Mar 14, 2017

New Day. New Commitment.

Today, I become professional about this career I launched far too many years ago.

Today, I set aside time - every day - to write.

This past couple of years have been hard, (and thus, the excuses begin, but I promise, by the end of this paragraph, they end.) The loss of a parent, picking up pieces, figuring out the intricacies of taking over a family business, keeping another parent busy, coddling one child, neglecting another.... Those were the reasons I neglected the writing. Airbnb cottage flipping, career development classes, working the 9-5 to keep the family business going....

But today, I am a writer... again. Slow and steady wins the race... if it was a race against anyone other than myself... which it ain't. It's just me... and a laptop... and a cup of coffee... and the semblance of sanity... and some words. Lots and lots of words. Here we go... again.

Aug 16, 2016

Committing Vegicide

Today, we are planning a trip to Edible Landscaping.

Did I mention my brown thumbs.

I kill plants… as a regular part of my favorite hobby, gardening. I never start out with that intention, but that seems to be the way it always plays out. It usually starts with a picture, or a garden tour, and inspiration, that dastardly fodder to my vice. And now, there’s Pinterest! Heaven help the plants of the world.

Just look at those beautiful pins!

And it’s not as if I try to kill them. Homocidal maniacs go out into the world with intent to kill, torture, whatever. My vegicide is completely unintentional. My intent is to achieve the unrealistic expectation set by those pins, pictures, garden tours.
My sister-in-law gave me one of those air plants for Christmas. 

I killed it. Yes, you know that kind of plant that has a very small, dry root system, that lives in a glass ball or perched on the edge of a sea shell, drinking in whatever moisture just happens to be in the air? That kind? I killed it. It lived in a dish filled with marbles on the kitchen window sill. I remembered to water it occasionally, never too much. I thought it was changing color as a natural quirk of the plant, then it began to sort of… shrink… and wrinkle… then I realized it was actually mummified. I threw it in the trash and I think it’s in a happier place now.

I’ve read that plants can feel and even communicate with one another. Years ago, when our yard was mostly trees and something I call Virginia wire briar, I contacted the local garden club, hoping if I joined, I might not only be inspired, but also learn a thing or two. Turns out, it’s by invitation only… and I was not going to be receiving an invitation. (“…wouldn’t wanna be a member of any club that would have someone like me as a member” anyway. – Groucho Marx.)

So I’ve had to forge my own path. I cut down trees, (and by that I mean, I hired someone else to chop’em down, because I cannot be trusted with a chain saw, as that pokey green shrub on the side of the house could attest… if it was still alive… and if it was communicating with me.) I grubbed and bush-axed that aforementioned wire briar. I planted grass seed, (which lives only by virtue of it having been planted over the drain field), and I’ve planted things. Some of them have even survived.

Today, we have planned a trip to Edible Landscapes, where they only grow plants that are people-edible. I’ve been coveting the giant paw-paws, the zone 7 citrus, (I killed one of those three years ago), the berry plants, the green house that hosts exotic things like bananas, oranges, and pineapples. We’re shopping for an orange tree for my daughter who thinks she might like to have an indoor orangerie some day, and who has only a slightly better aptitude for growing green things. Hopefully, the plants are not communicating with one another and no one has seen fit to warn them ahead of time that we’re coming.

So turn outward your briars to ward off the possibility that I select you. Call out for help, my little rootbound victims! You could be featured in my next Halloween anthology.

Apr 3, 2016

Somethin's Gotta Give

Double booked. Cross-Scheduled. Chicken-What-Ain't-Got-No-Head

Yep, that describes last week. But hey, I can juggle the balls, keep it all together, right?
Just when you start to get cocky about what you can and you can't do, the earth will jump up and knock you in the head just to bring you back to reality.

So there I was, organized, dressed to the nines, heading to a talk at VCU.
I was about two blocks from the lecture hall when in the distance, I saw the "walk/don't walk" sign change and begin the count-down. So of course, a half-block away, I picked up my pace to make the crossing.

And that's when the earth came up to smack some sense into my head. And down I went.

You have to understand, when a woman of my, er, girth, is suddenly met with the reality of gravity, it is not a graceful reunion. I came down with a gutteral thud... on brick sidewalk... that was crowded with plenty of witnesses.

But it gets worse.

After taking a brief assessment to assure nothing was broken, I looked up to see that the most direct witness was a young man. A beautiful young man. He, of course, came over to check on me.

"Are you alright, Ma'am?"
And there's another reality check. "Ma'am". Because, like I said before, he's probably younger than my kids. I'm old!

"Yes, thank you. I'm fine... I think." I start picking myself up off of the sidewalk. Again, this is not a graceful thing, when a woman of my size tries to get up off of the ground. Toddlers are meant to be in this position, on hands and knees. Not grown women in their nicest clothes, with their purses and briefcases and contents strewn out in front of them.

The sweet young man retrieved my glasses and my rubber chicken.

Yes, I said, "rubber chicken". (Remember, I was giving a talk in an hour. Who doesn't go in prepared to give a talk with their rubber chicken.)

The young man hands me my glasses and my rubber chicken and asks again. "Are you sure you're alright?"

"Yes," I say. "My rubber chicken broke my fall."

On the bright side, I had a story to lead with when I gave my talk an hour later. The title of the talk: "Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road". The amended talk title: "Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? The Light Said, 'Walk'".

Stupid Chicken.