Monday, May 31, 2010


I am up.  I am sore.  I am sunburned.  I am so happy with what I accomplished yesterday in my eco-yard, but still have so much to do, like turning the compost into the earth so next spring I can use that rich, fertile dirt for planting.  I also think, after sharing my vision with my boyfriend about extending my patio, he might be onboard with that, which is lucky for me because what that means is that he will DO that for me.  :-)  Okay, not really all of it, I do my share as you will see by the photos below that show the stone walkway I began building yesterday and yes, I actually did the lifting and placing and measuring.  (I decided twelve inches apart was best, since I can easily figure out where that is on the measuring device).  Laughing out loud!  

We also put the angel on a little pedestal.  She looks as if she has a grotto now, she looks as if at any moment she might begin to glow and ascend into Heaven, as if she is holding court over the back yard.

Today is a workday for me.  Have to make money so I can pursue all the other "visions" I have for Don to work on for me!

Happy Memorial Day to you all, and don't forget to say a little prayer for all our soldiers and all our wonderful people who have given us life and gone on before us.  xxoo

Sunday, May 30, 2010


There is something that people know about me, if they are around me a lot, and that is, I CAN be a perfectionist at times.  Not always.  There are times when I might be heard saying, "Oh, yes, well, that will do."  But not too often.  I won't settle often.

For three years, I have been hunting for the perfect birdbath for my increasingly eco-friendly back yard.  I had an image in my head, and Don would patiently wait while I checked out the birdbaths nearly everywhere we went.  You see, he knows, too...he knows that there is going to be a pretty huge window between when I start looking for something for the back yard and the time I actually make the purchase.  The window this time was three years.

Yesterday was Memorial Day Saturday.  My cousin is visiting from Phoenix, and Don and I took her down to our old hometown in Illinois to drop her to take care of her mom who has had a hip replacement surgery.  Don and I visited with family around town, went to the cemetery to pay our respects to my mom and dad, and right across the highway from the final resting place of so many familiar souls, was a little store with probably a hundred concrete sculptures outside.  When Don heard me take that little breath that was an excited little noise to me but to him said, "It's almost one-hundred degrees, the humidity is about ninety-five percent, and she is going to drag me over there to wander around in the hot sun for an hour and walk away with no birdbath."

Of course my compass was set, and I drove across the road and into the parking lot, and we started wandering around in the hot sun for an hour, but I found it!  All this time and it was right there in my little hometown of 5000 people, standing by the highway, waiting patiently for me to notice after all these years!  

After some wrestling around, she probably weighs eighty pounds, two guys at the store managed to get her into the trunk of the Focus.  When we got here last night, though, Don's back had taken a really nasty muscle spasm, and it was not until this morning that I tracked down a couple of neighbors to drag that thing out of the trunk and place her where I wanted her.  Once there, we took toothbrushes and Comet cleanser and scrubbed all the crevices in her wings until the years of neglectful dirt and grime was scrubbed off and she looked positively heavenly!  

I took several shots of her, trying to capture the beauty, but photos do not do her justice.  I expect to see birds crowded around for a turn in the cool water underneath my old, old, huge ash tree.  Soon the cardinals and blue jays will have little beach towels out there and will be floating around in little swim rings sipping margaritas with umbrellas in them, or maybe, like the bat house that is situated in my yard, three years will elapse before they discover the fountain of youth I have installed for their enjoyment!

 I wasn't drunk when I took this last one, but it's for my cousin, Tracy, because she loves to photograph at an angle, so I have an angled angel for her here...

I just heard a pool party going on outside, lots of flapping, splashing!  I thought, "OH, wow!  They have found my birdbath already!!!"

Now, here is the REST of the story.  On the opposite side of my yard is a running-water fountain, just a small thing, a big bowl at the bottom and a series of angled smaller spouted bowls , three of them, over the top.  The water runs into the small bowl from the pot at the top, down to the next bowl, etc., to the last big bowl.  When I got to my back door and looked at my new, beautiful, clean, pristine, angel birdbath and saw it empty, I directed my attention, instead, to the little fountain across the yard where two fat robins, who together filled the bowl and couldn't even get a good flap going because there was no room, were in the bowl yelling at one another.  Why do you think they were yelling at one another?  "Get out of my way, you fat broad!"  "Who are you calling FAT, you tub of lard, good for nothing robin!!"  On and on and on...while I stood there waving my arms and pointing at the angel by the tree.  By the time I got the camera, of course, they had finished their bathing and groaning and moaning and taken off.  

Guess I am going to have to put a "POOL OPEN" sign over there until they catch on.  

Ta-ta for now.  More yard improvement photos after I return from Home Depot this afternoon! 

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Some flowers.  xxoo


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010


It was not so long ago that everything in my life seemed to be falling apart, and in response to that was my instinct to flee.  The fight or flight situation was a no-brainer.  Flight was winning out, and it was an uncomfortable feeling.  

