Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dark Side of Eden

Turkeys...we have plenty of them on this park, but today I'm not talking about the human ones.  Out of nowhere, three hens and sixteen chicks have materialized near the pond area.  The adults are scratching wildly around that large dirt patch, chunks of soil flying in all directions, sashaying their bodies back and forth as they flip dirt on themselves before settling into a nesting type mode on that bug quenching dusty mound with wings outstretched.  The chicks settle in to the same routine after the hens have risen and pecked their food picking way over to the pond.

After a while a few of the chicks rise up and join the hens, but most of those chicks are content to just stay put with wings outstretched in their huddle of bodies on that dusty patch of ground.  The biggest hen moseys over to that display of lovely young bodies, and starts kicking the hell out of the dirt sending the rest of the chicks scattering to the pond.  She settles down to a second dust bath before rejoining the gang.

Eventually they begin pecking their food picking way into the tree covered beyond and become invisible to my eyes.  I'm looking at all those 'weeds' out there.  Most people hate them with a vengeance, but the turkeys need them for the seeds they provide and the insects their green leaves hide.  Turkeys would starve if we had our own way and herbicided all those pesky weeds into oblivion to satisfy our need to have nature wrapped up tidily in a straight jacket of neatness.

Do gardens have a dark side to their personality?  Mine do.  Baby thugs hid in the greens I've planted, silently becoming tomorrow's teenagers of destruction.  Maple, elm, bradford pear, eucalyptus, chinese redbud and japanese/chinese honeysuckle seedlings become six foot monsters before I discover their existence.  Bermuda grass, yellow nutsedge, japanese knotgrass and stiltgrass, and who knows what else, busily tries to smother my natives and non-natives into oblivion; and this is all with the courtesy of mother nature and my lovely neighbors; both whom I have no control over whatsoever, kapoot, zilch, nada nada nada, zero baby zero.

Neighbor to the left has a healthy patch of bermuda grass mingled with another coarser grass on steroids.  Always a day late and a dollar short on the mowing time table, those grasses are trying to set up housekeeping on my grounds and are succeeding quite marvelously much to my horror.  Neighbor to the right has developed an allergy to yard work beginning some years ago, and has become the living manual of all that is so wrong with life among the lazy elite.  He has every known obnoxious entity the world has ever harbored proliferating wildly away in his reserve of dubious origins and questionable motives.

I've even become my own worst enemy and have begun to sink in a losing battle with the eradication of that oh-so-cute native river oats crap that I planted three little tykes of some ten years ago, and now at last count have cut down more than fifty clumps of that baby-faced monster.  I need some time for myself outside of the gardens and have deserted the healthy and gone over to the dark side.  It's spray, baby, spray...kill, kill, kill.  I'm on a mission...I need a life outside of my sorry National Wildlife Federation, Audubon, and Wild bad.

Japanese Stiltgrass

River Oats

Dwarf Joe Pye Weed 'Gateway'
5 to 6 feet tall

Part of cicada damage where eggs were laid
in the stems of Spicebush - after eggs hatched,
stems are warped and split open

Miss No Name
Was given a piece off a lily bulb
at a Master Gardener Meeting.
Took about seven years for it
to become big enough to bloom.
Love it - whatever it is.

Keeper of the Pond

Beautiful blue dragonfly

Blackhaw Viburnum berries
after the rain

Blackhaw Viburnum berries after a short drought -
they all fell off the tree

Hosta 'Halcyon'
Have to water this baby everyday, or
it refuses to bloom. 

Hairy Sunflower

Giant Coneflower
Rudbeckia maxima
against a 6 foot high fence

Too hot to actually use this deck
for anything but a collect all

Dustin's stamp of approval is lacking on the front yard.
It's leash territory for him, as he is so addicted to
running down the street with his owner
hot on his trail, her arms wildly waving,
yelling 'come back here, you little sh*t!'

Glossy Black Chokeberry
I tried one of these...only a bird could love it.

