Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

With silver bells and cockle shells, and cicadas, all in a row...

This picture I took doesn't really show the, uh, beauty, I guess you could call it, of a 13 year cicada.  The eyes are really a bright red in color, and the wings are transparent with a reddish tint.

Most of the cicadas are now dead.  Their crunchy little bodies are all over the sidewalks, yards, and beneath trees.

Here Justice is looking at a huge pile of dead cicadas. Oh, yes, they cover the bottom of this tree, and nearly every tree around has these bodies beneath it.

Just about everywhere you look, too, are these holes from which the cicadas emerged.

In other news, my little garden that Hope and Justice "helped" plant is doing fairly well.  I thought my raspberry bushes were growing nicely until I realized they were actually blackberry bushes.  The girls loved picking berries to eat right off the bush.  These are some nice, fat, sweet blackberries.

Ripening blackberries sparkle like rubies in the sunlight, don't they?  The blackberries underneath are the ones to ripen first, which I noticed after I took this picture.  Remember, too, I thought these were raspberries.

Our raspberry bushes produced absolutely no berries whatsoever, though they did grow.  We have lots of leaves and thorns, but no berries.

My heirloom tomato plants aren't doing incredibly well, but I do have a couple tomatoes growing.  I also have basil, rosemary, mint, and broccoli that are doing really well.  Mint tends to take over the entire garden, so I'm keeping an eye on it.  I love mint, but a whole garden or yard full of mint is a bit much, don't you think?

I didn't get this spinach planted this year.  So many of Mom's seeds are now too old to germinate, apparently.  Some are fine,  but a few didn't grow at all.

I had a little greenhouse thing where you can germinate seeds in those little pots.  Unfortunately, Lampshade accidentally knocked the thing over and we couldn't save the seedlings that did grow. 


I have a horrible, nasty, painful infection in my mouth, from a broken tooth.  I have never had anything this bad before, and I've had some bad toothaches in the past.  The right side of my face is swollen so much that it looks like I'm holding  a golf ball in my cheek.  I went to the doctor's office today and got a prescription for penicillin.  I was hoping the infection would resolve on its own, but I felt sick this morning and was in so much pain I decided that antibiotics were necessary in this case.  Plus, I didn't want the infection to travel to my brain.  I have enough brain troubles without something like that occurring!

Lampshade is no longer welcome at this house, or in the yard, or anywhere near us.  I won't go into the reasons here.  

Here he is listening to some music on my Zune.  This was the last day he was allowed in my house.

This was also one of the last times I saw my Zune. 

My daughter-in-law, Britney, is still in the hospital.  The poor girl will celebrate her 21st birthday in a hospital room, unable to walk.  Saige and I are planning to bring her a few gifts and a cake.  I'm pretty sure the hospital won't let us shoot off fireworks, but a couple gifts might help her spirits lift, even if it's just a little bit.

We keep telling her that she is allowed to be angry and upset about the circumstances she's in now.  So many people are apparently telling her that she will walk again, or their words seem phony.  Saige told her that this was an unfair thing to have happen, and that she's entitled to be depressed and mad about it.  "If you're meant to walk again, you will," Saige told her.  "If not, then you won't, but you'll learn to deal with it."

Sometimes Saige is pretty darn intuitive.

She and I took Hope and Justice to the park a few days ago.  I decided that I should walk part of the bike trail, so I could see the prairie one more time.  It's to the point that walking is so difficult for me, but I felt well enough to try it the other day.  I'm glad I did.  That area is so beautiful, and it's so close to my home.

I think the prairie is prettiest in the fall, when the colors of the grasses turn to rust and gold, but it's not too shabby in the summer, either.

I did take a photo of Saige almost falling from a swing.  She'd flipped upside down and was giggling as I took the photo.  I was going to post it, but then I realized that when she flipped, her skirt came up a bit, too.  This is not an R rated journal, so luckily for you, and for her, I kept the picture out.  I had to mention it, though, so Saige would realize how nice I am.

(I'll keep it for blackmail, though.  Tee hee!)

I sold the Escort a few days ago to one of those car parts places.  I got 150 bucks and they towed it away, so I felt good about that.  

