20 07 2016

Recently, I was making myself crazy – er broadening my perspective – by reading some posts and comments on my friend Facebook. There was a particularly “interesting” discussion being had by some under-30-year-olds about women’s roles and how they feel about who’s defining them.

One said something to the effect that “these feminists are just man-haters who don’t want men to buy us dinner or open doors or wash our cars or . . . they are just misogynists!”

I was moved to shout at my screen:

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

(Pretty good line, huh? I just thought of it all by myself)

Wait. While I am pretty sure (trust me, I read the rest of the diatribe) they did not know what the word misogynist means, they might have accidentally been right, at least a little bit.

Feminists = Misogynists???

Well, maybe . . .

If feminism means that a liberated woman MUST:

  1. Have a career.
  2. Keep her own name, should she decide to marry.
  3. Indignantly refuse any gesture of kindness or help offered by a man.

Well, then that might be misogynistic because it surely demeans a whole lot of women; however, that is not what feminism means. Feminism is about giving women choices.

Feminism’s meaning has not changed but it has been perverted by some who would use the movement as a cudgel to beat more women into roles that – while they should absolutely be able to choose – do not wish to choose.

That is wrong.

That is not feminism.

Feminism means that it’s up to you to decide whether to be a mogul or a stay-at-home mother; an artist or an accountant; a ballerina or a boxer. It does not mean that the “traditional” women’s roles are bad or wrong; it simply means that there are other choices and all are equally valid. It’s the fact the we HAVE choices , not the choices we make, that make us liberated.

It is up to us to choose wisely.

honey on echinacea 6-26 (2)

Work hard, but smell the flowers along the way!

Planning, Planting, Perspiration, and Patience

13 07 2016

“You should be in business! You should be a landscape designer!”

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Thanks, I appreciate the compliment; I really do, but I know better. When folks see my yard, they are rightfully (I think) impressed. It is filled with healthy and beautiful plants, living in large (mostly) well-maintained beds. What they don’t see is how this came to be . . .

In 1998, we purchased a newly-built home in a new neighborhood. There was nothing surrounding the house but weeds, rocks, clay, and construction debris. I thought about hiring a professional landscape designer, as the glaring nudity of the foundation was daunting. Then I thought about what I really wanted my home to look, to feel, and I decided it would be MY responsibility to dress her.

So, I started laying out the shape of my around-the-house beds. Then, I added some island beds that looked HUGE at that moment but proved to just be starter-size and have continued to grow over the years. I shopped for interesting (not what the neighbors were growing) trees and then I filled in – allowing (what I thought was) plenty of room to grow – with shrubs and perennials.

yard 2

One of my favorite shrubs, pinus thunbergii ‘Yatsubusa’ is the little fellow with the long golden candles rising up, planted in 2003, at the right of this image.

Then I added more perennials . . .

and more shrubs . . .

and more . . .

and the beds grew and grew with every passing planting season.


The “little fellow” I planted 15 years ago is that big boy that covers my view of the neighbor’s house to the second story, now.

Now, some eighteen years into this adventure, it’s fun to hear folks exclaim over my green thumb-y artistry. I am happy to know that my landscape brings them joy and inspiration – and I am always glad to give advice when asked. I always encourage folks to accept that their dream landscape won’t materialize, in full glory, overnight – and that’s perfectly wonderful.

As with all living things, there are changes that only time can make. Some of them are sad, like losing my show-stopping redbud ‘Forest Pansy’ after a too-brief eight-year love affair. Others are irksome, like finding that your neighbor’s cut down the trees that had been perfectly shading your favorite too-big-to-move-now rhododendron. Most are just wonderful, though, as if the seasons are turning an enormous kaleidoscope whose colors have been selected just for me.

under styrax from 2nd floor 6s0 am 7-11 (1)



A beautiful landscape is not hard. All you need are is:

Planning, which is fun.

Planting (in my case, over 200 different kinds of plants, including multiples of at least half of them), which is really fun.

Perspiration, which is good for you.

Patience, which gardening has finally taught me.

There’s one more word that’s most important in this alliterative little landscape list:


May your gardens bring it to you, but if you have no gardens, please feel free to visit mine. Peace.


The Grace of “No”

6 07 2016

We all want to do the right thing. We all want to be good neighbors, good citizens, good people. We all want to serve. We must; however, be good to ourselves. We must recognize and appreciate and honor where we are in our own skins and – are you ready for this – respectfully decline some requests for assistance.

There’ve been times you’ve served others and there’ll be many future opportunities for you to express your kindness and generosity. It’s okay; it’s important; it’s good to (sometimes)

Say “No”

Will you help us? Do your part!

Causes worthwhile: Health, Earth, Art.

I’ve said “Yes!” for many years,

But now – surprise to many ears –

I say “No.”

There’s no anger In my tone.

I’ve simply learned I’m not alone.

Another’s turn to take the wheel –

I’ve chauffeured long enough, I feel.

I say “No.”

