Garden Inspiration

 

 

I visited a gardening center this weekend and made the rounds. I only needed a little something for an indoor plant, but the way I see it – window shopping at a garden center is a sure-fire way to get an eyeful of some real beauty.

 

When I saw the artichokes shown above, I stopped in my tracks. Wow! I was so inspired. I started envisioning several of the spiky plants, clumped together in my yard. I could see the earthen paths around the patch. I could smell the artichokes steaming in the kitchen. I could taste the tender leaves, drenched in butter.

 

And then I thought of the drought and how I absolutely, positively cannot plant anything right now. And since I didn’t find the danged thang I was searching for in the first place, I bid farewell to the beautiful artichoke plants, got in my car empty-handed and drove home.

 

I am grateful for inspiration, wherever I can get it. And it doesn’t matter what type. Garden inspiration triggers the creative juices just as much as painting inspiration. So that was a good thing to have encountered. But I have to admit – putting gardening dreams on the back burner is a bummer.

New Sights

 

 

This weekend I was at the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society for a meeting. I find myself there every now and then, and though the meetings I attend are always held in the same room, I am constantly discovering new sights around me.

 

 

During my most recent visit, I looked over at the collection of fire station badges and one town’s name caught my eye: Brockton. I have kin from Brockton, Georgia, and the coincidence made me chuckle. Of course, there is a very good chance the Brockton of the badge is a different township from the one I know. But I like to think it’s the same, and since no one was there to tell me otherwise, I’m going with my take on it.

 

 

The meetings I attend there are sporadic, at best, but I do recommend a visit to the L.A. Fire Museum. It’s fascinating. Can’t wait to see what I find next.

Limbo

 

 

I recently had a spell during which I was in full limbo. Let me be honest and say I put myself there. I made a mistake – publicly. I apologized and understood there would be consequences. Waiting for those consequences produced the limbo. I had no idea where my predicament might lead and no idea how I would fare. It wasn’t fun.

 

After nearly a full week of flailing, the situation was sort of dealt with and was sort of handled. I say sort of because that’s the best description I can muster. The people charged with the responsibility of addressing my mistake didn’t seem to know how to process. And I’m guessing their uncertainty is what led them to taking so long in dealing with me. This wasn’t cool for me, not only because of unknowing and discomfort, but also because I expected, well, more from them. Not just because they’re management, mind you, but because I’ve always thought of them as top-notch people. In retrospect, I can see my expectations may have been a bit unrealistic. I mean, not everyone in management is effective at managing, you know? Not everyone has had actual managerial experience. And even if someone lists that title on their resume, it doesn’t mean they’ve had to deal with shit hitting the fan. Unfortunately, I had hurled the shit into said fan at breakneck speed and having done so publicly only served to complicate my situation.

 

When my “punishment” had been decided – based on my own suggestion – I worked on figuring out where I’d landed with everything. First – I had to forgive myself. I had to. Otherwise, I’d eternally beat myself up as retribution for a single, brief, bad moment. Next – I decided I needed to forgive management. I didn’t like how my situation was handled and not handled. But I knew that if I could see and forgive the error of my ways, I absolutely had to extend the same courtesy to them. We are – all of us – only human.

 

The ordeal was an ugly chapter and I’m glad to be on the other side of it. I won’t pretend there’s a silver lining or anything, but I did learn a few things from my limbo rigmarole…

