We are early risers. Rescue dogs Lily and Lulu go outside for their last evening ablutions around 7. With cooler weather here we woke even earlier than normal today. Lulu got to pick front or back yard, and chose back. Lily ambled over to the end of the yard to scratch and sniff what changed over night. Lulu took the other side. Leaves flew, loud hissing and a grey blur darted out, long, ropy pink tail.

Oh no! Rats again. I looked closer before running to get a broom. Too big for rats. Small possum!

It was somewhat cornered. The house was to its left, I was behind it, Lulu was in front and Lily to its right. Lily had yet to catch wind of it and Lulu was feigning disinterest. It backed away, looking over its shoulder every second or two at me. I gave it a wide berth, and it turned and ran around me to the other side of the yard where it climbed the fence. Lulu, realizing her quarry was escaping dashed after it, too late as it topped the fence and toddled away. At this point Lily got interested and she and Lulu darted back and forth along the fence to see where it was.

Long gone.

I am happy to have these little visitors. They don’t carry rabies because their body temperature is too low. They feast on beetles, cockroaches, ticks and all sorts of other unwanted pests. They are virtually harmless and more afraid of me than I of them.

IMG_0216.JPGWe know something is out here. We’ll wait.

I haven’t seen a possum in the yard for a while. Maybe being so preoccupied with Lily and her surgery recoveries I hadn’t noticed. Besides, there are fewer steps to the front door than the back door so because it’s easier for Lily we’ve gone out there more than the back yard. Not much happens in the front yard. The occasional rabbit maybe.

I miss seeing deer. To many people they are big pests. They eat a lot of flowers and shrubs but they are so graceful. Where I moved from I often would see them early mornings at my bird feeders eating all the birdseed, then drink out of the bird bath. It did not take much to scare them off. They would sail over the yard fence like they could fly.


There has been a lot of new construction in this little town. New homes, shopping centers. Development is normally a good thing but eventually there is no more room to build. Which means wildlife has no place to go. So they find themselves in backyards and some humans are not willing to share. Seems unfair to me. Here we have helped ourselves to their homes, cleared their trees and underbrush. When I lived in south Florida I learned about melaleuca, a small, non-native invasive tree also known as tea tree. These were planted everywhere because they soak all the water with their fibrous root system and make marshland dry. So every now and then a massive hurricane comes along where nature tries to reclaim itself.

Against humans it is something of a losing battle.

I wish I had an answer.




This has never been a sore subject. When I was little I was often left to myself. This was not good. I had friends and play dates but there were infrequent occasions I found myself on my own of a Saturday. I don’t remember where my mother was, maybe not home, but even if she were I still found some way to get into something. When she lamented to her friends not knowing what to do with me they suggested shopping, playing a game, having my hair ‘done’. My mother knew I did not care for shopping and she had no intention of playing a child game. So she took me to her hairdresser.


I had wayward hair. One Sunday I was having such a hard time brushing it before dressing for church. I found a pair of scissors and cut off any cowlick or wisp that would not brush flat. To avoid that happening again Mother once invited me to sit at her mirrored dressing table to brush my hair. Frustrated, I slammed the hairbrush down on the table shattering the mirror.

IMG_0171.JPGIf my hair were a vine it would do this

The trip to the salon was a disaster. The ladies made so much over me, complimenting the thick brown tangle on my head. I was given a permanent. I only wish they were temporary. My mom couldn’t say enough about it. I felt like my third grade teacher. Her hair looked like it was carved out of yellow plastic. Nothing moved.

Somehow my father solved the whole thing. He commuted each week to a big city and took me with him. He had contacts in advertising and they directed him to a place where I could have a good haircut. This was a place models frequented and the ones having their hair done that day happened to love children so made me feel quite important. So much that I had no idea what was going on with my hair. When I was spun around to face the mirror, it was gone. Well, all but an inch or so. All over my head.


My dad said something to the effect of looking like a pixie, but I was in shock. I was bald!

My mother was happy. Not only was there nothing for me to hack away at, it would take some time before it would grow out enough to be any problem.

This hair went through many manifestations through my life. Long, short, thick, Sun-In lightened. Not really much trouble.

