My Novels

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fresh salad greens!

Here I present evidence of my labor of love in my small "salad" garden:

Gourmet greens/baby spinach on left, small Swiss Chard on right. I grew these from seeds planted directly into the ground!

And let me tell you, they were DELICIOUS in the large salad I had for my lunch!

Now that's what I'm talkin' about! LOL

The best part: this patch should last for a good long while, and I already have another small patch of lettuce in another shady spot of the yard. Plus, I have a half row of Swiss Chard in the large garden; it is very versatile, eaten fresh in salads or even cooked like spinach, highly nutritious. As a bonus, it does well in the hot summer weather we have here in the South, whereas lettuce varieties tend to wither away.

Anyway, I just wonder how much fresh food could be grown ONLY in the space folks use for ornamental flowers/shrubs around their houses (waste, waste, waste!)? Something to think about.

I took the dogs on a walk in a newly created wooded walking trail here in town, and they loved it. It's very close to where I live, and a good place to walk when it's hot or they just need a short 1/2 mile walk.

Then I got ambitious and painted my mailbox, which was in dire need of it! I'm on a trial of Netflix, and hated putting the movies in such a rundown mailbox. My postal box doesn't see the traffic it did years ago when I was writing letters to people, and sending out manuscripts. Ah, memories...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How My Garden Grows

May 20

I've just returned from taking the dogs on a long walk at the lakeside park. Recently another section was opened, and the gravel path winds through a wooded area with a small creek. The dogs loved it, sniffing all the new woodsy scents, standing on the creek bank, running in the grass. And the weather today is perfection: about 70 degrees, sunny, not a cloud in the endless blue sky, a light wind. Couldn't resist going to the park, had a wonderful time.

I learned I'll be able to keep the rental car until my car is repaired -- about another week and half. Sure glad I took the option of a rental on my car insurance!

Yesterday afternoon Sherry, Wendell and myself worked in the garden again. We worked several hours Monday as well. With all the torrential rain, it's been near impossible to keep the weeds beaten down. After a few rounds with the tiller, some serious hoeing, weeding, the corn at least looks better. Sherry planted squash and green pole beans beside the corn, which is an old Indian method of gardening. I planted some beets and carrots in a small patch too. We're waiting just a bit longer before planing okra.

May 21

I got interrupted yesterday, never returned to the computer. Today looked bright and sunny earlier, but by afternoon, it's cloudy with a light wind. I hope it doesn't rain/storm before I can take the dogs on a walk.

I'm cooking a big batch of veggie soup -- using all fresh vegetables: celery, carrots, cabbage, sweet corn, green pepper, squash and one small green onion. I'll add some tomato juice after the veggies are done. Bought some fresh corn Tuesday, ate corn on the cob two nights -- absolutely DELICIOUS! (Only the onion was from my garden!)

And now, here's some pictures:

Small patch beside my carport with lettuce mixture, spinach, Swiss Chard, tomatoes

Oscar in his crate located in my large extra-bedroom closet. It was a chilly day, and he headed to his "retreat!"

Rambo who thinks Oscar is a sissy...big dogs don't have to cover up on chilly days

Slinky who says, "Guys, if you had MY hair you both wouldn't be sissies!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Misadventure

I just can't win these days! It almost seems as if every time I'm somewhat happy -- or hopeful, expectant of having fun or getting out a little, something cancels it all out.

I hadn't seen the man I dated several times last winter, but we'd kept in touch via email/phone. He'd wanted to get together many times, but I always felt hesitant. I like him, yet I really don't want a full-time, committed relationship. And he does. However, I thought seeing him again might change my mind -- as well as be a pleasant outing together.

And it was a good day: We had a nice lunch at his lake house, then visited a local museum, and ended by going on a long walk at a local lakeside walking trail. Back to his house, out on the pier to watch the late afternoon sunlight play on the lake.

I left with somewhat hopeful expectations, a possibility we could compromise on a relationship. It was around 6:00, still lots of daylight, and I took a different route home along a two-lane highway through a rural area. I'd been this way many times in the past with DH, and once by myself; it's beautiful scenery, but sparsely populated. I noticed the grass along both shoulders was terribly overgrown, probably due to all the rain we've been getting.

