Half of my garden is weeds. Seriously.

I intentionally planted cornflowers which is chicory. Spiderwort, goldenrod, Queen Anne’s lace, mullein, all of which can be pulled out of the roadside. Now I actually went out and paid money for cardoon.

Globe thistle.

I am going to have this all over the neighborhood if I am not careful. It’s like planting clover on purpose. Anybody who is proud of their lawn knows this nemesis. I didn’t plant any but before the weed/feed application a few weeks ago (right before flooding rains which thus rendered weed/feed useless) I am certain I saw the familiar creeping three-leafed formation in my front yard, of red clover. I also have some oxalis which cannot be eradicated, I don’t care how much you pull it out or use herbicide (which I will not use, only white vinegar).

I am not a weed hater. When you think about it most of the plants we love (especially natives) were once weeds until somebody liked something about them or found herbal healing properties and made it popular. So even dandelions if the leaves are large enough find their way into a salad of mine or wilted-greens casserole. My son has been known to caution acquaintances never to accept anything I pull from the ground. I do vaguely recall when he was very young on a walk one Saturday afternoon I spotted some wild lettuce and fed us each a bite of it. Upon returning home we slept the entire afternoon. Looking it up I discovered it has somnolent aspects.

But I digress. Many weeds have lovely flowers. St. John’s wort for instance has a bright sunburst flower that cheers even on the soggiest of days. It can’t help its invasiveness. Who wouldn’t want to share all that sunshine? I had a neighbor though who was terrified of snakes and certain every single one she saw was hiding in my blanket of shining golden stars. Nevermind that she still saw snakes even after I pulled out all those lovely healthy plants.

Most plants, when I first move to a new house I leave alone to see what they turn out to be. This proved disastrous in New Mexico one summer when I returned home after an extended time away to over-the-head weeds with unpleasant prickly stalks. It took about 6 hours to cut them all down, by hand each one, and then a healthy sum to have the piles carted away.

It’s alright. They were there first.


Friends are gifts we never know where we will find them, nor they us. Sometimes they are neighbors, sometimes chance meetings along the way– at the park, on committees, a fellow-supporter during a 5k, at work, walking our dogs, in the grocery store.

Each of us is a veritable trove of life… anecdotes, encounters, experience. Once that chord is struck when you just know this person will understand there you are with a bond, hopefully, for a long time if not for life.

Friends are more than simply allies or buffers or supporters. Friends help us find a completeness that, without them we are seeking for something in that friendship’s place. No matter how far away or how long since we have seen them they are always with us in some strange cosmic way. We remember things said, stories shared, situations experienced or resolved. So when we lose one it is deeply felt.

Oh we don’t lose the memories or the character they helped build in us. It isn’t as though we have to return the life they gave us when they are gone. There is simply no more to come.

I lost a friend.

She was my supervisor at the last library I was in charge of. But far more she was my mentor, and my friend. She had a dignified strength about her and the wackiest sense of humor imaginable for a nun, which she was. I last spoke to her mid-September, she was in hospital for a cancer which she did not share, only that she was concerned with a pneumonia that was developing. She at the time was at a rehab facility where she planned to overcome this blip, then resume her treatments.

She died 10 days ago.

So though she will always be a part of me for what we shared in this life I can no longer hear her voice except in my memory, can no longer “catch up”, can no longer hear her laugh.

I will miss her.

Another birthday

Each one spins by faster than the one before. This year my son came here to visit me. We did a lot of things but mainly we spent time. It cost him, yes– a plane ticket, time away from an important deadline at work, he is still recovering from his surgery a few weeks ago, but he came to spend something that cannot be bought or borrowed or hoarded. He gave me his time.

How often do we think of what someone does out of love for us as a gift? How often do we take it for granted or (far worse) feel it is deserved?

So much of life is a gift and I am saddened to the point of tears at times to realize how long it has taken me to understand how much I have that I did not work for, did not earn, didn’t even ask for but it is right in front of me, all around me.

