Bird of paradise

Even the smallest bloom that I get from a plant I grew makes me giddy. I drag B over to the planter almost every day to point out each new bloom, and what might bloom soon, and what looks like it's growing and spreading. I never knew gardening could be so satisfying.


Sebastian doesn't share

But Monster always waits hopefully nearby just in case...



A tattoo on your foot hurts a great deal more than a tattoo on your neck or shoulder. However, it doesn't hurt nearly as bad as finding out that your baby is dead. So on my recently revised scale of ouch, it didn't hurt very badly at all. The star on the left is for B, and the star on the right is for my baby boy.


B and I took the day off yesterday for the purpose of having fun. I didn't even bring my laptop home! I don't think we've ever done that before, but I must say that I highly recommend it. We visited a museum, ate some food, had dessert, re-visited the museum, saw an IMAX movie, ate some more food with margaritas, argued about what counts as art, whether I'm an aspiring art snob, whether B is too concrete, watched some Star Trek, and then went to bed. It was an entirely satisfying day.

Now, here are some mushrooms in my front yard. They were glowing with an unearthly light this morning. Perhaps they are harbingers of the second coming. Just a thought.


Poetry Thursday

Because I'm still slogging through this book, I've also been reading the lake poets.

She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
A Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love:

A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
—Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me!

-William Wordsworth


Barney the Wonder Toad

He survived me running him over with a lawn mower and a trip through a house with two dogs and a cat. He is now living in the ivy in my front yard. I love toads.

Tree Update

It turns out that building a stone planter, even a small, non-load bearing one, is an enormous amount of work. It involved much use of a level, many bags of gravel, and a continuous back-ache for poor B, who did most of the hard work. But now all we have left to do is to plant some flowers around the base of the tree.

Also, the three windows at the far right of the house are to my bedroom, so the tree is what I see first thing every morning when I open the blinds for the day.


In defiance of deer

I have grown a flower! And finally convinced some people that I am not, in fact, growing marijuana on my front porch!

Stupid blogger

Blogger won't let me post photos, so my marijuana lookalike plant and Barney the Wonder Toad will have to wait.

Instead, I'll talk about my dogs and their various medical problems, which I think will soon cost me much $$:

Monster has hip dysplasia. Over the last 3-4 months, he has degenerated to where he is completely unable to jump on beds or couches, and has a lot of trouble going up stairs. He takes one step at a time and frequently makes the most pitiful crying noises. And since we live in a hilly neighborhood, in a multi-story house where you have to climb a flight of stairs to even get to the front door, he has to use them. Right now, we are giving him glucosamine supplements and an anti-inflammatory drug called Rimadyl. The problem is that this condition will not go away, and it is unlikely to get better. The medicine is bad for his liver, and we can't keep him on it forever. Our other options include anti-inflammatory injections that he would get once ever four days for awhile, and then once a month probably for the rest of his life, or surgery. Surgery would be either a procedure where they cut off the top of his hip bones, or total hip replacements. In either case, it would be an enormous amount of pain and physical therapy for Monster, and an enormous vet bill for us. We haven't gotten as far as considering those options yet. We're hoping that a combination of the Rimadyl, glucosamine, and gentle exercises will get him to the point where he can live a mostly pain-free life. We're also trying to figure out how to make ramps for our four flights of stairs.

Sebastian has always been healthy. He is just very anxious and over-protective of me. But yesterday evening while we were all watching a movie, he suddenly attacked Monster for no reason. With his hip, poor Monster couldn't really do anything but squeal and pee on himself (which he did). We pulled Sebastian off of him, and he almost immediately calmed down and became his usual self. We locked him in the bathroom for awhile, then took them on their nightly walk and went to bed. In the middle of the night, we woke up to the sound of him throwing up. Brandon got up to clean it up, and discovered that he was throwing up bloody mucus. Eventually, he got some milk down and went back to sleep. I'm not sure if that is connected to the fight with Monster, but you never know. He has an appointment at the vet this afternoon. Brandon thinks he has an ulcer, and I hope he's right, considering the alternatives.


