Sunday, June 28, 2009

Today's Flowers - June 28


My day lilies are about to come to the end of their blooming season. I still have a lot of flowers showing, but the new buds are getting fewer and fewer. The blossom shown above is one of two different varieties my sister sent me several years ago. The lilies, whose names of course I do not know (shame, shame on me) came from Wayside Gardens. This one has a purple throat, the other is a bright coral. They have really been prolific bloomers this season, thanks to all the rain we had in May. I've leaned that water, water, water, is the key to getting blooms. I don't know what I'm going to do for flower posts when the lilies are all gone; they are about the only blooming plants in my yard!
Today's Flowers is a weekly Meme created by Luiz Santilli, Jr. and may be found here. Please visit to see others' lovely flower photos. If you have a flower photo of your own to share, please join us.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Redoubtable Aunt

re·doubt·a·ble (r-dout-bl)
1. Arousing fear or awe; formidable.
2. Worthy of respect or honor.

[Middle English redoubtabel, from Old French redoutable, from redouter, to dread : re-, re- + douter, to doubt, fear; see doubt.]

My mother was one of eleven children (nine surviving to adulthood.) Mama was the oldest girl; she had 4 sisters, and 4 surviving brothers.

Aunt "M.," the youngest girl in the family, would have been about 14 when I was born, and it is about her that I tell the following story. Oh, let me say, in beginning, that definition 1. above is the one I apply to her for the purposes of this story, although she actually was eligible for definition 2. In later years, she was a dedicated mother to her only child, a son who was severely brain-injured at age 16, and consequently never able to live an independent life.

The date was about 1944. I know that V-E day (June, 1945) had not yet occurred, because my daddy was still with the U.S. Army at Ft. Lewis, WA. during Aunt M.'s visit to our home in Albuquerque. Aunt M. was a member of, and an officer in, the Women's Army Corp (W.A.C.) , and at the time was stationed at a base in Big Spring, Texas. What possessed her to drive to Albuquerque to see us, I don't know. I can't bring myself to believe that our mother actually invited her, but of course, she very likely did so.

We four children, 10, 8, 6, and 4, must have been a rowdy lot, having been under the care of paid babysitters or left pretty much to fend for ourselves, since our mother, from financial necessity, worked 5-1/2 days each week. As blood relatives, Aunt M. found us absolutely unacceptable, as we were (in her eyes) undisciplined and, even worse, uncivilized, especially when it came to our table manners!

Aside: Perhaps Aunt M. was not an officer; perhaps she was a drill sergeant, at least she had the voice and attitude I associate with drill sergeants!

"Patty! (that's me). Sit up straight! Elbows off the table! Napkin and left hand in lap! No, no, no -- that's not the way you hold a fork! Ye gods!"

"Meg! No slouching! Napkin and left hand in lap! Close your mouth completely when you chew!"

"Carol! Get a cushion to sit on; you can not rake the food off your plate into your mouth! No talking with food in your mouth! Napkin and left hand in lap!"

"All of you act like heathens!"

As you can see, Aunt M. was fixated on napkins and left hands.

At age 4, my brother might have been the only one to escape her sharp tongue, but perhaps not. I just don't remember any thing specific directed toward him.

I well recall her saying, "Pat" (my mother's nickname), "have you taught these children no manners at all?"

I don't remember exactly how long Aunt M. stayed with us on that visit, but it was too long! * The drill in table manners (which I don't dispute were needed) occurred at every meal, whether or not my mother was present. We were completely cowed but, admittedly, had slightly better table manners when she left.

How my mother felt about having her children constantly corrected (and I'm sure Aunt M.'s corrections didn't stop at the table) I have no idea, but we girls all breathed a sigh of relief when the dust settled behind her car as she made her departure.

* As I've thought about this story and the following years, I don't remember that Aunt M. ever came to visit us again, although we saw her at family reunions. We must have traumatized her as much as she traumatized us.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another Fever-Induced Remembrance

(Image: Wikipedia)

Fever seems to have unlocked a few other memories of the late 1930's. I'll try to keep this one (relatively) short.

