Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What the heck are you?

I have great luck growing plants planted by other people because these plants have survived and thrived before we moved here.  Some people are true committed gardeners, but I am one of those "johnny-come-lately".

This brings up a question about this plant one of previous owners of our home (we moved here in August) had planted.  In the summer it was a dismal thing, looked like someone had had a bonfire in the center of this strange plant.

Here they are now:

I did some searching on various succulent sites, and they were very thorough and confusing. 

Can you identify this plant? I don't what comes next and what I should do, if anything. Those spikes are scaring me.

The name "Seymour" comes to mind.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Silence Sings Eternal

My generation, ones who were in their teens and 20s back in the hippy age, Laugh-in, and Star Trek, remember Simon and Garfunkel as voices of our conscience. Such talented young men, writing brilliant meaningful lyrics, Simon and Garfunkel reach into my memories.

written in 1963 and 1964

My granddaughter Lily recently queried me if I knew "Silence" by a group, Disturbed.  And, "Grandma, have you ever heard of a song, 'Sound of Silence'?"

What?? Sound of Silence? You betcha--Simon and Gar...

"No, Grandma!  By Disturbed?"

I grew silent, as she did magic on my computer and pulled up this video.

 Paul Simon endorsed this album. "Really powerful performance on Conan the other day.  First time I had seen you do it live. Nice. Thanks."
Do not find yourselves distracted by his face jewelry.

Few songs have stirred up goosebumps recently.  This performance nailed me to my chair and my eyes to the screen.  As Lily moved to close the site, I pushed the play arrow once more. 

Simon and Garfunkel's version was one of my youth.  David Draiman, vocalist of Disturbed, sang this version of my adulthood.  

All that had been seen through decades was reflected by his voice, singing this song.

Friday, April 21, 2017


Turn a page

Flowers blooming.

Another page

More growth.

Roses fully open

Petals fall.

Another page.

What a

Now thrives.

Bird song in air
Nests in tree.

Life is utterly


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Car 54, where are you?

Main hero is incredible.
Hawaii 5-0

Have you ever noticed trends that circle around a drain hole? This trend here is television programming, where a plethora of similar shows appear and then head down the drain.

This year it seems that dominant shows are police and/or spy dramas.  Everything is a drama. No comedy in police shows, just in shows I don’t watch.

Car chasescheck.  Gun battles, check. Non-memorable bad guys, check. Bad guys killed, check.

Important witness runs into the street to get away, check. Gets smashed by a vehicle, check

Guilty person is one who has had most TV time in acting career, check. Comforting moments, check. More car chases and car (by the way) is usually Chevy or Ford, check.

It goes on.  This list is long, if one gets picky. Drain hole awaits.

water going down drain

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Someone's birthday!

hot air main
God is having a birthday party!

Driving in French Valley, California, four-year old Clara looked up at the sky, seeing hot air balloons floating over her.

"Oh, look!  God is having a birthday party!"

God's Party from YouTube 

Why, yes!  God is having a birthday party!

"Whose birthday is it?"

Why, it can be everyone's birthday!

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Make Way for Trees

Trees are patient.  Trees go and grow wherever there is food, water, and light. Trees do not care what year, decade, century or millennia it is. 

-Rainbow Eucaliptus-the unique multi-hued bark is the most distinctive feature of the tree. Patches of outer bark are shed annually at differant times, showing a bright Green inner bark. This then darkens and matures to give Blue, Purple, Orange and then maroon tones.
Rainbow Eucalyptus
Trees are amazing. Did you know that roots can put on bark and become trunk like but that trunks can't become roots and withstand moisture? Amazing.
Roots can put on bark...
The Dark Hedges Co. Antrim, Bregagh Road, Northern Ireland
The Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland

 Trees have right-of-way. Do not stand in one place for too long.  Just saying.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Never give up, never surrender

If there is no struggle there is no progress Picture Quote #1
She had fought for this plant as if it were her own newborn baby.  Fought hard for it, carried it from one house to another, before She could finally settle it into a richer soil, a larger pot.