There are a few situations that assure you will not feel at home in your own skin, in your own house, in anyone else's house, or even sitting on top of the picnic table in your own back yard.  No matter how many new clothes you buy, they never feel right.  No matter how little you eat, you still gain weight. And finally you have to do something drastic because it really feels worse than uncomfortable when you finally realize you are spiraling out of control, and buying all those airline tickets to try to find a spot to make you happy is breaking you up.

That happened to me.  One day I sat very still for many hours.  I let my brain go wild.  I thought of all the horrible things that had happened to me until the tears were flowing, then I finally allowed myself to look around me at my little house that is very old and needs more work than I will ever be able to put into it, at my two dogs who had never moved from my side the whole time I was in meditation and contemplation, my back yard that is visible from my small but comfortable bedroom with its many trees and flowers that seem to grow for me just on the nourishment of a loving whisper.  I let my eyes slowly move over the many framed photographs of my family and friends, listened again to some phone messages left by friends (sometimes I just cannot erase them and find myself listening to their voices in times of trouble).  And it was when I looked at all the photos of my grandchildren, the links to my DNA being passed on that my psyche met my soul and the most contented feeling washed over me.  It started in the top of my head, I felt it in the palate of my mouth, like something tasteless but delicious was filling my mouth.  I felt that contentment settle into my hands and legs and feet as an ointment that eases pain.  But then it settled into my heart.  A pulsing, glowing pink, blue, green, red swirling rainbow.  My heart stopped for a second, paused long enough to allow that rainbow to soak in before pumping it through the rest of my body.

And total contentment with my situation, my place in this world took over and every breath of it was sweet as fresh-mowed grass on a warm spring day.  

My heart sang!  My voice shouted, "Look at me!  Look at us!  I have found it finally!  I have found the reason why I should keep my roots growing here in my own place.  Now, though traveling is still very much a hobby of mine that I will never give up, I have learned that the root system just grows out and holds on, taking me back home one day to worship my life, my worship my little piece of the earth.

And so yesterday, I drove all around town gathering the grandchildren.  What started as an adventure with well-rested, excited people, big and small, ended late last night with everyone dirty, smelly, sunburned, and with at least one person in the group who goes by "Gramma," dead bone weary exhausted, but smiling even as she downed a pain pill and got into a hot shower at the ungodly hour of 1 a.m.  

With the overnighter tucked away in his bed after a warm bath, snoring a little as he drifted into the deep recesses of his little 5-year-old boy dreams, I managed to get one leg into my bed and hoist myself the rest of the way by grabbing Grampa's arm, before falling into the deepest sleep I have ever been in.

Following are a few pictures of the lights of my life, my grandkids.

The Crew:  Abigail, Kaylee, Tori, and David.

Is there any better excuse for being here?  I can't think of one!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


It was definitely a Thursday that it happened.  I was a human, I swear I was!  I had two arms, two legs, walked upright most of the time, and was always well groomed.  I smelled good, too, not at all like the dog down the alley or the cat climbing around in the dumpster behind my building.  When someone said I was out catting around, they meant that I was out wildly partying and maybe getting into situations I should not have gotten into sometimes, with other members of my species, usually male members of my species, and howling at the moon coming up, then the sun coming up, then the sun going down, for an entire weekend, but being a human being, I always picked myself up, brushed my teeth, showered, put on deodorant, and went back to work on Monday with a vigor that would be hopefully well rewarded the next Friday through Sunday.

Then I said it.  

I was spending a rare weekend at home, really tired, really wrung out from the week.  I guess I felt that Lucky, my little Dachshund, really owed me something for staying home with her that weekend instead of shipping her off to a pet sitter who probably did not even remember her name once the check was written.  Lucky was lying on the kitchen floor in that way that only Dachshunds, Cocker Spaniels, and Schnauzers can, with their back legs straight behind them, disjointed at the hips so their bellies absorb the coolness from the floor tiles.  When I came into the kitchen on Saturday morning she barely glanced up at me, sighed as she got up to go outside for her daily constitutional, and flaunted herself up the steps to come in with an attitude.  She stood by the stove, waiting patiently with her turned-up Dachshund eyes, her ears drooping in a way that made her look as if she was embarrassed, ashamed, or abused.  

When I bent down to scratch my dog behind the ears, she actually copped even more of an attitude and pulled her head away, sauntered to her food dish and began eating with such total disdain toward me and my efforts to love her up on this sunny Saturday morning, that I blurted out, "My God, Lucky!  Do you realize how good you have it?  You lay around all day long on the cool tile, someone fills up your food and water dish twice a day, scoops your piles of poop up when you go on your little jaunts around the neighborhood on a retractable leash so you don't have to be embarrassed to be seen with us, and you have the balls to cop an attitude with me?  What I wouldn't give to have YOUR life!"  

