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April 7th, 2011 (01:20 pm)

Earlier today while I was preparing my breakfast, I suddenly remembered that in every house of my childhood--and there were many, thank you United States Army--we always chose the inside of one cabinet door to put all our Chiquita Banana stickers. I don't know who started that, although it was as likely to be my mother as my brother, even though she was the one who'd eventually have to scrape all of them off when it was time to move again.

Do other people do that?

State of The Compound Greenery

April 6th, 2011 (12:52 pm)

I believe that inhaling paint fumes and shedding tears for a couple of hours each day over Sally Field has befogged my brain. The trellis next to my porch is climbed by both Confederate and Carolina jasmine. The Carolina--yellow--blooms a couple of times annually and has done well in spite of recent years' winter and summer droughts and our few hard freezes. However, the Confederate jasmine hasn't bloomed for two or more years, and I was beginning to think the Carolina vines had overtaken it as surely as Sherman overtook Georgia.

Today as I was wandering around the yard--in my nightgown, of course, a sure way to draw traffic down our street because heaven forfend I not make a fool of myself--I wouldn't have even noticed the trellis had it not been for that heavenly scent. The South has risen again.

Vines heavy with Confederate jasmine.

A closer look. Wish you could smell it.

Also thanks to the aroma, I noticed my mother's amaryllis tucked into the corner of that bed. I don't believe it's bloomed since the year she died, but it looks like nature has helped it bounce back. I'm not catching it at its prettiest, but I'll watch it in case better photo ops come my way.

Nora Walker's got nothing on me.


April 3rd, 2011 (03:06 pm)

It's been a while since the table looked like this on Craft Night. Lindsey was Bedazzling a Shake Weight for use as an honorary "reward" for a group in Rhonda's office. (Apparently one becomes temporary owner of the Shake Weight of Shame after a screw-up.)

Here it is in an unfinished but still glam state:

Meanwhile, I'm working on a new series of paintings that will hang at Té House of Tea during the month of May. More on that as it develops. =) In between bouts of painting and cooking and gym going and other things, I'm weeping copious amounts of tears over "Brothers and Sisters" on Netflix. I love family drama with a good ensemble cast. I'm in Season 2 now.

Just some stuff

March 29th, 2011 (06:25 pm)

Do you have days when you hate the Internet and days when you love it? Today's a love-it kind of day for me. I'm never sure why, except that ANY day I don't read comments on online articles is always better.

My thoughtful neighbors Jeff and Jason knew I was sad when our unusual winter freezes damaged and killed a lot of my flowers, so they brought a flat of Sweet Williams over for me to plant.

We've lived in this house since 1995, and our botanicals over the years have included gifts (and often, sweat equity) from many friends. Not only am I thankful for their generosity, but their persistent faith that I might manage not to kill everything, my history to the contrary, is touching. A shout-out to the believers, including Steve R, Lynne and Craig, James, Steve V, Amy, Tim, Kathy S, Sarena, Debby, my mother, Princess Patti, Lindsey and Rhonda, and the guy next door, who donated tons of his plants to us when he moved to another city. Those include a little tree that's in a pot in the back yard. I have no idea what this tree is, but often when I take my eyes off Guinness, she climbs into the pot to nibble on the leaves. I've never been able to catch her in time to shoot a photo of this. Pixie likes those leaves, too. I've tasted them but can't understand the appeal. To me, they taste like ordinary leaves.

It'll be a little harder for Guinness now because I've put a fairy in that pot next to the tree. It's solar-powered, but since I just did it today, I haven't yet seen what kind of glow it casts at night. It was a donation to the cause from Lisa K.

ETA: You can see the fairy at night here.

The other night, Tom, Tim, Lynne, Lindsey, and Rhonda took me out for a birthday dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, The Ambassador. What I didn't know was that Lisa K had gotten in touch with Tim and surprised me by joining us. Sneaky Aries!

There's actually a photo where Tim and I look happier, but Lynne's eyes are open in this one, so I chose it.

Figured it was the least I could do for the person who made my DELICIOUS birthday cake. From scratch, so she could make it sour cream chocolate with sour cream chocolate frosting. She knows me so well.

Lisa gave me another little garden item, too. This one's in the pot with the resurrected impatiens and daisies.

To prove no good deed goes unpunished, Lisa forgot the rest of her dinner entree that she had boxed up for lunch on Sunday. But we enjoyed it! Thanks, Lisa. And thanks Tom, Tim, Lynne, and The Brides for this part of my fun birthday. More to come!

(For 'Nathan--'cause it's not a party until there's a Chinese take-out box.)

For my sister

March 24th, 2011 (05:47 pm)

First bloom from the impatiens you saved:

Rescue me

March 22nd, 2011 (09:30 pm)

Taking a circuitous route, a scrapbook designed for dogs found its way to me. We haven't been doing very many crafty things on Craft Night recently, but I have managed to get this project up to date. I decided the scrapbook could best be used to keep a photographic record of the dogs that Tim has helped through Scout's Honor's rescue program. This does not include the dogs he's helped transport to and from veterinarians or boarding locations. Most of the dogs pictured have been his fosters, even if only for a few days to relieve other fosters or on their way to forever homes. All have stayed at The Compound for at least a couple of nights--most much longer.

