiasm that should only be reserved for some dork trying to climb back out of the alligator pit.  Systematically introduced a zillion symbolic symbolistic decorative symbols, a mirrored repository of useless artistic gadgets, an interior design to rival House Beautiful and render it shameful and me shameless, sucking my bank account into that black hole of emptiness.

Suggestion to my husband of simply boarding up the closet was met with horrified objections, and proved to make the money corner the bigger of my obstacles.  A row of boxes on the floor, another row on the shelves, and more the shelves above the shelves, piled with stacks of papers and doodads galore.  I need this stuff...can't give up...don't knock my clutter, I was heard to mutter...husband shook his head, ducking flying shoe missile, as he mocked my hoarding skills.

A year it took to thin out that chamber of magnificent clutter, distributing it evenly in well placed receptacles of tasty disguise.  Might be the only closet in existence to possess its very own art collection hanging on its walls and little mirrors abound to bounce that chi around.

This emancipation from our dumpster digs...has it made for a better life, wealthier life, healthier life, happier life?  No million buck lottery win, English gardens contest winning tour, lucky pot of gold, fountain of youth, a full body regeneration, thick curly hair restoration, size 8 Marilyn Monroe figure, ready-made disease-free pets, sexy hot body hired gardener, live-in cleaning machine maid, call from the White House or Ed McMahon.

I approach all my endeavors with reckless abandon, with all my heart and soul, so this is the news I will convey...that within a day of the last of eight artful hangings placed upon that closet wall...husband accepted his big bucks job, and that ain't bad at all.  It's Feng Shui all the way now, babe. I'm rushing to finish up this inspiring awesome anecdote to give me time for another round of de-cluttering the re-cluttering, before I call this evening quits.  Can this, will this, most likely this...oh poop... this is the story of the rest of my life...de-cluttering the re-cluttering.

Whoopee do...oh! so sorry......!hallelujah!      

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Images of September

Gardens slightly chaotic this time of year and quite frankly, to me, they border on looking like crap.  Of course, I prefer things a little more aesthetic in appearance, part of the perfection twerk I have, but you know...what nature deems perfection has nothing to do with man's concepts.

Perfection for nature just seems to simply be everything working together in harmony, and it does quite well manufacturing whatever is needed to keep its cycles in perpetual motion.  It is always healing itself.  I do believe it is secretly working towards that goal trying to transform my little corner of earth back to a real wilderness.

With knee in brace and orders that this years yard work is to be only a thought, not acted upon for me...all kinds of grasses are hogging the spaces, seedling trees are getting alarmingly tall, and it all has the appearance of a really bad hair day.  Rain silently fell last night and the day began with that type of heavy, hard to breathe, humidity that is so common in these southern summers...clothes sticking to body after just a few minutes outdoors...no refreshment or exhilaration until you find that air conditioned indoor place of escape.

Ventured out into that muggy mosquito infested mess this afternoon to snap photos of September colors in the gardens.  The unkemptness of it all added difficulty to capturing the images that soothe the senses, and the distant ones seemed too cluttered to convey the calmness of the day.  These are my choices...may they give pleasure.  Enjoy!     

Carolina Allspice 'Athens'
This little baby is trying to quadruple its size...ack!

Hairy Sunflower
Do you see hair?  Must of had a haircut.
Fuzzy wuzzy somewhere on plant...

Late Purple Aster - Aster patens

White Gaura
Drenched in aphids from head to toe in summer,
and lady bug larve.

American Beauty Berry - purple
Mockingbirds and Cardinals munch on these fall through winter.

New York Ironweed

Clematis integrifolia durandii
Just beginning to open...

'Laura' Summer Phlox

Holly 'Sparkleberry'
By end of month bright red will be each berry.

Passion Flower, Maypop
My nose calls its fragrance STINKY...perfumes entire patio area.
Mmmmm, Mmmmm, Phew!
Walls of fruit seem too thin to really eat.
Robins eat seeds out of dried fruit in winter.

Viburnum nudum 'Winterhur'
Seems happiest in the bog...loves to wet its tootsies.

American Persimmon 'Meader'
Puckers mouth somewhat if eaten before a freeze,
although Dustin dog has been munching on these daily
with no ill effects, it seems.

Turtlehead 'Hot Lips' growing among Swamp Rose in bog area.
A thorny little haven.

Turtlehead 'Hot Lips'

Blackhaw Viburnum
VERY TALL shrub pruned like a tree.
Keeps trying to be a VERY TALL & WIDE shrub,
 suckering a thousand shoots everywhere.
Burning it down to the ground
 is beginning to look like a much better option,
than clipping all those @#%*! shoots...UGG! my aching back!

Butterfly Weed

Tennessee Coneflower hiding in the Hairy Sunflower.

Verbena 'Homestead Purple' growing among all that garbage...uh,
sorry...growing among all that stuff that's green.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Living the Life

I say I have an I don't care attitude...that's not quite true...I do care, I just learn to not let cares strangle my life into another headache.  I know when to let things in one ear and out the other, to let problems roll off my back, to not dread what hasn't yet come to pass, to not dwell on crap, to give myself some slack, and to be my own best friend, cause loving my person makes me the best authority on what makes her happiest.

Sometimes attitudes are hard to manage, and I have positive reinforcement to put myself back on track.  Sometimes I slip and slide, and have to search for a safe path home.  I've learned to relax, because tension is its opposite.  I plant myself outside in fresh air surrounded with nature's work where bird songs abound, or fill my space with beautiful music and affectionate pets, or watch romantic movies or perhaps a comedy with comfort food in hand, or as I am doing today...I write my cares away, munching on grapes, buttery ripe avocado salted and peppered, and a cup of yummy caffeine coffee with a big plop of cream.

