Better Late Than Never?

Now that it is an hour and 16 minutes into May 5th, I would imagine that the Star Wars Day greeting, “May the Fourth be with you,” will get more of a groan, than a chuckle. Ah well, the vagaries of life lived on the edge, straddling the fence, and always running to catch the bus.

Writing 101 is over. Yes, I groused about most of the prompts, but I think the attempts were more successful than I expected… or I’m living large in the mind…  Anyway, I had been feeling a bit uneasy about the course ending. What would I do next? I’d actually be faced with, what in the world will I do with my blog? What direction will it take?

Enter A Story A Day challenge. Oh yes, The Lovers are on my side. Passions abound, as they have since the early days of this year, when I clicked that button. That was then, this is now, and I’m still going. I drinking at the fountain of creativity, and am drunk on the experience, which has turned out to be so entirely different than I expected. It is so reminiscent of a scene from Defending Your Life:

In the movie, Daniel is sitting in the Tram, on the way to downtown Judgment City, the morning after arriving. An elderly woman sitting behind him says, “Is this the way you thought it would be?. I never thought it would be like this.”

No. Blogging isn’t like I thought it would be. In fact, blogging is like being part of a college campus again, living in a dorm, hanging out in the student union after classes, talking about everything. Blogging has a greater aspect of socializing than even college did. Then, it was face to face, with a million distractions. Now, it’s screen to screen and the focus is intense. The assignments aren’t just doing your own work, but connecting with your fellow students, and suddenly it’s a community. You’re not alone anymore.

Yes, people come and people go. But in the end, we’re all having greater conversations in the comment sections than posts written in our actual blogs. How cool is that?

All of this is to say, this has been an amazing experience, and the people I’ve met, and with whom I hope to continue hobnobbing, have broadened my horizons in a major way. Thank you all, from the hard working leaders in the courses and in the Commons, to the people I’ve come to hope will be there for a long time to come.

You’ve all been amazing and I don’t think I could have gotten through it without you.

Here’s to these days becoming the reality of a favored older song:

Treasure Beyond Measure

[Day Twenty: The Things We Treasure]

In the spring of 1990, we had only been here for 11 months. These were still new digs, and each day brought a sense of wonder, to be out of the city; to step onto our deck and breathe in the clean air. It was fresh, and infused with that delicious earthy scent of a land waking up after a season buried beneath the crystalline blanket of Winter’s mantle.

I remember driving around these long and winding roads, happily knowing they were my mine, now. There were hills and dales, and as the Spring was bringing forth the colors which would paint our days with brilliant yellows, pinks, purples, much of which morphed into green, I was filled with awe.

I had been thus filled, even in the city, as the maples dropped their tender buds, carpeting the sides of the rutted streets with what I imagined was Faerie dust. But the difference was simply stunning when we arrived here. The lanes were tunnels beneath the boughs of giant trees.

The world was filled with such an amazing variety of flora, some new to my eyes. I marveled at how much I had not yet discovered. Perhaps the greatest of all was what I consider parenting my own tree.

As the Spring emerged, and we became aware of the various ways which our new town brought the community together, encouraging us to fill the world with greater abundance, we found ourselves heading down to a local park. They were giving away cuttings of trees, and some bushes. That day we chose several different species. We brought home three evergreens and a dogwood, and a Rugosa rose.

After we carried these clippings home, I recall we sat on the back deck and looked out upon our yard. It had changed quite a bit since last year, when we moved in. A grand forsythia bush, the border between us and our closest neighbor, ran along side our home, front yard to back yard, West to East. Where it ended, just past the house, up a rather steep rise in the yard, past a towering apple tree, a wild rose bush spread, not only all the way to the yard behind our half acre, but voraciously spread out into the lawn itself, taking up a good third of our land. That it seemed a wilderness, thrilled me. I would have left it as is, but, in truth, it was not my house. My parents owned it, and how the yard was changed, did not include my own wants nor feelings.

The jagger (wild rose) was pruned severely back, so that it only ran the length of the yard, but was not allowed to continue it’s Southward encroachment. The apple tree was also taken down, much to my own dismay, and we were left with a rather sizable stump, which served, in later years, as the stand for a birdbath.

As we looked out over the very different landscape of changes, we each envisioned where our new sprigs might take root, after we nurtured them at the beginning of their journey from twig to tree.

My choice was an Eastern Pine. The two other evergreens were a Douglas Fur, and a Blue Spruce. My parents determined where their new homes would be. My aunt, chose to plant the Rugosa Rose at the back of the yard, where a shed was erected to hold our implements of gardening. My mother also chose where to plant the Dogwood.

We filled small flower pots with rooting mixture, and each sapling was planted, and tended until they were big enough to be placed into the ground. The spot I chose for my Eastern Pine was at the bottom of the hill, somewhat close to the deck. The other two evergreens were to be planted in the Southern region of the yard. The dogwood in the Northland. All grew successfully in their pots.

The day came when it was determined by my mother, The Green Thumb Lady, that it was time to transplant them. I knelt down and dug a hole, which became my Eastern Pine’s home. It was actually quite the good spot, as the bottom of the hill tended to become a small stream during the rainy season, so there was greater water.

I surrounded my little tree with some wire, marking the do-not-mow-zone. That my father had not considered this for his trees remains a mystery. Both were taken by the mower’s blades. The dogwood, while safe from the mower, did not seem to do well where it was planted. The Rugosa Rose flourished, as did the beautiful Eastern Pine.

Of course, within five years, I would take off for the Midwest, and then head down to Texas, after marrying. I missed many birthdays of my Eastern Pine. At five years old, she looked more shrubby than like the magnificent tree she would become, providing privacy between our property and the neighbor to the south.

My Eastern Pine at 5 years old, and my sweet kitty Oshi.

