I’m Just a Girl Who Can’t Say No

24 08 2016

Remember just a few short weeks ago, I was waxing (sort of) poetic about the virtues of NO?  Yeah, might not have been all that memorable, but I did it.

As with many things, upon further reflection, I’ve had a little change of heart – or at least change of perspective.

In the spirit of being more positive (who doesn’t think we could use a very big dose of that, right now?!), I’d like to amend my former exhortation:

Don’t “just say no” to things that don’t bring you joy;  be ready for the YES moments that will follow.

That “no” is simply a place-holder for the goodness to come: all those things, people, events, experiences that are truly meaningful to us.

Just this week, I got to say YES and spend an entire day with people who make me glad to be me, in all my imperfect warts-and-all glory, just because I have such dear and fine friends in my life. That’s a pretty darned big deal.  Because I hoped such an opportunity might arise, I made sure I had saved time (by saying “no” to some other stuff) to be able to say YES!

You don’t have to kiss every frog that puckers up, but don’t be so determined to say “no” that you miss the prince . . . or princess . . . or friend . . . or Pokemon . . . or whatever makes your heart sing. 

“No” to one thing just means YES to better things.

monarch on buddleia 8-11

For example, “no” to spraying to kill Japanese beetles yielded this lovely YES.

Thank you very much for saying YES to reading my weekly Wednesday wanderings.

Poll Vaulting

17 08 2016

It’s been a busy few days of television viewing, flipping channels (the only kind of flipping this girl’s qualified to do) between the Olympics and the ongoing Presidential race.  I think I’ve gotten a few signals mixed and have begun to wonder what if the American presidential race were mashed up with the Olympics.

Yes, I know it’s crazy, but why shouldn’t it be – we are talking American Politics 2016-style.

Here are my suggestions for the Top Ten 2016 Presidential Polit-oympics.

10.  Mike Pence – Very Whitewater Kayaking

9.  Gary Johnson – the Longshotput

8.  Tim Kaine – Rhythmic Women’s’ Health Gymnastics (Okay, he seems sincere about keeping his religious beliefs separate from upholding the Constitution, but I had to go there.)

7.  Jill Stein – barred from competing: took PEDs but refused vaccinations

6.  Reince Priebus – weightlifting:  Clean up after the Jerk

5.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz – Platform Nosedive

4.  Chris Christie – Beached Volleyball

3.  Bernie Sanders – the 4-Year-College-Tuition Freestyle

2.  Hillary Clinton – 100-meter Dash from phantom fire at the Rio Airport

1.  Donald Trump – Fencing, of course . . .

* and it’s going to be the Greatest . . . unless I lose . . . then, it will be rigged . . . Oh, and let me tell you, Hillary can only compete in the cycling – the menstrual cycling. I’m being sarcastic, but not that much . . . Let me tell you folks, Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the shooting categories . . . You know, the slalom just sounds so muslimy . . . My daughter looks great, she just looks fantastic . . . Under Obama and Hillary, the Chinese will continue to kill us at these games . . .

*The Big Angry Orange’s ghostwriter was my dear makes-me-laugh-out-loud-every-day husband. He wins the gold for this riff.

p.s. I was going to offer an apology to the US Olympic team for besmirching the Games with politics, but then I remembered what’s in the water in Rio . . . I figure they’re already accustomed to the crap.








What Are You Waiting For?

10 08 2016

“Let’s wait until next week to have lunch.”

“Let’s wait until the kids are a little older to take them to Disney.”

“Let’s wait until we’re retired to try a new hobby.”

Well, aren’t WE just taking a lot for granted?

Yesterday marked the sixth August 9th we have been without our beautiful daughter. Thank goodness we did not wait – even though we were blissfully unaware that she’d leave us so soon – to do things that made us laugh, to make wonder-filled memories, and to love each other mightily.

Take my advice – stop putting off having fun.

Hold on, you say, we can’t just drop everything and do whatever we want whenever we want.

Well, of course not.  We have to earn enough money to pay the bills. We have to keep the house from falling down or getting so dirty it becomes a health hazard. We have to maintain our health. Those food/shelter/safety things must be attended to, but after the basics . . .

There are things on that “To Do List” that CAN wait:

The grass can be mowed tomorrow.

You can go to the beach before you lose that (same) ten pounds (you were going to lose last year).

Friends can enjoy your hospitality even if your house is a little messy.

Experience is a fine but tough teacher. I’m offering you my notes and the answers to a hard-learned life lesson with this post.

Don’t wait to love your family and friends.

Don’t wait to laugh until you cry.

Don’t wait for “someday.”

I’ve seen over 22,000 calendar days; never ever saw one called “Someday.”

Family is Not Part of the Feud

3 08 2016

Okay, folks, I am going to wade into the shallow but treacherous and (Jonathan) swift waters of our current American presidential politics to ask just one favor:

Please, dear news media and followers, let poor Melania Trump alone!

Seriously, with so many important issues to discuss and debate, so much to consider regarding the positions of the actual candidates, let’s not allow ourselves to be distracted by their beleaguered spouses. While it would be so much easier if we could reliably choose a great leader by the beauty or balls of their spouse, that’s not how this works.

Seems to me that those who run for office are making an affirmative decision to bare their souls – or, at least their horcruxes – but that decision should not be assumed for their families. This particular election has proven to be uglier than any I can recall and I’ve voted in eleven, so far. I hold no hope that the campaigns will soften their rhetoric or civilize their messages, but I surely wish for some sliver of that “kinder, gentler America.” Can’t we show a little sympathy to the folks who are being dragged along, half-drowning, in the wake of the willing combatants?

We, the People, should not devour the young (or the spouses) of our politicians.

I think it’s a Modest Proposal.

Forecasting Foul

27 07 2016

It’s HOT!

frog 6-18 (3)


Well, of course it’s hot – it’s mid-summer!

It’s extra hot right now, though, because of a weather phenomenon known as a heat dome, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explains like this:

“A heat dome occurs when high pressure in the upper atmosphere acts as a lid, preventing hot air from escaping. The air is forced to sink back to the surface, warming even further on the way.”

Okay, I am a big fan of science, but I think the good folks at NOAA and the National Weather Service have overlooked a critical piece of this phenomenon:

The Republican and the Democratic National Conventions.

Folks, if we want to combat climate change, we should simply look to our politicians . . . more to the point, we should permit them to speak only when they are telling the truth. By my most unscientific (totally made-up) calculations, the resulting reduction in CO2 emissions would amount to a lot more than just a Hill of beans. It would likely Trump even the limiting of Bern-ing fossil fuels . . .

And let’s not forget, it’d sure reduce the methane problem, too.




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!”

DSC_0002 DSC_0010 DSC_0028

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.



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