Saturday, June 5, 2010


If you have ever seen my husband's eyes, it will come as no surprise to you that I am a sucker for big brown basset hound eyes, or that Ringo Starr was my favorite Beatle.

Back before my mother-in-law Theda took up

woodcarving (sometime in her 60s) she was a painter, and waaaaay back when my hubby was about five years old, she decided to paint a picture of him. As any artist must, she first spent some time studying her subject. A bit too much time, for his liking. One morning he looked up from his Wheaties and told her "Mom, I'm fed up with you staring at me all the time. This has got to stop!"

The painting above was the result of this most uncomfortable period in his life. He's not too crazy about it himself, but it has always been one of my most treasured possessions. Look at those faces! Same ol' puppydog eyes...same little angelic/satanic grin (so hard to tell which). I have no idea where we will hang it once we clear out the townhouse, but I promise you, I will find a place - even if it's on the ceiling above our bed!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Just when I thought "This is it. No more rain for the summer. Might as well get used to the idea.", here comes a sudden gully washer out of the blue, complete with thunder and lightening that shook the house so long and so hard one time, I thought we might have been hit. Woohoo! The water tank is full again! All John's little trees are happy, since I haven't been real good lately about lugging water to them. I'm happy because, for once, it was cool enough this morning to throw all the windows open and air the place out. Now comes the tough part. Making that tankful of rain last until the next storm, whenever that might be.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I guess summer is really here. The temps are steadily climbing, while the likelihood of rain is ever waning. Won't be long before we reach those dreaded triple digits. Thanks to El Nino and his abundant fall rains, though, we still have a bit of water in the creek. We can thank him as well for our voluptuous spring wildflower display, and for one other thing, it seems. Snakes. Lots and lots of snakes. A veritable cornucopia of snakes.

I went five and a half years here without ever seeing anything more than a little green garter snake. Now I've encountered two five-foot-muthas in about as many weeks, and I'm hearing the same from others about town. The disturbing thing is that I didn't run into these guys because I finally got brave enough to go treking through field and forest. Nope, I still keep my feet on concrete as much as possible, or at least on paths where I can see what's around and ahead. So, it's not me who's venturing forth, it's them!

A couple of hysterical bluejays alerted me to the first one. I ran to my open window just in time to see him drop out of the big oak tree next to our staircase. He was probably a non-venomous rat snake, lookin' for some bird eggs. They're pretty good climbers, apparently. Not only do they scale trees, they can go straight up a flat wall, if they so desire.

I ran into the second fellow, almost literally, on the driveway between garage and house. What surprised me most was the way I reacted. I didn't scream and run, nor did I grab a hoe and start hacking. Instead I froze in my tracks, gave him time to finish slithering under his bush, then continued on my way. I did, however, go right out the next day, to buy that handy laminated chart pictured above. Don't know for certain what kind he was, as I didn't see his head or underside, but my guess is a yellow-bellied racer, also non-venomous.

So, why didn't I grab that hoe? Not sure, to tell you the truth. Coulda been I was just too chicken to get that close to it, but I think there's more to it than that. I think I'm finally becoming tuned in to the delicate balancing act that is nature, and that each plant and creature plays a part in keeping that balance. Kill bees and crops fail. Get rid of vultures and you're knee-deep in putrescent road-kill. Spray bad bugs and you lose the butterflies too. Kill all the snakes, and you might as well through out a welcome mat for the rats.

Still, just because I've acknowledged their place in The Grand Plan, doesn't mean I like 'em any more'n I did before. No siree bob! And one thing's for certain - yer sure as hell not gonna catch me luggin' trash down that driveway after dark anymore. Brrruh-ruh-ruh! (that's close as I can get to the sound you make when you do a big ol' spine shiver, with head shaking back and forth, and cheeks a flappin')

Monday, May 31, 2010


One of our neighbors invited us to a barbecue this weekend. Not really knowing any of these people, I hated going without John, but knew he'd be pissed if I weaseled out. As usual, he was right. I had a pretty good time once I was there.

Not only did I get to see a really neat house with a great courtyard garden, I also got to chat with several old-timers who have lived in the area for years and years. You learn so much more from them than you could ever glean from the internet! One thing I learned was that my siblings and I were absolute idiots for risking the largest of our two low-water crossings, that scary night a couple of years back, even though we watched another vehicle ford it safely.

One of our neighbors is part of an international team that studies and tries to educate people about flash floods. She told me about an incident back in '97 where there were two school busses. The first one made it over a crossing just fine. The second, following right behind, got swept away. The problem is, all it takes is a slight change in current - a little gush of water suddenly coming 'round the bend from somewhere upstream - and in the blink of an eye, it's all over. She also warned us never to go through any crossing if you can't actually see the roadbed through the water. You may think it's just a trick of the light, but there's always the chance that the bed itself has been swept away - just as that huge culvert pipe was swept out from under the highway near us, a day or two before our incident.

I tell you what. If we ever have a week of rains like that again, I'm staying high and dry right here in my little aerie. You won't be able to pry me out of the house with a crowbar!

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Yesterday should have been the most boring day ever, but wasn't. I hate the weekends when John's not around. They really shouldn't feel any different from my weekdays, now that my work is here at home, but they do. On weekdays I feel lucky to be home alone. On weekends I just feel...alone.

Lex and I were planning to meet up, take in a movie, but she ended up having to work, so what was I to do on a hot, sunny Saturday? Go to a farmers' market? Go fetch a truck-load of compost? Work in the garden? Knit some presents? Finish changing out my closet? Paint that dang wall? Rework those dang bookshelves? Well, at least the bookshelves were inside, where there was AC!

One thing I found, in that pile of stuff from the townhouse, was a couple of fabric-covered photo albums which coordinated nicely with my bedroom decor - the kind with slotted loose-leaf plastic sleeves for pages. They were each no more than a quarter full - one with photos from the nursery where I worked, the other with landscaping projects. All of that seems from another life now - one I can't see myself ever returning to - so into the trash the photos went.

While staring at the bookshelves, wondering where to start, my eyes fell upon a whole shelf-full of those horrible photo albums from the 70's and 80's - the ones with the thick cardboard pages and the "magnetic" film that is supposed to peel back, only after a while, it doesn't. I hate those suckers! That's when it occurred to me that about five of those albums could fit into one of these modern ones.

Soooo, that's what I did...all day yesterday...and some of today. My back is aching, and my fingernails are bloody (multiple puncture wounds from trying to peel a thousand photo corners away from their gummy backing), but what fun I had, day-trippin' through the 70's!

Now it's on to the 80's!

  • Newly-wed in Indonesia
  • Yearbook staff in H.S.
  • Under the dryer - trying to make curly hair look straight
  • Discovering Wimberley - dorm advisors get sent to 7-A Ranch
  • Meeting soon-to-be best friends, Paula and Tim, in Bahrain


Sooooo, top kill didn't work. Am I the only one who keeps flashing forward, wondering what future generations are going to have to say about us, and how we killed the planet?