I was thinking I'd stop and pay a surprise visit to my mother at the assisted living place because it was along this route...when suddenly off to my right, I barely glimpsed something, then felt a massive impact in front of the car. I gripped the steering wheel tightly, kept the car on the highway, and saw an approaching car in the other lane. I immediately thought I'd hit a dog, a very large dog, and was sick as I felt it go underneath my car... Looking in the rear view mirror I saw it tumbling behind me in the other lane, and the oncoming car straddled it.

I felt sure the dog was dead, but started looking for a place to pull off...yet due to the overgrown grass, there was no way of telling whether the shoulder was flat or a deep ditch. I then looked for a house, driveway...anything, but there was nothing. I heard something rattling under my car, and realized there was damage...probably just to the bumper.

I finally saw a church parking lot, pulled off, and got out; there was water running out of the radiator, and the bumper was badly damaged, along with the lowest lights. One was actually hanging out, so I pulled it on out...

Hurriedly I got back in the car, since there was no one around, and thought I might find a nearby service station. No luck. Nothing in sight once back on the highway -- and I realized the overheated light was flickering. I did NOT want to ruin the engine, so I was looking frantically for a driveway, any place to stop and turn off the engine.

I saw a narrow paved driveway that wound up into some woods, and thought surely a house was there. I headed up the driveway, and the light stayed on, so I knew I had to stop. Just as I rounded a curve, I realized there was a couple of shabby trailers ahead, as well as several ramshackle sheds. No one in sight, but a truck outside one of the trailers.

I had no choice, I eased off the driveway, and cut the engine. I looked around, and felt truly scared: isolation. I immediately locked all the doors, and got out my cell...which didn't have a signal.

I saw a man come out on the porch of the trailer, 50ish, overweight, holding a can of beer, and then a big pit-bull following him. My first thought was: Deliverance, the movie! I didn't see any "No Trespassing" signs, which are very common in such places in the rural south.

At that point, I just didn't care anymore. Really, the first wreck, then this? What are the odds of such events happening within such a short time of each other? Astronomical!

I recalled the horrible dream I'd had the night before: I dreamed that I was driving and hit something, couldn't tell what, and it was MY fault. I had awakened in a cold sweat, thinking I could NOT make the trip to the lake house...but, of course, convinced myself I was being paranoid, reacting to the last wreck, that I HAD to get back out there, drive and get OVER that wreck.

Nevertheless, I got out of the car, and started apologizing to the strange man for interrupting his dinner or whatever he was doing. I began explaining what had happened, rambling about not wanting to blow up the car engine, that I'd had another wreck a few weeks ago...and, to my embarrassment, felt tears running down my face.

I was scared, sick, disgusted...just incredulous at the turn of events.

The man started talking then, seemed like your average "Bubba" here in the south, but I still stayed near the car. I did get a cell signal, called the man I'd left, but he had said he was going to mow the lawn. Apparently he was on the mower and didn't hear his cell. Then I called Sherry & Wendell, who said they'd head my way right then.

It was a verrry long 45 minutes till they drove up the driveway, but the stranger had allowed me to use his home phone (out on the porch) to call my insurance company; the pit-bull moved over to lie at MY feet, and the stranger and I had a long chat. At one point, he stated he wasn't going to kill me, I suppose to calm me down! Whee! In fact, he offered me a beer! I refused, because the last thing I needed was to get drunk at that point.

All in all, it was one of those surreal misadventures you NEVER expect to have -- or hope not to, at any rate. Like being in the twilight zone, actually. When we left there, and started back, Sherry asked if I was okay...and I just dissolved into tears. I started blubbering about how scared I'd been by that place, the stranger and how much worse it COULD have turned out. They both understood, but agreed I'd not had much choice in getting off the highway in order not to ruin the car engine.

Later, I called a local wrecker service, and they went to get my car. It's at an auto body shop, and will be repaired. So here I go again, rounds with the auto insurance, rental car, on and on. TOO SOON AGAIN!

