Because it really is personal…

Whuppin’ our asses
July 12, 2009, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Cars, family, Good grief, Hooray!, The Garden


We’re all getting whupped in our own respective departments.

Terry and David(19, our second son) are attempting to replace the cracked radiator on David’s ’91 Acura. He’s been patching it with JB-Weld to buy time, but time is up and they are a-workin’ on it. Only, it’s not going so well. I asked if they’d read the directions and with disgust, was handed the directions. “Oh,” I said. “that looks simple enough. Step 1. remove the old radiator. Step 2. Put in the new radiator.” Hum.

Terry  and David, Git-R--Dun

Terry and David, Git-R--Dun


David is on the internet now looking for some shade-tree mechanic advice on how to accomplish this task. I have no doubt they'll git-r-dun, because neither one of them is the giving up type, but I have little confidence it will be a 2-hour operation the way (whoever) said it would be. Mayhap they'll have to give Brit a call, with promises of hamburgers and a dip in the pool. Good thing I took them dinner a while back, so maybe he'll be in a mood to help.

As for me, my ass-whuppin' is of the horticultural nature. Wisteria, to be exact. I was cuttin' and pullin' and working up an unladylike moisture glow when suddenly I remembered. "Why am I doing this? I have Round-up!" Screw organic gardening. Screw nature. Here in the Deep South, wisteria is The Vine That Ate The Baby, House, and Mee-Maw's '79 Buick. It grows a documented 1 foot A DAY. Oh, you think I'm talking about kudzu, right? I'm talking wisteria, that gorgeous plant that blooms 2 weeks each spring with fragrant purple and lilac colored flowers before leafing out. It smells nice, too. And, it ate Mee-Maw's '79 Buick while she was laid up with sciatica. So, I hit it with a strong mixture of Round-Up for Heavy Brush and sit back with my glass of sweet tea and laugh grimly as I wait for it to curl up and die Die DIE. Those of you in Great Britain, Europe, and other more temperate climates cannot truly appreciate the muscular nature of wisteria gone bad that 100 temps and 80% humidity engenders. I’m telling you, it’s something out of a 1970′s Japanese horror movie. I got on google to try and find a photo of wisteria gone bad, and all I could find were lovely sedate pictures of blooming vines on buildings in Europe, or pretty little bonsais on a coffee table. Ha. Even the ones of wisteria eating a tree showed the BLOOMING vine, which is so pretty it can be forgiven it’s voracious nature. You never see it taking over an entire acre with it’s badness. Honestly, Poison Ivy in Batman should have been named Wisteria, only Poison Ivy sounds better.

It’s good to fight a battle of wits with something witless, that will only frustrate rather than actually fight back. After the last week, we’re all ready for some ‘fun’.

Maybe it’s the medication

Here the past week or so, I’ve been sentimental. Maudlin, even. I look at a pile of matchbox cars on the floor and want to cry, because I know in a couple of years they’ll all be packed up in a box in the attic, and #4 will be doing mysterious things in his bedroom. When the older boys were approaching their adult years, I didn’t feel this sort of sentimentality. I had little tolerance for piles and even less for socks laying under the furniture. But now? It seems like everything #4 does, I want to preserve in a time capsule, so in 20 years when he’s married and all, I can take the piles and socks and broken chalk out of the capsule and fondle the memories.

I know. The natural course of things if for children to grow up and go away. It’s how it should be. Then, a cousin who’s almost 10 dies of leukemia, and is put in a capsule, to forever be 9 in the minds of his family. Then I get to feel guilt over wishing there were a way I could preserve #4 as a 10 yr old forever. Old enough to stay home by himself for an hour or two so Sweet Daddio and I can go out on a date, and young enough to still want a bedtime story and a cuddle. Old enough to dress himself, and young enough to change a poorly matched outfit without complaint.

See, I had to stop taking my beloved lithium a couple of weeks ago. So it should be about out of my system by now. I’m taking an alternative, Trileptal, but it takes 6 weeks to get up to speed with it, so there is this 4 week lag time in between where I am essentially unmedicated. Consequently, every little emotional hiccup I experience is suspect. Crying at socks? Please. Clingy and having weird dreams? C’mon. This sort of instability is Unacceptable. Inconceivable. Irritating.