It also makes me wonder because of the glut of richness in this life– not just the colors of the earth or the softness of a fawn’s eyes or the sound of wind in the trees or waves on the sand or laughter of a child –we do not truly see, nor do we hear. Some of us are so busy with amplifications or distortions of some sort or our selves that we can only see and hear no further than our own parameters.

My son had precious time, and he chose to share it with me. He went beyond himself, the rim of his existence. I hope he received something in return, my love, my joy at his gift.

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So we didn’t really have one, not right where I am anyway. But the Cape Fear River as of two days ago was still at 2-1/2 feet above flood level. And this was not a result of Hurricane Joaquin either which was too far east of us to make any impact. This was predicted before that storm.

But it didn’t stop raining. For 4 days.

I have never seen it rain so much, continually. I don’t know what a monsoon is like but this probably came pretty close only it isn’t spring when everything is just waiting for those rains to come so they can go on and bloom. It wasn’t consistent, either. While we got over 14 inches of rain points south suffered much worse. In Charleston some said the rain was worse than Hurricane Hugo in 1989 (a category 3 storm when it hit there). Mid-state South Carolina there were 2 dams that failed and flooded huge areas.

Nature will always reclaim itself. We lose things. Some people did not survive this because they decided to drive around to see what damage was done. It’s hard to see how deep flood water is or how fast it’s moving.

My brother called during all this.

“Have you lost power?” -no-
“Are you prepared?” -what, sandbags??- >laughter< "No, groceries" -yes-
"Do you have an evacuation route?" -I did but they closed 10 miles of the interstate for flooding, and then Ocean Boulevard, the only ways out-

So we sat and waited. My husky-mix rescue Lily and I. At one hiatus we ventured out a short way to a nearby park. Closed.

So we hunkered down. And waited. Finally, the sun shone but we are still waiting for the ground to dry out.

Wish I'd had a few rain barrels.

Vitreous fluid??

Sounds really gross. I wouldn’t have given it a second thought until it started melting my eye.


Yesterday while putzing around with my iPad I suddenly see this indelible marker-like black streak in my lower left periphery. I ignored it until it became too annoying to function. I looked in a mirror, was it something attached to the outside of my eye?? No. I know about floaters and stuff your eye starts doing as we age but I’d never seen anything like this. So I decided it was the iPad’s fault and went to do the laundry. Walking in the dark laundry room I start seeing flashes in that eye with the dark streaks. This bothered me enough to call the eye doctor.

Waiting for them to return the call I tried reading the paper, no good, then just played with husky-mix rescue Lily. Nothing diverted enough away from this thing. They finally call back. I am given a 2:00 appointment.

Absolutely positive this is something requiring hospitalization I went through a brief eye exam then they gave those drops that expand your pupil to the extremities of the iris taking in enough light to blind an owl.

Looking up, sideways, down, left right, diagonally. The doctor hands me a piece of paper outlining things that, should they happen with my eye I must call their office immediately. He explained this phenomenon:

The eye is filled with a gel-like fluid (vitreous). As we age, 90% of us will experience the liquefying of this gel stuff (melting eye), the black streaks are shadows created by the melting of it. Not exactly certain as to the physics of this shadow-seeing phenomenon. “Is it a rite of passage?” I ask, hopefully.

“Not exactly,” replies the doctor.

“But it’s normal,” I squeak.

“Sort of.”

“Why is it only one eye?” getting braver here.

“They don’t always do this at the same time.”

Great. I may have this to look forward to all over again. At least I’ll know what it is. Or maybe the right eye will be in the other 10%.

Well, his nurse didn’t bolt out the door to call the hospital so I am guessing I will still be able to see for at least the foreseeable (pun unavoidable) future.

But liquefying gel? In my eye? Will it shrink? Will I have sunken eye? So far nothing appears to have changed, on the outside.

Somehow I’d rather only see this part of it. Not wanting to see the inner workings here, just wanting it all to keep working!

I have to go back in 4 weeks for a recheck.