  • Not all grown-ups are grown. Some simply don’t have it in them to handle life in the moment. Sometimes these non-grown-ups turn out to be people you love. Sometimes it’s yourself. Either way, that’s awkward.
  • No matter how contrite a person may be, she cannot turn back time and undo an error. And being sincere doesn’t necessarily help, either. Sometimes a screw-up is just a screw-up is just a screw-up.
  • Handling disappointment in myself can be much easier to bear than handling disappointment in others. I always assumed it would go the other way round.
  • It hurts to own having possibly injured another soul. Knowing an action was unintentional doesn’t do much to lessen the weight of the guilt. It also hurts to be on the receiving end of intentional, offensive actions. Not dealing with a situation is intentional.
  • Fucking up is bad enough, but doing it in public is pretty danged awful.
  • Words hurt. My own screw-up could have been much, much worse, had I used injurious language. Thankfully, I didn’t. But some loaded words were used on me, and though I may forgive the speaker, I won’t forget the language.
  • Just because I didn’t spill the details of my screw-up doesn’t mean others weren’t talking aplenty. I suppose that leads me back to the first point. Not all grown-ups are grown.

I know I’ve been vague here, but I can’t be more specific. Real people are involved and I respect too many of them to betray their privacy. Besides – my error rests at my door. It is mine to carry. And I do. And now that some processing has taken place, I can even laugh about it. A little. I suppose that’s progress.

 

This ordeal will probably lead to changes in my life, changes I had not foreseen or expected. I’m okay with that. In fact, just after I processed the loss of this part of my little world, another opportunity presented itself, offering new experiences and adventures. To quote one of my own lyrics, “They say God don’t close no doors without opening up a few windows. I think I’m gonna fly through…”

Not Good

 

 

I haven’t checked in with the bees for a while and yesterday when I did, it was not good.

 

When I first encountered the bees a few years ago, I was so smitten. Their hive seemed healthy, though I don’t really have a clue about that sort of thing, and there were a jillion of them. Now…

 

 

The bees’ numbers are visibly dwindling. The hive has the appearance of winter, and that simply isn’t the way it should be right now. We can all speculate until we’re blue in the face – drought, climate change, pesticides, pollution, etc. – but none of that will change the fact that the bees are going away.

 

Honestly, I try not to dwell on it too much, as a gal could drown in that muddy thought pool. Instead, I plan to check on the bees now and then and keep my fingers crossed. It’s nature, after all. I may be part of it, but I’m certainly not the boss of it.

Finally!

 

 

You may not believe this, but I finally finished reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

 

Perhaps you recall a post from the beginning of February, in which I described the impetus for picking the book up in the first place. And how I’d gotten through at least enough of it to be inspired to write a song. Though I didn’t go into details at that time, a lot of life (namely health stuff) was swirling around me and I was slow in attaching myself to Mr. Steinbeck’s tome.

 

Cut to the last few weeks, and I found myself wanting to get through the danged thang if only to put it on a shelf and be done with it. And then something funny happened. At around page 400 (I kid you not), I finally got interested. So the last 200 pages of the book were really compelling for me.

 

As a general rule, I believe life is too short to read bad or uninteresting books. I don’t know why I kept coming back to East of Eden, but I’m glad I did. In the end, I absolutely loved it. I’m guessing my failure to find interest in the first two-thirds of the book is due to my own shortcomings. Sticking with it, however, is due to my tenacity. (See – sometimes I’m nice to me.)

 

One final thing… When I re-read that original East of Eden post from early February, I loved the last lines about saying Yes to life. If nothing else, finishing the book and revisiting that post reminded me to go for it. Whatever it may be…

Looking Back

 

 

I was going through some old photographs the other day. And when I say photographs, I mean actual, printed-on-Kodak-paper photographs. Remember those?

 

Anyhoo – this was taken the night of senior prom. I was 18 years old and I do believe a permanent wave may have been involved, judging from the look of my hair. The prom dress wasn’t mine. I had borrowed it from Jeanne Velders. My mother wouldn’t allow me to choose my own attire for prom and said she simply wouldn’t pay for the dreamy, black, modest, on-sale frock I wanted. Since I absolutely did not wish to wear clothing of her choosing, I chose to not get a new dress. Enter my friend Jeanne. She saved my bacon and that was that. I will always be grateful.

