Break A Leaf: The Garden Show Must Go On

What is a garden, but one big stage production?


And as any well-grounded director knows, every big theater production is filled with characters.


Here’s the diva, a honey locust tree, bowing to the backyard audience, wowing them with her pale yellow scented spring flowers.


Below her, the stones and grasses, covered with her discarded snowflake-like flower petals, create an encouraging group of extras, allowing her to look her best.  Always.


Meanwhile, out in the front yard along the driveway, catmint is stealing the show.  He’s the star who has blossomed into his own this year, giving a most dazzling performance.


While on the other side of the front yard, under some birch trees, his understudy waits in the wings, hoping to grow-up and be as famous as his great-uncle over by the driveway.


Around back, the colorful ingénues are content, contained until it is time for their dramatic entrance onto the stage.  So young.  So pretty.


Near the ingénues, the comedy duo of tomato and pepper sit hopefully.  Grown ostensibly for their vegetables, more often than not, these garden stars fall victim to the shenanigans of overly enthusiastic fans such as squirrels and raccoons.


And finally, no production would be complete without a character actor who supports the story.  A true thespian, sure of where he is going, the stone path is always willing to allow the other plants to shine.  Knowing that without him, there’d be no garden production at all.


My Neighborhood: Not Much Of A Story, But The News Is Good

The economy has perked up around here and with it, the real estate market.  House sales are beginning to happen faster.  That is, houses are on the market for weeks now, instead of for months & months.

Neighbors who are selling their homes are sprucing up what they have, meaning that our street has looked exceptionally nice this spring.  And with the subsequent home sales, we have new younger, active neighbors.

This is a good thing, huh?

~ • ~

I’m seeing lots of these now.

~ • ~

I realized the foregoing as I was driving, very slowly, the long way home through our subdivision.  It dawned on me that as well as being outside on the move, many of our new neighbors are driving new cars.  Perhaps I’m overly aware of this sort of thing because I drive a 12 y.o. car, but I was kind of amazed.

~ • ~

I’m not seeing any of these.

~ • ~

The cars that I noticed weren’t fancy and/or sporty.  They were Fords or Toyotas or Hyundais, usually trucks or mini-vans or SUVs, middle of the line, practical.  But they were bright + shiny + new.

So that’s what’s up around here.  Not too exciting from a blog story-telling point of view, but encouraging from a midwest homeowners point of view.  Of which I am one.

You gotta take the happy where you find it, eh?

Fuzzy The Squirrel: Color Consultant & Investment Advisor

IT WAS A beautiful clear spring day, so I went outside to photograph the new gutter on the back of the house.  It’s the one that we had to buy to replace the storm-damaged gutter that fell down last autumn.


I WAS TRYING to decide if the new gutter, which came in Desert Sand, was going to blend, as is, with the rest of the house trim.  Or, if it was going to have to be painted SW Agreeable Gray to match the house trim.


BUT AS I was standing there snapping photos I was startled when I noticed that on top of the screened-in porch roof, under the new gutter, was Fuzzy the Squirrel watching me.


SEEING AS HE was already up there and in a good place to look around, I asked him what he thought I should do about my color dilemma.


FUZZY, WHO IS always happy to be included in our plans, carefully perused the situation then confirmed what I was hoping.


“LADY, YOU’D BE crazy to hire someone to climb up here and paint this new gutter.  I can barely see a difference between the two colors.…


IN FACT, I think that your monies would be better spent on buying a few more tomato plants for the deck + maybe a nut tree or two for the backyard.  Much better investments.  In my humble squirrel-y opinion.”

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Candy Crush Soda Saga OR Lumosity: A Quiz To Determine Which One Is For You

::  THE QUIZ  ::

Q1:  Do you like to eat chocolate?  Y or N

Q2:  Do you resent being asked, every stinking day, how many hours you slept last night?  Y or N

Q3:  Do you enjoy searching for cute bears hidden underneath things?  Y or N

Q4:  Are you indifferent to the migratory patterns of flocks of black birds on a screen?  Y or N

• • •

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 9.09.04 AM

• • •

Q5:  Are you always up for a colorful, cheerful game with lots of groovy fish that make things blow up?  Y or N

Q6:  Do you think that doing arithmetic problems, that fall randomly down your screen, are the real reason you have begun to have nightmares about 5th grade again?  Y or N

Q7:  Do you think that when you lose a game seeing the message “You’ll get it next time!” is encouraging?  Y or N

Q8:  Do you think that when you encounter the opportunity to make words starting with two random letters, it’s best to make a long multi-syllabled word and that it’s poor manners to scold someone for not making a short three-letter word?  Y or N

• • •

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 • • •

Q9:  Do you like to eat honey?  Y or N

Q10:  Do you think that any game, for which you cannot find an unauthorized website of cheats + hacks, is of dubious value because you’re not learning how to advance in the game?  Y or N

Q11:  Do you think that you did your time as a waitress in college and need not relive that experience by serving pretend food + beverages to cartoon people, with specific names, at a nondescript virtual beach cafe?  Y or N

Q12:  Do you think that you can keep your brain healthy and sharp by playing a free game;  rather than challenging your cognitive abilities by playing games that have a monthly fee? Y or N

::  SCORING  ::

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 9.10.51 AMThe more you answered YESthe more you will like CANDY CRUSH SODA SAGA.   

