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.” 

 

A Little Rain Will Do It

Have you noticed how quickly airports shut down at the first sign of rain that splashes the tarmac? Twice now I’ve been left waiting at the gate for hours for the weather to clear up. Another time the arrival airport had too many planes in the air and couldn’t handle all that traffic at the same time. All because it was raining. Really? Where have all the cowboys gone who could ride the storm like a bronco? I guess they’re afraid of a lawsuit if they skid off the runway.

Just recently I was scheduled into O’Hare from San Francisco. As soon as we reached Chicago airspace we began to do the loopy loops. I knew instantly we weren’t going to land. This went on for an hour. O’Hare had shut down because of stormy weather. And then we got re-routed to Grand Rapids. We landed and parked on the tarmac. For four hours. Other planes began to arrive. Pretty soon the small airport looked like a boneyard. It reminded me of the musical, Come From Away where 38 planes and 6,700 passengers were redirected to Gander, Newfoundland during 9/11. Except we didn’t have any catchy tunes to accompany us or trays of sandwiches and hot coffee greeting us. Eventually the airport gave us a gate, we disembarked, raced to the bathroom, bought some snacks, re-fueled and then boarded again. We finally got permission to fly into O’Hare. By then my connecting flight to Warsaw was long gone, and I was left to navigate the airport maze in search of another flight.

I’ve been flying all my life. I’m used to flying in all kinds of weather. Once, I was on board a plane in Argentina in torrential rain. I mean sheets. With lightning and thunder for special effects. We shoved off from the gate and headed toward the runway. The plane in front of us got clearance to leave. It tore through the rain like a torpedo, leaving a wake of water behind, climbed into the storm clouds and vanished. Our captain, watching this no doubt from the cockpit, had second thoughts because he turned and inched our plane to a parking spot. “My wife told me not to play the hero, so we’re waiting for this storm to move on,” he told us. I immediately liked his wife. I liked him even more for heeding her advice. On the other hand, I’ve been on planes when an engine blew out just before landing in Mexico City. On another one, the turbulence was so frightening I wanted to die. My seat-mate, a pilot said, “Don’t be afraid. Planes are built for this.” That didn’t help my stomach flipping over, making me grab the vomit bag.

Calvin says,”That’s why my preferred way to travel is four paws on the ground and my GPS nose.” 

What’s in a Name?

There was construction going on in a building on my walk to work this morning. The scaffolding was full of workers on several levels, wearing tool belts, yellow fluorescent vests and white hard hats. Two guys were leaning against a parked car, smoking, and watching the work being done. Obviously the crew foremen.

“Hey, Jesus, what country are you from?” one of them said.

Jesus turned around to face them. “What country? From the United States,” he said in perfect English.

I laughed out loud. 

The guy who asked the question clearly expected Jesus to say, “Mexico.” But he didn’t.  That showed him.

Stereotypes don’t work anymore.

For example, when I see a doctor. They’re from all over the world. Their last names are Carlson or Rodriguez or Ngo, but they’re Americans now. In fact, Carlson might be the real foreigner in the group.

The truth is most of us are immigrants. Scratch the family history and you’ll uncover Aunt Sophie came from Bavaria, Germany by way of her mother’s womb, and Uncle Basil skied into Austria from Budapest when the communists took over, and then boarded a ship to Ellis Island where they changed his name to Bertie.

If we want genuine, 100 percent American heritage, we’ll have to look at England first, or the American Indians.

Calvin says, “It’s true in the dog world, too. You can’t trust a beagle with the name of Waffles.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gone

Our mattress had become lumpy and bumpy over the years, much like us, so Alf and I bought a new one. I refused to empty our savings for the thing so we settled on the best at the lowest price possible. Even then it was outrageous. Some countries’ GNP is lower than what we paid for it.

After two weeks in it was clear it wasn’t working. Our bones were hurting and we felt we had aged ten years. So off to store we went and bought a better and more expensive mattress to our chagrin and to the salesgirl’s delight. We arranged to have the “old” one picked up the same day.  fullsizerender-10

The truck rolled up that evening, two burly men climbed out and in a blink, the mattress and foundation had disappeared from the bedroom, leaving just the metal frame on the floor as evidence.

Next thing I hear was, “Thank you, ‘bye,” from one of the guys.

“Hey, wait a minute, where’s the new mattress?” I said waving him down from the truck.

The two men jumped down and fished through their paperwork with a flashlight.

“No new mattress on this order,” one of them said.

