Saturday, February 24, 2018

Purple!

The Mexican lavender has popped back in the front yard. Hurrah!

When the Daddy and the Mama bought their house a long time ago, it wasn't completely finished so the builders let us choose the colors for the rooms. I chose purple for my bedroom, my own four walls with a door. No more more sharing with the Only and Older Brother. That was a pretty good luxury for an almost 10-year-old and for the parents, too. So I think.

In the end, the painters mixed up the Parents' and my choices. They got a muted purple bedroom, while I got a bright yellow one.  Both the Mama and I were bummed, but we sucked it up. C'est la vie.

It was just as well that I didn't get my choice. The color yellow, color experts say, is great for nurturing joyfulness and stimulating intelligence and mental somersaults (perfect for growing minds), while the color purple is good for promoting deep thoughts and spirituality. Once I moved into puberty, I became a rather surly, mopey girl too serious for her own good. Thank goodness for yellow walls (and books).

When I turned 17, I painted the walls white. Boring! I was in a poetry stage, so I illustrated one of my angsty teenage poems on the south wall. Something to do about a gnu who is invited to a party but his cousins, the wildebeests, ignore him because he acts and thinks differently from them. Yeah, it was a good thing I didn't have purple walls when I was a kid.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Blooming Blooms Bloom


Despite the cold temperatures and lack of rain, the first of the wildflower blooms have appeared in the front yard. This morning, Molly the Cat and I saw a cosmos (upper left corner), lupine (upper right corner), and California poppy (lower right corner). They're all volunteers from last year's plantings.

Also presenting itself is the first freesia (lower left corner) of the season. Not sure, but I think they're from bulbs that got planted last fall. These flowers have a light fragrance. Mmmmmmmm.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

We Be Retired


Life is good.

Yesterday my retirement check got deposited and our health insurance and car insurance premiums got paid. Today we went to Costco and splurged on beer, potato chips, pesto sauce, potstickers, toilet paper, and Brita filters. Oh my goodness, we even bought a carpet runner for the hallway.

Am I being sarcastic? Facetious? I don't know anymore.

The Husband and I are now in the category of retired seniors on limited income, so buying groceries at Costco today felt like a luxury. Going home, I found myself justifying the purchases by figuring how much we saved by buying in bulk.  

Going through life with the responsible happy-a-go-lucky Husband makes living less scary. I truly believe him when I ask him to tell me "Everything will be all right." The Husband thinks that people ought to eat well because it helps maintain good health. Why should we deprive ourselves of good health, regardless of our income, right?

Yup. Life is good. At the moment the Husband and I are snacking on the potato chips and beer while we play on our computers. It also sounds like a winter storm may be heading our way.



Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Gentle Grousing with Ghandi and Guy

  
Note: That's the French pronunciation of Guy, said like ghee, a kind of clarified butter.
That said, on with this week's tale for ABC Wednesday.
* * *

"Guy, you'll tear that guide yet," said Ghandi the Gamekeeper, glancing over at Guy A. Gator the Grill Chef, who was whipping not-so-gladly through Gator Cuisine. Ghandi laid a three of hearts down on his game of solitaire.

Guy slapped his hand on a page so vehemently the gin-mill of a bar went silent for a glued second. Guy growled. Or, was it more of a groan? "Look at this!"

Ghandi leaned over the gator's shoulder and read aloud, "The Greatest Gator Gumbo!"

Ghandi grazed Guy's shoulder lightly and gingerly, so the big guy knew that the giraffe was in his corner. "Humans and their follies," said Ghandi.

The two good friends raised their glasses in the air, took a long gulp of martini, gibbered, then sighed.

"Today, a human wanted a special order of gator gumbo," grumped Guy.

"How did you set her straight?"

"I presented myself at her table, bowed, and gently stated 'Madame, I am very sorry. It is our policy to forgo the serving of alligator meat. Please choose another dish.' The waiters told me that I turned about with so much grandioso and gravitas, the customer genuflected behind me."

