Friday, January 31, 2014

Wednesday Words: Monoliths

Ominous billowing dark clouds descended and surrounded the ancient monolithic pillars.  Wind-driven snow encrusted formidable towers, in moments obscuring the court of Stonehenge. 

Stonehenge: No description
Source: wouterotto
Trapped in the Druid circle, snow-buried tourists huddled, wondering if guides and rangers would soon fish them out from a frozen grave.  Some decided to burrow through the drifts to the outer circle of towering granite.

Would they survive?

These underlined words are courtesy of Delores.  Every Wednesday, this crazy lady selects randomly (she says) 6 words to challenge participants.  You can access her site by clicking the lovely stream on the right sidebar.  Some awesome writers accept Delores' challenge!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Crush of the White Mustang

On the freeway driving through what I now call is the “Valley of the Slumbering Giants”*, my eyes wandered to  gleaming silver BMW, pale green Prius, white Honda--all passing us.

Thundering diesels roared as they pulled their loads up the hills.

John was driving, listening to Rush; he switched back to Roger Hedgecock, and then to music of the 60s.  So my eyes and thoughts were my own.

A big hulking diesel pulled up to my side and I noted that its load was open for all to see.  Its flatbed carried stacks and stacks of crushed cars, strapped to a ‘fare-thee-well’ with red straps.  How many high? I wondered.

I attempted to count the stacks but failed.
From top to bottom, I got lost at six.  The first six were predictable rusty clunkers, more than ready to head to the car cemeteries.


The next few were horribly twisted results of accidents.  Did the people live?  Those made me shiver.

Then, at the very bottom of the first stack, was a white mustang with straight red stripe along the side.  Not a scratch on the sides, not a dent in the fenders—perfect, recently off the showroom floor or new car lot.  But it was now flattened.


White mustang convertible, wow.  How you must have reached speeds, passed mundane cars, and laid down mile after mile…until this happened.

What had happened?  I didn't want to know. 

*I used to call it “the Valley of the Burial Mounds”.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Preparation is the Key

This is misery, pure and simple.  Nothing more can be said about the storms that have been, are now arriving, and will be coming in a few days.

Monica Ferrell tried to dig her car out of the snow on Henry Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, using her hands.

Bismarck Tribune

The above two photos demonstrate how NOT to behave or dress in the midst of the arctic freeze.  Both agreed to news sources that they were totally unprepared.

It looks snug and warm even in winter.
Source: Hobbit Hotel in Montana
Advice from those who know: Stay inside and hunker down in a warm place.  Hot tea?  Coffee?  Chili?  Whatever is your choice, but stay safe, warm, and inside.

p.s.  Apparently there really IS a Hobbit Hotel in Montana.  Check the site under the charming hobbit hole above.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Wednesday Words: Aidan

The Broken Window Theory
Aidan had such a narrow window of time to complete this mission.  Tearing his flannel shirt, he bandaged jagged wounds from his fall against the dumpster.  Now, he entertained the few possibilities left. 

This way, up and over—none of it mattered if he did not act soon.  Agitated but steady, Aidan crept stealthily through the night, his light steps leaving a scarce dimple in a muddy alley.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Questions, questions

It is winter here in San Diego, CA.  Supposedly.  It is 83 º F (about 32º C).  Grass is brown, wildfires looming here, etc….

When this occurs, my mind starts casting about for diversion since the brain cannot take the heat and pressure.

Today I am asking questions, and would appreciate any suggested answers.

First question:  Why are men—in general—fascinated with knives and weapons?  And for that matter, what is it about movies with fast cars and big explosions?  What the heck? I realize there are 3 questions here, but go with it.

One of my husband's weaponry

Second:  Why are some women obsessed with shoes?
Outrageous Shoes - womens-shoes Photo

Third:  Why do people smile involuntarily? I see a baby, a commercial with a baby, a photo of a baby…and I smile.

My grandson

Fourth:  What kind of underwear is worn under skin-tight underwear? Thinking mainly about women, but hey, it goes for men as well.  No photo on this one.  Use your imagination.

Do you have any questions you would like to toss out in print?  Go ahead, use this as your stage.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's just a hat

All collections reach a stage when they must move on, or rather, move out.  Circle of Life rationale? Perhaps.

Collections gain icon status after a while.  My mother wore this hat to her son’s wedding…This was my great-grandmother’s baby cup…This was my grandpa’s chucking peg for the corn….

The icon status must be broken, or else the icon kicks into Holy Grail status.  And then, Lord help us, the Holy Grail will be wrapped in soft layers of wool and packed away until the box itself falls apart.

This established, many icons are heading out the door and onto someone who will hold one and say, “I wonder what the story is about this?”

Here are some photos of personal icons.  Some are in the car, ready to relocate.  Others will linger a while.

All the hats and vintage clothing in the car---the pink hat was my mother's and she wore it to my brother's wedding.

This is an honest-to-goodness-leopard-skin hat....we did not kill the leopard...long story will appear sometime.