Title: Bathtub Papier-Mache'

Date: Fall of 1938

Place: El Paso, TX

Location: Bathroom on the second floor of the "Hill Street" house

Cast of Characters: Myself (age 4); my younger sister (not quite 2); my mother's sister - sweet and dearly beloved Aunt Jewel

Props: Deep, claw-footed bathtub; a tremendous amount of newspaper; laundry starch; water; large buckets with lids.

Action: Aunt Jewel and children sit on floor of bathroom, laughing and tearing sheets of newspaper into strips which are thrown into the bathtub with great gusto. Aunt Jewel amuses children by telling stories of her experiences as an elementary school teacher in a small West Texas town. When all newspaper has been shredded, Aunt Jewel plugs bathtub drain and turns on water, soaking newspaper, adds starch. Children strip to undergarments and are lifted into the tub where they are instructed to stomp on the newspaper until it becomes mush. Children laugh with glee at this unexpected and delightfully messy experience. Aunt entertains children with stories of making wine by tromping on grapes. Younger child slips and sits down in mushy paper, but continues to kick feet to stir the mix. When proper consistency has been achieved, Aunt Jewel stops the tromping and removes as much paper mush as possible, placing it in buckets. Children remain in bathtub. Using dry cloth, Aunt wipes as much paper mush from tub and children as is possible, then turns on water and bathes children. Children are dried off and re-clothed. - End

Note: Aunt Jewel must have been doing some sort of project at her school which required a substantial amount of papier-mache'. Wherever she was teaching, it must not have been far from El Paso, since I remember her being a frequent week-end visitor. My mother must have been very happy for her visits and her ability to entertain the two of us, since Mother was then pregnant with my baby sister, Carol Anne, who was born on New Year's Day, 1939.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Flu, I think -- but not H1N1

"Let us flee," said the fly.
"Let us fly," said the flea.
So they flew through a flaw in the flue. *

* Weird recollection whilst lying abed with a fever.

If I have not visited your blog in the last few days, or if you haven't had a response to your comments (thank you) to my recent posts, I really do have a good reason: I was attacked... I repeat...
attacked by a nasty flu-type illness on Sunday afternoon, and spent the next 48 hours in bed with fever and (initially) accompanying chills of the bone-crack variety. Those symptoms have passed, leaving me with only some gastric distress and an overwhelming lack of energy.

I quarantined myself, self-medicating with fever-reducing over the counter drugs on hand, drinking lots of liquid, and calling upon family members only to do things outside my house that needed to be done, such as water the plants and clean and fill the bird bath and feeders.

I'm presently experimenting with sipping on my first cup of coffee since Sunday morning. So far, so good.

I miss being able to work in the yard, but I think that's probably a good thing, as the heat index yesterday afternoon was 116 (F) and this section of Arkansas is under a Heat Advisory again today. I did venture outside early this morning for about three minutes to refill the bird bath, but was glad to get back inside, even though it was only 80 degrees at the time.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Today's Flowers - June 21

Addition to Lily Collection
(click on photo to enlarge)

While browsing around a new (to me) plant store this past Monday afternoon, I found a beautiful day lily, the like of which I did not have in my collection. Of course, it came home with me, and now resides in the best lily bed.

This lily has no name, only a designator: H14. A hybrid, this lily was created by the Flying V Greenhouse in Henderson, Texas and, I'm convinced it was shipped up here to Miller's Plants and Pecans (We Crack Pecans) in North Little Rock, Arkansas especially for me! LOL!

Since I acquired it, it has given me three big blooms, and has 12 more buds on the stems. I love it!

I haven't spoken with the hybridizer, yet, so I don't know how he feels about giving names to his creations, but this one is just too pretty to remain "H14." I'll let you know what I name it.

Today's Flowers is a weekly Meme created by Luiz Santilli, Jr. and may be found here. Please visit to see others' lovely flower photos. If you have a flower photo of your own to share, please join us.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bits and Pieces - Stuff and Junk

One of the Lily Beds

Thank goodness the power is back on! I could not have stayed in the house yesterday without it. Temps in the 90's with humidity to match.

I worked in the church office in the morning (nice and cool). When I left at noon, the interior of my car, which had been parked in an unshaded spot, would have put a sauna to shame! Nearly blistered my posterior when I sat down behind the wheel!

Did I have enough sense to go home, drink something cool, put my feet up, read a good book or take a little nap? Oh! No! I was voluntarily out in the heat most of the afternoon.