This was right before it was towed away.  Sorry about that tree in the middle of the car, blocking it.  That was a cute little car until Lampshade punched out the dashboard, tore up the foam padding, and bit pieces off the steering wheel.  Not to give all the blame to him, I'm the one who pulled forwards instead of back when the door was stuck in the mud, which caused the door to break.  It would no longer close, so we tied it shut with a winter scarf.  Yes, it looked pathetic, but it did come in handy the times we didn't have the truck and needed a vehicle.

I guess that's about it for today.  I've been spending most of my time cuddling up with an ice pack against my cheek.   Even touching that side of my face hurts!  The ice makes it feel a little bit better, though, and makes me feel like I'm doing something to help heal myself.  The tooth that's bad is one that broke all the way down to the gum, and will have to be surgically removed, which is much more expensive to have done than it is just to have a tooth pulled.  It's really difficult to have nice teeth when you don't have dental insurance or money to spend on dental care.

Such is life.

Well, then, go in peace, be warm and filled!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Randomly Annoyed

Why am I randomly annoyed?  Well, I should think that would be obvious.  In fact, I'm annoyed that you don't understand the title of this entry.

Not really.

The kids and I were laughing yesterday, and by kids, I mean Saige and Jethro, though Erma was around to hear some of my diatribe against things that annoy me.  What I mean by randomly annoyed is that, well, in all honesty, sometimes the things I'll write about today annoy me terribly, and sometimes I'm not even truly aware the annoyance is going on and so, logically, I'm not annoyed.


Stick with me.  Let's take a journey through my brain, shall we?  Or not, because that actually seems kind of creepy.  Let's just have a talk, because this is my journal and I feel you all should know what annoys me.  In case.  In case you come to visit and want to talk about Calvary.  In case you're not exactly sure what certain words mean, but you like to throw them around on the internet to show your intelligence.  (And you consistently misspell the word you like to use)  

Ah. I'm getting ahead of myself, and maybe ahead of you, too.  

I told Jethro, Erma, and Saige last night that if I heard one more Civil War reenactor, or Antiques Roadshow appraiser, or even the Commander at Fort Knox that was in charge of the speech on Family Day for Jethro's graduation, exchange the word "Calvary" for "Cavalry", I might have to be mean.  Oh yes.  You heard me.  Mean.  That irritates me to no end, especially when the person is supposedly an expert on the subject.

Put it this way.  If my father started preaching this Sunday, and he's going along, teaching about the crucifixeration (as Jethro once called it.  That was cute.  He was little. I did say I was random, remember?  I never said I was fair) and he continually said things like, "And then they all marched up to Mount Cavalry..."  "And so, Jesus died, on the cross, at Cavalry..."  That would be annoying, right?  

Well, it would annoy me.

Please, please, please...  Learn the words, please?  The soldiers who traditionally rode horsies in the Army are in the Cavalry.  Cav.  Al.  Ry.  Not Calvary.  Jesus was crucified there.  Or, as Jethro put it, when he was a Cav Scout, they never once yelled out something along the lines of, "GO CALVS!"  Makes them sound like a bunch of baby bovines, doesn't it, or a leggy body part some of us complain about because ours are too fatty or too skinny?

Speaking of cows, when I worked at the Airways station at Scott AFB, our antennas were in a field the base leased from a farmer.  This farmer kept his cows in the field, so it made for some interesting times when we'd have to go into that field for one reason or another.  One day we had a pregnant Captain come out to work in our front office.  She said, very seriously, "Is it all right for me to work here?  Could anything hurt the baby?"  The training NCO (Person in charge of training) said, while he pretended to think, "No, no, you should be fine here."  Here he inserted a dramatic pause, then continued with, "Though there have been a few two headed calves born out there lately."  Then he turned back to his desk work.

The captain hastily packed up the few items she'd brought with her, grabbed her purse and her keys, and headed out the door as fast as she could go.

We never saw her again.

The training NCO was lying.  There were no 2 headed calves born in that herd!  

There's no longer an Airways station there.

I am slightly annoyed with some of the reality shows on television now.  Okay, to be honest, some of them amuse me, and some I watch to boost my own ego.  A case in point would be the show Hoarders.  I watch it and even if I'm alone, I will shout out, "SEE?!?!  I am an AWESOME housekeeper!!"  