Ghandi guffawed and snorted while Guy grinned and guzzled more martini.

"How was your day, mi trés grand ami, with the games?" Guy asked after Ghandi's last giggle.


"The grass is no greener on my side. At least today," griped Ghandi. "Bingo and Bubba Byrd spent hours at the putting green on the mezzanine. They were gabbing and gossiping the whole time. After they left, it took forever to scrape their poop off the fake grass."

"A gamekeeper's job is never done, from rising to setting sun," toasted Guy. Ping went their glasses as they touched.

Ghandi continued his grievance, "Charlie the Camel galloped in today. Do you know him?"

"He is a gigantic consumer of our vegan gumbo," Guy gushed proudly.

"Charlie is also a ginormous pinball game fanatic. He does his best to share, but once he gets going, he bogarts the pinball machine and I hear grumbles and groans from the other animals. And, Charlie is a rambunctious gamester, gyrating like Elvis and gurgling when he wins and growling when he doesn't. He grips the machine so tightly that gashes in the wood and glass have started to appear."

"Thank goodness the only creatures waiting a turn were Filemon the Flying Squirrel and Edwina the Egret. After playing a game of Life, they gave up on Charlie and went outdoors to glide to and from between the building's gables, which they know they are not to do."

"Golly, it does sound like a lot of fun," said Guy, glowing from his second martini. He raised his glass. "As the original Ghandi said, 'Hate the sin, love the sinner.'"

"He had such a gracious way of saying things," said Ghandi the Gamekeeper, clinking his glass to Guy's. "'In a gentle way, you can shake the world.'"


G is the theme for week two of Round 22 of ABC Wednesday. Check it out here. Thank you much, ABCW team!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Seeing Things in Things

See the rat (on the left) walking up the top of the hill?
The Husband and I see faces and shapes in rocks, trees, and other inanimate objects. How about you?

Scientists call this phenomenon of seeing things within things facial pareidolia. Some experts say that neurotic individuals are inclined to have this ability. Other experts claim that this condition is quite strong in religious people and those who believe in the supernatural. Leonardo da Vinci considered pareidolia as a tool that artists can use to visualize possible scenes to paint or draw. Carl Sagan thought that pareidolia was a form of survivor tool for individuals to recognize if approaching people are friendly or not. All interesting theories, don't you think?

A tree full of trolls?

What profile do you see: A person? An antelope? Sideshow Bob?


I'm hooking up with Our World Tuesday. Here's the link for you to check out participants from around the world, and maybe to join up yourself. Thanks, Our World Tuesday hosts!

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Monday Ponder


I got to wondering: Are we so healthy that the doctors have nothing to do but administer medication for the flu?

I find it curious that when we get the flu, our tendency is to see the doctor or go to the emergency room for an antidote to the virus. It used to be when we got the flu and saw the doctor, he would try not to scoff at us. "It's just the flu," he'd say. "Go home, get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and cover your mouth, for gosh sake, when you cough or sneeze." Well, the doctor wouldn't forsake the gosh, or, if he did, at least not say it out loud."

Same thing with the cold. I think the doctor would actually look at us with disdain, but he would've covered his scowl by puffing out cigarette smoke, if those old movies are to be believed that doctors smoked cigarettes while seeing their patients.

The difference between having a cold and the flu? To me, the Husband is quite a lot more miserable when he has the flu. Over the last several years,  however, he's not as miserable so last month I was surprised when he told me it was the flu he had. "This too will pass," he said, staying warm under the blankets. The Husband is a tough cookie, I tell you.

As to my original question (up at the top of the post if you can't recall), I do think that we're healthier, in general, and the doctors are quite busy helping us stay healthier.

Until later.

P.S. We're actually having a wintery day! The wind is swishing through the trees and chilled air is coming through the windows. Excuse me, I need to find my sweatshirt.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Six Years Together!


Today marks Molly the Cat's sixth anniversary with us.