Clematis i. 'Hendersonii'

Royal Catchfly

After five attempts to get a completely undamaged
85 pound  umbrella stand, I gave up.  The only piece
lacking is a screw tightener replacement, but UPS
keeps insisting on using the straps for handles
even though it is printed on the straps that's a NO NO.
The last shipment for me to just remove a tightener
from the tube and have the rest returned, was actually
missing the fell out somewhere along the route. 
I'm buying a large bolt from the hardware store,
and will just live with that conversation piece.

Blue Star Threadleaf

Belladonna Lily
I'm in love!
Beautiful pinks with golden and bluish highlights.
Fat strap leaves in the spring disappear,
then the flower stems shoot up later in summer
two feet tall,
and produce these deadly sweet blooms.

July 28, 2010
Birth of my little baby
Perfection...More or Less
the beginning of
my descent
most sublime
with my first post
Thank you, Tracy,
my first follower
outside of family...
 I do sort of think
 of her as distant family.
She encouraged,
plugged my blog,
wonderful comments
 left and right,
she's a sweetie!
Thank you all
for reading
 whatever I throw at you...
you're awfully good sports.
to all of my friends
who post more than once a week,
you're killing me...
it's like running a marathon
 trying to keep up
 with all your posts,
Love you all.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Afghanistan - Being all one can be.

I know persons who are all they can hails from the dark side...the force is not with him.  Another is the poster child of everything obnoxiously irritating.  They both serve a purpose in my life; but at this moment, I'm thinking more towards the positive spectrum of my existence.

Husband...we both jokingly call him my little headache; but at one point in our union, he was a migraine, toothache, and hemorrhoids all gift wrapped in yellow vinyl crime scene tape.  He's stepped up to the plate and hit a home run with all bases loaded.

He's my hero...he's my sweetheart.  I thought we would die of old age before overcoming our American dream illusion disillusioned by entanglement in plastic card and bank IOU debt.  I was overwhelmed and beginning to give up, he was just short of a trillion overseas job applications submitted; then a plane whisked him off to employment in Iraq, followed by Afghanistan.

Simply put...he's overqualified for the type of work he does.  He considers himself fortunate they overlooked that fact, and is aiming his goals closer to the top of that ladder of success.  He began as a sixty year youngster working physical labor jobs alongside those that really were youngsters.

Southern Afghanistan - Roasting oven of the country

He's had good accommodations...he's had some of the worse in the world.  Today he's living in a tent with seven other persons, and he takes a long hike to use the latrine and showers.  He watches his small laptop movies at his work desk after work before he calls it a night, and walks to his tent of no privacy to end his long day of twelve or more hours seven days a week drudge.

He walks everywhere after dark with boots and flashlight, as the discovery of things in the desert night are not the things you want to meet in flip-flops or sometimes not even the things you want to meet without some type of weapon.  

Camel Spider - also known as a Wind Scorpion
Usually around 4 inches long

Aggressive 16 to 24 inch Saw-scaled Viper
Considered the world's most dangerous snake
 because of its highly toxic venom.
LOTS of these in Afghanistan's deserts

He's abruptly ended telephone conversations with warning sirens blaring in the background, saying he has to hurry to the bunker.  Last night he told me he watched a movie after hours at work, walked past the bunker with several men at the entrance smoking but ignoring him, got to his tent with all seven men sleeping soundly in their bunks, only to discover the base was on 'incoming rocket status'...with hardly anyone hearing the warning.  He says the warnings come over the intercom system in an English accent proclaiming 'Iiiiiin com ming rock et, Iiiiiin com ming rock et.

He lives in temperatures of up to 124 degrees Fahrenheit at its max, although if he is so unfortunate to be standing out in that unforgiving sunshine, the temperature on his skin can reach 136 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fortress built by Alexander the Great during his push to India

I guess I actually live the existence of a military wife.  We are together four weeks out of every fifty-two...together one month out of twelve.  He has my total admiration and devotion, and he gets away with murder at vacation time, how could I not let that be...he deserves so much, much more.