I took a trunk (and back seat) full of items to the recycling center at the Air Force Base: office paper, newspapers, all sorts of cans, glass, cardboard, and plastic. It's amazing how many things can be recycled if one just takes a few minutes to sort them out instead of relegating them to the landfill trash.

After that, I visited the local home improvement center, which has a large garden shop, to look for bargains. Just about every day, they put on sale at a deep discount plants which are in less than prime condition. I bought four Russian Blue Salvia plants that looked like they were on their last legs, and three Asian Lilies that were without blossoms (but so are the ones I have that have already bloomed). I also purchased (not at a deep discount, I'm sorry to say) another bird feeder like the one shown in yesterday's post, a suet holder and two suet blocks, a Niger Thistle sock for finches, and a bag of bird seed. I was tempted to buy a special food block made for squirrels, but I'll just let them eat bird seed -- it's cheaper.

The store is just over a mile away from me, so I arrived here quickly to give the poor Russian Sage plants a drink. They were parched. I watered them four different times before dark, and misted the leaves several times. They really perked up and by the time I was ready for bed they were looking like healthy plants; I think they're going to make it! I hope to get them in the ground today.

I hung the feeders, cleaned and refilled the bird bath, and watered the lilies. "Dearest Love" (day lily) has huge buds on it so I should have photos of it soon.

After the sun disappeared behind the neighbor's house, I re-broke the ground and pulled out all the grass and weeds in a new flower bed on the west side of the house (it's been waiting for planting for a couple of months.) That's where I'll plant the lilies and sage I bought today, and where some of the thinned out day lilys will go when I get them divided. I have my work cut out for me.

Who knows what today will bring?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Squirrel vs Bird Feeder

Squirrel spies... bird feeder.

How's the best way to approach this?

Whoa! This conical top is slippery!

Maybe this way?

Or, this way.

Not working. Let me try again.

Ah! Success!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weather Related Woes

On this past Friday afternoon, shortly after 4 p.m., we had a "willy-waw" of a storm charge through town. The highest official wind gust at the weather station 5 miles from me was 52 mph, but if it wasn't 60-75 mph, or more, in my front yard, I will eat an anemometer -- without catsup. I thought I was going to lose my maple tree; the top branches were bent almost to ground level. Huge clumps of leaves from the large oak three houses to the west were whizzing across the yard. Hanging on to the wrought iron roof supports of my small front porch, I stepped outside in time to see strange cloud formations, moving at an extremely rapid pace from west to east. My daughter called me a few minutes later to report that she had seen a funnel cloud aloft from her then position of about 1 mile north of me. A funnel cloud aloft (probably the same one) was photographed above a business about 1.5 miles west of here.

"Severe and potentially dangerous thunderstorm warning" was about all I could find on the local weather reports.

The most vicious wind gusts were followed by almost as strong winds accompanying a torrential downpour (actually, "down" was not the direction in which the rain was falling) which lasted only about 10-15 minutes. I thought my lilies were gonners! I could just imagine their little heads, and remaining buds, being blown into the next county. I'm happy to report that they survived, though the then open blooms were beat to a pulp much the worse for wear when I finally could get to them.

The storm passed, and we were experiencing only a very light drizzle and no appreciable wind when, at precisely 5 p.m. , the lights flickered and went out. Everything dependent upon electricity shut down: computer, the air conditioning system, refrigeration, telephones, etc.

When it got dark, I opened a window for some air circulation and went to bed. Saturday morning's first light revealed that I, and my adjacent neighbors, were still without electrical power. Strangely enough, the folk directly across the street, and all their neighbors had power. The folks immediately behind me on this block had no power, but their across the street neighbors had power. Somebody's picking on us!

Saturday morning telephone calls to the energy company revealed that they were, of course, aware of the problem and expected to have power restored by noon. Noon came and went.

My sweet neighbor across the street brought me a container of ice so I could have some cold water.
More calls. "We're working on it. You should have power in a couple of hours." Later.... "we expect full power to be restored before midnight."

So, I stayed here another night, taking a shower by candlelight and going to bed with the chickens. I awoke this morning around 5:30. No power. I managed to brew a cup of coffee by pouring almost boiling water through coffee grounds in a filter. Yum! -- and thank goodness for a gas range, even if I had to light the burner with a match.

