Monthly Archives: October 2011

To Spider With Love

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Dear Spider,

I know  today’s holiday – Halloween – is your shining moment.  Nonetheless, I find it necessary, in light of recent events (I think you know of what I speak, spider who dangled in front of my face when I opened the front door!), to take this time to review our long-standing contract.

As you may recall:

You, may spin your lair-ish web, creep your skulking crawl, vibe your eerie vibe, trap your unsuspecting prey, and basically do your whole spider thing. And I, promise to leave you alone, free and unfettered, turn a blind eye, mind my own business.  That is, of course, under the condition that you carry out all said activities in the great out-of-doors.  However, the minute you bring your wily ways into my house, garage, car, on my person or anywhere within my personal space, I reserve the right to squash you, vacuum you up, sick the dog on you, beat you with a broom, and/or spray you with Windex/perfume/anything handy that sprays.

Now I know we had a brief respite from this arrangement in the wake of my 10 year old obsession with the book, Charlotte’s Web.  But, that was a long, long, looong time ago and it has been business as usual ever since that passed phase. I wish I could say there would be a return to that kinder, gentler time, but I fear it is not to be.

So you see, I am reminding you of the arrangement for your own good.  I feel we must maintain the observance of these rules in order to peacefully co-exist.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

Oh, and Happy Halloween

Sincerely Yours,

Paula

P.S. I feel obligated to add:  In the event of PMS or sudden attack of ‘creeped-outedness’, this agreement is null and void. In other words – run scurry for your life.

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Accidental Farmer – The Rest of the Story

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Around this time last year, I discovered something about myself;  something shocking but undeniably true.  However, until today, I had no idea there was more to the story.  I shared ‘Part 1’ of my tale on friend Sherri’s Oldtweener.com last year. I suppose in order to tell “the rest of my story” I have to go back to the beginning, where it all started…

2010

The moment a house plant enters my life I can literally see its life flash before my eyes.   It may come through my doors a full, vibrant, green plant, but soon it will start to show the signs of my care…wilting leaves, thinning vines, dulling color.  In an effort to stay alive it will begin to shuck off excess bulk until it is finally reduced to one, lone leaf clinging to a surviving vine.  But this too, will eventually lose the will to live.  And even though with each new vegetative ward that comes into my care, I vow to be a better guardian, I, at the same time, feel the sadness of inevitability.

However, at the pleading of my younger son, I was forced to face the ultimate agrarian challenge (with potentially soul damaging results) of actually planting an innocent victim in the ground in the attempt to bring forth life.  That’s right, my son wanted to grow a plant; outside… in the ground… from scratch, like, with a seed.  To be more specific, he wanted to grow pumpkins.  Well, I did what any sensible girl would do, I ran to Daddy.  Actually, he came to visit me and little did he know that he was soon to be an unwitting accomplice in what was sure to be a dastardly plan (as far as the plant world is concerned).  But Dad, being the accomplished gardener that he is, went right to work in the attempt to make his grandson’s pastoral dreams come true. He prepared the soil, digging up dirt that had been left to itself for way too many years, added nutrients, top soil and fertilizer, built a huge mound complete with watering mote and then… planted 4 seeds. With strict instructions to water and tend to the seedlings every day, Dad went on his way with great hope but possibly dubious faith as to the outcome.

Seven days later, much to my surprise – ok, more like shock, amazement, incredulity – all four seeds sprouted (go Dad!!).  And not only sprouted, but continued to grow, crawl and bloom flowers – all under my tutelage (because of course, it was just a coincidence they tripled in size during the 2 weeks the neighbor boy cared for them while we were away).

Then, the day finally came when my son uttered the words I had been longing, even yearning to hear… those three little words…

”We have pumpkins!!!”

Success washed over me.  I had done it!  I had taken a humble seed, tended to it, cared for it, coerced and nurtured it into giving its most precious gift – a fruit for my labors (or vegetable as the case may be).  I had to see for myself.  But, no sooner had I headed in the direction of my precious vines, I was drawn away by my son calling from the direction of our wild and overgrown field behind our house – “No, Mom, over here!”  For there, growing in our neglected field, unattended, wild and completely unbeknownst to us were pumpkin vines sporting two beautiful, perfect, orange pumpkins.  I stared at them in disbelief.  How could this be? Where had they come from? How had they survived? Was that where we threw the rotten pumpkins out after Halloween last year?

Unfortunately, all answers to these and other perplexing questions such as – what exactly is ‘Bieber Fever’ and how does one keep from contracting it? – remain forever part of the unknown. What is known, however, is that I had finally grown something, become a producer, joined the ranks of the tillers before me…albeit, by accident.

So now, everyday, I proudly walk out to my wild pumpkin patch, admire my crop of two and well, do nothing; for clearly, where plants and I are concerned, this seems to be the most productive strategy.

And the vines which my Dad so faithfully entrusted to me?  Well, they continue to persevere even under the duress of my constant care and devotion, sprouting flowers again and again but never being able to quite muster up enough oomph to produce a pumpkin. I fear they too will one day soon fulfill providence and join their unfortunate predecessors in that great nursery in the sky.