You can learn more about the game here.

• • •

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 10.29.16 AMConversely, the more you answered NO, the more you will like LUMOSITY.

You can learn more about brain training here.   

Of Slow Cooker Wisdom And Simple Garden Plans

“Knowledge is the process of piling up facts;  wisdom lies in their simplification.”

Martin H. Fischer, Physician and Author

• • •

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 8.51.47 AMWE SPENT MOST of this past warm and beautiful spring weekend working in the garden.

My goal, influenced by the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook , is to have what I’ve come to call a slow cooker garden.

A space filled with variety, but put together in a way that is simple to understand.  Pleasant to look at, but requiring less and less effort each year to maintain.

That is, we’re going to fix it now with perennials, paths and stones;  then forget about changing anything out there for the next decade.

• • •

SO WHAT HAVE we got going on?  Well, we’ve got:

  • a plethora of roses + daisies + hostas in planting beds beside stone and/or concrete steps that circle the house;
  • a landscape island in the front yard near the street filled with grasses and mostly purple flowers;
  • a newly installed dry faux creek bed under the deck;  AND
  • a lower terrace in the back yard down by the woods that features stone steps, grasses, roses plus the recent addition of difficult-to-find milkweed.  *yeah*

• • •

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 9.15.17 AMI’M NOT SURE how our garden ended up being so multi-faceted and unique, but over the years, little by little, it did.

My hope is that when it comes time to sell this property, like the HGTV show CURBAPPEAL suggests, the awe-inspiring exterior of the property will be so amazing that this house’s relatively small square footage won’t hinder a sale.

However, be that as it may, in the mean time, I’m not worrying about real estate business-y things like ROI.  Instead, I’m going to groove on all that we have going on in our pretty, pretty garden.

• • •

So tell me, gentle readers: how does your garden grow?

Bunny Haiku & To April I Say Adieu

April is one of my least favorite months of the year.

I’m allergic to it and I don’t groove on all the mud courtesy of the rain and I have to pay taxes and I have to watch on the news while “patriotic” wingnuts get their panties in a wad over what it means to be an American and et cetera, et cetera.


However, one thing that I do like about April is that it’s national poetry month.  I didn’t learn much of anything about poetry when I was in college because my English major program was much too practical for such things, but I did learn how to write a haiku.

Thus I give you the following poem, with stunning rabbit-y photos taken yesterday, as my good-bye to April, a month that makes me sneeze like no other month can.


Bunny Haiku


Bunny on a hill,


Spotted me, then turned ’round,


Now perfectly still.

Curly Hair, Haircut Appointments & The Games I Must Play

I.  I have naturally curly hair. 

Only a few people know how to cut naturally curly hair so that it doesn’t turn into a frizzy, choppy mess.  In fact, I recently got one of those lousy haircuts, but that’s not the story I’m going to tell you here.

No, this story is about how it came to be that I needed to go to a different hair stylist than my usual one.  It is a story about how difficult it is to get an appointment with my usual hair stylist, who moved her business to Salon Lofts about two years ago.

II.  Here’s why.

As a client I book my appointments with my hair stylist online using the Salon Lofts easy, intuitive scheduler.  ‘Tis a breeze to use it.  Love it.

At first this process was easy and wonderful.  When I needed a haircut I’d go to my account online and look to see when my hair stylist had an opening.  Then I’d pick my appointment.

However, other deceitful clients have begun to take all the appointments that they think they might want.  For instance, if Little Miss Suzy Self-Absorbed likes to get her hair cut at a specific time on Wednesday afternoons, she’ll book all of those Wednesday afternoon appointments for months ahead.

Then, 24 hours before said appointment, our Little Miss Suzy Self-Absorbed will decide if this is the week she needs to get her hair cut, or not.  If she no longer wants the appointment, she’ll cancel it without financial penalty.

III.   This leaves me in a difficult situation.

Either I play this take-all-the-appointments-I-might-want-game, or I check online every morning to see if an appointment I can use has opened up for the next day.  Then I re-arrange my schedule to take advantage of it.

I’ve talked with my hair stylist about this scheduling situation, but here’s the thing: from her point of view this is not a problem.  After 30+ years of cutting hair she has an established clientele who will do anything to get an appointment, so she’s always booked with clients who show up.

Leaving me to play games to get an appointment.  And when that fails, forcing me to go to some other available hair stylist who, as this last cut would prove, ain’t so good at what she does.