Doesn’t help that my back hurts and I can’t go dig up the bolting lettuce and replace it with tasty, tasty pattypan squash.

Do you know what the Cousin’s mother says when asked how many children she has? She answers ’2, and one is in heaven waiting for us.’ That makes me want to cry everytime I think of it. She’s have an understandably hard time right now. She keeps finding what she calls “bombs” all around the house. A sock, a toy car, things that are his. She traded her minivan in for a pickup truck, better for hauling the older son’s 4-wheeler and hockey gear, now that there’s one child to carry to places. And, she’s home alone during the day, finding bombs and missing her younger child.

This is why I hate feeling maudlin. I have 4 living children, all healthy. I have NOTHING to whine about. And, I don’t even have a closet full of pricey stilettos that I can’t wear due to a bad back. Loafers! That’s where it’s at!

I might go to the mall today, to walk around and stretch. nice even floor, doncha know, and a Belk’s with pretty clothes. I’m clumsy at the moment, and even walking through the sandy and flat backyard is a bit hazardous. Yesterday I tripped over a dog turd. Not even a big one. There’s Mall Cops should I disgrace myself and fall over, and it’s a friendly enough town that someone will help me up if the Mall Cop is busy flirting with the cashier at Chong Wa.

Speaking of friendly enough town, this made me feel nice and warm inside, SD passed along a message from George, The Owner of the Company, thanking me for taking the time to show wives of potential and new hires around town, to show them that this wasn’t actually the East Bumf**k that the Chicago Crowd (and anyone else Not From Around Here) might have the impression of. Well, actually it is, but y’know, I’m wanting SD to have a good management team as much as he wants one, and a BIG part of that is making sure the families are happy. So I show them that all the shopping is conveniently located(a euphimism for ‘small town’), that the Post Office is directly across from the Vandy’s BBQ Smokehouse and every trip to the PO before noon is fragrantly enhanced with fruitwood smoke and their incomparable blend of secret spices. Seriously. It’s one of those stellar sensory experiences one must…well…experience. Their BBQ smells alot better than it tastes, but you looks for good things where you can finds them.

Ok so this turned into one of those posts with so many topics as to be an editor’s…not nightmare…lesser than that…evening pony, maybe.


Sweet Daddio woke me up this morning, patting my shoulder. I asked “wot?” He said for the first time in 23 years of marriage he caught me talking in my sleep and was I Ok. I asked what I was saying and he said he couldn’t really understand but he was pretty sure I was explaining something. I said I’d had this dream where I was driving, and overcompensated on a turn and wound up in the grass of the Auburn High School lawn. Because our house (in the dream, not in reality) was just around the corner, I got out of the grass and drove home, to be chased down by a trio of red-headed high school students (1 female, long curly hair, 2 males, skinny with glasses also curly hair a’la Napolean Dynamite) wielding rocks and demanding I return to the scene of the crime. I explained to them that, since I didn’t hit any cars and didn’t (unfortunately) run over any high school students (it was a dream, ok, and they were holding big rocks), that no crime was committed and they needed to go away. By that time I could see a crowd of irate students gathering around the ruts left by my tires and a couple of police cars. “Ma’am, you’ll have to come with us.” I was told. Because it was a dream, I was having trouble talking and was assumed to be Under the Influence. This is when SD woke me up. So what does this mean?

That Garden Stuff
February 19, 2009, 8:27 pm
Filed under: food, The Garden

It’s that time of year, to prep the raised beds, commit weedicide on the betony, and show the dude at Lowes that yes, you can fit 200 pounds of cow manure in the trunk of a New Beetle. He didn’t believe me. Ha.

It’s exciting to me, to riffle through the seed display. Whenever I buy a package of seeds I am overwhelmed with a sense of confidence, that those seeds will indeed grow up to look exactly like the cover photograph. Which they never do. Which doesn’t stop me from thinking they will.

Certain seeds to wind up just like they’re pictured. Mesclun mix is one-it’s my favorite, and I grow it every single year. There’s something kind of Earth Motherish about growing these colorful mixed greens, cutting a basketful of their organic goodness and eating them for lunch. It almost (not quite, but almost)lets me think I’m eating something really good for you and enough of that, I’ll be on the Jessica Simpson side of voluptuous instead of the Kathy Bates side.