Yup, six years ago, Molly the Cat and I locked eyes as I walked towards the cat adoption fair in the pet store. She seemed to be daring me to choose her instead of old steady calm Pirate with the one eye. As Molly paced back and forth in her cage, glaring at me, I thought, "She looks like a handful."

The Husband told me that when he first saw Molly, he thought, "That's a cutie."

So it was me that Molly needed to convince to want to pick her up. I'm glad she did. I can't remember what it was like before Molly the Cat, Missy Molly by Golly, came into our lives.

The first time Molly graced the blogosphere.

These Humans let me sleep anywhere I want.

That shed is no more. I loved sitting on its roof and sleeping under its eaves.

Once I mark this, it's mine, whatever it is.

Walking the fence was fun when I was a youngster.

A hunting I shall go, a hunting I shall go. . .Bugs!

Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Six years later, the Humans still let me sleep anywhere I want.

There's nothing like a good book.

I miss the Little Old Lady.

Me and my Humans made the local papers: This is the day we adopted each other.


I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jesh St.G. Click here to check out Jesh and her meme. For the participants list, click here. Thanks, Jesh!



Saturday, February 17, 2018

Roast Beef Sandwich for Breakfast


I've heard the Husband say at least twice how much he enjoyed his roast beef sandwich for breakfast this morning.

I generally figure every morning that I'll be having a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast. Easy-peasy, you know. Some mornings I surprise the Husband and me by making a hot breakfast. I hadn't planned on it today but I started flipping through a cookbook  because I decided to weed out the cookbook collection. After all how many cookbooks do I need when I'm not one to follow a recipe the way it's written?

I didn't know I had a Costco cookbook (I wonder if I got it for free). It has lots of cool photos illustrating short and delicious-sounding recipes from big-time chefs such as Mary Esposito and Jamie Oliver. I found a recipe towards the end of the cookbook that inspired today's breakfast. Coincidentally, the Husband walked into the kitchen as the oven light bulb lit over my head.

The poor Husband. I often, if not nearly almost, don't consider that the Husband is still waking up when I ask him hard questions, like this morning:  "Doesn't horseradish mayonnaise sound good? Would you like a roast beef sandwich with horseradish mayonnaise for breakfast?"

"Roast beef sandwich for breakfast," he repeated. He's thinking it's not a breakfast food. He'd like the sandwich. He knows he would. 

"We have horseradish mayonnaise?" he asked. I tell you, I literally saw a question mark over his head.

"No, but I can easily make it. We have horseradish and we have mayonnaise. What do you think? A roast beef sandwich for breakfast. I can add an avocado to it."

"Mmm. We have roast beef?"

"It's in the freezer."

"Meat takes a long time." He kind of looked disappointed.

"It's cooked already. I saw the container of roast beef in the freezer the other day. A few pieces left. I pop them into the toaster oven to defrost. What do you say?"

"Sure, I'll have a roast beef sandwich for breakfast."

The result was a roast beef-farmer's cheese sandwich on sliced sourdough bread, on which I spread a horseradish, avocado, and minced red onion mayonnaise mixture. Next time I'll skip the mayonnaise. I also added an overflowing handful of baby lettuces for good measure. Yummmm.

I ask you: When was the last time you had a roast beef sandwich for breakfast?


Friday, February 16, 2018

Happy Lunar New Year!


Happy Chinese New Year!

Today is the first day of the Year of the Dog, a new year on the Chinese lunar calendar. The Dog is one of the 12 symbolic animals in the Chinese zodiac, meaning each animal-year comes up every 12 years.  The rose is one of the lucky flowers for those born in the year of the Dog. Interestingly, 2018 is not such a lucky year for Dogs.

