Garden Invasion

The re-design of my garden in finally complete. I wanted an English garden. What I got was a Japanese version with some Mexican thrown in. It all works.

I have a lot of lavender and rosemary plants paying homage to Jerusalem where the highways and byways are flanked by these bushes.

I have a purple butterfly bush for the Monarchs that come to visit except so far only white butterflies got the memo. I’m hoping the Monarchs are still in Mexico catching their breath.

Oleanders in pink and white are bursting with flowers right now.

I have the citrus trees – lemon, grapefruit and orange – continuing to dominate the landscape with their fruit. Yesterday I picked fifteen lemons off the ground. I found them everywhere, under the maple tree, in the lavender, and on the gravel pathway. It was like finding Easter eggs.

Everything is unmanicured, and nothing needs mowing, which makes me deliriously happy. I’m at that stage in life where I don’t want to take care of anything anymore, least of all plants.

Several times now when I’m in my chair surveying my garden hummingbirds come whirring around me, staring me down, as if to say, “Who are you?” They behave as if they own the place and I’m the intruder.

The other day I caught one bathing in the sprinklers and then drying off in the orange tree. Then it flew straight for me and checked me out front and back. If they weren’t such adorable midgets of the air I’d say they’re invaders. This is my space, I designed it, and I’m staying.

Calvin says, “Oh oh. Does this mean I have to fend for myself from now on? That I’m not a cute little midget, but a hot, fat, lovable bundle of fur with slurpy kisses and a nose for trouble? Hey, I add stimulation to your life.” 

 

The December Dilemma

Yesterday evening I took a walk around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights on houses, Santas in front yards, and wreaths on front doors. Except there weren’t any. I asked myself if I had the right month. I checked my phone. Yep, I did. What happened to my neighbors? Then it hit me. Most of the neighbors that traditionally went wild with their lights and front lawn decorations have fled the area for warmer pastures. I miss them. They had a spirit of Christmas I didn’t so I lived on their enthusiasm. They brightened up the neighborhood and made us smile. We were proud people who basked in their twinkling lights. We could count on them every year. Now they were gone and took the spirit of Christmas with them. Santa’s sleigh and reindeer are now flying high over sand dunes. And no, I’m not going to take over the tradition. You’re lucky if I have a bow on my front door. Inside the house is another matter. I enjoy displaying  several trees in the living room, lights over the mantelpiece, and Christmas cards on a table.

So I gave up on Christmas decorations, and settled for the natural growth around the neighborhood. Here are some pictures.

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Calvin says, “Yeah, I miss those midnight walks. I tingled with excitement.” beagle

Moose in the Air

 

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At this time of year I like to search for unique Christmas tree decorations. Not to buy, but to enjoy looking at. Typically office lobbies don’t have them. Neither do department stores. However there are places that make an effort to showcase the novel and the unique.

My favorite store that tops my list is Carrigg’s of Carmel. At this time of year they have more than a dozen decorated trees in the store that delight and transport you to Christmas heaven. Forget the shopping, the eating, and the staying in Carmel. I go just for the design therapy at Carrigg’s.

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I stroll from room to room. When something catches my eye, I take a quick picture with my camera that I keep hidden in my jacket. After the second room of sensory enchantments, I stop being stealthy and keep the camera in full view. There’s so much to photograph and I don’t care who sees me. I’m like a child in a magic castle.cropped-photo61.jpg

Whoever decorates the store is a genius. There’s so much to absorb it takes several hours, but I limit myself to drooling for 60 minutes. Besides, Alf is waiting for me on the street reading headline news on his phone. Calvin is pulling at his leash attempting to meet and greet all the other pedigree dogs walking their owners.

Calvin says, “Carmel needs a pop-up store for dogs with Christmas delicacies like rabbit jerky.”  beagle

 

 

 

 

Not Here

While I love Christmas trees, and the more ornate the better, I won’t put one up at home. I used to when my children were young. Our cat perched herself in place of the angel, and the dog peed a few times until he was banned from the festivities, and left to howl in the backyard.

Today our children are grown and out of the house and Alf and I don’t really care to get involved with the untangling of lights, dusting off of ornaments and hunting for the perfect tree that doesn’t cost a paycheck.