Pictures of flowers

This is a rain lily:

They grow wild here, and bloom only after it rains. The blooms last for only a day or so and then they are gone until next time it rains. And somehow they know the difference between rain and sprinklers. This one is near the corner of my driveway, under what is left of my variegated ligustrum tree.

These are birds of paradise:

I only became aware of them recently, and then drove past a house that had an entire front yard full of them. And yes, I know I shouldn't be driving and taking pictures at the same time.


Another tattoo

My mom is getting worried. This will be number 3.

I am going to get a tattoo for the baby. It will be a small blue star on my right foot. I intend to get another star added for each baby that I have (or don't have). While I'm on a family theme, I think I would like to get something to symbolize B also, but I'm not sure what. A heart? Another star? Anyone have any suggestions?

It has to be small and simple. And I will not tattoo a root vegetable anywhere on my body, so don't even suggest it.

My appointment is for next Friday at 4:00 pm. I'm going to a different artist this time, since my last tattoo is faded and has a tiny line that was not supposed to be there. It's hard to forgive a mistake when it becomes a permanent part of your body.

Pictures coming.

Deer v. Me: The Continuing Saga

After the deer ate my hibiscus, they came back and ate my coreopsis. When they finished that, they ate my funny little tropical succulent thingies that I don't know the name of. Yesterday, I got mad. I bought some organic deer repellent spray, and a defiantly huge Texas Star hibiscus.

It was getting close to time to leave for my yoga class, but I wanted to spray everything first, since the deer come out in force in the evenings. I cannot even describe the smell of this stuff. It might help to mention that the first two ingredients are listed as "putrescent egg solids" and garlic. The bottle claims that humans cannot smell it after it dries, but that is an untruth. My hands stunk like the brimstone pits of hell. After I washed about five times, using things like baking soda, lemon juice, and even vinegar, I could still smell it. And then I had to go to yoga and practice alternate nostril breathing, which involves keeping a hand close to your nose. I was unable to get into the proper yoga state of mind.

However, as of this morning, my plants are intact, including my new hibiscus and the two new plumbago plants. I'm not sure if this is a victory for me or for the deer.


Poetry Thursday

The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the word was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

-Wallace Stevens



Before (note the broken Cherry Sage that I ran over with the lawn mower by accident):

After days and hours of hot, sweaty, back-breaking manual labor:

After the deer came by (those used to be hibiscus plants):


Home Warranty

So today the air conditioner repairman showed up. It was the same guy who showed up several weeks ago, looked at the downstairs unit, gave me a "you must be kidding" look, and then shut the door properly and charged me $50. He looked like he was expecting the same type of job, but instead, I showed him to the unit in our swelteringly hot dining room and let him go at it. Two hours of sweating and grunting later, he had replaced the burned out motor with a brand new shiny one, and I wrote him another check for $50. I was skeptical about the home warranty when we first got it, but now I'm a believer.


One way to increase hits to your blog - post Louise Gluck's Gretel in Darkness. Since I posted it at the beginning of June, at least half of my daily hits are from Google searches for it.



I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest yesterday. The cold theater was a very nice change from our currently un-air conditioned living room. But I think I agree with, um, Ninja guy about the movie itself.



If B didn't exist and I had to marry a rock star, I would marry either Lyle Lovett or Steven Tyler.

Steven Tyler, for pure hair band sexiness and flamboyance.

Lyle Lovett, for his voice and clever lyrics. Not so much for his looks, although I must admit, I kind of like his hair.


Poetry Thursday


In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.

Louise Gluck

I think I am in love with all of Louise Gluck's poetry. How typical is that? I should go find something new and obscure to like, but I don't know how. I need to take a class about poetry or something. There is too much out there, and I don't know where to go next. I used to feel the same way about books, but not anymore. I don't remember how I solved that problem. Anyone want to help me out?