Do you want to know more about the Year of the Dog, whether you're a Dog, the Chinese zodiac, or the Chinese lunar calendar? Here's one web page to check out.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Winter Afternoon Light


“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Travel with Charley: In Search of America is in one of my to-read book piles. It may be the next book I reach for, being that I'm curious to learn what John Steinbeck was seeking as he wandered about the country with his canine pal Charley in 1960. Steinbeck was traveling in the era to which the present administration seems to want to return. You know the "Make America Great Again". Myself, I would rather not return to the age when civil rights for all was not honored by those mean-spirited in power and those cowardly who sided with the powerful.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Filemon the Flying Squirrel's First Flight


Filemon the Flying Squirrel fixed his goggles fairly on his face. He took a few deep breaths to steady his fraught nerves. Really, truly, he repeated to himself, he had nothing to fear. So said his friends Bingo and Bubba Byrd who sat beside him.

"Filemon, flying is what you are about," said Bingo, patting his shoulder.

What if it isn't?" fretted Filemon.

"Dude, you're feeling first-time jitters," Bubba said. "I was awfully fidgety before my first flight. But when I took my first hop into flight, oh my folly golly jolly. I was all fat smiles. My wings flung widely. I floated in sunshine. It was fantastic, Filemon!"

Filemon found himself feeling quite calm.

"Filemon! Filemon! Filemon!"

The flying squirrel searched the ground below for the source of the faint cries. There, near the shoreline were his friends jumping up and down on the beach and waving funny red signs.

"Filemon!" cheered Agathe the Aardvark. Following her was Edwina the Egret, "Filemon!" and not to be outdone was Charlie the Camel, "Filemon!"

"Look who also made it for your inaugural flight," said Bingo, pointing her red sign towards the sea.

Leapfrogging beside their huge red sign were the Daffodil triplets—Davey and her two brothers Dicky and Danny. Filemon could't hear them, but he knew they, too, were shouting cheers of encouragment.

My friends are far-out fabulous! thought Filemon. He nodded to the Byrds. "I'm ready."

"We'll count you off," said Bingo. Filemon took one more deep breath as he got into take-off position.

"Five!" Bubba began.

"Fifteen!" continued Bingo.

"Five hundred fifty-five!" Filemon shouted, taking his first step into flight. "Ffffwwweeeeeeeeee!"

"Hurrah, Hurrah! Hurrah, Hurrah!" shouted the Byrds from the tree, the Daffodils from the sea, and the trio of Agathe, Edwina, and Charlie from the ground below.  "Fly, Filemon, Fly!"

Filemon felt so alive! His heart was filled with so much frabjous joy and love. Filemon called down to all his favorite buddies, "Thank you, thank you for your friendship! Happy Valentine's Day!"



F is the theme for week two of Round 22 of ABC Wednesday. Check it out here. Thank you much, ABCW team!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Yesterday & Today in the Front Yard


The other day I came across these photos of the Mama's front yard in 2010. Neat and proper, how the Mama loved her gardens and landscaping to be. A philosophy that differs from mine, which is essentially a higgledy-piggledy one, although you might say that there is order in chaos.


It has been almost two years since I've taken over the Mama's gardens and landscaping. Flowers have gotten out of hand. The canna lilies, for example, were winning in their plot to take over the front garden so I dug out most of the bulbs and transplanted many elsewhere last month. The Mama's rosemary bushes, on the other hand, are getting straggly in a way that I wonder if they may be on their last legs.

The Mama's roses got rather tall. Some nearly reached the roof. She deadheaded them, but after someone mentioned how tall the roses were, she was no longer interested in cutting them back. So I thought. Now I wonder if was because it was too difficult for her to prune them and she didn't want to ask me to do it for her. Here's a link to the story about the Mama and her tall roses.

At the end of December, I got brave and pruned the roses back. They're still on the tall side. Here's how the front and side gardens looked yesterday. Notice how full the bougainvillea and jade plants have gotten near the front door. I suppose I ought to trim them for easier access to the front step.


As some of you may know I've written previously about how the Mama loved having a lawn. Green and plush, which was difficult those last several years of her life because we were in a horrible drought. We were limited to our water use, so the Mama had to choose: the lawn or her vegetable and flower gardens. She settled for the Husband watering the lawn sparsely, but there was usually evidence that she had watered the lawn when we had gone off for the afternoon. Here's the Mama's lawn in 2010.