Keep in mind that I don't have cable television, and a lot of the shows  I watch are ones I can catch online or through Netflix.  Not that it makes a difference, really.  A hoarder online is the same as a hoarder on cable, I'm sure.  I just felt like I should remind you that I don't have cable.

So, I do get some enjoyment or amusement from some of these shows that purport to show reality.  It's a guilty secret of mine, I have to admit.  This admission of mine actually means that this is no longer a secret, but I hope, given time, you'll forget about this and maybe even come to forgive me.

However, these shows also tend to put on people who seem to have serious language processing skills.  While I'm sure hearing someone talk about a woman's "cleavlage" can be amusing, it also makes us, and by us, I mean Americans.  In the same episode of whatever it was I was watching where the young man used the word cleavlage as if he had the correct word, another person mentioned needing to do her "calixthenics" for the day, and another said, "That woman is a "world wind" no matter where she goes!"

I could go on and on, if I'd actually written down enough of those mistakes to go on and on.

I didn't.  I only wrote down those three examples.

Math irritates me.  Not all math, of course.  Not even most math.  According to experts who know the difference between a crucifixion and a crucifixeration, math is beautiful and musical and just, well, it's lovely.  I disagree.  I think some math is necessary, and I'm pretty sure mathematics has a whole lot to do with a lot of subjects, but I find it rather ugly.

For example, I'll give you a math problem, one we run into around here occasionally.  "If a teeny tiny kitten has diarrhea in a rather large hallway,  what percentage of the time will you step in that diarrhea, rather than step over it?"  Answer?  100 percent.  

We are working and working on the rescued kittens, Bella and Lola, to get them litter trained, but one of them has had some boo boo tummy issues, so she doesn't make it.  Plus, they are very, very small kittens, and the litter box probably traumatizes them.

At their age, their mother would clean them, if she were around, or if we hadn't rescued them, they'd be dead or pooping outside.  Here, we just have to keep working with them to go in the litter box, or I'll need to remember to look down as I'm going through the house.

I'm going to stop talking about what annoys me for the moment.  Soon I do want to write about "imperical" data,  how and why religion and science should go together like a rama lama lama ka ding de de ding de dong*, and how tired I am of that old argument, "If there is a God, why does he allow suffering, huh?  Huh?"

I've been rather silly today, I know, but there are some things I want to write about that I've thought about quite often.  Seriously.

In closing, I'd like to say, "Go in peace, be warm and filled."

* Random Grease reference
* If you're not sure what I mean, then you probably didn't grow up singing happily to the Grease soundtrack album, did you?
* Tell me more, tell me more, like does he have a car?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

I was going to use this day to write something for my kids about their Dad (25 Dec 55- 1 Oct 04).  I've written quite a bit about my dad over the months and years I've written this journal, and though he's pretty darn awesome, I want to use this space to copy a letter in a card my youngest daughter, Saige, made for me.

Dear Mom,

Thank you for all that you have given up to make sure we were/are safe.  For putting all your pain aside when we get sick.  For all the money you gave us just because we asked for it, for everything you've done even when we didn't ask.  Thank you for being such a strong woman, that you managed to raise us on your own, for keeping all of us basically healthy, for always making sure we had clothes even when you really didn't.

Just thank you for being the best person ever.  If anyone thinks they have the best mother ever they are wrong.  You've done a better job at raising us than anyone else and even though it hurts you to walk far you made up for all that, just by using humor, love and kindness. And we could always talk to you about anything and you never judged any of it.  So happy Father's Day Mother's Day.  Yup, you get two a year.

Love, Saige

Let's see, she saved my life when I had pneumonia...  and probably a few other times, I'm sure, (and yes, Jethro, you did well, too, when I had pneumonia) whether she meant to or not.  So today I give her the "Best Kid Of Mine In The World" a title that can be easily lost if  one of my other kids brings me a good gift.  No, I love all my kids, but this is a pretty special card and letter.

Thank you, Saige.