It’s time to turn the compost heap as well. My neighbor to the west is a committed Organic Food Eater, and believes in Saving The Planet By Recycling, so she contributes to the compost as well. In exchange I give her peas and tomatoes and salad greens.

The vegetable garden isn’t a grand thing. It’s not acres and acres, not at all. It’s 4 beds, made of cinderblocks, that are 4×8 feet in dimension. Filled with topsoil, compost, and cowmanure, I can plant roughly twice as much in the space as one could of the same sized area of plain old dirt. It’s small, managable, and provides exactly the right amount of produce to keep us happy from March until November.

It’s also amazingly therapeutic.

Seeds, wonderful seeds
January 20, 2009, 1:38 pm
Filed under: food, home and hearth, Hooray!, The Garden

We went to Lowes yesterday, to get a tube of something and a couple of sticks of something else. When I walked in the front door I was…well…assaulted (maybe), bewitched (probably a better word) by the newly stocked seed display.

Oh. My. Word. If ever there was something I was helpless to ignore, it’s a lovely and well laid out seed display.

And yes. I bought seeds. Heirloom varieties, mainly, as they tend to capture my imagination more than the regular things. Chioggia beets, with their concentric red and white rings, so pretty. Lemon cucumbers, so called not because of their flavor, but because they’re small and roundy-oblong and yellow. I grew them last year and while the skin is tough (one must peel), the flavor is stellar. Morning glories. Every year, I plant them on fences and walls and anyplace they might look lovely. They’re so…so…FAKE colored! This luminescent purple like you see only in trippy black-light posters in head shops. Yet there they are! Glowing as if radioactive all over my fences! Wonderful things, it’s hard to argue with a Granpa Ott morning glory. I plant moonflowers as well. They are kin to Morning glories only they’re HUGE like a dinner plate, and crisp white, only opening up after dark. Last year they were on the garden fence, only I don’t go out there after dark. thanks to the numerous dog bombs only visible in daylight. This year, they’re going on the patio wall, so we can enjoy them with our toddy and cigar after dinner. They are vigorous vines, growing 6 inches a day. If I plant them in March, the wall will be well covered by July, and stay lovely until frost, which in these parts might not happen at all.
Also bought mesclun mix, which is more interesting than regular old lettuce. I am pretty much the only salad eater in the house, and it is so nice to go to the garden around 11 am, pick a basketful of mixed fancy French greens and a lemon cucumber, and feel Superior. I’ll even make my own vinagrette with olive oil, garlic, black pepper, and lemon zest. Oh and rice vinegar. Make it up right there in the little black skillet and pour it warm over the greens. Makes me feel all Mother Earth News and stuff.

As I was making angels over the holidays, I asked for ideas of what Faith should look like. Mom said Faith is a gardener, and so I made one. She’s kneeling with a watering can next to her, and little nubs of green coming up out of the ground in front. I never feel so full of faith, and hope, and optimism, as when I’ve just bought a handful of seed packets. I can picture well what each plant will look like, how I’ll enjoy what they produce, whether it’s flowers or food. I just KNOW how it will all turn out. And it will be good.

The Rose of the Day
April 26, 2008, 8:56 pm
Filed under: home and hearth, The Garden

Lady of the Dawn, no longer available through Jackson and Perkins, which is too bad because it’s really, really lovely and remarkably easy to care for, as roses go.

Sweet Daddio gave me this rose for my birthday some…oh…12 or 13 years ago. When we moved from Monroeville to Auburn, I moved it with us, and again when we moved here to Statesboro 3 years ago. I’m just sentimental that way.

February 23, 2008, 9:48 pm
Filed under: The Garden

3 of the 4 kittens now have homes elsewhere. The last one #3 wants to keep for himself, says that they are buddies, and I can see this is true from the way the kitten follows him around everywhere, and is in his lap when he’s sitting still.

Sweet Daddio is hanging the doors on the entertainment center. Pictures will ensue.