2011 – The Rest of the Story

Today I went out to my “crop” as it were.  More to the point, the place in my wild, unattended field where I, again, threw out last years rotten pumpkins.  The place I did NOT fertilize, I did NOT water, I did NOT weed, I did NOT season with rich top soil, I did NOT pay any attention to at all.  Until today, when I went out there to discover I had NOT grown pumpkins… I had grown gourds. 

Clearly, I’m even better than I thought.

p


Nightmare on Doddridge Street

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Monday seemed like a normal day. Little did I know something was lurking, lying in wait for me. It started out like any other day; kids off to school, coffee hot, dog fed (thus, her own personal nightmare assuaged).  I turned on my computer, ready to work, blog, socialize, check Facebook.  And that is when the horror began as I was greeted by the words – NO INTERNET ACCESS. I took a deep breath, no need to panic, it’s probably nothing, I thought.  After all, my dog appeared unconcerned and you know how animals can “sense” things.

Very calmly, I began to work my magic…or rather, I began to work tech-guy-on-speed-dial’s magic.  But still, ACCESS DENIED.  Then tech-guy-on-speed-dial off-handedly suggested, “what about your home phone line?” (You see, us here folks out on Doddridge, a.k.a. the boonies, rely on phone lines for our DSL mojo).  I ran for my cordless phone like a chick trying to outrun a chainsaw and as in any good bad horror flick, the line was dead.

However, unlike next-to-die-screaming-teen, I still had cell phone service.

So, to the phone company I went for rescue. Harassed-phone-company-lady informed me that “they” (guys-with-huge-hacking-scissors?) had cut the lines and “no”, the DSL line would not be reconnected anytime soon because first the phone line must be repaired in order to restore 911.  But I stammered that this was a 911 – No internet, no access to the World Wide Web, NO FACEBOOK!!

Harassed-phone-company-lady, unmoved by my hysteria, hung up, leaving me once again to face the horror alone. So there I was, waiting, staring, pacing, looking out for strange-guy-in-hockey-mask; when suddenly, out of nowhere, a thought struck me.  Something my Dad used to always tell me;

“Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers.”

I grabbed my car keys, I grabbed my dog, (because clearly, judging by her worried look, the canine sixth sense had kicked in), and we started driving – away from the dreadfulness and in search of flowers.

We didn’t find any flowers, because, well, it’s October, but we did find a pretty spectacular fall tree to hang out under.

We didn’t worry about work, we didn’t long to socialize, we didn’t angst over missed Facebook posts,

And nobody denied us access.

Word Up – Opus Anyone?

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The Definition:  Addiction is the condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or involved in something.

The Warning: The following activity has proven to be addicting, please proceed with caution.

The Disclaimer: No word was harmed in the writing of this blog… just abused a little.

The Catalyst:

Son:  “Mom, we had to make up sentences for the word ‘opus’ this week.

Mom: “Really? What did you come up with?”

Son (slight smile at corner of mouth):  “Don’t make me kick you in the opus” and  “Who threw up opus all over the floor”.

 

The Addiction:

  • Oh, I think I swallowed my opus!
  • Look at that man’s opus gut.
  • Would you like to buy my opus?
  • I’m in opus without you.
  • I think I just broke my opus.
  • Sorry ma’am, I have to perform an emergency opus-ectomy
  • You know what I think?  I think you can kiss my opus!
  • I would bet my opus on it.
  • Shut your opus!
  • Honey, could you please pass the fried opus?
  • Get your head out of your opus and get in the game!
  • What’s in your opus?
  • What the opus are you doing?
  • Mind you own opus.
  • Look, a rare-winged opus!
  • Do you feel opus, punk? Well, do ya?

 The Thank you:  To all opus contributors (I think you know who you are). Please seek professional help.

The Moral: Never deny humor; even especially the addicting kind.

Please leave your opus in the comments below. Thank you.

Baby You Can Drive My Car

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My husband’s truck gives new meaning to the word “clunker”.  On more than one occasion I have suggested (begged, pleaded, demanded) he make a one way trip to the junkyard (for the truck, of course).

The body is not only rusting, it is rusting away.  I swear I have seen a bird nesting inside one of the cavernous orifices opened up by the decay.  At some point, repairs were done to hold the rim above the tires together… those plastic electrical cable ties and duct tapes really seem to be doing the trick.  The rear view mirror is, well, gone – no-one seems to know where.  The antenna, which some time back resided in its proper place outside, has now taken up residence inside the truck with its end jammed into an earthquake like crack that runs the length of the dashboard. The license plate is permanently bent into the shape of a taco, held on firmly with a wire hanger. And in order to start up the old timer, you must pump the gas not once, not twice, but three times and no more. I think the radio still works. Which is a good thing so you have something to listen to while you are freezing into an icicle or sweating into a puddle.