Of course, first up is the miracle dog who began it all: EZ, who still comes to visit and stay with Tim from time to time. After so many challenges and almost an entire year at The Compound, EZ was adopted into the perfect forever home, where she is loved unconditionally. Though I won't share as much information under the rest of these photos, trust me that these Scout's Honor dogs have all been placed with equal care in homes where they could thrive.

Please click here to see the other dogs.Collapse )

If you're unable to adopt a dog, almost every city has rescue organizations who need foster help or even occasional relief for their foster families, or transportation for dogs. Fosters can be challenging; I won't lie. A dog who's been abused or who's been in a pound or on the streets for a long time needs socialization, attention, and training. They can do destructive things. They don't always mesh with the other members of a household and need to move to a different foster environment. Fostering isn't for everyone. But even going to your local shelters or to adoption days and enabling dogs to get out of their crates for little walks and bio breaks, or some hugs and ear rubs, can help. Depending on the type of rescue organization, you may be able to best help with donations of food, bedding, or money for crates and vet care. And if you're not a dog lover, trust me, there are plenty of opportunities to help foster or assist programs with cats, ferrets, and other surrendered or rescued animals. For example, many years ago, my sister was part of a rescue effort that took Snowball from a situation of terrible neglect to a chance at a new and better life.

If you're looking to add a permanent new member to your household, animals who have been fostered usually come to you fully vetted, at least partially trained, and with valuable information that only someone who's lived with the animal can provide. It's a great way to find an older companion animal, a younger animal, or an animal who was deemed unworthy of saving before a rescue organization stepped in, as is often true of disabled dogs. You will be repaid a million times over with the love and companionship of a forever friend.

What can make a Monday better?

March 21st, 2011 (06:47 pm)

Knowing that it's World Poetry Day! Fortunately, my daily Magnetic Poems are NOT the standard by which poetry is judged. There are so many brilliant poets, living and dead, whose words give us insight into emotion, beauty, language, history--every facet of the human condition--not to mention the non-human condition.

Poetry can enlighten us, entertain us, inform us. It can make us laugh and cry. It can make us say, Yes! Someone understands. And sometimes, I never thought of it that way. With the greatest economy of language, it offers the entire universe from the smallest speck of matter to the grandest concept we can imagine. Poetry is precise and concrete and magical and evocative all at once. It is music to our ears, images for our eyes, and gives us smells and tastes and touches we remember or only imagined.

I'd like to name my favorite poem, but as soon as I think of one, a half dozen more come to mind. For as long as I was able to read, poetry was there. This is one of the earliest books I was ever given--just for me, all mine:

I still remember, to the word, the lines of poetry Mrs. Bryan had us memorize in high school. Poetry was the first of my writing I was brave enough to share with anyone. It bonded me to one of my mentors, my uncle, and became a dialogue between my dear friend Riley and me, and later Timothy F and me.

Poetry can be, for me, as good as meditation. If I can open a book of poems while sitting outside somewhere, that's a slice of paradise. Currently, it's going to be this one:

Framed in Silence by Lynn Domina

Sometimes, as in this case, I'm fortunate enough to know the poet. That makes discovering and savoring each poem even better. But really, when I read Yeats and Keats and Dickinson and Sexton and Coleridge and Auden and Millay and Frost and Plath and Browning and Bishop and Lowell and Shakespeare and Larkin and Thomas and Doty and Monette and Hopkins and Donne and--okay, okay, I'll stop--I feel that I know them a little, too.

Their poems are old and beloved friends.

Clouds, clouds, clouds

March 19th, 2011 (10:25 pm)

We have too many clouds tonight for me to see the supermoon, or perigee-syzygy. I've enjoyed reading the lunatic* speculations that abound online about two things that happen every month, just not always on the same night.

ETA: Flickr group right here if you'd like to see more than 3700 supermoon shots from around the world.

I stood on the front porch for a while, but along with no moon sightings, there were no werewolves or earthquakes. Still, the night's not over. I'll keep you posted.

While outside, I didn't see the little guy (or maybe it's a female; who knows) who's been visiting our redbud tree with frequency. I was able to get a photo of him the other night, thanks to Tom letting me know he was there.

Maybe when I go out later, he'll be hunting. The neighborhood does provide plenty of prey--I saw a little gray prey running along the phone wire the other night and into our pine tree, but Owl apparently wasn't hungry, because he kept watching Margot. Apparently owls, too, can be described by that old phrase, "His eyes were bigger than his stomach."

*See what I did there?

Happy Ides of March!

March 15th, 2011 (02:51 pm)

To me! Today this book I ordered was delivered.

Famous Author Rob Byrnes sent me the first of Donald E. Westlake's crime caper novels featuring character John Dortmunder, The Hot Rock, and I really liked it. I even found out Robert Redford starred as Dortmunder in the movie based on the book, so I watched it on Netflix. Very early-1970s vibe, not quite as good as the book, but I'm not one to turn down a Robert Redford movie.

I digress.

I decided to read all the Dortmunder novels. I've found a few of them locally and purchased them, but I hope to read them in order. However, some of the older ones are quite pricey when I can find them online. Bank Shot was one of those, until I found it from an online seller at a price so low it felt like I was stealing it. Dortmunder would be proud of me.

So I feel lucky. Luckier than Julius Caesar, at any rate.

Happy Pi Day!

March 14th, 2011 (09:57 pm)

I pretty much thought if I had to read the words "Key Lime" one more time today, my envious brain might explode. Finally, I surrendered and created this:

Created the photo, that is. Edwards created the pie, and OMG, it's so good.

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