Sunday, October 28, 2012

Miss Lacey's Forbidden 31 of October

                         From ghoulies and ghosties
                    And long-leggedy beasties
                    And things that go bump in the night,
                    Good Lord, deliver us!
                                     -Scottish Prayer




O, thou little brown bar of chocolate delight,
Your flavor trickling down my throat so excites...
My only true love, morning, noon and night-
I love you, I love you, bite by bite.

Woe is me, O woe is me,
Alas, there's no more left of thee...
A shame, such pain, our future won't be-
I'll have to go shopping for another three.

Dear Lacey,
     My human traps me at dinner time to stuff pills down my throat.  Help.

Down on my luck,

Dear Skippy,
     This column is for cats, dufus!  If you ARE a cat, your human should be put in time out in the basement for a year for choosing that name.

Dear Lacey,
     At dinnertime my two humans are always squirting me with water, thumping my nose, and scaring me off the counter beating it with a paper bag.  They think I am out of control; and always lure me into the bedroom with my dinner and shut the door, trapping me.  Lately, they have begun to forget that I am still in the bedroom until bedtime.  What can I do?  I just want to be a member of their family.

Lug Nut

Dear Lug Nut,
     Clearly anyone naming their cat after hardware on a car is not looking for another family member to add to their litter.  I conferred with my room mate, Miss Zoe FeatherBender, and she agreed.  She cannot ever remember of any human ever naming one of their children Lug Nut.   She suggests you upchuck on the bedroom carpet by the door a few times to stop this practice by your dementia humans.


Dear Lacey,
     My room mates pick on me and make my life miserable.  How can I get them to like me better?  

Battered and Beaten,  

Dear Wus Cat,


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Kind of Day That Takes Your Breath Away

The day has a refreshingly crisp clean edge to the air.  The darkening cloud layer makes it appear dreary from the living room window, but a bit romantic from the backyard swing.  It takes determination to vegetate out there with a storm moving in, and the wind whipping or should I say ripping through my hair. Plants burst forth in spring with all the raging energy of that blinding fireball that keeps us toasty warm, and this fall they are determined to go out with a blast before their deep sleep sets in for the long winter ahead.

I'm wondering what happened to my summer...oh, that's right...I was a slave to the beck and call of that other love in my gardens.  They showed me no mercy this too short of a long hot summer.  That devilish bermuda grass forged an insurmountable wedge between me and my smell the flowers moments.  

The crocus's could be heard through the bedroom walls chanting the rains are coming, the rains are coming...get your lazy butt out here and take pictures!  In my house-dress and bedroom hair, I took pictures of anything and everything that got in my way.  A few survived the delete to the recycle bin, and almost make it worthwhile to have been caressed lovingly on my left ankle by a certain Miss Poison Ivy.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fragments of a Long Month

Come on...just give me a simple YES or NO.
I have a h-u-s-b-a-n-d headache today, created from his inability to answer a simple question with a simple answer; and my inability to ever just leave things alone when he's thinking for minutes before answering, and then asking me questions that aren't even in the same generic application unless I make my simple question more complicated.  What gives?  I felt like I was in an Abbott and Costello remake of who's on first base.  When will I ever learn to just shut up and enjoy my quiet place?

Pardon I really look like someone who cares?
Oh, that's right, my job specs tell me I have to care, so I care; but when I walk out that door on my way to that little red Solara at 4:30 prompt, I leave your answered phone messages in that lowest bidder trash can by my desk.  I won't remember you next year when you visit again unless you reeked of nose burning, teeth blackening, toe curling body odor that lingered in my office for several hours after your absence on your last visit.  It just won't happen.  I've lost my edge on remembering all 100,000 visitors from last year.  Of course, I really do care; but when I walk through my front door to my menagerie of three cats, one dog, and a're history.