Our debt is a thing of the past, if we keep paying taxes we own our home, savings are beginning to rise above puny, our aged teeth have been given new life by a dentist that is not a crappy preferred provider, and we're repairing our home little by little to not fall apart before we do.

He's one of the most honest people I know for this day and age, he would give you the shirt off his back, he's never at a loss for good words with company, he's that type of person everyone loves to be around...he's that type of person everyone loves.

He was a handsome devil when I first met him...he's still quite devilish handsome.  He calls himself 'my little infidel', I just call him 'my sweet cheeks'.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Troubled dreams...

I had one last know, not a nightmare, but definitely not a fun time.  I was out shopping with someone.  She looked like no one I know, perhaps a conglomeration of all the females in my life, perhaps not...maybe a younger version of me...who knows. 

She was trying on bras, in the middle of the aisle (you know how a dream can go where ever it wants), and she had an older male clerk's full attention in answering all her NUMEROUS self-centered questions.  She asked me nothing, she could care less if I had input on the subject or an opinion of my own, or if it would be more reliable than her straight faced perfection of a clerk.

I could have been a naked Madonna, and I would still have been oblivious to them both.  If I had been a moth on the floor he would have pressed his polished Italian leather shoe onto me grinding every speck of my existence into a smudge on the tile.

The store seemed to be void of everyone but us three.  I was in a shopping mood myself, I had questions to be answered and was in need of someone to ring up a sale, I could solicit no one's attention, and I tried everything to get my friend or this clerk to pay attention to me.  I was being ignored BIG TIME.

I left with nothing.  My friend left with her bras.

I woke up to the alarm pounding home the fact that I had to drag myself out of bed to welcome another day of THE JOB.  As the faint reminiscent of that dream lingered on, I thought if there was even a smidgen of redemption in all of mankind, I would have miraculously morphed into a tacky moist wad of chewing gum just as his Italian leather pressed hard against me.

A previous occurrence here and there in my lifetime, changing scenarios and players, this dream manifests itself when person or persons insist on invalidating my feelings, thoughts, knowledge, wisdom, or existence...those all-about-me ones who can only think of themselves when I need empathy, sympathy, or support.

Those ones who flip what I just said and expect me to empathize, sympathize, or support them...those ones who make my all-about-me all-about-them before I have even finished uttering my last word.


I need people turning purple for a day when they can't get beyond themselves.  I need the purple to get more and more vivid each time a selfish invalidation is uttered from their lips.  A few would be neon, shout-out-loud, blast ones eyeballs to the moon, radiation blinding PURPLE, announcing to the hemisphere, troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere and beyond what buggers or boogers they are.  Just saying... 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Every once in a million years

...or so it seems, an event occurs that makes ones common ordinary life magically extraordinary.  I happen to see these events as little miracles, in that I just happen to be in the right place, at the right time, under the right circumstances...a reward that keeps hope right up front in my life.

My nine month younger brother and I would take turns sleeping outside on the patio during the summer months, when I was around first or second grade age.  A made up bed waited for me, and you can guess by this that rain seldom was an issue we worried about in the middle of the desert at certain months of the year.  This was a regular single bed with a cheap mattress sitting on heavy wire mesh, you know, poor folk entertainment.

I waited until darkness before leaving the house in my pajamas to climb into that wonderful bed.  At that time the yard was still in its infancy, and being in a bed on the patio with a four foot high fence bordering the alleyway and baby trees and shrubs bordering the wide span of lawn on the other side by the street, well...I was like one postage stamp all by itself on an album page.  A grape vine covered trellis bordering the patio by the street side was the only camouflage available between me and the world.  The bed stuck out like a sore thumb, and I didn't care to be on display for whoever ventured down the alley or street.

