Wow. Just … wow. If I still taught, this would totally go into my figurative language unit.
Wow. Just … wow. If I still taught, this would totally go into my figurative language unit.
A little belated this year, partly because of the move and partly because the weather has been unpredictable, but I finally got my garden in the ground yesterday.
Our new backyard has an old fire pit that’s about four or five feet wide, fashioned from cinderblocks and filled with charcoal and ash. I hadn’t originally planned to do a lot with it, but while I was unpacking a box a couple of weeks ago, I found some arugula and California poppy seeds I’d bought last summer at a nursery in San Francisco, so I planted them back there just for giggles.
Then a big Cherokee Purple tomato plant caught my eye at Lowe’s the other night, so I bought it and a tomato cage and stuck it in the center of the fire pit. While I was planting it, I noticed that the openings in the cinderblocks had a lot of weeds growing in them. If weeds will grow, garden plants will grow, so I went back to the store and bought a couple of bags of potting soil and a bunch of seeds. There were enough cinderblocks to accommodate asparagus beans, basil, chives, cilantro, dill, parsley, two varieties of cucumber, watermelon, tabasco pepper, sage, and strawberries. We’ll see how they do.
I’m thinking of renting a tiller and turning the entire front yard — which isn’t very big — into a cottage garden full of wildflowers and pretty herbs. I’d also like to plant hostas in the little narrow, shady areas on either side of the house.
Once we fence the yard, I’ll add a water feature to attract amphibians. (I realize I’m a mile away from the most awesome water feature in North America, but if there are Fowler’s toads breeding in the Mississippi, they aren’t singing loudly enough to be heard over here in my neighborhood.) I also need to rustle up some wisteria somewhere. It’s too late in the season to set up a beehive — which I won’t do until the yard is fenced anyway — but I’m going to start at least two next spring, and I’ve just about decided that a wisteria arbor would be a perfect way to provide shade and a visual screen for a modest apiary.
Speaking of pollinators, I was pleased to discover bumblebees living somewhere near the east side of the house. I’m not sure precisely where their nest is, but I’ve seen several of them flying around rather purposefully in that area, so I’m sure they live close by. They’re ridiculously cute.
daydreaming about bees and hoping my girls are happy with their new keeper in Owasso
I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still, somehow,
It’s love’s illusions I recall;
I really don’t know love at all.
Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say, ‘I love you’ right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way
But now old friends are acting strange;
They shake their heads and say I’ve changed.
Well, something’s lost when something’s gained
In living every day
I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose, and still, somehow,
It’s life’s illusions I recall;
I really don’t know life at all
– Joni Mitchell
Once again, I find Joni Mitchell’s masterpiece resonating for me in a new way.
This week on Facebook, a friend posted a link to some website’s ranking of 200 careers. This website — employing methods of data analysis almost as credible as those used to measure progress under No Child Left Behind — attempted to quantify the “best” and “worst” jobs of 2013 and declared newspaper reporter the worst.*
Most of the people weighing in on the conversation were disgruntled journalists who agreed they had the Worst Job in the World. I read their comments and wondered why, in an era of shrinking budgets and shrinking newsroom staffs, anyone would remain in a job where he or she felt overworked and underappreciated.
Actually, I didn’t wonder. I knew, because years ago, I was the same way. Instead of savoring the moments that make journalism the best job in the world, I let myself get caught up in negativity and focused on day-to-day annoyances and frustrations, forgetting that hassles are part of the human condition.
I really didn’t know love at all.
I don’t take my life as a journalist for granted these days. I’ve been through my share of “tears and fears,” and after five years away, I look at my profession and feel unbelievably “proud to say, ‘I love you’ right out loud.”
Old friends reading this probably will “shake their heads and say I’ve changed.” I don’t care. I’m not interested in something that’s lost. I’m too busy savoring something that’s gained.
* I had to laugh when I saw “stress” cited as one justification for the low ranking. I’ve taught in two urban high schools, and if the toughest part of your job is a deadline, you really don’t know stress at all.
Here is a thing I love about Cape Girardeau: The kids here seem to be animated by a sort of crazy wild joie de vivre that exceeds anything I’ve ever seen anywhere else.
When I went house-shopping a couple of weeks ago, I found myself at a stoplight behind a school bus. Three or four little kids turned around to grin and wave out the back windows at me, and when I passed the bus a couple of minutes later, more kids were grinning and waving and opening the bus windows to shout, “We love your car!”
Last weekend, a pack of about four or five rugrats on wheels came barreling down the hill in front of my house. Two or three were on bicycles, and two were on skateboards. One little guy who looked to be all of 8 years old was flying hell-for-leather down the hill on his board, shouting, “Sh*t! Sh*t! SH*T!” in a tone that was somewhere between gleeful and terrified as he picked up speed on his way down. (He interspersed this with a couple of heartfelt “F*** yous” when the other kids laughed at him.) Toward the bottom of the hill, he managed to stop the board. One of his companions, a little girl on a bicycle, looked at me, beaming from ear to ear, and announced, “That’s a longboard!” as she pedaled past.