Hey, don't knock it too much...what's crap for you may be pure joy for me.  Headache's much better, or I should say much less.  I'm going to end this little ditty and spend time with my feline and canine pets.
!Happy Weekend!

Jesse's Postscript

My Second Sweetheart
 16 years of nuzzles and cuddles
best headache chaser ever


Friday, September 3, 2010

The Dubious Connoisseur

Dustin dog's unplanned addition at little fourth acre gardens caused quite a stir with the feline trio for months.  I think the phrase floating among them was on the jest of pain-in-the-butt, although that is putting it rather kindly, as their exact thoughts were of a more colorful nature.  He wanted them his buddies...they wanted him their dead toy.  He perked up his face to play...they perked up their claws to fray.  He tried perching in high places...human curtailed that misguided notion.

Don't get me wrong, he's as cute as cute can be; but in bed I'm more partial to a marvelous man physique, than Dustin dog's body cuddling next to me.  Many, many pet doc appointments to curb his addiction to objectionable feline particles of delectable delights.  He followed the program and progressed quite well, but has been found to have lately strayed from the straight and narrow.  His mission to be among felines as one of their own, perhaps screwed up his concept of where a dog should draw the line and keep dignity intact.

Jesse doesn't acknowledge Dustin existence too much...never has...never will.  He's not even considered the cause of this dog's plunge into disgrace.  Andee's grown quite fond of his little bowwow...his ticket to rising up through the feline ranks, me thinks.  Rub-a-dub, rub-a-dab...Andee keeps him well marked; he needs him as dogcat, so he'll be bottom of heap.

My guess it's Miss Zoe, (as he insists on treating her attacks as jesters of play)...who puts in his head if he inputs what they output, he's on the fast track to that dogcat status just out of his reach - she's known for her diabolically twisted sense of dry humor.  I'm told felines don't know the concept of smiling, but I swear each time Dustin dog has fallen from grace, the corners of her mouth twist slightly into the hint of a smile of a most devilish nature.

We've scheduled another get-together with the pet doc, hoping we've missed some other way of helping him curtail his pitiful passion of plucking those little brown goodies out of the litter for another midnight snack.  Wish him luck...he needs it...Miss Zoe has his number BIG TIME, and he's so out-of-his-league when he's playing her game.  Poor baby...

Confession of a Turd Aficionado


Thursday, September 2, 2010


I made a mistake.........whew...no choking sensation...okay, on with this tale of misguided good intentions.  (I think there is a phrase about the road-to-hell on this one).  Cats instantly notice double hung Pella Impervia SunDefense Dual Low-E windows selfishly claiming all of the window sill space, are not so user friendly.  Human takes a little longer to reach that same conclusion.

Cats more confused than normal.  Those slightly diminished rays of morning sun fanning out across living room floor, now deceptively promise that toasty radiant warmth cats find so hypnotically attractive.  Entire living room has been abandoned...their morning ritual of hogging the sun drenched areas, surrendered to only a memory.  I plant my bare foot onto one of those spots flooded with sunshine and it is cool.  I feel a little twinge of guilt.

I've wiped out the ecstasy of hotness my trio of felines craves.  Hell...I've wiped out the ecstasy of brightness I, myself, crave.  Making mental note...walking into a dark room during daylight hours no longer means bad weather is a coming.  It just means I screwed up, and this is my life after that blunder of some significance.

Suck it up, silence the whines, and flip that light switch to on.  Light switch be on, doldrums be gone.  Light switch be off, cripes...reminds me again of my mistake that has grown to magnificent proportions.  I'm beginning to feel a whole lot of guilt.

Look up sites for those cat window seats, so my trio can bask in the cold sunshine and give me those silent dart glares.  My heart sinks a little and my checkbook shrinks a lot...this pet friendly contraption of plywood and cardboard, shelves and beds costs more than a double door refrigerator.

Research again for those compact fluorescent light bulbs of indoor sunshine that promise healthy amounts of UV vitamin D light.  I've shed all my tears, my reservoir's run dry, incandescent bulbs needn't worry, cause CFL's are anything but user friendly with my money.  Some extra heat pads and check out lamps with promise of radiant heat emissions.

Then...it hits me like a rake handle striking squarely between my eyes...I created my energy efficiency domain as I pledged I would do, and now I'm trying to replace it with an energy deficiency abode.  Waaaaaaaaaaaah...boo hoo.  This may be one of those mistakes of a lifetime, that takes a lifetime to undo.

But life does goes on, mistakes stay mistakes or get fixed, and I'm forced to finally admit...I'm a failure at the art of feline management - a modern model of deceptive practices - a fraudulent environmentalist - a mockery of conservationism - a screwed up pessimistic optimist.  Audubon would be so sad.........my bad.

Rooms with a View

A wilderness beyond deck.
Dustin dog scared to venture out there after dark.
I know better than to venture out there after dark...
spiders weave those huge webs across the pathways.

Could Be Better...
but love my car...XXOXX


Note to self...
Must count stepping stones in yard...
Bet a thousand or more.
Stray off pathways...tick food.

Just For Show...
Hard in summer
Like a block of ice in winter

Jesse's Window
Ha ha ha
Who took the lace curtains down?

Andee's Window
Ok...could be worse...
This beats Jesse's window any day.

Zoe's Window
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