So last night I went to my first hatha yoga class. The class is in a big beautiful room with hardwood floors and an excellent stereo system playing new-agey music. The teacher was floaty looking and had a very soothing voice. We explored the texture of our breath and found our heart centers and practiced some asanas. Afterwards, I felt all melty and vague and relaxed. On my way out of the class, I was handed a cup of their special spiced tea (which is actually chai, and I'm not sure why they don't just say that). The meltiness was starting to fade by the time I got home, but it wasn't completely gone until this morning when I woke up. Then, the first thought that came into my head was "I would make an excellent cult member."



Something happens to me when I go to garage sales. I see things that I would normally hate and think "I could make that look neat!" Even when the object is hideous, I always think I can do something with it. Which explains how I came home with these over the weekend.

I think B is somewhere between skeptical and horrified. The current plan is to strip them, paint the wood bright green, and reupholster them in green stripes.


Can this get any worse?

Yesterday, we were expecting to get the results of the chromosomal testing. Instead, we found out that there was an 'administrative' mistake and there will be no results. The clinic threw away the sample rather than send it off for testing. We will never know.


Poetry Thursday - Sister Cat

Cat stands at the fridge,
Cries loudly for milk.
But I've filled her bowl.
Wild cat, I say, Sister,
Look, you have milk.
I clink my fingernail
Against the rim. Milk.
With down and liver,
A word I know she hears.
Her sad miaow. She runs
To me. She dips
In her whiskers but
Doesn't drink. As sometimes
I want the light on
When it is on. Or when
I saw the woman walking
toward my house and
I thought there's Frances.
Then looked in the car mirror
To be sure. She stalks
The room. She wants. Milk
Beyond milk. World beyond
This one, she cries.

-Frances Mayes


Behold the magic, ever-full hole in our lawn. No matter how much we dig (and by we, I mean B), the hole does not seem to get any deeper. It also attracted the notice of one of our crazy neighbors, who wanted to know if we were burying bodies under the cover of night.


Independence Day

I had to work yesterday, since it's quarter close and I'm rather behind. But B and I always want to be good Americans, and to keep the terrorists from winning, and all that stuff, so we made time to visit Home Depot and practiced being good consumers.

I also exercised a bunch, even though I have recently realized that I maybe should have waited for a bit longer after the surgery. It feels like it is coming down to either healing my body or healing my mind. I know I should do slow, gentle exercises, blah, blah, but I don't want to. I want to get sweaty and kick things.

However, even though I can't help dig, I plan to have pictures by tomorrow of our tree project moving ahead. Then, at least, I can feel like something is getting done.



I think I'm usually a pretty easygoing person, but I have been amazed at my capacity for anger over the last few days. I am furious at my dad, who will not even acknowledge his dead grandson because of his made-up grudges. I am angry at all the people who have made insensitive comments like "it's better this way - there was probably something wrong with him" and "it was God's will" as if God sits up in heaven deciding whose babies he will kill today. If I believed in God, I would be furious at him too. I even find myself feeling irrationally angry when I see all the happy pregnant women, or women with new babies that hang out at the store downstairs.

I want to run, or do something similar to exhaust all my anger, but I am still not physically able or allowed to do anything high impact. B, who somehow always knows exactly what I need, took me to Academy to get a bathing suit, cap, and goggles, and then got me a one day pass to his fancy-schmancy gym last Saturday. I spent a half-hour on the elliptical trainer, and then a half-hour swimming laps. When I finished, I felt okay for the first time since this whole nightmare began. But it only lasted for about a day until all the anger and frustration and sheer helplessness began building up again. I don't want to pay for a gym membership right now, especially since I'm starting a twice-a-week yoga class soon (also thanks to B, of course), but I think I will probably give in soon.

If anything good comes out of this, it will probably be that I will be in the best shape of my life after a couple months of this.