And here’s to you, Mr. Starbucks

I must confess; at one time I was a latte whore.  I didn’t care where I got it or how I got It, as long as I got my Chai latte.  It is a weakness of mine that I enjoy, this love for Chai latte; it was love at first sip and its been going strong for a few years.

At first it was a no-brainer; there was no question as to where to get this coveted drink of mine..Starbucks.  This is the place for me, I decided.  It’s a bit corporate, but so what? I know what I’m getting there.

At Starbucks everyone seems so upwardly mobile, so cute in their colorful new clothes..people with jobs and busy lives.  Even the slackers types were busy clicking away with the free Wi Fi.  Everyone was happy and smiled and were friendly.  I guess that is easy to do when you have a job and extra money for fancy coffees.

I like the music in Starbucks, they play all types.  It is the only place where I will hear old jazz tunes from the 40’s my eclectic taste perks to attention on that….Billie Holiday and caffeine?  What more do you want?

We started to frequent a particular one, M.M. and I.  It seemed the lattes were extra good over there.   Frothy and creamy with a swirl of spicy…I am in Latte heaven!

One bright late summer morning last year something happened that at first didn’t seem so bad but then as time went on it got worse.  What I am talking about here doesn’t  sound so bad until you’ve lived it…I really don’t want to offend anyone by what I say.  Especially this group of people but in order I tell my story I must…

I can’t put it any other way than this; It was the cops.  We would walk in and there they were, a pack of them. At first I thought; cool, I have always thought of the police as people too, and I have always appreciated the risks they take everyday for us.  I am not a criminal, I have no record and I should have nothing to fear from the police. They are brave men and women who serve and protect……….but quite the suspicious bunch.

 I felt it right away.  I looked at them as people, they looked at me like a criminal.  I am really very harmless looking, I bet most of them could take me in a fight.  It’s obvious.  So I am surprised when one looks at me like a potential threat.  I suppose they are trained to  be like that, and it’s probably necessary in their book.  But I can’t help but be uncomfortable. 

It is this reason why they are a “they” and everyone else, including the criminals and me are: “We.”  It is also the reason we tried a new place down the street; A laid-back appearing hippie type establishment by the name of Tom and Mary’s.  A picture of Tom and Mary graced the sign out front, they looked so nice.. I liked them instantly, even before we met.  There was tie-dye everywhere and plastic chairs to sit on.  The inside looked like the outside but I thought; so what. 

No more cops and no more corporate guilt.  I am on the edge now, part of the anti establishment crowd …. A latte revolutionist!  Aha!

It was a bit downhill after that though; Tom appeared at least twenty years older in person than he did on the sign.  He didn’t smile or even look at us at all.  He muttered at us while Mary made the lattes.  She wasn’t much friendlier.  M.M.’s attempts at some sort of witty banter with her fell flat.  We could tell she didn’t take fools gladly. Mary was not the laid back hippie princess on the sign, she was a mean old witch.  Yikes!  The lines on her face told the story.

The place was empty and silent as a tomb.   A pimply toucan faced man with a tiny little dog walked in and chatted it up with Tom and Mary who, apparently liked him better than us.  I got the impression that this place didn’t cotton to outsiders who looked like Starbucks people.  I think it was my purple lipstick and Prada bag but I didn’t feel a part of the whole groove anymore.. My dreams of being a revolutionist dashed, I sighed and tried the drink.  It was good, I wanted it to be damn awful, I wanted to spit it out and run back to Starbucks. right then and there. 

We went back a couple of times but could no longer stand it. I am glad to say we returned to  the corporate giant and then I understood the reason for some of their success.  A Smile. The people at Starbucks seemed friendlier and happier. We told those kind people of our ordeal and they welcomed us back with open arms.

And the cops?  They seemed friendlier and happier too.  And different.  Two lady cops at the back booth last time.  I secretly drank a toast to justice and lattes and the two ladies in blue totally ignored us.

Have an excellent day!

Strawberryindigo.

 

Blue-eyed cat update: The return of Jacky

A blue-eyed stranger came to us this past July, we named him Jacky and he’s quite the cat.  I’ve written of him before, this blue-eyed handsome cat and how he came to live with us.  Much has happened since I last wrote of him. Jacky is turning out to be such an amazing cat, so amazing in fact I think he merits an update…

When last I wrote of him, Jacky was living in two houses, torn between myself and a foul-mouthed harpy down the street I’ve been calling Sally.  Jacky would spend days with me in the garden, playing and napping and eating some good cat food.   At night he would return to Sally.  We had this unspoken shady agreement  between us.  I don’t think she liked it anymore than I did, but there it was.

Untill one night about two or three weeks ago.  Jacky spent the night in the studio, curled up into a cute white furry ball on my writing chair.  I left him there, and when I returned in the morning, he was still there asleep.

I was pleased but I didn’t think much of it.  Jacky is a bit of a rogue and a wanderer. He’s there one moment , gone the next.  Except this time he didn’t go, he stayed with me all day, following me around as I watered the flowers.  That night, again he stayed and he has stayed every night since.