The other day, I walked out my door ready to drive my son and his friend to a birthday party.  It suddenly occurred to me that earlier in the day, in the wake of loaning his car to a friend, my husband had then borrowed my car leaving me with, yep you guessed it, the clunker. But, get to the party we must.  So in we three climbed.   Just a short distance, how bad could it be? Well, the answer to that quickly came when one of the doors began to randomly open of its own accord as if to be saying “get out while you still can”; which would have been a fairly safe jump considering the general 10 mile an hour maximum possible speed as we went up hills…with the pedal floored. And despite the rattling of the vehicle which threatened to bring doubt to my faith in those cable ties and giving up trying to solve the mystery of the dashboard antenna, we finally arrived at our destination.  Basically, in one piece.

Upon arriving back home in my driveway I had but one thought… I will NEVER in a million years get rid of that truck!  You see, for the entirety of our few mile trip that took, oh, 20 minutes or more, the three of us laughed until the tears were streaming down our faces.

You can’t buy joy like that, and you certainly don’t send it to the junkyard.

Aside

Am I a big dork for loving this tree?  Well, probably!  But, thanks to friend Jaime, I am now the proud owner of this beautiful, inspiring,”Sweet Spot” tree and design.  I want to camp out under my tree… cause, you know, under this tree there are hot showers, feather beds, and definitely NO bugs.

Looking for the Sweet Spot Tree

Pretty in Pink…and Camo?

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Last weekend, I made a fatal mistake.  I uttered, out loud, the words “I’m going to town”.  Now, let me explain something.  When you live in the country (as I have found myself), you must frequently “go to town” to pick up groceries, pharmaceuticals, Dolce Vita shoes… you know, the necessities.

Unfortunately on this particular occasion, my husband, in a rare respite from ‘husband acquired deafness’ (aka HAD), heard my statement and responded:  “Oh good, can you pick something up for me?” (ugh), “At Walmart” (double ugh), “In the sporting goods section”(ok, that’s just plain cruel!).

But, being a good wife (hold snickers, please) I acquiesced with the minimal amount of spousal complaining.

So, a few hours later, there I was roaming around and around and around noted store, in designated section, trying desperately to locate said item.  And then it occurred to me, Walmart did not intend for me to find this item – and I have proof! But in order to prove my theory I must digress to earlier that afternoon.

An hour before my fated trip to Walmart, I was breezing through a local Department Store.  Not looking for anything in particular, (like that really mattered), when all of a sudden, like a heat projecting beacon, there they were!  The pink suede ballet flats I didn’t know I needed, had no idea I wanted, but clearly, could not live another day without.

So here is the thing, if Walmart really wanted for people like me – the outdoorsy challenged – to find things in the section featuring those required, rugged accoutrements, they would strategically place in amongst the sleeping bags, flashlights, guns, and camo wear something like, I don’t know, pink suede shoes, bling encrusted earrings, fragrant leather handbags, or soft as a kitten sweaters. I’m just sayin’.

Anyway, the mere thought of it made me smile; right there in front of the kerosene lanterns… so there you have it.

Image Inspiration for Looking for the Sweet Spot

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Atlantic Surf (hold the oil)

Miami Sun (gotta love it)

Excessively Gifted Sky Rats Seagulls (clearly professional)

Muffin Remnants (cause who can eat in front of such persistent wildlife)

Kinda Perfect (for the gulls, too!)

Looking for the Sweet Spot Inspiration Blog

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This story, about my dog Shadow’s “heroic” moment, is clearly the inspiration for my blog venture!  I almost let this Sweet Spot moment pass me by.  In fact, it wasn’t until later that summer night, sitting on my porch, trying to stay cool in the wake of a broken AC unit on a 90+ day that the absolute perfection of the moment struck me and I wrote this article.

Just Another Day in the Life

Today, when I came home from the store, there was a goat in my front yard.  Yes, that is what I said… a two horned, split toed, gray, bleating goat, that for some reason decided my boys were its new BFFs and proceeded to follow them everywhere they went.  This, of course, was completely distressing to my 3 year old border collie who, while possessing the necessary herding instincts, lacked the benefit of any actual experience.  She, therefore, proceeded to take advantage of the opportunity by chasing said living, breathing farm animal round and round the house in an effort, I suppose, to regain some respect for her lineage.  While the goat, who clearly was not used to being subject to such base treatment, finally found safe haven on my back porch, nose to the door, pleading for entry (leading me to only speculate as to the goat’s previous place of abode and the habits therein…).

From there, the instinctual help from her ancestors seemed to abandon my worn out, panting border collie.  Or perhaps, she simply decided that herding in 90 degree plus weather was just not what it was cracked up to be.  Either way, the staring contest commenced between goat and dog, and continued until animal control (which consisted of guy down the street coming to put animal in truck and find it a home) arrived to spring the poor goat from a seemingly irresolvable conflict.

While my border collie marched into the house with her head held high as if she had just herded South Fork’s entire stock single-handedly, I contemplated why this was possibly the best part of my day.  I knew the image of my overweight dog chasing that wide eyed goat around and around my yard would be a source of laughter for me for a long time to come.  And of all the gifts in this life, the one I most cherish is the ability to laugh and find the humor.

When I can laugh with my boys, I am happy.  When I can invoke my husbands laugh, I am blessed.  When I can laugh instead of cry, I am saved.  And, when I can make others laugh, I am truly the luckiest person in the world.