And now I do.  I run around for hours trying to get someone to pet me.  I chase slobbered up dirty toys I don't want to put my mouth on, try to communicate my wants and needs by moving my ears around, lick things I would really rather not, eat cold dog food from a refrigerated can, and hold my pee for twenty-four hours at a time until someone comes home to let me out. 

What do I get for that?  What do I get for that unconventional love and dedication?  The right to fart anywhere, anytime, under any circumstances and watch the humans go crazy every time I lift my leg on the new chair, and if I am lucky, sometimes I get scratched behind my ears without having to beg.  

Lucky.  Now why the heck would anyone name a dog Lucky? 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Every Spring about this time, storms rumble through, swinging the trees from side to side, the branches touching the ground, springing back upward! Wild, fabulous, screaming storms that turn the greens greener, the grass thicker, the flowers more colorful.  After it first roars through, the Spring Storm, the grass will be flattened, bowing to the earth, and when the sun pops out, heating the land, the ends of the prairie grasses and weeds look up, fling their sweet tendril arms skyward, and worship the Mother. 

But those winds, the pouring rains, cause some damage.  Bird nests are flung from the branches, and young, soft, unprotected babies are suddenly alone in an alien world, their mothers screaming to ward off dangers, to protect their babies too soon out of their nests.  And when those babies fall into my yard, I am elected the overseer, the nanny, the surrogate mother.

Sometimes I am able to hide the babies, protect them without disturbing that mother-baby bond, chasing cats away, herding my dogs to the other side of the yard, keeping them safe until they can take flight.  Sometimes the burden to protect them is too much, and I go to them, scoop them up, hide them away, sure that mama sees where we go. 

And now, I am raising the curtain and introducing my latest charge, the first of the Spring 2010, one of what will turn out to be several from the graduating class of Aves 2010.


The mystery is
Why so many angels now
Live in Earth's gardens.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


The day I miss my mother most, is on Mother's Day, when I want to go to her house and give her flowers and a sappy card and just watch her.  I just wish I could watch her doing mundane things for one more day.

I love her.  I hope her Mother's Day is spent surrounded by pink.  

Saturday, May 08, 2010


I wonder if you
Ever noticed before that
Wind sounds like the sea?

Friday, May 07, 2010


A small brown bat eats one thousand mosquitoes nightly.  Knowing this, I put an eighty-dollar house out to attract them to my yard.  Evidently, though the "Vacancy" sign was out in plain sight, one bat thought the digs weren't good enough and spent last night flying around my bedroom.  Imagine my joyful face here. 

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


It wasn't until after my parents passed away, one in August, the other in April, interchangeable dates because it really is irrelevant who joined their loved ones first, which one taught me the most about the important ritual of death, that I discovered things about them I wish I had known before they passed away so we could have spent endless hours talking about their feelings.  I am big into feelings.  I love to find out how someone felt about an event or even what someone might feel about the orange they ate for lunch.  I know not everyone is as willing to share their emotions and feelings as much as I am willing to listen to them, digest them, internalize them, and make them a part of myself.  

Mom grew up very poor.  At least financially poor.  She had a loving family, and now, reading the hidden volumes of stories she had typed up and stored away in a place so secure that I have just found them, two years after their deaths, I find myself clapping my hands in glee, crying with her, crying for her, or just smiling and gazing off into the field, trying to adjust to this woman's life.

It is rather a shame, I think, that the time we learn the most from our parents is when they are dying or after they are gone, but then it is almost as satisfying as a beautiful fictional story that sucks you in, the kind that keeps you riveted, wondering what is going to happen next, the sort of story that allows you to assign your own emotions and scenery.  Two people reading the same book probably never see the color of the river described in a story, as what each imagines in the heart and mind.

It was said to me that Mom grew up in cold, drafty homes and had nothing extra, and her dream was to always have a pink bedroom.  As a grown woman with the taste of pink fresh in her mind, she achieved her pink room.  

We had not been down to see my folks for awhile, but were anxious to see the paint job they had had done for themselves.  I barely ever remembered them hiring anything done, so my expectations were very high.  When we walked in, Mom stood in front of her bedroom door and made me close my eyes, playing a child's game, and she led me into the room she shared with my dad.  I could smell the fresh paint, and her excitement was infectious.  When she told me to lower my hands and look, I gasped!  I did not mean to gasp out loud, but the pink of that room was about the pinkest of pinks I had ever seen, the walls a dark rose color and all the doors and trim painted a "quieter" pink, if there is any such thing as a quiet pink.  The new bedspread was proudly displayed on the bed, full of large pink and purple flowers in the pattern, the curtains were screaming with mauves and pinks.  

I laughed because there just was nothing else to do.  I laughed and grabbed my old mother and spun her around and said, "Oh, my God, Mom!  This is...beautiful!"  