And, here's a picture of what the ever evolving landscape looked like last month. Higgidley-piggidley in a somewhat orderly way. The daisies, roses, geraniums, and most of the succulents were plants that the Mama kept in containers.

I like to think the Mama's spirit is pleased with the changes made to the once-upon-a-time lawn. What do you think?



I'm hooking up with Our World Tuesday. Here's the link for you to check out participants from around the world, and maybe to join up yourself. Thanks, Our World Tuesday hosts!

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Monday Morning


Yesterday afternoon, and into the night, I essentially did something like a cramming session. As is my wont, I waited to the last minute to complete documents to bring to the self-help legal center at the courthouse this morning.

Monday is the only day the center is open for five hours. I made sure that the Husband and I got out of the house in time to get there at 8:00 a.m. because I was told that people begin lining up minutes before the door opens.

Half a block away I could see parking spaces right next to the building. We were so in luck!

The courthouse doors were still locked at 8:01 a.m. Peeking through the glass door, we saw no guards manning the security screening machines. Odd, right? I walked a bit further up and noticed through the windows that the shades were drawn at the counter where the court clerks ought to be. Eerie!

"Is this a holiday?" I asked the Husband.

"Is this the 19th?" he answered. "President's Day is the 19th."

"That's next week. I'm going over to the bakery. Maybe they'll know."

I took a couple of steps and happened to see the paper sign taped to the inside of the window next to the door. CLOSED for LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY.

Oh well.

Back at the car, we were telling each other that since we're dressed we ought to go somewhere. So we headed over to a nearby local park for a walk.  My bum knees let me walk about half a mile along the path. Hurrah. The Husband walked further. When we sat on a bench for a rest before heading back to the car, I noticed that my tunic was inside out.

"It's a good thing the court was closed," said the Husband. "The impression you would've made."

A flibbertigibbet one, I suppose.  Giggle.



Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Pleasant Drive to the Pet Store


I took this photo a few days ago. This is part of Pajaro Valley, east of Watsonville, in Santa Cruz County. Do the mountains look far away? Because they really are.  The Husband and I drive through this valley on our way to and from Freedom where we buy Molly the Cat's food.

It's about an hour round drive, but so worth the peace of mind we get as we drive the back roads of the valley and along the windy low mountain pass highway to San Benito County where we live. Once through the pass, we drive through San Juan Valley to our town of Hollister, which is in the tail end of the Santa Clara valley. As a kid, I heard people say we live in Hollister Valley or San Benito Valley. These days I read about our town nestled in a small valley, so I wonder if our valley has a formal name, now forgotten. That's something to look up one day.


I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jesh St.G. Click here to check out Jesh and her meme. For the participants list, click here. Thanks, Jesh!


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Being Spontaneous


Finally!

I am done cleaning the stove.

This was not a chore I planned. The idea was to wipe the top of the electric stove and the back splash with a very hot soapy rag.

La la la I go and before I know it I have disassembled the stove top and scoured gunk off the drip bowls and then took off the range fan filter to scrub the grease off with baking soda (better than cleanser). Yeah, I know, I can purchase the drip bowls and fan filter at the hardware store. No need to exert extra muscle power. Here's the thing: I'm in the middle of cleaning the stove and there's no guarantee that our local hardware shop will have the precise things. And, if it doesn't, then that would mean a trip to one of the big box hardware stores in the next town, less than 20 miles away.

Wait for it. Here it comes. . . But, if traffic is stop-and-go on the two-lane highway out of our town, which can happen any time of the day, any day of the week. (Nobody wanted to think ahead about the increase in traffic on a two-lane road that would come with the rapid increase in housing developments because out county doesn't have the right kind of industries to employ the people who buy the new homes.) Without many options to turn back or take alternative back roads that would not be going bumper to bumper, all I could do then would be to worry about whether the engine will overheat, due to a non-functioning fan, before we get to anywhere. That's right, I would drag the Husband with me because misery likes company.