My Eastern Pine at 5 years old, and my sweet kitty Oshi.

Fim Tree and the stump garden

Fim Tree and the stump garden


As she stands, today, the only survivor of our foray to the park to get free cuttings, I can’t help but admire this incredible tree. She provides shade as well, for the deck, now. I call her my treasure, and she’s been also named The Fim Tree. She towers over the house now, and while I can’t honestly say, she’s a possession, she is a sister being who is loved, and cherished.

My Cherished Treasure

My Cherished Treasure

Let’s Talk Trash

I just want to  say this up front. Nobody tells me not to talk trash. I’m a rebel with a cause. Trash is so appopriate today as it is trash day here. On Wednesday we wheel out our big trash containers; one for recyclables and one for actual trash. This made me think of how different it was when I was a little girl. We had cans made of metal, with handles and a separate lid, which as a girl it wasn’t my job. That belonged to my dad and my brother the inside trash collectors who took it out and put it in the barrels, then had to taken out to the curb. there were no wheels. Now that’s where the differences end. It was all the same. but with no such thing as recycling. There were times when there was a difference in how trash was handled. When I lived in Wisconsin in an apartment complex, we had a huge trash thingy in the parking lot. Everybody took their garbage out and dropped it in. So differences were abounding depending on where you lived. There were no trashcans on wheels when we first lived up here. No those came years later, and in fact, I think it wasn’t until the 21st century that the wheelie trashcans came into being. In Dallas we had an alley behind our house, so we had to drag our trashbags out to the alley and put it in these plastic, but still round, with no wheels, barrels. It was there that things changed. That was also after Y2K. We actually got brandy new trashcans, with wheels, we got to put our trashcans outside in the front, on the curb, like the rest of the civilized world. So when we moved up here, this being before I got married, we still had round cans, but plastic was the fashion, and we had to almost soon as we got here, maybe within a year after moving here, had to separate the recyclables out and put them into little plastic box type things, Now, of course with more things being plastic, glass, tins, and paper, they gave us the second can on wheel, with a different color top so the trash man wouldn’t get confused, and mix it altogether, because you know as the song goes, it isn’t really trash until you mix it all together.

Does That Seem Right To You?

Day Eighteen: Hone Your Point of View

[prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street. Twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue.]


Grounded. And for what? Some stinkin’ brown nose at school snitchin that I got nabbed behind the gym smoking. No computer. No TV. Not even my cell. It’s like the ‘NO-FO zone’.

I look around my room. Weird that it just don’t hold anything for me now. Need my connections.

What’s that racket outside? I look through the window that faces the street. Old Mrs. P, always arguing something with the landlord. Shaking my head, I go over and watch. Might as well go hang on the stoop.

Mom’s yappin’. Good. Slipping out into the hall, I stop a minute. Quiet. Smells like Mrs. Murph’s cookin’ surf and turf.

The building door closes behind me and I slide down onto the top step. Mrs. P’s still goin’ on. Mr. T is making all his hand gestures. Geez, what’s up with that?

I freeze when I hear a siren. Get a grip. It’s not always for me. But they’re coming closer. Crap! down the street. I slink back a bit, bein’ all inconspiuous. Yeah, that’s me, Mr. Fly-on-the-Wall.

No way! I get this urge to go back in. But wait. They’re getting out and going over to Mr. T and Mrs. P.

Damn. It’s like we been studying in history, about world war two. Gestapo coming to take the old lady away. Yeah. That’s what they did. That whole occupation thing, coming in, trucks prowling through the town. Closing down shops, and hustling people off, right in broad daylight. Old Mrs P would’ve been Jewish, had a black band round her arm, with a yellow star on it. The mark.

Wonder what that woulda been like? I bet I’d a been all Freedom Fighter. Yeah. Secret meetings, planning to take down the war machine. Slipping in and outta the ghetto, through the sewers, bringing info back about what was going on.

Aw man. I thought they were cuttin’ her some slack. But no, they made her pack a suitcase, and are taking her key away.

Back inside. “Ma!” She waves her hand at me, that she’s on the phone.

“Ma! It’s Mrs. Pauley. You gotta help her.” Good. She put the phone down.

“What is it?”

“They’re taking Mrs. Pauley away in a cop car.” I pull her by the arm, through the door and onto the stoop. “Why are they taking her away?”

“Stay here. I’ll go see.” But I follow her as she goes down the stairs. “Mrs. Pauley? What’s happening?”

“Sorry, Ma’am, but this is police business,” one of the officer’s says.

Mrs. P looks right past the cop, at my mom. “They’re locking me out of my home!”

Man, she’s cryin’ now. I hate that.

“Please, Darlene, call my son, the one in Chicago. Tell him.”

“I will,” Mom says back. The cop takes the suitcase and puts it in the trunk, then puts Mrs. P in the backseat. As the car pulls away, mom turns, and heads back to our building. “Come on, Jackie”

“What are they taking her away for?”

We go inside, and I see Mr. T standing there, watching as the silent car heads down the block. The front door closes behind us.

“They evicted her.”

“Can they do that? Does that seem right to you?”

My mother shrugs. “There’s not much right these days. Now go back to your room.”

She got that right. Ain’t much right no matter where you go.


Thanks to Jabrushblog   for fueling the creative muse.

The Fear Factor

I dreamed I had a fear last night.

It was cold,

It was dark

It slithered through my mind

Left shivers behind

I sought to pull away from it

Yet it seemed like running in place

I was caught in its web

Twisted, tangled,

Being strangled.

Don’t fight it, a voice whispered

But I could not stop

I did not want to look at it

Trying to focus

It’s just hocus pocus

How long has it been here?

From the beginning of time?

Is it an integral part of me?

It’s simply natural, you see.

Stop fighting, you’ll be free.

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