Until I hit mid-life.

Then the grey started. I didn’t mind this much, but the grey was unlike the brown. It did things the brown would not do and would not do what the brown did. I could grow it long enough to put it in a pony tail, braid or hair clip. It was worse in summer humidity. When I lived in northwest New Mexico it was flat. Back here on the coastal east it goes through transitions with the seasons so I have taken to wearing bandannas. They make my head hot but no one sees the mop on my head. Unruly maybe, but manageable.

So happy cool weather is coming.





remembering in dreams

Both my parents have passed away. My mom over 30 years ago, my dad 13 years ago. We had stuff. Emotional, psychological. Some like most families, some not. I had frequent dreams about them after they died. Not awful, not exciting, they were just part of the dreams. The other day I realized I could not recall when I’d last dreamt with them in the dream. There’s been a lot going on and I tend to not remember dreams at all unless they are really lucid or vivid ones. So last night I dreamed about both of them. This dream was like a culmination of many memories from when they were living, when my son was small, when I worked for my father at his newspaper.



I woke not remembering clearly the dream itself as much as how I felt, and I felt much the same as I had when I was first divorced and had lost all sense of direction.


Stressed, anxious, under pressure, inadequate. Horrible. I know in this dream, like in that part of my life I was doing the very best I could, trying too hard. I have no idea what prompted this dream or these memories. My roof has just finally been replaced, the insurance check which was more than the estimate came in time to pay the roofers. I gave them the full amount of the check, less what it would cost to paint the foyer ceiling. I do not know why I would have such a dream when my sense of responsibility is off the meter.


My dream book says dreams of anxiety portend coming favorable circumstances. That seeking approval means instead of seeking approval from others I need to seek acceptance from myself. When parents appear in dreams after they have died it is a message of love and warmth, and sometimes a warning. Of what I have no idea.

Just hope the roof holds.



A park in a city where  I used to live had such a Canada goose problem they hired border collies to get them to fly away. They usually came back the next day, so it took many tries before the geese got too discouraged to bother going back. Recently I rode my bike to the library to get some books and saw a flock of these geese milling around, with a librarian gently shooing them away.


The point was, she said, to get them off the sidewalk. There are these sheet metal dog-shaped statues in the grass there that swivel and are supposed to frighten off the geese. But as you can see the geese ignore it.

I walk almost every day. Usually for an hour or more, now that the weather has (likely temporarily) cooled some. I don’t take rescue dogs Lily and Lulu now. Lily is still building her strength after her surgery and Lulu just doesn’t like to walk that far.   And generally not without her pal, Lily. So occasionally a neighbor sees me and asks after Lily. I am running out of things to say. No, she isn’t up to walking far, yet. Yes, she seems to be doing some better. But this recovery is incremental. So I am often surprised when I have this very conversation with a neighbor and just a few days later they are so surprised to see me without a dog. These are not particularly elderly people (which is relative, based on my own age. To a 20-year-old they’d be ancient.), so I wonder do they forget? Not hear me? Do I say it in such a way as to indicate recovery is imminent? So I explain, again.


I have a tiny backyard. Maybe 40 feet by 20 feet. I over planted. Three fig trees, a hedge of lemon grass that’s hard to get around, an elderberry that is very happy where it is. There are many plants that I like but I have to be practical. Even though they do well it makes no sense to have them choking each other out. When they begin to die back I’ll move some, though I have no idea where.


Same with house plants. This climate is almost tropical in summer so house plants and orchids love being outside. But some do so well they outgrow their pots and by end of summer I have to divide them into more plants. Philodendron and aloes are most, then Christmas cactus and arrowhead plants. These I divided into so many smaller plants I finally consolidated them into bigger pots.


But somehow when it truly does get colder (for about 3 months) I have to find places for all of these plants inside the house. Which means spraying them for bugs and not overwatering or drying them out.

After hurricane season.


vicious to vicTORious

Three letters inserted in a word that means spiteful, malicious, hateful… tor. It’s not a much-used word. These 3 little letters, meaning “a high rock, a pile of stones” (Oxford English Dictionary) change the basest attitude to triumph.