 

When I see old photos like this, photos that dredge up multiple memory details, I tend to focus on the brown eyes of the girl I used to be. I imagine going back in time and telling her to hang in there. Telling her to trust her intuition. Telling her to trust herself.

 

If time isn’t linear, but is instead circular (as many ancient philosophers believed), maybe when I look at this old photo and see my former self I can go back in time. And I can stand beside the young me and whisper, “You’re okay. You really, really are…

Breakfast of Champions

 

 

Yesterday I was inspired to stray from my usual breakfast. I had a craving for avocado, and once I pinpointed the yearning, it was all over but the cutting.

 

My brain has crossed over to thoughts of summer food. I’m wanting fresh vegetables, fish or grilled meats. Salads tempt me. Fruit calls my name. Each time I enjoy a quick meal requiring little to no cooking, I’m so pleased. Last week I had a Caprese Salad made with fresh tomatoes and basil, along with a lovely burrata, and I nearly cried tears of joy.

 

I’ll get back to heavier, comforting foods later this year. For now, I’m digging light and fresh. And it sure is grand.

Lulled

 

 

Yesterday I was home, tackling some tasks when my head suddenly drooped and I nearly fell asleep. I did not need a nap, and I wasn’t ill. The homestead had simply gotten a little warm.

 

I’m a big fan of conditioned air and greatly appreciate it. But I’m not the biggest fan of paying for it, so I leave the A/C set pretty high. It takes a heat to kick it on and a heat was what I had yesterday.

 

When I was a wee lass, living with my great-grandparents in Zebulon, GA, there was no such thing as conditioned air in their old house. If it hit 109 degrees outside, it was surely 111 inside. I seem to remember an old movable fan, and there was one in a window of the bedroom where all us kids slept with Granny, but it was next to Big Papa’s bed and he was the only beneficiary of its swirling, hot air. You’d think sleeping in such heat would lead one to toss and turn, but you’d be wrong. Even a 6-year-old knows to lie as still as possible during the wrath of summer. And when you’re sharing an old-school, full-sized bed with your two little sisters and your great-grandmother, well, you lie still as stone and try to avoid contact. Another person’s body heat is the last thing you want when you’re about to drown in a genuine southern glisten. On those nights, the vapors weren’t a threat. Actual dying was.

 

I am incredibly spoiled now, I admit. And yesterday, just when I thought I might topple over, lulled into sleep by tricky heat, the old A/C turned on and I was saved. I would prefer to live with modern conveniences than to go without, but sometimes, when my mind strolls back to that rickety house in Zebulon, I can see Granny – clear as day. She’s sitting on the front porch, cooling herself with a cardboard fan on a wooden stick, printed with the details of some long-dead person’s funeral. Her slight hand movement is the only stirring on the porch. The heat is so thick you can see it, radiating up from the parched, brown grass. Papa is there, too. It’s so hot he’s resisting the urge to fill his pipe with Prince Albert. No one says much. And time, like the heat, slows down and wraps itself around us all. It is in the moment of that memory that I would gladly leave my comfortable, temperate home – just to see Granny and Papa one more time. And, like them, I would simply sit in the silence and be still. Waiting for the sun to set and for the first lightning bugs of the evening to sashay around the yard.

“Kung Fury”

 

 

This weekend Mister and I watched a movie released on the YouTuber. It’s called “Kung Fury” and is a mere 31 minutes in length. (The link is here.) With over 18 million views, I am more than a little late to the party.

 

I’m telling you about this for a few reasons. It’s wacky. It’s funny. And I respect it. Respect, you ask? Yes. The writer / director / star of this piece made work for himself (and, I’m guessing, for his friends). Making work for oneself can be incredibly smart in this town. I admire it and, as I said, I respect it.

 

I heard the rights to this work have been sold to an industry player and there’s no telling what will come of that. Feature length production? TV/Cable show? I’ve no idea.

 

I encourage you to watch this half-hour piece. It is entertaining. And I am always, always, always down for a giggle.