Even then she had to struggle to protect it, to nourish it in order to keep it alive.  Cold winter intended to blast it with frigid air.  Night temperatures whispered frosty words to it. 

Desert sun blasted and glared down upon it.  Green leaves began to curl and dry, and might have been converted from living plant to brittle sticks. 

But she spread her mother’s wings over this plant, spreading mother’s feathers to shelter it.  Soil welcomed and suckled water.

Please excuse this blown-out description of my struggles. It is pretty corny. No, it is totally corny. Writing in 3rd person allowed me to do that. The post title is a bit deceptive, I admit.

Well, this is my lilac bush as the topic of this post.  It may not seem at all vital or even interesting to you, who are thinking “Who wants to hear about a stupid plant and this lady?  Why am I reading this, anyway?”

My lilac bush has been struggling for two and a half years, as I have been with and for it.  The “Why?” is that in my teen years on my father’s farm, an immense lilac bush grew just beneath my 2nd floor window.  

In those April and May times, clusters of lilacs covered it, purple clusters like grapes on a vine. I cannot begin to describe that scent.

So here I am, battling the elements. Desert heat? 112 degrees. Winter frost? 28 degrees. Protecting my little lilac is one big ballet just for a few clusters.

 So, that is why I have been a warrior for this plant, with hope in my heart that purple clusters would appear this year and I can inhale that memory.

I can only hope and pray.

Have you ever felt so strongly about something that you have faced down elements and enemies to protect it?
Are you a plant person who has hovered over green anxiously?
What about some project that requires constant attention?
This could be a long list of questions.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Quintensesstional Radio with Dr. D.

Image result for radio dj clipart
Best Dallas Radio
Here we are again!  Dr. D. is here to listen to you and offer consoling advice.  So, let ‘er rip, Jimmy back-at-the-switchboard!

Dr. D:  So there, ZEE, you say you’ve been betrayed.  How did this all go down?

ZEE:  Well, no one told me about her, the way she lied…

Dr. D: Your friends?  They knew about this girl, a deceptive, lying…

ZEE:  No ONE told me about her, how many people cried…

Dr. D:  You mean, your friends knew this witch had sliced and diced others before you? And they let you mess with her anyway?  Losers! You told them what?

ZEE: …it’s too late to say you’re sorry…why should I care?

Dr. D: What did these loser friends want to do? Go hunt her down?  Like the she-devil she is? Saying “sorry” just doesn’t cut it.

ZEE: Please don’t bother tryin’ to find her She’s not there…

Dr. D: Wait. Are you talking in a metaphorical or astral sense? Is this a reference to her character or what?

ZEE: Well, let me tell you ‘bout the way she looked, she’d act, color of her hair…but she’s not there…

Dr. D: Okay, okay, I gotcha.  She was one heck of a looker. Bet she crooned in your ear, hypnotized you with those eyes, didn’t she?  Had you hooked by your…

ZEE: It’s too late to say you’re sorry..

Dr. D:  We’ve been all over that ground, ZEE.  Move on, ditch these losers, dump big time.  Friends don’t let friends get involved with malevolent, lying bitc…..

Music cuts in, Dr D: Okay, well then.  Good luck, kid.

Watch the following video on YouTube.

Oh, 1965!  That year marked musical history.  Life as we knew it would never be the same.
The Zombies were part of the British Invasion.

Forty years later....

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

It Was Time

Christmas 2012 with our son John and baby Benjamin in our old home

from our new balcony 
For twenty-seven years, our life in our old neighborhood was one of an almost solitary life.  Our neighbors had moved on, with new one replacing them, but there we stayed, strangers to others.

Twenty-seven years! That was the longest we have ever lived in one spot, and was clear at the twenty-eighth marker, it time for a change.

The move was long overdue, as boxes and unknown treasures of stuff lined the walls and rafters in our garage.  John’s library? Stacks of unread books were on the verge of cascading.
A rose from well-chosen plants in our new garden
Next time I will dust the table.