I left for church at 9:45. No power.

I'm delighted to report that prayer must have some efficacious effect on energy company problems/delays because when I got home from church. Ta Da!! The electricity was on! Thank you, energy company employees for your dedicated work. I don't know the full extent of the problem, but it must have been pretty serious.

I've spent some time disposing of items from the freezer which had thawed and were on the way to being refrozen (not a good thing.) I still have the refrigerator side to clean out. Thank goodness tomorrow is trash pickup day.

Enough of the woes. I'm a happy camper! The air conditioner is humming, the ceiling fans are turning, the computer is functioning, I can put the flashlight and candles away. Life is good! Thank you, Lord.

Today's Flowers - June 14

"Lusty Leland" - 2009

My daylilys have been blooming almost faster than I can keep up with them. I learned that "dead-heading" them every day is a good practice, and I perform this routine both morning and evening. One morning this past week, I removed 87 spent blossoms; that same evening, I removed another 64, for a total of 151 blossoms that had flowered and died within 24 hours.

Even with that many gone, it made no appreciable difference in the appearance of the lily beds, and the blooming plants are still loaded with huge buds, ready to burst into full bloom over the next few days/weeks. Some varieties are just now sending up their flower spikes. I've forgotten what some of them look like and am as excited as a kid in a candy store!

I had a couple of pleasant surprises at the beginning of this past week. First, I discovered a new lily growing in the bed by my back door. I have no recollection of purchasing said lily (the name of which variety I have no idea), but I just love it. It's tiny, as you can see by the photo below in which I hold my 62mm camera lens cap close enough to touch the bloom.

New Kid on the Block

The second surprise is that lilies which I moved from my former home and planted along the back fence line in this garden in 1991, and which haven't bloomed for several years, have flower spikes! I attribute this to the cutting down of a group of trees that had shaded that part of the yard almost continuously. Unfortunately, that row of lilies is beset by and about
to be overtaken by Dewberry vines and some other noxious creeping vine, the seeds for which were, no doubt, either blown in or deposited by birds. My gardening daughter and I are already making plans to isolate the lilies I want to save, dig them up and move them, and then apply a liberal application of Round-Up or another heavy-duty weed killer to get rid of all the creepy vines. It would be a pleasure to have a row of colorful lilies across the back fence, but the vines have to go first.

I reported in an earlier post that my daughter had gifted me with two Oriental Lilies. "Tom Pouce" (photo below) bloomed this past week, and it is elegant! Huge blooms, and very fragrant. To get a good idea of the bloom's size, consider that the bricks shown behind it are 7.5 inches wide and measure 3" between the mortar lines. As the plant is actually leaning against the wall, there is minimal skew on the relative size.

Tom Pouce - Three Blooms (6/12/2009)

The bloom has much more yellow in it than I expected from the plant information tag, but that may be due to the amount of sunlight the plant has received. I planted it somewhat in haste in a flower bed close to my front door, which is on the north side of the house, and while the bed gets some direct afternoon sun, this lily doesn't get as much sun as it needs to generate the pink in its petals. After the blooms are gone, I will move it to a sunnier permanent location. "Stargazer," the other lily she gave me (which also will have to be moved), has six buds on it, one almost ready to open. I'm hoping to have a photo of it to include here before post time. (I'm writing this on Friday.) NOTE: Sorry. . no photo. The flower is open, but I've been without electricity since 5 p.m. Friday, and cannot upload photos from the computer I am currently using. Don't know when I will have power again; the electric company has been "promising" restoration since midnight Friday.

I've learned (again) that one is never too old to learn something new. This past week, I discovered a marvelous (and new to me) day lily site on the Internet, Wright's Daylily Garden, in Hilham, TN, between Nashville and Knoxville. They have over 1,100 varieties of daylilies at their farm, and photos of most of them on their web site. I've been in daylily heaven just looking at the photos! The new thing that I learned from looking at their photos is that the lily I have always thought of as "Butterfly Kisses" is not! I do have "Butterfly Kisses" and it's blooming beautifully, thank you, but it's not the one I thought it was. That's what I get for not placing permanent markers by the fans. (Photo below)

The Real Butterfly Kisses

What the other gorgeous lily is, the one I have mis-named for years, I have no idea, but will search for photos of it. I'd love to know what it should be called.