Yesterday morning, as I was heading to the office, two little kids came hopping down a side street on pogo sticks. Really. Pogo sticks. When was the last time you saw a kid on a pogo stick?
The sign says something else, but I think the real name of this street is Klickitat, because my young neighbors are like something out of a Beverly Cleary novel. If I don’t end up with a children’s book out of this, it certainly won’t be for lack of inspiration….
OK … I’m still ‘Shopping images, and I’m too lazy to get up and move to my office to use the mouse and the big monitor to pull all the pictures I want to post here, so you’ll have to wait for photos … but here’s a quick update:
* We moved most of our stuff to Cape Girardeau, Mo., on Saturday. The dogs and cat behaved remarkably well and have been real troupers through this whole experience. Riggy is navigating the new house despite constant changes as I unpack and rearrange things to try to figure out the best use of our limited space. Meanwhile, Song is enjoying his new role as night watchman, sleeping on the floor next to my bed, and Walter is stalking around here like he owns the place.
* The new house is much smaller than the old one — about 730 feet vs. 950 — but it’s laid out really well, and because we purged a lot of excess junk ahead of the move, everything fits neatly without looking too cluttered. I still have some things to put away, but I’m starting to feel more or less settled, and I love these hardwood floors, although I’m still trying to get used to the way sound travels over them.
* The new job is awesome. I was afraid I’d be all new-girl unproductive and waste a lot of time trying to get my feet under me this week, but thanks to my editors, I hit the ground running yesterday. I remembered that I loved covering crime. I had forgotten just how much I loved it. This job is totally feeding my soul. You can’t even imagine how much I needed this, or how very, very right it feels to be back in a newsroom with a notebook in my hand. I am in my comfort zone.
* Cape is great — historic properties everywhere, and I think every plant in town is blooming right now.
Now, if somebody will just buy our house in Tulsa so Ron can move out here and join me, we’ll be in good shape….
Folk Thursday didn’t happen here, because I wasn’t home. I was busy having The Greatest Folk Thursday Ever at the gorgeous Stiefel Theatre in Salina, Kansas:
Recognize her? Here’s another clue:
Fine — I’ll just spill it:
My awesome friend Greg — pop culture connoisseur, photographer extraordinaire, and proprietor of TheLope.com, which you should bookmark if you haven’t — has some well-connected friends who arranged a little meet-and-greet with Ms. Collins after the show. Greg is often known as “Ace Jackalope’s Driver,” as he is the owner of Ace Jackalope, a flocked toy jackalope from Wall Drug, who dresses up in appropriate costumes and poses for photos with various celebrities. As you can see, Ms. Collins was willing to play along, which I thought spoke well of her. (I don’t trust people who refuse to be seen with Ace.)
In that top picture, which Greg shot, I was laughing because I had just informed Sweet Judy Blue Eyes that I was a couple of days away from moving to Rush Limbaugh’s hometown — whereupon she turned into Sweet Judy Side-Eye. Like Chantal Biya caliber. It was, as the kids say, epic. We also talked about her recent anti-Monsanto activism on behalf of honeybees, which of course I as a beekeeper appreciate more than she will ever know.
Even if I hadn’t gotten to meet her, it would have been worth the trip, because my seat was awesome (second row, but nobody was in front of me), the theater was gorgeous (more on that in a future post), I had a wonderful time with Greg and his friends, I got to hear part of the sound check from the lobby, and for her encore, she sang “In My Life,” which particularly resonated in light of the timing.
This isn’t from last night, but it’s fairly recent:
We’re moving tomorrow, so I’ll probably be out of pocket for the next few days. I hope to have Internet service set up at the new house by mid-week. I’ll try to post pictures of the new house, the new office, and various other things then.
OK … I’ve gotten all manner of questions about our upcoming move, and instead of answering the same ones over and over and over while I’m trying to pack everything I own (mission about 85 percent accomplished), say my goodbyes, and tie up loose ends at work, I’m just going to answer them here.
Q. Why are you moving?
A beekeeper from Owasso came and picked up the hives Saturday morning. We’ll miss our girls, but they’re in very good hands, and of course we’re looking forward to setting up a new hive at our new house next spring.
Q. What’s going to happen to your chickens?
A. Some ol’ boy is coming by this evening to pick them up.
Q. Is Ron going with you?
A. As soon as the house sells, yes. If you’re in the market for a great little house with ridiculously low power bills, I’ve got you covered. Asking $74,900. Three bedrooms, solar panels on the roof, woodburning stove, and all appliances included.
Q. When are you moving?
A. This weekend.
Q. Aren’t you stressed out?
A. No. Ain’t nobody got time for that. If I stressed out over deadline pressure, I’d be a pretty pathetic excuse for a journalist.
Q. You’ve already seen Judy Collins in concert three times. Why would you drive all the way to Kansas and back to see her again less than 24 hours before the movers show up?
A. You’re not a folkie, are you?
Q. How are you going to survive in Rush Limbaugh’s Cardinal-fan-infested hometown?
A. Same way I survived nine years in Oklahoma. Cardinal fans may be insufferable, but at least they can tell a balk from a ground-rule double, which is more than I can say for the average Okie.