Close (2 min. drive) to our daughter's house.  Clara, son-in-law Brian, and Lily
after Irish dancing competition

Needing almost nothing of those dusty belongings was our surprising discovery.  Now, in our new house, in our 55+ community, we are finding ourselves involved in clubs and making friends.

Yes, it was definitely time.

The underlined words are from River.  She and several other bloggers have set up "Wednesday Words" for bloggers to use to liven up their writing.

I don't always participate but when I do, I totally have fun. 

Jump on over to that site and create your own take.

Best wishes to all A2Z people!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Island of Three Winds

Drangey Bird Cliff in North-Iceland and the Viking Grettir the Strong

On the island of βrju Vindúr, life was defined by directions of three winds. A treacherous wind blew in from the ocean, while bitter cold wind swept down from mountains.  Winds from valleys sneaked in over green hills, blasting unexpectedly.

One at a time would have been acceptable, but usually two or three gusted through the town of Bakkafjörður all at once.  Merely walking up or down a street necessitated clinging to a wall, or hanging on for dear life on a ship rope strung along streets. 

Needless to say, villagers were noted for exceptional muscular development.  Even so, none could walk up or down streets without assistance.  However, one man had this skill, and he mocked other villagers as he strolled along, hands in pockets, posture straight.  Only his hair waved as winds blew.

Eiður was such a man.  No humility existed in him.  Pride emanated off him. Oh, how others grew to hate him.

He had the chance to leave the island on a ship delivering goods (as you can imagine little could be grown there).  Hopping aboard, he waved at villagers who wished all sorts evil to descend upon him.

Eiður returned after a month with big smiles and stories to tell.  But he had no idea that a month away from three winds had changed him.

He stepped off the ship and was immediately thrown to his hands and knees.  Trying stand up, Eiður found himself again creeping like a dog along streets to his house.  He could not stand.  He could not pull himself up on the ropes. 

From there on, Eiður moved from one spot to another, crawling.  Villagers watched him.  Justification was theirs.

Í andlitð!
(In your face!) 

This language is Icelandic, taken from a site, Translating English to Icelandic.

Keldur, where there is still a Viking age floor in the hall.
Company of Heroes

This story is strictly metaphorical.  No such island exists in Iceland, altho there are many other amazing islands and land forms!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

From Pillar to Post

File:Amazon Prime logo.jpg
Amazon Prime has been created by a woman, I am certain.  I can see her standing at her front door, tapping her foot and saying, “Dammit!  Christmas is in two days!  I ordered this gift from Amazon ten days ago, and where is it?  Where is it!!”

This woman has a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer design. She has written multiple programs, successful programs used by Apple, Microsoft, and all the big places.  She has written and designed for military and government. She even had lunch with Walter O'Brien.

Where is this gift, she wonders, as she grits her teeth.

This woman slams the door, and retreats into her immaculate home office, organized down to the very pencils on her desk which are sharpened and lined up line little soldiers.

She creates Amazon Prime.  Maybe, but this is from my mind.

I am waiting for a “Janome Hello Kitty Sewing Machine”.  I already have a monster Janome, weighs a good twenty-five pounds.  But taking it to my quilt club is nigh impossible, thus I have ordered this heavy duty but lighter weight Janome.

Tracking my sewing machine reads like this:

Tuesday. 3/21, 10 pm, package leaves seller facility, is in transit to carrier (FedEx).

Wednesday, 3/22, 5:34 am, package received by FedEx, in Rockford, IL. US

Wednesday, 3/22, 6:45 am, package has left FedEx from Rockford, IL. US

Wednesday, 3/22, 11:42 am, package arrives at FedEx in Des Moines, IA, US

Wednesday, 3/22, 2:41 pm, package has left FedEx in Des Moines, IA, US

Wednesday, 3/22 4:10 pm, package arrives at FedEx in Ontario, CA, US

Wednesday, 3/22, 6:22 pm, package is received by FedEx Ontario, CA, US (?) 