One last photo -- of a mid-sized lily that is so purple it's almost black! It has bloomed profusely this year and I get great joy just looking at its color. Do I know its variety? No. There is another very small lily in the background; pale pinkish purple. It's also about the size of my lens cap.

Today's Flowers is a weekly Meme created by Luiz Santilli, Jr. and may be found here. Please visit to see others' lovely flower photos. If you have a flower photo of your own to share, please join us.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Here's to the Milk in the Little Red Can"

For Lack of A Better Title

I don't dislike all evaporated milk. It certainly has its uses, it's handy to store for long periods without refrigeration, it's (relatively speaking) cheaper than whole milk, volume for volume. It's fortified and enriched with all sorts of necessary vitamins, etc. I keep at least a half-dozen cans in my cupboard. I nearly always use it when making potato soup, for instance, which I truly like and willingly eat year-round. I often add straight-from-the-can evaporated milk when making other dishes and baked goods.

My long-standing (70 years) revulsion dislike of a certain brand of evaporated milk has its origin in circumstances surrounding my kindergarten experience, reported yesterday, in Fall, 1939.

Faithful reader Snowbrush (thank you) asked in a comment if I was required to consume said evaporated milk in an undiluted condition. He was right on the mark, except for the "required" part! However, let me hasten to say that it was not anyone at the school that was responsible for my lifelong aversion to this particular product.

Herein hangs the tale.

I have already reported that I walked home from my kindergarten class. After a few days, I realized that one of my classmates was walking the same route. Her home was closer to school than mine, so we generally walked along together until we reached her front gate, at which time I would continue the remaining few blocks alone. (White picket-fence gates can cause me to have the shivers sometimes, too.)

As you read this story, keep in mind that this was 1939, not quite the tail-end of the Great Depression, and there were many people, including children, who were thin and generally malnourished, not necessarily because of the lack of purchasable items, but because of a lack of funds with which to do so. I'm sure my family fell into this category. (An aside: my mama told me not many years before she died that she would ride the bus across the Rio Grande to Juarez, Mexico to buy much of what we ate because the dollar-to-Peso rate was very favorable at that time. She said she always bought all our meat in Mexico, and didn't know, and didn't care, much, if the meat was beef, goat, horse, cat, or dog. Meat was meat and she couldn't afford to buy it in El Paso. Only God knows what I've actually eaten in my life.)

Back to the white picket-fence gate.

My walking companion's mother would always meet her at the gate, with an open can of "***" brand evaporated milk in her hand, which she would hand to her daughter with a big smile on her face, and stand there while said child (whose name I have obliterated from my memory forgotten) drank the entire can of milk -- unchilled and definitely undiluted! That was OK by me. Said child evidently relished it and it was their routine, her after-school snack, as it were. I would wave goodbye and continue on my way.

All was well until the day her mother was waiting at the gate with TWO opened cans of milk in her hands. No doubt she had taken pity on my scrawny and undernourished appearance and figured that few extra calories would be good for me! She handed me a can of milk. I placed it to my lips and took a sip.

Yech! Urp! Phewey! And any other nasty descriptor you care to add. I don't know (and I don't care) what vitamins and other swell stuff "***" added to their milk, or how wonderful this could be in the way of nutrition, to me that was the most foul-tasting, foul-smelling, unpalatable liquid that had ever passed my lips. But, under the watchful eyes of the mother, who stood there smiling at me like Cruella de Vil, I drank the whole thing, and said "Thank you" just like my mother had taught me. Then, I went home and threw up -- several times.

"Cruella" tried several more times to entice me to share her daughter's afternoon treat, but I screamed and hollered and threw myself on the sidewalk politely declined. I'm sure she despaired of my continued existence as my family, evidently, was too poor to feed me properly.

To this day, I cannot tolerate "***" evaporated milk. Like some scanning electronic sensor, I can detect one part in a trillion (perhaps I exaggerate, but not by much.) The most bitter and or fragrant coffee cannot hide it from my taste buds and olfactory nerves. I can detect it when it has been used in baked goods. I can tell if there is an open can in anyone's kitchen.