4 roses got planted, 3 in the ground and one in a pot. Here’s pictures of them:

Crocus Rose (in a pot)

Tuscany Superb

Pat Austin

Lady Emma Hamilton

I know, I’ve put pictures up of them before, but they’re so PRETTY and I do love me some English roses…except that the Tuscany Superb is a Gallica, but it’s an ancestor of an English, so it’s ok.

I now have an official rose garden, with 6 bushes and filler-in of daylilies and perennials like lantana and blue sage. Some herbs too, since I don’t spray my roses with unpronounceable chemicals, I feel comfortable planting herbs like thyme, various mints, and rosemary..

Rootie’s Rose Spray: Use weekly or after rain
1 quart water
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teapoon liquid Ivory detergent
The baking soda alters the pH on the surface of the leaves so molds (like black spot) and mildew won’t stick. The soap works on aphid and soft bodies insects by breaking down the waxy protective coating on their skin, and they dehydrate and die. Since the spray is not systemic, it has to be reapplied after rain, and if there’s a new infestation of aphids. This spray does nothing to rose chafers, tho. My experience with them is to go outside every evening when they’re active, and pick them off by hand. Crush them directly under the bush, and they give off a warning, kind of a chemical “This is a Bad Place” marker, and eventually they’ll quit hanging around.

It feels good to have dirt under my nails again.

January 23, 2008, 12:58 pm
Filed under: aaawwwww, Hooray!, spouse, The Garden

I think today, I may plant snow peas and beets.

I got this huge envelope in the mail yesterday, return address said “David Austin Roses, Tyler, Texas” and I was all “wot, I got a catalog already” so I opened it up and yes, it’s another catalog, but the envelope was hand written and there was this pretty envelope tucked inside the catalog and I’m all “hello, wot’s this?” so I opened it up with Sweet Daddio sitting right there making out some bills. He looks up and goes “SHIT!” and I say “whaaat?” as I am flipping through the small stack of gift certificates in the envelope. I’m thinking wow lookit this! and SD kind of wilts and says “Happy Valentines Day. I didn’t know they’d send them straight to you.”

OOH! Sweet man! Roses! If I order them now I can have them by Valentines Day to stick in the ground! He knows me well, I’d MUCH rather have a couple of rose bushes than a bunch of already cut and probably dying flowers. So. I am going to get one of these:

Pat Austin

and one of these:

Tuscany Superb

and maybe one of these:

Teasing Georgia

and definitely one of these:


Sd felt bad about it, he likes to surprise me and I WAS totally and pleasantly surprised! I absolutely LOVE to get gist certificates, because it’s permission to buy something I would probably talk myself out of otherwise.

Now, to figure out where to put them.

so quiet
January 13, 2008, 1:40 pm
Filed under: The Garden

8 in the am Sunday morning, everyone’s asleep except the dogs, and they’re outside pretending to be cold, huddled in a chair cushion.

Sweet Daddio has been working 16 hour days this week, with a 12 hour day thrown in yesterday, and is sleeping. He’s been planning on finishing the wall cabinet today, because the weather is supposed to be fine, but I don’t think I’m going to say anything if he opts for football or whatever else is on the TV. He’s still sleeping, and for someone who typically wakes up a 5, it’s a good thing. He needs the rest.

I’m thinking if he decided against the woodworks, I’ll make my way into the herb garden for some grooming. Florida betony is trying ahrd to take over, and the mint needs a serious haircut, and I’m thinking of moving the little Japanese Maple to a friendlier spot, to make way for a new rose bush.

Speaking of roses, I got the 2008 David Austin Rose catalog the other day. I suppose if ever there were an equivalent to pornography in my life, it would be that. I can sit and gaze and fantasize for hours about Lady Emma Hamilton, Pat Austin, and Tuscany Superb. I can read their bios over and over and never grow tired. Lists of what to order, diagrams of where to put, places to hide their purchase in the budget…roses lead me straight down the path to perdition. They distract me from my duties, and cause me to have unrealistic expectations from my other flora.

Alas, they will probably never be reality. The enviroment is all wrong here. I will indeed mostly resort to my imagination for the pleasures they promise. There are a few who might be willing to lay their roots in my soil, it may take some trial and error, or a bale of peat moss and some well rotted banana peels. I’m going to try tho, I am, because I’m hopeful that way.

I’m thinking of ordering one of these:

Yay! He’s up!


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