Have I told you lately how much I hate you?
No?  I hate you, I Hate You, I HATE YOU!!!  You're bad news.  Your head games are driving me crazy.  You're an intoxicating addiction, and you're still a headache after I've cut you off from my life.  Please, just go away.  I told you I wanted you out of here, and I MEANT IT.  Get out, Out, OUT!!!  I'd like to end this association, so why can't you just leave me the frick frilly fracken alone?  If you didn't seem to have so many friends, I'd wipe you out of existence, but the gathering mob would probably lynch me.  Here we go again...I'm so totally not hm hm hmmm hm diddly um...

I'm purrfect without you, big boy!
Dustin has been seen near the company of a certain black and almost no white feline lately.  It's an uncomfortable match, as attested by the slightest hint of fear that glints in his eyes when she's up close and in his face.  She deliberately crosses that bridge of cautious space he sets between them, and gives him the rub over, marking him from head to toe as hers alone.  Then wap wap plunk dunk kapooey!  She bats the hell out of his face and head sending him hightailing it to his doggie cave bed for asylum.  She's a perplexing little psychotic vixen.

She's running on all eight cylinders!
Who would have thunk I'd be hooked and reeled in to that animal planet reality show of good felines with bad parents aptly named 'my cat from hell'.  Zoe disgustedly dismisses that garbage, correcting me on the more appropriate title that should be used, 'my humans from hell'.  I watch it hoping there will be an episode that relates to the wedge that has been forged between my cat Lacey and my sanity.  So far, I've not seen anyone else blessed or cursed by a crazed food-a-holic feline maniac, but I keep watching and hoping.  Misery loves company.

Instead, I learned my calico is high end upkeep in the play-till-you-drop world.  With the energy of a raging volcano, she requires all the spare time I don't have to play, play, play.  Wondering if playing till exhausted would curb her food rages at mealtime, I must sadly report it does not.  I thought she was going to choke to death sucking in all that food when she was out of breath.  She had to be put in time-out for 15 minutes until she was once again a normal breathing crazed food-a-holic feline maniac ;(

Did you say pull the grass, to hell with the plants; or pull the plants, to hell with the grass; or was it...?
I'm happy to report that husband has superficially annihilated all that bad Bermuda grass.  I'm sad to report that most of my garden beds seem to be barren now.  I think the good guys are fermenting in my compost pit.  Too bad they each didn't have two skinny little legs to high tail it, running like a bat out of hell from the approaching gloved hand of a certain someone who has watched Conan the Barbarian way too many times.

Go with the flow?  You're kidding...aren't you?
I used to be good at storytelling.  Well...let's just say I thought I used to be good at it, but I'm feeling like a mutiny took place these past few months while I had my head buried up to my shoulders in the sand. I'm just so thoroughly dead in the water with this blog, and this doesn't work for me anymore.  Has my ship already sunk?  Is it time to just move on?  Is it too late to start a salvage operation? 

I hate roller-coaster rides, so why am I always on one!
In for the surprise of my life?  Well, that could go two ways...plummeting to rock-bottom, or climbing into the heavens. When one coasts up that track into the wild blue yonder, there's an anticipation of agony for when that upward climb peaks out and suddenly ones flying by the seat of their pants towards the center of the earth.  With luck and perseverance, the uphill acceleration lasts longer than the downhill plunge.  I'm poor again, but only for a while, as I'm choosing to believe that there is always a point where the track flattens out, then curves upward again.  I just have to hold on long enough for that next upward climb.

Bummer!  Now I can't be mad at you anymore.
Husband surprised me today.  He doesn't accomplish this feat much these days, but today he's a warm glow in my heart. Plagued with an aching shoulder and a headache that loves keeping me company, I had to bow out of an excursion with him and our terrier planned for this bit of unusually nice weather. He disappeared for an hour and reappeared to tinker undercover in the kitchen; then he presented a tray of prosciutto with melon, lovely homemade rolls with olive oil dip, and a yummy slice of carrot cake with butterscotch drizzled over that fluffy icing; all from my most favorite place in this city to eat out at.  Rats...:)  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I'm running as fast as I can.