Hide your eyes, male readers, if there are any of you, or skip the following sentences. When my baby son had to be placed on formula because of some physical problems I was having producing breast milk, the doctor gave me the directions to making formula with "***" milk. I begged and pleaded until he agreed that "C********" evaporated milk would be acceptable for the formula. What was going on? Did "***" give the doctors a kick-back for recommending their product for baby formula? I'm joking, I'm joking!!! Please don't sue me!

I still see "***" evaporated milk in the grocery stores, so someone must be buying it. If you, Dear Reader, are one of those, I applaud you, and wish you well. You are a braver soul than I. Please accept my apologies for maligning your favorite brand of evaporated milk. However, whenever I see it, I avert my eyes and cross quickly to the other side of the aisle.

I leave you with a big of doggerel that must have started making the rounds in the 1930's.

"Here's to the milk in the little red can.
The best milk in all the land.
No cow to milk,
No hay to pitch,
Just stick a knife in the --------
little red can."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fall, 1939

Tests have been administered and final grades assigned. Movement up the stairway of formal education has been granted or denied. Shouts of joy or groans of frustration have been visited upon myriad students -- and parents. Graduation announcements have been sent, gifts and cards purchased, ceremonies attended. Those so inclined and financially able to do so are in the throes of preparation to enter an institution of higher learning in a couple of months, most with excitement, some with trepidation. Others wonder and worry about where in the world they are going to find jobs.

The bright yellow buses are stilled, housed in huge warehouses for repairs and maintenance. Neighborhood streets are full of children on skateboards, bikes, motorized scooters and (gasp) afoot! The local recreation center swimming pool is open for business. Basketball goals have been dragged from behind garages to the edges of driveways and makeshift teams of players take turns trying to make baskets and stay out of the way of sometimes impatient motorists. Boom-boxes play on carports and in back yards until the curfew hour, with an occasional passing motorized juke-box breaking the stillness of the night.

All this school-related activity called to mind my first foray into the public (U.S. style) education system. The year was 1939. In September of that year I had reached an age sufficient to admit me to kindergarten in El Paso, Texas. We lived just far enough away from the school that my mother decided that I should ride the city bus from our one-room apartment to the school each morning, although I would be allowed to walk home after school. I think that she knew that my curiosity sometimes caused my attention to wander, and being a little late getting back home in the afternoon was preferable to being late to school.

She and I rode the city bus to the school when I went to be enrolled. During the trip, Mother went over and over the procedures for paying the bus fare, appropriate behavior while on the bus, and where to get off --- and so on and so on. She accompanied me to my classroom, where I met the teacher and obtained a list of supplies needed (tablet and pencil was about it, as I recall). Then we walked from the school back to the apartment, with Mother going over and over the exact route I was to take, stopping at cross-streets, looking both ways, etc., etc.

The next morning, I caught the bus at the nearby corner, sat up like a big girl, minded my manners, and got off the bus in front of the school. The red-brick school building had one story raised about eight to ten feet above the lot, and a large, partially below ground-level basement. About a dozen big steps (at least they looked that way to a five year old) led from the front walk upwards to the main floor.

With tablet and pencil and (probably) lunch box in hand, I started up the steps to begin my first day in school. I was so excited! However, standing about half-way up the steps was a huge boy (must have been a sixth-grade student) who challenged me, in fact, barred my way with outspread arms and said in a loud voice"You can't come in here!" I think I tried to get past him; after all, I had to go to school! But, try as I might, he continued to forbid my entrance!!! So...

...I turned around and walked home.

That my mother was astonished to see me is an understatement. When I told her what had happened, we got on the bus and went to school again. It was then that I learned that kindergarten was down the steps at the side of the building. Only big kids got to go up the steps onto the main floor. After explaining to the teacher why I was tardy on my first day, Mother went back home to care for my two siblings who had been left in the charge of the landlady.

I don't remember anything else at all about my first day of school, but there are other things that I do remember about that school year, and those, perhaps, will be other stories. I might even write about why, to this day, I can't stand the taste nor smell of Pet Brand evaporated milk.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Back to Basics

I've now logged over 200 posts since I first began my blog in April, 2008. Whodathunkit? I've recently been having great fun taking photos of my day lilies and other flowers in my yard, and posting them for all the world to see and yawn over -- yeah, yeah, another flower! So what?