Instead we put a wreath on the front door, full of color and flair of the season. This suggests there are Christmas decorations inside the house.  IMG_4714

You’d be wrong.

You wouldn’t see a jingle bell, or a poinsettia, or even hear Christmas music.

I do showcase the few Christmas cards we receive on a living room table. People don’t send them anymore. We get more of the email version with a series of pictures. It’s hard to put those out.

My neighbors next door shun the Christmas hoopla like a disease, too. Both our houses are shrouded in darkness. Meanwhile the rest of the neighborhood is ablaze with icicles dripping from eaves, twinkling reindeer on front lawns, and blinking trees in windows.

These are our Indian neighbors.

Calvin says, “I remember those episodes of howling in the back. They crushed the fun right out of my puppy heart.” beagle

 

 

 

 

 

Ho Hum

It’s the season. As I walk down mid-Market the buildings are showing off their trees.

They seem to pop up from the underground overnight.

Who decorates them, I wonder?

Do companies have “decoteams” that appear at night, dressed in black, with boxes and ladders and glue guns?

Or do they contract out? Probably wiser since you don’t need them the rest of the year, unless of course they’re your HR people.

“Christmas decorator for hire. Experienced with 12 foot trees and all the trimmings. Any color scheme. Brings her own tools and elves.”

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Okay, so the poinsettia isn’t a tree and it required no decorating, but these plants say Christmas more to me than a tree.

Calvin says, “Christmas trees – ugh. Not easy lifting a leg around those low hanging ornaments.” beagle

Lights! Action!

Thanksgiving is done.

Now it’s onto Christmas.

I hate the shopping, but love the trees and lights.

I would much rather spend Christmas Eve walking my neighborhood looking at the light displays. You know, the overstuffed Santa, the flashing Rudolph, the twinkling rooftop sleigh.  Christmas4

I especially love it when an entire neighborhood pulls out all the stops and goes mad with their decor, each neighbor outdoing the next. We knew the holiday had begun when Ernie, our neighbor at the end of the street, came out in his overalls and climbed a ladder. Within a few hours his house was a show stopper. Every leaf, shrub, climbing vine, and even his porch was ablaze with twinkling lights. At that was just the beginning. Then he pulled out his assorted reindeer, different size stars, and multicolored lights for the roof and the trees for the front of the house. By the time he finished, and it took him all day with the help of many of us, we stood back waiting as he dashed inside the garage and flipped a switch. In an instant his home was transformed into a winter marvel. We applauded.

One year, inspired by Ernie, my children decorated the hedges with a zillion flashing lights. The driveway looked like an airport landing strip at night.

My neighbors across the street, new to this country, want to make sure they’re embracing the holiday correctly. Icicle lights hang all around the roof, a Christmas tree blinks through their living room window, the front door wreath plays Frosty the Snowman, and poinsettias line the driveway. Oh and their yellow lab wears a red collar with jingle bells.

New to the Christian season this year were several hundred Ferguson protesters that attempted to prevent the tree lighting in downtown San Francisco last Friday night. Fortunately for the tourists and locals in town for Black Friday shopping, the police held them back and the ceremony went off without a hitch. But let me tell you it was tense for a while. The box stores were holding their collective breath hoping beyond hope that nothing would interrupt the shoppers’ hypnotic frenzy for the best deals.

It was raining this morning when I came in on the train. My water streaked window distorted the red, yellow and green from the traffic lights creating a Pollock-like painting in holiday colors.

My first gift of the season.

Calvin says, “Aren’t you waxing poetic today. The only streak I saw was a white-tailed rabbit disappearing down a mud hole.” beagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conversations on the Run6

He keeps going back to another conversation when he’s not winning one.

I never want to go to so many funerals in a row ever again.

Have you ever read a story out loud to your dog?

She scattered his ashes around the tree that he had planted last year which died.

Don’t lose your stomach lining over that.

Cut me in half and count the rings.

Every time someone in the family died, my mother scheduled a cruise.

Why does coffee have a table named after it and not tea?

Calvin says, “A coffee table by any other name is still a coffee table. Now a dog bowl by any other name is an ice cream dish.”