I glanced over her shoulder.  When had she gotten so small?  When I glanced over, I saw my dad rolling his eyes because this was his room, too, and I could only imagine what he thought.  Not once, though, did I hear him make mention of the hot pink bedroom that he shared with her for another few years before they passed away.

Last weekend, my brother and I hired painters.  "The first thing that has to go," my brother told the supervisor, is this, and he flung the bedroom door open.  The painter laughed and said, "I did this for her.  She was sure proud of that pink, and I kept wondering what your dad was thinking as that paint went on!"  

Now, it is up to the two of us to sell the house and try to put a little money in our own retirement accounts because we are, fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your attitude about death, next.  We know that there are few people who would ever purchase the house when the first thing they saw was that glowing pink bedroom, so the covering should be starting any day now.  

Isn't it odd that what is a precious memory for a few is a sign of mind-numbing idiocy to another?  

Let the work begin, before I break down and rush in and make them stop!  "Leave it, leave it," I would be yelling, because I am one of the few.  

Sunday, May 02, 2010


I have a good friend from Boston who needed a break and chose to come here to Indiana to visit me for that break!  I love her!  If you imagine a friendship where a couple of hours might pass without having to say a word, sitting reading books while the rain pours down outside, sharing some wine and chocolate bars while watching TV, that is the sort of friendship Eileen and I share.  

Sometimes I worry that, coming from a big city like Boston, I will not be able to entertain Eileen very well.  My city is a small one in the south-central part of Indiana, in the midst of farming country.  That is what we do, farm and well, build furniture and cabinets, or restore engines for everyone's snow plows and buses.  If you are riding on a fairly old bus, then most likely my boyfriend has repaired the engine at least once.  

Yesterday I had a brainstorm.  I said, "Eileen, I'd like to take you to Rural King."  

She looked at me blankly and I repeated, "R-u-r-a-l King, a store."

After another blank stare, I realized she seriously had never heard of Rural King and I knew I had hit on a Farmer's World oddity she actually had never seen, so in the rain, off we went.

When we walked in the front door, Eileen took in a breath and just stopped and gawked.  In one aisle, flowers, in the next aisle bird baths, in the next aisle, clothes of all shapes, sizes, and variety.  But probably the most precious moment was when we turned the corner to discover huge cages full of all breeds of ducklings, chicks, and rabbits.  Live ones.  Eileen's eyes were just laughing out loud.  

After we spent about twenty minutes ooohing and aahhing over the animals, I was on a mission to find a can of my favorite powder:  Yes, you guessed the name of it, I'm certain.  Lady Anti-Monkey Butt Powder.  Honestly, you have never experienced a powder so awesome!  It has powdered calamine in it.  It is great for absorbing sweat and keeping chafing to a minimum in all the places you might suspect it would.  After laughing about that for awhile, we spied bat houses, oriole feeders, and hummingbird feeders.  Both of us were surprised the orioles need a special kind of nectar and a feeder.  Now, the fact that I never knew that leads me to believe that those orioles are playing us!  

So far I have managed this visit without even opening the fridge, except to remove the wine.  Friday night we showed Eileen our favorite pizza place, Saturday she and I had Chinese for lunch, last night McDonald's burgers, and this morning a grand Sunday morning breakfast at Denny's.  

Tomorrow evening my friend Donna and I are taking my precious guest to French Lick, Indiana.  Yes, that is where Larry Bird grew up, yes the famous West Baden Springs Hotel and French Lick Hotel are there, and last but not least, the casino, where we all three expect to win our fortunes at the penny slots!  Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Oh, yes, and Eileen experienced her first ever tornado warning.  We went to bed and I gave her the side I usually sleep on, and not surprisingly, I forgot to warn her about the Indiana must-have, the weather radio, which was on the table about ten inches from her head.  About 2 a.m., a fantastic wicked storm marched through, and the radio screamed its siren sound.  Eileen sat up looking baffled and a little anxious.  When I managed to stub every toe and get to the radio, I learned there was a tornado warning.  

Back to sleep we drifted, when at 3 a.m. the siren again blared next to her ear, and I managed to stub every toe and get to the radio.  This time it was a severe thunderstorm warning.  

Back to sleep we drifted, when at 4 a.m. BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP!  Eileen did not even move, and I stubbed every toe to find out we were now under a flood warning.  So she had a very unusual and fun-filled first night in Indiana.  Don said, "Why don't you unplug the weather radio?"  I said, "What, and have her end up in Oz or something when a tornado rumbles through that we didn't know about??"

Last night it only went off one time, and we slept like the angels we are!  

I am pretty sure it is panic I see in her eyes now every time I mention taking her somewhere or the skies darken.  Now Eileen understands the Indiana lifestyle.  I wonder if she will ever come back?