The twenties...20's...10+10+?  I think the best thing about my twenties is that they only happened once.  The job was usually a job scraped one level up from the bottom of the barrel.  I was an adventurer of meager resources tripping from one misadventure to the next.  The best I would ever have would be no more than I could come up with on my own.  No one beside me, no one behind me...I was alone when it came to planning the rest of my life.  I was so totally clueless.

I worked a year as a babysitter...nanny...whatever, in charge of a young know-it-all girl with a younger semi-bullying brother to a much younger angelic brother, a don't-ever-tell-me-what-to-do afghan dog, and a smarty pants standard poodle.  Each time I made a decision that their mom would never have made in a million years, or so the young lady thought, she made a phone call to mom at work.  She made many phone calls to mom at work that first many, in fact, that mom was highly motivated to skip work for an hour, come home and lay hand to butt.

The afghan made its home under the kitchen table defying me to change her routine, the poodle popped out ten curly black pups that year and sadly later on she died, the bully brother flushed the angelic brothers goldfish down the toilet  and both brothers spent more than a few time-outs in the corners of their bedroom. We became a tight knit little family after a questionable beginning, and I had only good memories for the rest of that year, except perhaps for that high strung afghan princess.  It was a sad farewell the day I decided to work at the naval base in town...the town that was smack dab in the middle of a desert.

I was a 'blue' collar worker at that naval base with no ships.  I worked on the assembly line making ammunition, you know...250 lb and 500 lb bombs, mortars, get the drift.  My most favorite of those crappy jobs was in the filling house. Downstairs sucked!  It was the area where the small rail cars traveled on railroad tracks through the bottom part of the filling house, each car carrying six bombs with their base upright to be filled with molten powder.

Platforms bordered each side of the rail tracks, and that is where we stood in our canvas coveralls covering our cotton long johns, steel toed grounded shoes, elbow length canvas gloves, and face shields; holding the pouring hose folded shut, then unfolding to let the molten hot liquefied powder fill up the empty bomb casings to the correct level.  Little bits of molten powder were always spraying up during the filling process, and during breaks we would be gently peeling them off the lower part of our face.

We were always sweating like pigs at a barbecue.  I was the only woman working in that filing house with a fairly rough group of men.  The lower part of the filling house was surrounded by what is called a bunker; tall concrete walls, fat at the base and tapering as they ascent to the top of the first floor.  This would supposedly protect the outside world if we all kissed out butts know...KAPOOEY! and we all blow up.

Finally I was liberated and placed on the upper floor of the filling house, up above the concrete barrier with windows covering all four sides and a second crew of tough men who never seemed to socialize with the lower level crew.  I was the cleaning person.  I knew I was the cleaning person, because in this group of chauvinistic men, cleaning was woman's work.

The alternative to sweeping the raw powder off the floor and platform areas around the cooking kettles and moping, would be work that was as hard as the lower level; but I had my fill of the broom and mop brigade after a short time, and voiced my opinion to my boss.  I wanted to be treated as an equal with these rough characters...I wanted the cleaning job to be rotated through all the crew.  The first rough and tough macho guy that had to clean floors for the next week was...well, let's just say he looked like a wounded puppy with his tail tucked between his legs.  He was a MAN doing woman's work.

I almost bit off more than I could chew.  This was a muscle person job, and my arms were a bit puny.  Okay, they were a lot puny.  I suffered.  Round metal cans with a handle at each side, and a half opening lid on hinges, with somewhere around fifty pounds of loose yellow pieces of raw powder inside were brought in on a conveyor belt from another building.  A person would pull them off the conveyor belt onto the roller bar platform for the next person in line to grab and carry to the next kettle to be filled.  A strain to lift off the roller bars, it was a double strain to heist that can up high enough to dump its contents into the kettle instead of the floor.

The heat was turned on, the kettles were filled, and as they agitated, the uncooked powder on the agitator fins would be scraped off with wood paddles back into the kettle to cook.  The lid was closed during the final stages of melting until it was like molten lava ready for the lower deck crew.  It will never be said that I let any job get the best of me.  My arms muscled out and soon I could keep up with the best of them.  I began to win at arm wrestling with the men.  I actually became a celebrity in the lunch room for my arm wrestling feats.  I loved it.

