Good fences

My rescue dog Lily’s new rescue sister dog Lulu has a lot of energy. Her little body galvanizes into action before her brain can say, “wait, no, is this a good idea? is that a huge dog over there that might have me as a snack? or that car? a collision with it probably would be a bad thing…”

So I enclosed my backyard.

Not that my yard is anything large but Lulu finds her way out of it before I know it. And across the street to chat with my neighbor who’s dead-heading her roses, or down the road to check out whatever that interesting smell is, or over two neighbors’ lawns to go after that squirrel.

Anyway, now she can’t do much of anything except chase squirrels in her own backyard of which there is no shortage, or those little lizards that keep both her and Lily occupied for hours. Just staring at it.

I went out on the beach Thursday because my feet complained they had not yet felt the sun-warmed soft sand between their toes or the cool ocean waves washing over them. Arrived round 10:30 a.m. so I found a parking spot. A sprinkling of sun worshipers, swimmers and cautious waders. Some shell seekers, frisbee throwing but no bocce yet. I walked to the end of the island, the tide coming in, and basked in the sparkling blue water’s frothy waves lapping the shore. The roped-off avian estuary was busy with birds arranging their nurseries to welcome their chicks, and the island’s  (so far) one turtle nest rested comfortably, waiting the 60 days for incubation.

I ambled back to my car and was astonished that, in the hour I spent enjoying the beach cars were now lined up from the center of the island out to beyond the causeway to begin the kick-off to their summer holiday weekend.

So we are having tropical storm 2 arrive sometime this afternoon. Landfall somewhere between Charleston and Myrtle Beach, SC, but close enough so we’ve been  having a lot of wind. And the thousands who have surged to the beaches to celebrate Memorial Day learned yesterday they cannot go in the ocean because of rip currents. Never stops the surfers though.

This morning was bright and breezy, big white puffy clouds skimming the sky. A beautiful morning. This afternoon the breezes have calmed, the sky is a solid grey, pendulous with thick humidity.

Even the air is waiting.

Not much a fence can do about a storm.


This was a week of catch-up reading. So many books I’d been wanting to read while involved in the Master Gardening program piled up and I have still got 5 or 6 left to read. At one point I wandered around my yard and potted plants and found many beginning to bloom, so here are a few —

DSCN0171.JPG geranium     DSCN0167.JPG  lily


DSCN0164.JPG  phalaenopsis DSCN0165.JPG  more phalaenopsis


DSCN0168.JPG knockout rose  DSCN0169.JPG tomato


DSCN0172.JPG blurry lizard  DSCN0174.JPG  Lulu hoping to catch blurry lizard


DSCN0135.JPG                                                    Lily and Lulu enjoying a backyard stroll

So this was our week and weekend. Next week we will have the yard enclosed so I can keep Lulu out of the neighbor’s yards and the street. A couple of days’ volunteering at the plant clinic at the Arboretum to knock off a few service hours. More books read, more books on hold at the library coming in, I hope.

I truly wish you a grand and delightfully surprising coming week.


Mother-daughter relationships are complicated.

They shouldn’t be. The daughter will never be a clone-mini of the mom (thankfully), but there ought to be a modicum of respectful obedience.

Not with Mom and me.

I was never obedient unless it was by accident. Mom called me a maverick. I had horrible grades in elementary school. I day-dreamed all through classes. Looking back I realize what a waste that was. I could have learned so much from my mother. She was charming, attractive, gracious, intelligent, funny… no matter what, I did my very best to not be whatever anyone expected of me.

Mom tried everything. She encouraged me to play golf, her one true love. Too frustrating. She took me to her hair stylist for a perm. She agreed later how awful it was. She would take me shopping and I’d hate every outfit or piece of clothing she chose for me.

Not until my father’s business transferred him to New York did she and I become close. More like sister close than mother-daughter close. And then she got cancer. They operated and she came home. I’d had to learn how to use a mop and do laundry and cook in her absence, grudgingly as usual, but I did it.

She did recover. I went to college, convinced I had to find a fiance which I did. Before him though there was a terrible boyfriend I did not exactly know how to deal with. He wrote me letters telling me how unfair it would be if I stopped seeing him, no concern as to whether or not it was a good match. He thought my family had money so he hung on. Mom had the solution. The last letter I received I wrote “addressee moved, Tombstone, Arizona”.

The fiance who became a husband did not work out. So when that union ended Mom knew I cared little for things but she decided some of those wedding presents were worth hanging on to, so she thought. She drove me back to Tennessee to collect them the week my hearing pending trial was scheduled. China, my bedroom furniture, a few small pieces of incidental furniture, crystal, silver, stainless flatware… she had a mover pack up the lot and shipped it home. She knew at that point the fight had pretty much left me so she went to bat for me.

She was never one to take very good care of herself. Golf was her exercise but she had other things that finally caught up to her. She and I had had something of a falling out before Christmas 1988. It was the only Christmas I can remember not being with my family, intentionally. I had no idea she would leave this earth for her hereafter not 2 months later.

She phoned me the Sunday before the Tuesday that she died. She had talked her doctor into releasing her from hospital after she’d had 2 heart attacks in the span of 10 days. We spoke of some bulbs I’d planted at their beach house that had come up. Did I think they were the freesia or the narcissus? she asked. I didn’t know, I’d replied. Would I plan a visit there sometime after she was a bit stronger? I didn’t need entertaining, did I? Of course I would I’d said and no, I did not need any entertaining. We said “I love you”, and hung up.

Dad called to tell me she’d died and all he said was “Your mother didn’t make it.” I guess I knew what he meant but I didn’t. So I called her best friend and repeated what he’d said. She was as confused as I, but I by then knew.

Sometimes when I am up against a hard decision or in a corner I need to get out of I really wish she were here. She could finesse or deal with anything. And sometimes an answer comes to me, just as if she had told me herself.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you.

Please Call Me By My True Names

A beautiful post by a fellow blogger….

This morning I read a poem by Thich Nhat Hahn.

Please Call Me by My True Names

Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow—
even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope,
the rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when Spring comes,
arrives in time to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond,

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