These three hats belonged to men...the camouflage "Calhoun County Ford" belonged to my father...The "U.S.S. Kearny DD-432 WWII" belonged to my husband's father...The white cap "Williams' Boots & Coots Hazardous Fire" belonged to my brother.  All three men are deceased, and these hats may grow close to Holy Grail Status.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Disappointment is a Harsh Burden

Disappointment is a harsh burden, especially when there was great expectation.  Any fan of mysteries can understand this sentiment.

I remember the Agatha Christie books and how my white-haired grandmother would devour them.  Devour them!  Then those books came to me, and I became a Christie fan.

Miss Marple - miss-marple Photo
In 1985 or so, BBC released the Agatha Christie Mysteries starring Joan Hickson.  She was an amazing Miss Marple, perfect to the letter.  The excellent filming, settings that screamed “England!  Right here!”, as well as the accuracy of clothing and times presented all the engaging drama one has come to expect from BBC mysteries.

Miss Marple - miss-marple Photo
Let’s leave Dame Margaret Rutherford out of this, shall we.

Today’s American murder/drama/police dramas have gone down a dark, predictable road.  My heart is broken.

It is a dead give-away who did what the moment actors start appearing.  Excluding the usual main characters, the “bad guy” will be the once-off actor who is the most famous and gets paid the most.

And the plot?  The instigating event occurs by the 14th minute.  The searching for clues lasts until the 47th minute.  The big “Ah HA!” hits around the 52nd minute, with winding down (through commercials) until the 58th minute.  Then there are ads and previews of the next episode.

Disappointment, indeed.  Agatha Christie would have wept.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Wednesday Words: Hal


Hal opened his eyes to see an indigo sky dotted with stars.  That was when a surge of pain hit him.  Hal scanned back into the last thing he remembered.

Dusk…place to camp…horse stumbling over log…flying through the air… blackness.

Lying flat on cold ground, Hal’s thoughts registered with despair that his leg was badly broken. 

In the fog of his pain, Hal sensed that his leg had been splinted, a fire had been built, his saddled horse hobbled, and a woolen blanket covered Hal.  His canteen was placed nearby, full of water, along with a handful of nuts.  But how?  Who?

Sounds came from beyond the horse.  Hal ************

Delores provided two lists for the bold and adventurous!  I, being the meek and cowardly this week, chose list #1.  

Please visit Delores at Under the Porch Light by clicking on the lovely stream in the right sidebar.  Some awesome writing will be had there!!

Okay, then.  What happens next?  Who is there?  Who cared for Hal?  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Taproots? What the heck?

Front Cover
Monday’s post was an explanation about taproots.  While this topic does seem a deviation from my normal posts, this topic follows a book I am reading and an interest I have held for some time:  Healing Secrets of the Native Americans by Porter Shimer.

What did Native Americans use to battle illnesses that afflict all mankind?  What about headaches, infected injuries, liver ailments?  Kidney stones? Bad breath?  Cancer?

With a strong understanding of the plants and their medicinal advantages, early man were beyond Old World methods, some of which including bleeding the patient to remove the “evil humours”.

In 1916, my grandmother, Amy Nichols, was studying to become a pharmacist.  While I could not take her huge volumes of her studies, I did receive a book on botany that would prepare her to study the natural healing characteristics of plants. 

RARE! Gray's School and Field Botany - Asa Gray - 1887 - 2nd Ed - Hardcover NICE
Source: $ 15 and it is yours!

The book?  Gray’s school and Field Biology by Asa Gray, published in 1887.

Well, now.  This book is as boring and dry as the pages upon which the information is printed.

It is WHAT was found within the pages of the tome that surprised me. 

That will be posted…later. It has changed my entire view of Amy Nichols and her sister Pearl.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Let's hear it for the....taproot!

Source: one heck of a taproot
The importance of the taproot is underrated.  Sure, carrots and radishes can hold their own in the garden, but what about the other taproots?  The unsung heroes of the lawn and garden?  Or, perhaps, what about the enemy taproots that fight and cling?

Such a strange topic, isn’t it?  This is my challenge for today: finding a topic that is unusual, while having meaning to all who have any sort of garden or lawn.

Many readers have amazing gardens.  Elephant’s Child amazes us with her photos and dedication to the beautiful garden she enjoys.  Gary Pennick’s delightful gnome and fairy grotto combines with some wonderful plants around his abode.  Inger is surrounded by desert growth which dazzles in the winter and spring.

And who can forget Joanne's sunflower at Cup on the Bus?  Talk about a taproot that really digs deep!

Please visit Joanne's site, highlighted above.

Native Americans appreciated the medicinal value of herbal taproots for their healing properties.

So why is the taproot so important?  And, for that matter, what is a taproot?

The taproot is the main root that anchors the plant.  From it dispatches secondary branch roots that seek out water and nutrients, as well as further anchoring the plant.  The taproot is vital to a plant’s survival.

tap-root system
Whenever you are trying to pull a weed from the ground and having a hard time of it, it is the taproot’s fault. You aren't (or may not be) a weakling.  Just don't hurt your back.