Saige is the one with less fur on her face, in case you were confused.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thirteen Year Cicadas

Ever since I was very small, I would listen and enjoy the sounds of the yearly cicadas that sing their songs to attract females.  It's a familiar sound to me, and when I first hear it, I think, "Summer!"

Sort of like when I saw the first robin this year, hopping around in the snow, and I thought, "Stupid robin!"  No, I actually thought that spring couldn't be too far away.  I was wrong.

This year, however, we've been attacked by what the scientific experts are calling the 13 year cicadas.  Since they come out of the ground every year, I'm not sure how they know these are the 13 year ones, but I'm not a bug scientist in any way, shape, or form.

When I say attacked, that's what I mean.  There are so many of these doggone cicadas around that the sound of the males calling for mates is incessant, never ending, and rather annoying.  There are bunches of cicada shells stuck to trees.  There are bodies of dead cicadas in piles at the parks around town.

At least they don't eat crops or swarm like the locusts of old.

Photo of a cicada shell by Erma.

As most of you know, my daughter-in-law, Britney in this journal, was involved in a very horrific car accident.  She's probably paralyzed, and the doctors are saying she'll be in the hospital for three months.  Today they are going to take out the tube that's in her lungs.  She has a back brace.  Lampshade said he knew she ordered it herself because it's black with skulls on it.  She's still in terrible pain, even with a morphine pump, poor kid.

Please keep both her and Lampshade in your prayers.

I know this post is short and rather buggy (HA!), but I have stuff to get done today.  

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

When Good Thrift Stores Go Bad and/or Stalking The Wild Lampshade

My favorite thrift store is under new management, and oh, it's awful now.  They used to be very careful about quality, and lately, I've found items that are torn and stained that cost 2 dollars or more.  There's no consistency anymore, either.  Some t-shirts might run for 90 cents and be fine, so that's a good deal, but most things are higher priced than they used to be.  The store has been rearranged, which makes it difficult to find the items I want.  It used to be, too, that clothing was arranged by color.  Now t-shirts and pants are hung up on the racks all willy-nilly.  Plus, they sell things like this now:

That's a ceramic statue that I'm sure was meant to look cute, but instead, it looks really perverted.  The little boy standing on his hands has a rip in the crotch of his pants, and the old lady is fixing them.  It just looked...  bad.  Very bad.

Lampshade has a stalker now, and she's honestly making Saige and I a tad bit nervous.  She's probably about my age, perhaps a little younger, and she moved in to a house around the corner.  Lampshade noticed her moving in, and he offered to mow her yard for free.   A few days later, the grass was coming up high again, so he mowed it for a small amount of cash.  And now she loves him.  She keeps showing up at our door, looking for him.  Saige and I found her yesterday walking up and down in front of the house.  Later, she was parked out there, watching for Lampshade.


I mean, he is pretty, of course, but still, this woman obviously doesn't know his personality or history, or she'd probably steer clear.

Photo by Saige

Remember the kittens Punc gave birth to a few months ago?  Well, all of them but one found homes.  I am so glad about that.  However, there was a feral cat who gave birth to a litter in the neighbor's garage, and then one of the kittens she had ended up in our backyard, yowling like a grouchy old man.  She is the loudest kitten I've ever heard in my life, and we've had a lot of kittens around this place.  She is also the ugliest kitten I've ever seen.  She's even uglier than Imp, who was the ugliest cat in the world until this baby came along!

Saige immediately named her Bella, due to her undeniable beauty.  Ha!  Well, the next day, there was another white kitten in our back yard.  In fact, the feral mother was there with a few other kittens, but they escaped, all but the second white one.  I wouldn't have taken the kittens, other than the fact that we have enough feral kittens around, the Animal Control dude we called wouldn't take them, and they were incredibly skinny and very dehydrated.