Wednesday, 3/22, 9:23 pm, package has left FedEx in Ontario, CA, US

Wednesday, 3/22, 10:11 pm, package arrives at FedEx in Romoland, CA, US

Thursday, 3/23, 4:25 am, package goes out for delivery to Murrieta, CA, US, scheduled for delivery Thursday, 4:14 pm.

Well done, creator of Amazon Prime.  Well done, FedEx.

Image result for fedex logo

Monday, March 20, 2017

My mama told me....

While I did not dare to mouth off or disobey my mama (seriously, things could go south in split seconds), I have two daughters who have mouthed off to me, disobeyed and deceived me.  They both were told that "Someday, you will have a daughter who will challenge your knowledge and authority".

Now "the chickens have come home to roost".

I feel your pain.

Now, I smile when my daughter unloads on me about battles fought, won or lost. She knows why I smile, and has said the same sentence I said some 25 years ago.

Ah, life is good.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Raise a Cup, Hoist a Pint

Weddings are joyful (usually) events where two people make vows to love and care for each for the rest of their lives.  

Probably each reader participated in such a wedding as witnesses, family, and share in the reception. Well, actually, after the wedding ceremony, people head to food and drink, cut the cake, and then dance. It can all be pretty sedate and forgettable.


Riverdance in 1988 which inspired Irish Dancing all over the world
On YouTube you will find so many clips of Michael Flatley who was never a humble self-deprecating fella.

But, have any of you EVER witnessed an Irish wedding?  What if the bride and groom are professional Irish dancers from Riverdance?  What if many of the guests are are their buddies from Riverdance?  What if...

There you are, a St. Patrick's Day gift for all to enjoy a wedding done right.

Enjoy St. Paddy's Day!  Avoid the garishness of canals died green in Chicago.

  Eat corned beef (not really an Irish thing), boiled potatoes, onions, and cabbage.  Top it all of with a "trifle", which is really a British and Irish dessert.

Guinness is up to you.

Hoist a pint, or maybe two

Monday, March 13, 2017

Bears vs. Dukes

Bears on the Clock Tower in Bern, Switzerland
When the clock chimes, the bears rotate.
Why is Bern, Switzerland, named such?  My daughter (who lives in Bern) told me that Duke Berthold V, Duke of Zahringen, wanted to establish a township along the river Aure on a level ground, allowing for transportation and commerce.

Duke Berthold V declared during a hunt that the city would be named after the first animal he shot (with an arrow, of course).  Drew the string, let fly the arrow, and hit a rabbit.  His fellow huntsmen retrieved it, Duke told them to get rid of it. 

He drew his bow again, let fly the arrow, and he hit a bear.  Much better, so the town was named “Bern or Berne” which means something like bear.

Let's expand the story with much more elaboration and some plot changes:

1) Duke Jim was married to a lovely woman, Adele, whom Jim’s brother Bob dearly adored.  Duke Jim and fellows of ruling class ventured out on a hunt, ready to kill just about anything.  Jim’s brother Bob attended, apparently with great reluctance since he really wanted to attend to Adele’s needs.

Duke Jim had also declared that first animal killed would be the name of the new city.

Savage boar

                                                       Legend worth reading

Through the rustling shrubs charged a huge boar, and, alas, Duke Jim was gored horribly, dying on the spot. 

Bob became so excited that he also declared the animal thing, and actually happened to kill a rabbit, but new-Duke Bob declared they should wait a while, before the naming the town Tote kaninchen or Dead rabbit.

Bob became new Duke Bob and married Jim's sobbing widow, Adele, and became step-father to her son, Tom.

What if we expanded some more with a whole lot of elaboration and plot changes:

2) Before heading out to kill animals with Duke Bob, his brother Kevin swore to his now lover Adele that he would take care of this any problems Adele had with Duke Bob, who turned out to be a lousy person all around. 

Jim’s son Tom was spying on them both, and realized bad things were going to happen.

Which they did, bad things did happen to Duke Bob, something perhaps involving poisoning or maybe a big falling cornice from the castle. Tom, being a minor, was passed over, and Kevin became Duke Kevin.