It does sound selfish, I’ll admit

I’ve run my race; I’m tired; I quit.

Selfish, more so, it would be

To hold the reins with apathy.

I say “No.”

When you’ve given all you can

And you’re asked to go again;

When your fire is burning low,

Let the others share their glow.

Just say “No.”


Independence Daze

29 06 2016

Oh say can you see, by the sun’s glorious light

That so gladly I smile at my coffee mug steaming?  new mug

With a frog in my pond;  birds and squirrels on my deck

frog 6-18 (1) 6-29-16 (1) 6-29-16 (2) 6-29-16 (3) 6-29-16 a

I’m surrounded by life; celebrating just being.

My perennials bright   hemerocallis woodside romance (2)

Are a wonderful sight. kniphofia 6-26

My little back yard bursts with flowery delight.  hemerocallis porcelain ruffles (1)

Oh life can be hard, but I’m gra- ate-fu-ul mine’s GOOO-OOD,

In my home where there is LO-OOVVE in my nice neighborhood.

for photog whisperer 1-30    DSC_0080

Happy Independence Day week, everyone!

Here’s to life, liberty, and the appreciation of all the things we have to be happy about!

Well, That’s Not Good!

22 06 2016

Been hearing a lot about what’s good and what’s bad, these days, from folks who seem to feel that they are the arbiters of our society.  Well, far be it from me not to offer my opinion, so here are a few things I just don’t like and I can’t figure out why anyone else does:

  1. Horror movies – if I wanted to be scared s#!tless, I’d watch the news.
  2. Cilantro – soap in your salsa?
  3. The American League – pitchers who get paid gazillions of dollars should not have to play offense AND defense like everyone else?
  4. Chardonnay – makes me want to wash out my mouth with a bar of cilantro, um soap.
  5. Drake – seems like a nice fellow, but that’s not music to my ears.
  6. Reality TV – no Kardashian drama; give me well-written and well-acted television. (Sherlock, The Blacklist, Mr. Robot)
  7. Hyacinths – the fragrance of mean old ladies.
  8. Tuna – unless it’s from a can and mixed with mayo, onion, and celery, it’s a big blecchhh.
  9. Christmas – too much pressure, too many bad songs, and it’s cold outside!
  10. Yard Sales – just no.

Okay, how far did you get before you disagreed with my assessment of these few things? I’ll bet it didn’t take long. Notice that, although I heartily dislike the things on my list, and I cannot fathom why you might like them, you’re absolutely free to watch, buy, consume, or visit them. I can choose not to accompany you, but I won’t keep you from going there.

The fact that you like something that I don’t does not prevent me from enjoying what I do like, so let’s all just raise a glass of whatever we choose and toast:

To Peace!

To Love!


To Each Their* Own!

* Much as loathe using “their” as a singular pronoun, I understand that it’s the best we have in the English language, right now, to be inclusive. Something I am learning to dislike less. Walking the talk, here, or at least writing it.

P.S. In case I was too subtle with this post – I am (not) often accused of that –  it’s about accepting LGBTQ folks, folks of differing religions, immigrants, old, young, Pittsburgh sports team fans . . . Don’t just live and let live. Live happily and encourage others to do the same. Kindness is always the right choice. I like it!


Thoughts and Thanks, Fathers

15 06 2016

It’s been a rough few weeks for fathers, from  those suffering unthinkable tragic losses to those in total denial that they have raised monsters.

I am forever grateful that I know many truly good and fine fathers.  I hope you will think about the good ones in your life this Father’s Day and tell them thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you to all of you wonderful men who raise your children to be good, kind, and generous people.


Example A: my brother-in-law Eric.

Thank you to all of you gentle men who live an out-loud-respectful life toward others without regard to sex, gender identity, race, religion, or social status.

ken d

Example B: my husband Ken.

Thank you to all of you brave men who believe that laughter is more powerful than cursing and hugs show more strength than fists.

Just look at her - already doing math, counting her fingers. I am practicing my "Deer in Headlights" face.

Example Best: my dear father Paul


Happy Father’s Day to the best of you; the ones of you who are trying your hardest; the ones who will become fathers someday; and to all of us who, by our existence, (will) have made fathers of you.

Peace and Love.

Orange You Glad

8 06 2016

Because we all need more beauty and less bullying, bigotry, and bullshit:

Orange – from Odious to Outstanding

WARNING: this is a color not intended by Nature; it is, however illustrative of what

Orange is NOT.



This is what Orange is meant to be!


orange crush 6-8-16 (1)

orange crush 6-8-16 (3)

orange crush 6-8-16 (5)

orange crush 6-8-16 (6)

orange crush 6-8-16 (7)

orange crush 6-8-16 (4)


Every one of these beautiful orange plants was photographed in my little yard early this morning.  Some are from South America, some are from Mexico, some Mediterranean, and two actually have the word Japanese in their names,  I am of German descent and l live with a nice Jewish man and we all get along famously.

Now, wash that Cheetos dust off your hands and enjoy a proper orange crush.




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