When I'd gotten all that arranged, I had myself a long crying jag because I'd run over that dog, obviously killed it. I won't even eat meat due to loving animals so much, and here I'd inadvertently become a killer.

One can only shake their head at the irony of life. And the lessons I've learned from these two wrecks: No matter how careful you are as a driver, the unexpected event can happen and you can die or kill a living being in an instant.

Life is certainly unpredictable and NO ONE IS PROMISED TOMORROW.

As for the man I went to see, he wants to drive down this Saturday...but I'm not sure about that. I feel cursed or jinxed, as if there's something out to get me lately. Things happen in threes, they say...and I fear the third event will be the end of me.

UPDATE: I decided to end the relationship with the man. Like the bad experience in the Honda Fit, sometimes your intuition just tells you this is NOT MEANT TO BE.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Hank Williams Sr. & Hank III

Growing up in the South, you heard Hank Williams twangy, melancholy, bluesy voice echoing through homes, cars, and you knew the tragedy of his legendary life. My own daddy played many such tunes on his guitar in the small-time band he traveled with around the county. The late 60s movie about Hank's life was a sell-out at our local movie theater.

When Hank Williams II moved to our area, built a mansion, and married a local gal, fans were multiplied. Even my late husband had a personal autographed photo of Hank II, and served on an official security detail from time-to-time. Yet neither of us really thought Hank II sounded like his dad, Hank Sr.

Years later along came Hank III...and the first time I saw him in a music video, I realized HERE WAS THE REINCARNATION OF HANK SR. Truly, Hank III looks just like his grandad, sound just like him...and over time, has proven to be a rebel entertainer, boozer, womanizer, wild and untamed. Though he often seems to be trying to distance himself from his infamous grandfather/father, he only comes closer to being exactly like his grandpa.

Here I present the evidence for your enjoyment:

Hank Sr. singing Honky Tonk Blues

Hank III singing Country Heroes

Uncanny, isn't it?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Rainy Day Thoughts & Photos

I don't write nearly as often as I should, at least not for my blog. No excuse, just my mood these days.

I will eventually post about my car wreck, but for now, I am still reflecting on that. (And there's a legal issue pending.) One lesson I learned, though I had thought I KNEW it: NEVER get attached to a material object. A vehicle is to get you from point A to point B -- nothing more. It should be mechanically sound, cheap on fuel...but looks/attractiveness is simply beside the point. And that goes for ANY material object: only valuable for its specific use.

Considering the state of the world today, swine flu, economy, you-name-it, I am fairly happy. No, I'm not engaged in a lot of social activities, nor do I qualify as any particular "somebody"...but I've always been a private person, with loner tendencies. And I'm content with my current status of living alone, yet having a few friends and family I can count on.

Here's a wise little parable for the younger generation:

One day, the old German Shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before long, discovers that he's lost. Wandering about, he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.

The old German Shepherd thinks, “Uh, oh! I'm in deep trouble now!” Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard is about to leap, the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly, “Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more around here?”

Hearing this, the young leopard halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over his face and he slinks away into the trees. “Whew!” says the leopard, “That was close! That old German Shepherd nearly had me!”

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use by trading it for protection from the leopard. So off he goes, but the old German Shepherd sees him heading after the leopard with great speed and figures that something must be up.

The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.

The young leopard is furious at being made a fool and says, “Here, monkey, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!”

Now, the old German Shepherd sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks, “What am I going to do now?” But instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers pretending he hasn't seen them yet. Just when they get close enough to hear, the old German Shepherd says:

"Where's that monkey? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!"

The moral of this story:

Don't mess with old dogs. Age and skill will always overcome youth and treachery. Brilliance only comes with age and experience. -John Brandt

And lastly, a few photos:

Azalea in my backyard

Large backyard garden on May 1st

Small garden beside carport, lettuce, tomatoes, pepper & eggplants, some seed not up yet

Variety veggie soup -- always different each time I prepare a batch using whatever veggies I have on hand. Keeps it interesting!