This and that happened, a few years passed, and Duke Kevin led his troupe of hunters ventured out into the woods to hunt, Tom joining them. 

Kevin pronounced that the first animal he hit would be the name of his new town.  Unfortunately, Kevin felt a bit wheezy and fell to the ground dead, stone dead.

All wept, the death declared to be a heart attack. All were ready to go home.  

BUT Tom strode to his uncle’s body.  “We must honor my uncle Duke Kevin's final desire!  And, I, as the new Duke, will do so.”

Tom was never good at archery, but he drew back the arrow, and zip-zap, off it went, getting lost in woodland.  While all were searching for the arrow, Tom's squire, Richard, picked up the bow and followed after.  

Richard heard growling in the shrubs, took aim, and hit something.

Richard ran to the sound, finding a bear, dead as dead could be.  “Here, my Lord!  Here is your arrow!”

Thus, a new city was founded and named Bern (or bear).

Bears in the Bärenpark in Bern
Bear Park

Expanding this anymore could grow beyond anyone’s attention span.

Bears of New Bern
New Bern, North Carolina

My apologies for length of this post.  

Friday, March 10, 2017

Executing Ideas

On March 5th, Russians gathered at Stalin's tomb. He died on this date, heart attack it is thought.  Were they grieving?  Were they honoring him? Take a guess...

Stalin Meme

A Communist party supporter cries while placing flowers on Stalin's grave in Red Square, outside the Kremlin wall, to mark the 63th anniversary of his death in Moscow, Russia, on Saturday, March 5, 2016. Josef Stalin led the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. (Photo by Ivan Sekretarev/AP Photo)
March 5, 2017

A communist party supporter takes a selfie holding a portrait of Stalin as she lines up to place flowers to his grave in Red Square, outside the Kremlin wall, to mark the 64th anniversary of his death in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, March 5, 2017. Josef Stalin led the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Newer generations of Russians are starting to revere Stalin as he saved them from the Nazis and protected them from Allied nations. Apparently  memories of gulags and mass executions have faded from modern history.

Mind boggling.

Image result for stalin memes anniversary

Monday, March 6, 2017

Up and Down a Mountain

All that rain California has been enjoying for the past few months has been appreciated by all, especially in desert around mountains and along the freeways.  Before the rain, we all had grown used to the dry scrub that is our landscape.  

But, in a short drive up and then down San Jacinto mountains (lots of hairpin curves, warnings of loose boulders, and a set of cat-like nerves), view of the flat plains below were astounding.

We have driven this road many times, but never when there was actual green. It was impressive enough that my husband John actually pulled over into viewing points.  Getting him to stop the race car feeling he loves was amazing in itself.

P.S. We went to Idyllwild, CA, on a day trip.  Despite having the tourist attraction feeling, Idyllwild is a small town, where one really does know his neighbor.  This is an active community with four churches, supermarket, owner run pizza restaurant, a variety of quality restaurants,.movie theater, many art galleries, and other personally owned businesses. There are no franchises here.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Howdy, pilgrim


Remembering old westerns from my childhood, no actor can stand above John Wayne.

I did not come on to this epiphany until the past few years.  Modern movies and shows have numbed me to the point that watching such is a chore. 

Who cares about another car chase?  Who cares about another automatic gun fight where blood sprays and viewers do not really care about the outcome?

That was when I stopped by Turner Classic Movie channel.  Oh, sure, I have been there before, but now I went with a different eye. 

Now-deceased stars were prepped and presented by those who held their contracts. Photo ops showed them in best light, with smiles.   The studios kept a tight rein on their extracurricular activities.  Then, we saw these celebrities only as we were supposed to see them.

John Wayne: no perfect man or star.  But he was genuine. He could really ride a horse, could really shoot a gun accurately, and he was the good guy.   

John Wayne was as we saw him, warts and all.  

Many can and will criticize him for his political and personal views, but none can deny that John Wayne loved this country, was a patriot, and John Wayne lived a life of honesty and strong beliefs.

Oh, how I miss him.