Rotated to the roller table and pulling those hefty cans off the conveyor belt eventually earned me a squashed finger and a finger nail that had to have a hole drilled in it by the dentist to relieve the pressure.  I went right back to work on the conveyor belt.  Guys are impressed by this kind of toughie stuff.  I was macho girl, fitting right in with all those macho guys.  I was part of the gang and they all seemed to love it.  I couldn't see this occupation following me into older age...the type of work that becomes harder to do each year until eventually one day the body hits a brick wall and screams just forget it.

The switchboard operator position at the base headquarters got me out of the living on the edge to the living on the bored-out-of-my-mind working group.  My entire day or night was monopolized by that antiquated switchboard staring me in the face defying me to remember who was plugged into whom.  I was in a two handed plugging purgatory.  Uninspired subnormal intelligence was not my forte, so I was well on the way to hell in a hand-basket just my second day out on the job.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Confessions of a Gardening Misfit

 takes moxie to be an activist, to be ostracized, to be alone in one's way of thinking, and to be without the support of the community.  I grew up shy.  Any opinions I had stayed inside my head.  If my opinions were disagreeable, I suffered.  If I had no opinions I was always 'loved'.  How does a wallflower peel herself off that wall of indifference, and plant herself out there like a lighthouse beacon for a cause she embraces?  I haven't a clue.  It just happened, but it happened way late in my life.  The generic version of myself is long gone, and not everyone out there terrifically likes me; but, in my opinion, life's much better this way.   

"Hey, you!  Just had to stop and let you know how much I like your gardens."  I smile with a warmed heart, and take a break to answer the questions of curiosity.  Fifteen years ago I never thought I would ever hear these words being spoken my way.  The usual was more in the direction of "Why don't you just cut all that messy crap down..."  Never perfecting the art of being a toughed skinned person, yard work by the street was the least favorite of my places to be.

Once I had to prepare, with the help of a state arborist friend, to go to environmental court; but my panic slowly eased as that complaint eventually evaporated into thin air.  It was news to me that there was even such a place as an environmental court.  I felt like I was surrounded by totalitarian politics, and if I didn't find a way to fit in, my way of gardening on my own property was going to be squashed out of existence.  I had to fight back.  A feeling of helplessness, and the fear that feeling created was then an annoying part of my life.

The knowledge that the city could have my yard mowed flat and send me the bill was an eye opener.  I was at the mercy of others with the property that was supposed to be mine.  The health department gave me a once over.  It was acknowledged that everything looked like it was put where it was by wasn't just a mess of weeds; so at a loss to tell me what to do to appease any complaints, 'too much vegetation' was written on the paperwork, and I was advised to cut down the coneflower seed heads come winter.  Of course, I didn't.     

Dealing with prejudice is a hard road to travel.  I was beginning to realize the power of the belief that nature is not a partner with man in the city, and that I was perceived as sleeping with the enemy when I brought it into my yard.  In order to neutralize the fear people felt when threatened by a different way of thinking other than their own, I had to change the concept of my gardens.  I had to spend money I really couldn't afford to part with to fill the grounds with rock pathways, sculptures, arbors, trellises, benches, and a little fluff of exotic flowers to fit in with the neighborhood that was filled with yards that looked like nothing but scalped lawns. 

I had to become a little city park, so a little city park I became.  I had to create the persona that I was in control of my universe...not nature, so I did.  I eventually was the recipient of a nicer yell-it-out-the-car-window phrase, when two teenagers driving by yelled "ouch!  OUCH!!! You're killing me" as I was pruning some shrubs.  Priceless.


I didn't become an activist for the natural landscaping movement, because I wanted to force others to garden a certain way; I became an activist for the natural landscaping movement , because I didn't want others forcing me to garden a certain way...but, if you really are a native plant gardener, YOU ROCK!

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