Friday, April 28, 2017

Death Falls from Heaven

The city of Aleppo with the Old Citadel in the background
Aleppo, listed by UNESCO in 2006 as a World Heritage Site

Aleppo is rubble now.

Each day updates on world events---both good, bad, amazing and horrible---are available for all to see and sigh.  Whether this is a tornado, a dog rescuing a little boy, or political intrigue, all is open and available.

Perhaps. No. Yes. Absolutely. 

Syria’s people are fleeing or dying; images burn into eyes in every nation. 

Bassar Assad, president of Syria, nods and steps into shadows of deniability, as his military drops death on Syrians.  His government is not open to inspections or any action that would reveal his actions.


History has never been kind to Syria for most of its recent existence. Its glorious building days and its successful decades as a prime market for Mideast countries was a shining star post-Crusades.  But, what happened? How far back can this violence be traced?  Too far.

Move on to modern history. 

Different interviews through the years chronicle the process that began with President Hafez al-Assad’s control starting in early 1970s to his death in June 2000. However, Syria’s strict control began decades, even more before.

Syria was pinned down by then-Soviet Union and Iran, with their iron hands for so many decades.  Slowly breaking loose from these countries, if indeed they were ever free, required a heavy hand, that of Hafez al-Assad.
Now before outcry bursts through the screen, no sainted bits exist in this man.  Although Hafez did improve lives to a degree, especially in education, people feared secret police and how a prison could and often did resemble dungeons. *

Hafez died of heart failure in June 2000. Oldest son, Basil, was groomed to take over after father died but he himself died, in a car crash.  This left Bassar al-Assad as the heir. 

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with al-Watan newspaper in Damascus, Syria, in this handout picture provided by SANA on December 8, 2016. SANA/Handout via REUTERS/Files

He was portrayed as a gentle ophthalmic surgeon who did not hold reins of power well.

Bashar al-Assad celebrating the second birthday of one of their children with his wife Asma Assad

He and his wife Asma al-Akhras with their three children are…”fond of taking on picnics and bicycle rides in the hills around the capital.”  He said, “We refuse to live in a bubble. I think that is why people trust us.”***

HA!  Assad is very astute, knows what to do, how to get it done, and to hell with his people. (per interview with Bassar by Rainer Hermann 2013)

Assad initially believed that the partnership with Russia and Iran was one of co-operation guaranteed by International Law. Now he believes they are interfering with his goals, breaking this agreement. Aggressors always remain aggressors.

Perhaps the most amazing words are:

“Where is the chain of evidence that would lead one to the conclusion that Syria used chemical weapons?...the terrorists were the ones who used chemical weapons…”**

Watchdog to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons

Many apologies for the length of this post. It borders on being a rant. So much more could have been written from sources listed below.

*National Geographic, July 1996, "Syria behind the Mask" by Peter Theroux, photographs by Ed Kashi

*** National Geographic, November 2009, "Shadowland" by Don Belt

**Frankfurter Allgemeine Politic, June 2013, "Europe's backyard would become a terrorist Haven" by Rainer Hermann

Other sites listed internet-wise have been taken down.

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!