“You mean you’re driving off leaving us with no bed?” I said with hands on my hips.

“Do you have a place to sleep?” the talkative one said.

“Yes, but that’s not the point,” I said. My irritation was spilling out of my vocal cords by the second.

The man called the warehouse, got someone on a swing shift, mumbled something  into the phone and said, “Your delivery is scheduled for Tuesday.” This was Sunday night.

“I can’t believe this!” I said.

I peered into the back of the truck. Nothing in there that resembled our new mattress.

“Off with you, then,” I said.

The next day I called the store and discovered the salesgirl had messed up, that everything should have been delivered on the same day, but did she take any responsibility? Nope.

Where have all the manners gone?

Calvin says, “They left at the turn of the century, along with all the rich foods.”  beagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Somebody Has To Do It

It’s been a while since I posted an article. Since the last one we’ve had a new president take the oath of office, women in pink caps raising a ruckus all over the world, rains with accompanying floods – I wonder if California will proclaim the end of the drought and reduce their water rates now – I doubt it.

It’s been a weird beginning of 2017. fullsizerender-23

Most people are scared of the new president and his policies. I don’t understand why. We were getting close to living in a socialist country, maybe had already begun to do so, so to take back the country sounded like a good idea to me. All you have to do is look into world history and see that socialism and communism don’t work and yet we were captivated as a nation into thinking they did. I recommend every liberal American go live in a country under a controlling regime and see what it feels like. I will be waiting at the airport when you get back home before your sabbatical is up. Or better yet, ask your local immigrant who risked his life to get into the U.S. in order to have a life.

You have to be of a certain age to have a long view of history. This new generation won’t have it until they reach their 50’s, so in the meantime somebody has to mind the store.

Calvin says, “My long view of history takes me back to England where beagles went on fox hunts.  Me? I don’t even know what a fox smells like.”  beagle

 

Lights – Action – Trees

It’s the season for Christmas trees. The current culture insists on doing away with anything religious, but I’ve noticed the trees remain. It think it’s because when you see one you immediately think presents. And then you remember your list and have an anxiety attack, which sends you hustling to the mall. Christmas trees are the brain’s signal to get you shopping. If you saw one in February, you wouldn’t react at all.fullsizerender-15

I see several this time of year. They sit proudly in office lobbies winking their lights and strutting their bows for all who walk by and take a second look inside.

The one with the red bow is in the building that houses Uber and Square. Very traditional in its color scheme for two companies that have broken all the rules of transportation and commercial transactions.

fullsizerender-26

The one with the flowers is one I decorated for our office. Who says you have to stay within boundaries? And the one with all the gold and silver dripping from its branches is found in the Twitter lobby.

Calvin says, “Oh the fuss of it all.  Just toss me a bone with a bow on it. It’s the only day in the year when you’ll give me one, I don’t know why, but you do, so let’s have it.” beagle

fullsizerender-27

Wow

September 21 was World Gratitude Day. I completely missed it. Probably because I was grumbling. It’s my default mode.

Alf and I were on vacation in Ashland, Oregon at the Shakespeare Festival that week. One night we saw Sully, the Clint Eastwood movie. I can say I was grateful I wasn’t on that heart-stopping flight. You forgot it was Tom Hanks. He was Captain Chesley Sullenberger making life decisions in that pilot’s seat and you were right there next to him.

I was grateful to have seen the best Hamlet and Richard II ever. They rivaled anything you’d see on Broadway. fullsizerender-28

On the drive home we came to a snarl of traffic on the highway. “Now what?” Alf said. “Probably an accident,” the know-it-all in me said.  As we inched closer we noticed a full grown deer splayed dead blocking the four lanes. The lines of cars sat there with engines idling. “Now what?” Alf said again. This time I didn’t have a response.

Suddenly a car closest to the dead animal veered off to the right. The driver, a tall, strong muscled man, got out, his wife too, and he ran across the highway and grabbed the 120 pound animal by the front legs and dragged it to the left side of the road and left it there in a heap. Then he ran back to his car and got in. Nobody honked thank you. Nobody waved. Nothing. In a flash the traffic started up again and began rushing past the deer without any thought to what just happened. Stunning.

I was thankful for that man who took the initiative in front of oncoming traffic. Fortunately the drivers in the front lines acted as a blockade otherwise who knows what carnage could have transpired with man and beast.

Calvin says, “How gutless of the driver that killed him to drive off like that leaving others to pick up the mess. If this had happened in the woods, my tribe of beagles would have surrounded the beast and howled for help.”  beagle