However, I recently had an email from my youngest daughter, who currently resides on the island of Okinawa, Japan, telling me that my flowers were "pretty" but she would really like to have more "stories." That comment reminded me of why I started a blog in the first place. Forgive me, I quote myself from Post #1:

"It's the discovery of those other sites which has encouraged me to begin my own journal of remembrances. At age 73, I am still blessed to have a good memory that, at present, goes back quite a long way. I decided that while I still have that capacity, I'll jot down a few random remembrances of my life, along with some current happenings. Fear not! I'm not going to post a chronological listing of all my life's events. Some are best forgotten, anyway!

I hope at some time my remembrances will be of interest to my family, and perhaps to others, as well. I don't make any assurances that they will be "fascinating," however!"

My father used to tell me (regularly) during my formative years that if I could not excel at something, "for heaven's sake have the decency to be an abject failure. Nothing's worse than being 'average.'" (Daddy had very high standards, for himself, his wife and children, which was a bit hard to tolerate at times, and made nervous wrecks out of several of us. Daddy died when I was 30, but his words had a lasting effect: at the age of40, I received an "average" performance rating from a supervisor for whom I had worked for one whole month. I was devastated and, I'm sure, shed more than a few tears -- in private, of course. It was the only such performance rating I had ever received, or did in future receive, in my entire career.)

So...I've done a bit of soul-searching during the recent blog-dry period. I have accepted the reality that I will never, ever, ever, take as beautiful and beautifully composed photographs as Kate, Abe, David, Hilary, Klaus, Mojo, the East Gwillimbury WOW, and myriad other wonderful photographers, nor will I ever be able to put into words and share the deep, heartfelt and beautifully expressed thoughts of Janine, Ruth, Jeannelle, and countless others, nor be as witty, funny and clever as rhymeswithplague (who is also erudite), Arkansas Patti, and Flurrious, nor write poetry like Jinksy. (Note: most of the myriad 'others' have links in the sidebar of my blog.)

Therefore, I am taking cowardly refuge in something I know I can do better than any of the above mentioned -- to write the remembrances of my life, since no one else has lived my life, and no one else can report my memories. Whether or not they are written "excellently" is of little import. They will be what they will be.

How strange! I think that's what I intended to do in the first place! How easily I was led astray!

Oh, I'll still post some flower and other photos, but I'll (try to) save those for Today's Flowers on Sundays.

I'll close this post with one very recent memory: I distinctly recall having called the refrigerator repairman before noon yesterday. He assured me that he could have my problem fixed before the day was out, but he would have to pick up some parts in Little Rock. At 5:30 I called to remind him that I needed to leave for my mid-week church service. I distinctly remember that he said he would be here at 10:00 a.m. this morning. My clock says it's almost eleven, and I haven't heard from him. Am I losing my memory?

Tomorrow, Lord willing, a story.

P.S. The repairman just called. He's on his way. Guess my mind wasn't playing tricks, after all.

ADDENDUM: He came, he stayed, he fixed it and it set me back $160.00 (notwithstanding the "senior discount." Oh, well!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Today's Flowers - June 7


I first saw this plant growing wild by the wayside in southern Arkansas, and fell in love with its blue/purple blooms. A wonderful woman who worked for the client I was visiting at the time (back in the days when I was gainfully employed) heard me expounding on this "ditch" plant, and dug a clump and kept it in her office to give me on my next visit. It's been in my garden for about 10 years.

Spiderwort is an interesting plant, with many attributes; parts of it are edible and it is also used in herbal medicine. For more information, if you're interested, go here. Good ol' Wikipedia!

Today's Flowers is a weekly Meme created by Luiz Santilli, Jr. and may be found here. Please visit to see others' lovely flower photos. If you have a flower photo of your own to share, please join us.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I have a new Great Granddaughter

Isabella Marie Olvera, born this morning at 6:36 a.m.
Seven pounds, five ounces, 21 inches long.
Mother (eldest daughter of my gardening daughter)
and baby are doing well.

No photos yet, but one baby looks much like another
except for the fine details. I am told she has dark hair.
You get the picture.

Her (now) aunt, my 4 yr. old granddaughter Juliana, since she learned that her sister was expecting a baby, has declared that she, also, would be having a baby. So... while she was still sleeping this morning, unaware of the birth, I slipped a "newborn baby" doll and bottle into the bed beside her.

I'm a great grandmother. :)