The second kitten looks a lot like Bella, only she has a large scratch over one of her eyes.  Her name is Lola. (Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there She would merengue and do the cha-cha, And while she tried to be a star, Tony always tended bar.. sorry, every time I say her name or write it, a Barry Manilow song hits my brain and I must sing it)

The kittens were still nursing, so we are giving them a bottle occasionally.  Both are big enough to be weaned, but Bella eats regular cat food a lot better than Lola does.  They are terrified of humans, though they are getting better about realizing we are the food source for them and therefore we are worthy of their love.  They have absolutely no fear of BDG or Fuzz Dawg, which amazes me.  Punc gets very confused about them, and will groom them and do the mama cat chirp to them, and then she'll stop as if to say, "WHO THE DOOK ARE YOU???"  Punc's kitten that didn't find a home, Gray Butt, does not like these usurpers, and she will bat at them or growl when she sees them.

Oh!  The other night Saige went outside for some reason, and there was a big raccoon on our front porch!  She texted Lampshade to tell him that the coon was there, and then her next text to him was, "HELP ME!"  Apparently the raccoon was hissing and growling, and then it went from the porch to the roof, which freaked Saige out even more than just seeing it there.  There's no cat food or anything on the porch, but the recycling bin is out there, so I figure the raccoon smelled something delicious in the bin and came up to have a look around.  

I spent the night at Jethro and Macrame's place a day or so ago.  It gave me some time to hang out with my fake grandkids.  I LOVE their place.  They have so much land, plus an old barn on the property, and lots of trees.  It's gorgeous out there.  Jethro has a little garden going, and whenever I'm there, I can't help but think of how tickled my mom would be if she knew.

Hope and Justice in the back seat of Ambrose and Erma's car, reading a book.

Jethro's little garden.  A ground hog ate up the lettuce, but the corn and tomatoes are doing well.

The barn.  The last picture I took by just putting the camera into an opening of the barn wall, and I caught an enormous spider web when I did so.  Pretty cool, huh?

Hope decided that the burned charcoal dust from the grill was "Fairy Dust" or "Pixie Dust"  She collected a cup full of it to spread around the yard.

Justice wanted some dust, too, but Hope wasn't so sure she wanted to share it.

She finally decided that sharing the dust would be nice, so Justice got a bit, too.
Justice heads for the center of these trees that have grown together over the years.

And she kept trying to get me to come in there with her.  There was no way.  I'd get myself stuck, no doubt!

Hope and I played like this log was a bridge over some water.  I kept falling in.  She made it across.

There are two beautiful birch trees near the trailer.

As well as walnut, oak, and several other varieties of tree.

Inside the barn.  In the top photo is a picture of a board that came out of an old farmhouse.  On the board the date is written--1946.  I wonder when the house was built, and why it was torn down.  It must have been pretty old in 1946!

There are rusted barrels, boards, and a truck from the 1950's in the barn, too.

Bricks from an old well 

An old hinge on the barn

I love barns, and I hate that there are so few left now.  It used to be that when we drove around the countryside, we'd see lots of barns.  Since so many farms have been purchased by corporations like Monsanto or by colleges like the University of Illinois, the barns were torn down, no longer considered necessary.  It makes me sad.

We also used to see tons of red-winged blackbirds, and those seem to be very scarce now, too.  Erma and I did see one not too long ago as we were driving, but it's so rare that we were exclaiming with excitement over that one.  

picture of a male red-winged blackbird

(I didn't take this photo.  It's from the site I linked in the above paragraph)

Anyway, after running around in the heat and sprinkling everything around with "fairy dust", the girls were pretty dirty.  I was messing around with the pump on the property, and sure enough, water came forth!  The girls had a lot of fun playing in it.

While the girls were playing, Jethro was cleaning out his car.  He works so many hours that it's difficult to find time to do those chores like cleaning the car or doing dishes, etc.

Oh! Erma is now working with Jethro, too.  Apparently their boss wants to meet me, because he wants to see this awesome woman who raised such wonderful kids on her own.

(No, he hasn't met Lampshade)

So my two oldest kids are employed with good jobs.  Macrame and Ambrose are both working, too.  Lampshade isn't looking at all for a job, but Saige has applied to place after place after place, and even got one phone interview.  She wasn't hired, but she is sure trying hard to find work.

Lamp hasn't been going to his probation meetings, so I imagine he'll probably have a warrant issued on him in the near future.  I'm not sure, because I don't really know how it all works, but I can't imagine they just let someone get away with not going or not paying their fines.

And that, my friends, is that.

Go in peace, be warm and filled!