There.  If you have read all this blog, then you have become all the more wiser.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Wednesday Words: Lucille

All that Lucille had loved, collected, and cherished was gone in a flash.  The first edition prints, her collections of dried flowers indigenous to the prairie, and even the earliest collectible Troll© dolls were destroyed in a blaze of white hot heat.

Her dismay hemmed her in so tightly that Lucille could scarcely breathe.  Only the ringing of the dinner triangle from the bunkhouse broke through her shock. It was then that she realized that she still had her battered jeep and plastic/credit cards.

All was not lost after all.

P. S. Again, kudos to Delores @Under the Porch Light for again stumping some of the most brilliant minds in all Christendom with her wily words.  Please access her site by clicking on the peaceful stream on the right sidebar.  This will lead you to some awesome writers.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Dear Diary....

Locking Red Italian Leather Diary with Key (5
Source: Dear Diary....
It is rare thing to grab a random day’s memories from say, July 20, 1968.  Just a few words of a memory, but somehow those words piece together who I was on that day.

Forgotten diaries reveal so much, maybe too much sometimes.

July 20, 1968:  Grandma Cardiff is moving out of her apartment.  This makes me so sad.  She has a lot of packing to do.  I started a “hope chest” today with some of her linens and glasses.

Translation:  My grandma had been widowed in 1965, which sent her into a traveler’s life.  This new apartment was close to my high school, and I could walk there, spend the nights.  It was my escape place, removed from the farm and its demands.  Now she was moving off again.  She gave me some of her treasured dishes and embroidered pillow cases.    She made me feel happy and loved, and now she was off again.

July 20, 1968: Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrain landed on the moon safely.  Neil Armstrong took the first step on the moon.

Translation:  I had graduated high school six weeks before.  I was heading to college, after herculean work to obtain a scholarship.  The news had been following the projected moon-landing.  In the middle of the night for our area, I watched it while my family slept.  The volume was on low, but the excitement was not.  That day was one of future possibilities—for me.

What will I read next?

Footprint on the Moon

Monday, January 6, 2014

Got nothin'...

Nothing is flowing from my brain to fingers to keyboard.  It has been a long few weeks, and I am tired.  My beloved returns to work tomorrow at school, and the house will be quiet.  I can write then.

Below are family photos taken at San Diego's Wild Safari Park near us.  We had a grand time, walked all over, laughed, ate ice cream, posed for photos, and loved each other.

These are recently born pacas.

These are people whom I love.

Statue of elephant by tram.  The real elephants are kept apart, not on display for many reasons, some of which are for humane reasons, breeding, and safety.

Be back in a day or so.  Maybe my brain will remember stuff by then.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Wednesday Words: Colony 307B

Recent floods and the installation of artificial turf had forced Ant Colony 307B to relocate at a far corner of an artichoke field. The ant  army acted as a unit to move every member from the arterial twists and turns of the now drenched network of their former home.

Moving the queen ant with her arsenal of ant larvae and drones had proved to be most interesting.  Trudging through soggy tunnels had revealed an unknown treasure of collected artwork.  Minute paint chips, grains of paprika, and tiny shreds of colored paper lined walls of the queen’s chamber.

The treasure remained behind as the tunnels collapsed.

Just how extensive is an ant colony/hill?  Watch this video (if you have Adobe Flash Player).

Source:All the ants do die in this video.  Many thanks to Delores at Under the Porch Light  for her word prompts every Wednesday.  This week had a buffet of words and a photo prompt w/starter sentence!  Please click on the lovely stream on the right s.idebar to access her site and other contributors

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Six Sentences: Patsy

open hand
Patsy shivered in the new home, despite the heat and the friendliness of the other occupants and the happy sounds, despite the good food waiting for her, despite…everything.

She had never, in her whole life, been in a place where she was welcomed and where nothing was expected of her.

Someone approached her and Patsy reflexively ducked her head and curled up, waiting for the first strike and subsequent kick, over and over again.

Instead Patsy found a kind hand and quiet reassurances that she was home, that this was now her home: love, friendship, food, and a warm bed were hers if she wanted them.

If she wanted them?

Patsy licked the offered hand and gazed into the gentle eyes, with her tail wagging for the first time in a long time.

This is a post from 5 years ago, when I started to feel a sense of confidence as a writer.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year Resolution

img src=" New-years-reolution-list.jpg"  alt="New Years resolution list, Dentistry for Health Omaha, Omaha, NE"

Jane faced the blank paper, her pen poised to create her annual New Year’s Resolutions.  In all fifty-eight years (not counting the early years), Jane had determined, no, absolutely committed writing out these resolutions.

She wrote the same ancient promises each year:  lose weight, exercise more, and attend church more frequently, etcetera.    She read the list and grimaced.

Jane wadded the paper and threw it at the trashcan.

The OCD**part of her would have insisted that she retrieve the wad and place it properly.  

But Jane had already started a new list:  Do what I damn well please.

** Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (we all have it in one way or another)