Back to the stove. Not only did I do a decent cleaning of the stove top and range, I opened the oven door and gave it a good enough clean, too. The last two times the oven was baking stuff at 400 degrees or more, the smoke alarm woke up. Normally that wouldn't bother me. The other morning I wanted to bake biscuits but I was afraid the smoke alarm would say hello and wake the Husband who needed at least another hour of slumber.

So, there you go. My spontaneous bout of cleaning on a gorgeous Saturday. Not to worry I got some morning sun this morning. Before breakfast, Molly the Cat and me basked in the morning sun for an hour or so while I pulled out weeds. That was something else not planned. I'm glad to know I can still be spontaneous.


Friday, February 9, 2018

On Alert


While Molly was chewing on grass this morning, someone coasted to a stop in front of our house. Molly quickly came to attention.  She watched the woman park, get out of her car, and walk across the street. Midway, the woman turned back to her car. Molly, who probably thought the stranger was heading into our yard, zooooooooomed past me and into the house. So much for Molly the Guard Cat.

I'm participating in a new linky part today. It's called Friday Photo Journal, hosted by Melissa at Serendipity is Sweet. Check it out here.  Thanks, Melissa!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Party's Over


Molly the Cat plays as hard as she sleeps. 
And, when she's done playing, she's done. 
Over and out!


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Edwina the Ecru Egret


On the 88th floor of the Earhart edifice, Edwina the Ecru Egret pressed the down button to the elevator.

She was exhausted. She had spent the last hour consulting with a career expert. "You have enormous empathy for your fellow egrets," the counselor evoked enthusiastically. "You would excel exceedingly well in educational counseling."

Edwina sighed. How could she help others when editing her own life was sometimes an elegiac effort? Perhaps she ought to be an eyelet punch operator.

The elevator doors opened.

"Edwina, my darling girl!"

"Agathe!" the ecru egret exulted. "How was Europe?"

The two old friends hugged and kissed.

"Europe was enchanting," Agathe the Aaardvark exclaimed. "I must go pay this electrical bill. Could you wait for me? Maybe have lunch?"

Edwina had no other engagement so Agathe expressed herself down the hall and was back at the elevator in no time at all.

"I love your hat, Edwina. So chic." Agathe examined it closely. "Isn't that an Eastern Imperial eagle feather?"

"Yes, it's from Edgar," said Edwina, tears slipping from her eyes.

Agathe patted the egret, thinking, "Unrequited love. So excruciating."

"Darling," said Agathe ever so gently, "I ran into Edgar in the European Green Belt."

"How is he?" Edwina's eyes shined with enchantment.

"He is well, as is his wife and their new eaglet."

Edwina dropped her head. "I didn't even know he was engaged."

"It's for the better," Agathe said. "Long distance relationships are easier said than done."

Edwina sighed, then reached deeply into herself to extract a smile. "Come, Agathe," she said energetically. "Let's go toast your homecoming with Espresso martinis and bounce to some Bruno Mars."

"That's my girl," said Agathe.

The elevator arrived at the 88th floor. As the two old friends entered the lift, Edwina asked, "Did you know Charlie the Camel entered a cable car bell ringing contest? And, the Daffodil triplets are disco dancing again?"

The elevator doors closed on the old friends' evocative giggles, chortles, and snorts.


E is the theme for week two of Round 22 of ABC Wednesday. Check it out here. Thank you much, ABCW team!


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

First Sightings of Spring


On Saturday, I saw a few California poppies waving "Hey ya! Hi ya! How ya?" from some slopes along the road. Whooo-hooo!

I also saw irises nestled in with some yellow ice plants along a sidewalk in the town next over. Yippieee!

On the home front, our ornamental pear tree is full of snow-white blossoms.  Wheeeeeeee!



I'm hooking up with Our World Tuesday. Here's the link for you to check out participants from around the world, and maybe to join up yourself. Thanks, Our World Tuesday hosts!