I recently read a devotion by author Lysa Terkeurst about the devil. He does all he can to distract, delude, dissuade, discourage, divert me off track. He wants to make me sad, angry, self-pitying, ungrateful, hopeless, discouraged. And sometimes he is almost successful. The tears he covets are cleansing, not destructive. The more he produces frustrated tears, the more washed my soul. He never wins.

Because of my Rock.

Dorian, as destructive as it was to many places did very little damage to my area. But it did not miss me. Maybe the damage began with last year’s storms and became evident this year. I am among those now waiting for insurance companies, adjusters, appraisers to give me a final word about the roof. But the Rock in my life is my steady, strong anchor. Not a stumbling block. This Rock keeps me on course, gives me hope, strength and encouragement.


So though repairs are largely a frustrating plan-and-wait, at the mercy of other people and their schedules I cling to the Rock.

No matter how capricious life is, He never leaves.



He puts His power in me through my faith in Him.





Before Dorian blew by nobody knew what it would be like. We watched horrified as it sat over the Bahamas with high screaming winds and drowning storm surge and rain. We saw it cruelly inch away from the little archipelago toward the east coast. Until it had passed the North Carolina shores it took its sweet time moving by. I don’t think I have ever been through a storm during the daytime. They come at night when sounds are amplified by the dark.

A few days before we began preparing for it– brought bird feeders in, overturned bird baths, moved furniture, I noticed the milkweed had almost been eaten to nubs, even managed to get a picture of the monarch caterpillars I have so eagerly awaited.


I have watched swallowtail caterpillars gorge on fennel almost all summer, and there were one or two still munching away


But only more recently did I notice the Gulf fritillaries. I have planted passionflowers year after year and had no luck. They just would not grow. So a neighbor who was moving offered a trellis which I gratefully accepted and planted what I decided would be my last attempt at the maypop. It grew and attracted its companion caterpillar


So I wondered, did these survive and move on to make their cocoons?

There are still a few butterflies even though it is late in the year for them to be laying eggs. A fritillary (not my picture)


And swallowtail


and monarch


An angel trumpet, late bloomer since I only planted it end of June


And an interesting moth discovered under the headboard on the backyard fence, I don’t know what kind it is


So except for a couple more roof shingles, and Lily having to go outside once in the wind and rain most were fortunate the storm stayed largely off shore.




So rescue dog Lily’s first knee surgery her vet said to get a crate for her. Oh no! I could not imagine Lily confined. I explained I was completely certain she would injure herself in there either trying to get out or just on general principle.

So no crate.

This time. Different surgeon, different procedure. She got on ok. I had to figure some sort of tether though, but she still was relatively free. Until she nearly throttled herself. So I caved.


This worked out well. In the end. I have this terrible habit of not reading item descriptions when I buy things online. Well not all the time. But yes, in this case. I truly thought I was ordering what Lily is resting comfortably in above. I thought it was a large crate. What I got was the size of a small bathroom. For a great Dane. To compare I have placed the box her present crate came in, in front of what I bought online.


I called the company I bought it from to ask for a return label, explaining my error. They said they would also call FedEx for a pickup. This was appreciated since it weighed 77 pounds, is about 5-1/2 feet by 5 feet and it took everything I had to haul it in the house. Being naturally dubious I called FedEx myself to confirm the pickup. There was no such request, they said, so I placed one.

Next day I dragged it back out to the porch to wait for FedEx to come get it. I also waited.


They said it would be picked up between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Around 11:30 a.m. I got a call. There was an attempted pickup. No one was home, they said. The item was not outside, they said. We verified the address. Same. So most of these large companies have satellite phone banks in central America, Asia and India. I got Indonesia. Jose’ assured me they had the correct address. What he did not tell me was there were two requests for pickup. I insisted they give me the dispatch number to verify they were coming back that same day. About an hour later they did come back and the large, heavy crate is now on its way back to point of origin.


Earlier today I noticed this little anole on the porch happily eating all the flies that come in the door I leave open for Lulu to go out. He is content to be inside it seems. As long as the food supply holds out.


This empty cicada exoskeleton clung to a rose that has never bloomed. This insect was able to escape its confinement.

Maybe confinement is a state of mind?