Waking up late meant keeping my head covered up to escape detection, then making a mad dash across what seemed like a football field size patio...of course it wasn't; but when one doesn't want to be discovered in their jammies in the middle of the yard in broad daylight, one ejects herself out of that bed in two seconds flat and runs like crazy up the porch steps and through the back door...whew!

One night before climbing into that cozy bed, surrounded by that dry desert air that can turn quite chilly before morning, my gaze went across the street, over the top of the Brown's house, up the tall rounded peak of Mount Grant, and into that wonderful sky of a zillion stars, a sky that no city person has ever seen.

A huge bright red ball sliced through the darkness above the Brown's house and disappeared behind the homes at that edge of town before my running feet could get me to our front gate.  I looked down the street, but of course saw nothing; the meteor's decent took all of one second before becoming past tense.  No mention in the local weekly town was my very own brief light show...just for me.

Mom's love of the cosmos became my love of the cosmos.  She woke us little ones up at two in the morning once to trek outside in our sleepwear with flashlights in hand, then flashlights off as we viewed in silence a full eclipse of the moon.

Another time, in what was probably the only moment in recorded history for Nevada, we stood outside after dark and watched the faint edge of the northern lights over the top of Mount Grant.

Sometimes we would sit outside for hours on the patio and see how many shooting stars we could count if luck was with us that evening.  We learned to identify all of the constellations in the night sky above us for all of the seasons, and at one time the family even had a telescope, a Christmas present for all to view the planets, moon, and stars.

In my twenties, living the city life in Reno, I talked my husband at the time into driving me out into the country to see what was promised to be a fantastic meteor shower that evening.  The sky was half filled with clouds after the rain...we laid out on the top of the hood of our car...watched large white meteors playing hide and seek with the clouds, maybe a dozen per minute, arching clear across the sky with light trails illuminating behind the clouds.  I was in seventh heaven watching the heavens put on a heavenly light show.

In my late thirties living with present husband in Colorado Springs, the flight path to Paterson Air Force Base sometimes took jets quite low right over the top of our house when coming in for a landing.  One afternoon as I was trying to sneak up on a singing meadow lark perched on our side yard fence, I looked up to see a plane fly right over the top of me with the space shuttle attached to it piggy back.  That aircraft wasn't much larger than the space shuttle it carried...awesome...just awesome!  It was so close to the house top that I felt like I could have just reached out and touched it.

During my forties and my four year life in the tropics with husband, I hitched a ride with friends, to a small town up the Atlantic coast of Panama, the epicenter so to speak of the best viewing area of a total eclipse of the sun.  Husband worked...who in the hell works when there's a total eclipse of the sun to see???  I played could I possibly miss maybe my only chance in this lifetime of such an event!  From the horse's mouth so to speak, first of all, it does not get DARK.  The skies darkened, but I could still see everything.  The amazing part was all the thousands of birds flying in to roost in the trees around us for the night...fooled by the darkening skies.  As the skies began to lighten, all those confused birds flew out again to continue their day.

During my fifties, one of my favorite memories was the year of a great meteor shower.  We grabbed hats, gloves, scarves, coats, blankets, and pillows; and drove to the planetarium area of the Chabot Space and Science Center in the Oakland hills.  It was COLD!  We froze our butts off!  No matter how many thicknesses of blankets one lays on cold hard concrete your backside is freezing and your body is stiffening.  We laid there most of the night with a bunch of fellow idiots, and watched a continuous light show of dozens of meteors a minute until around four in the morning, doing quite a bit of talking and shivering in between.  I think I got perhaps two hours sleep before heading out to the airport.  I know I definitely need people in my life that love all this craziness.

Most treasured occurrence of all, though, seeming so trivial in a way, but making the most impact in my life, has been my collection of letters and cards from dad brought about from his concern and love for me during my years in Panama.  I am the only one who possesses a group of his letters like this.  If I had stayed in the states, played it boring and safe, I wouldn't have all those letters to re-open and re-read during the quiet hours when I miss him most.  Every time I open one of his letters, he's with me once little miracle. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...