I know this sounds crazy but I think he is fascinated with water, running water.  He prefers to drink out of our leaky bath tap.  You can hear him jump in the bathtub: Plop.  Sometimes he knocks over the shampoo. Sometimes he surprises me in the middle of the night. Every time he gets his sweet little face all wet and every time he is so cute!   I know we should fix the drip, but how can we now?

I really knew this cat loved water when I was watering my lawn the other morning with a sprinkler and he was gingerly drinking from the arc of the spray.  What a cat!

Jacky, our nutty feline also loves to go for walks with his favorite humans.  Whenever M.M. takes the old pug out, Jacky tags along, trailing behind, intrigued with the whole process.  He never wants to be left out on all the fun.  He waits on the front porch, sunning himself and the moment any one of us steps out, he’s there.  He walks ahead of us and then proceeds to roll all over the ground wiggling all over the place.   He is  very irresistible when he does this and we have to stop and pet him.

We go out on special walks, just he and I.  We don’t go far, just around the block but it gives us just enough time to get into some pretty deep conversations.  I would ask him his opinion about this and that; The economy, global warming,  whether I’m too old to color my hair purple or we should take advantage of these historic low rates and refinance the house.  He just meows at me but I get his message.  He’s a pretty smart cat.

Really, he is smart, he sits and watches me make dinner every night now. He just sits on top of a high stool and stares intently. It’s as if he is trying to memorize everything I am doing so he can do it later.  Maybe one morning he will surprise us with breakfast.  He certainly is full of surprises.

Jacky has gained some weight and is getting a belly, but he still is in top shape. I have to give it to Mr. Friskies for that. I am not endorsing anything, the Friskies company is not paying me a dime, but I must say without a doubt, Since I’ve been feeding him the “seafood sensations” Jacky’s coat is so soft and luxurious and so white.  He is also the most muscular cat I’ve ever encountered. I guess it’s all the exercise he gets, walking and skillfully hunting moths by moonlight.

I think moths are attracted to him because he literally glows in the dark.  He sits under the light and the moths come to him.  What a trippy cat. Jacky has definitely made life around here more interesting.

Hope you have an adorably “purrfect” day.

Strawberryindigo.

Hey You! An Indigo Rant

Crosswalk sign

Hey you…Yes you..Can you hear me?  I guess you don’t but I’m going to tell you anyway.  Maybe someone smarter than you may listen and learn something….

We almost hit you today, my friend and I.  We almost plowed right into you with his dark green Honda.  You could have been seriously hurt or worse.  You have no idea how close you came to getting your nice young red blood spilled all over the street.

If it wasn’t for my friend’s lightning quick reflexes and some kick ass breaks you would have been toast today.

I can imagine how your parents would have felt.  You getting hit on your way to school, at the start of a new school year.  Maybe they saw you off this morning, maybe they watched you with pride as you walked off to school.  You are quite tall for your age, which I suspect is about 16.  You with your dark hair and black clothes must have cut quite the figure as you walked off, navy blue backpack, jammed full of books on your back.

Being a parent of a 16-year-old myself, I understand how it’s hard to let go and trust that your kid is going to do the right thing.  You teach what you can and hope for the best.  I’m sure your parents taught you how to cross the street.  I bet they told you to use a cross walk, look both ways and don’t just walk out into moving traffic.  But yet this is just what you did.

You walked into oncoming traffic, without a care in the world…You never even looked up, or you would have seen us.   You, stooped over with your hood covering the tell-tale white cord and ear buds of your IPOD.. you never even heard us, honking at you…you never heard the screech  that the tires made as we stopped just in the nick of time.  We came so close..you came so close, and you never noticed. 

I wanted to stop and get out of the car and chase you down to give you a stern talking to.  I wanted you to know how serious it all is, this life business.  I’ve lived long enough to realise that life is fragile and fate can turn on a dime.  One second of stupidity can make you pay big time for a lifetime.

I know you probably made it to school, the very same school my son goes to, you might even know him.  And you probably made it safely home after school today as my son did. All the while never knowing how close you came to your life changing forever, and not just your life, but your parents lives, who most likely bought you that IPOD and would never forgive themselves for it, or the lives of your friends and family members who would miss you, not to mention, my friend who would have hit you, he never would have been the same either….

And so to anyone who is listening tonight…hug your kid a little tighter tonight, I will.

Stay safe,  Strawberryindigo.

Crazy Neighbor Stomp Down

Idealized mixed nuts, USDA
Image via Wikipedia

Oh what a crazy day in my little neck of the woods..Yikes!  My crazy drunken neighbor was in rare form, he had his car radio turned up and it was blasting the top 40 by 7 a.m.

That man is spirited I must tell you; he started yelling around noon.  The usual “Yeah!” and “Whooah!”.. the music got louder and louder.  As strange as this sounds; I like the guy’s taste in music, so I am enjoying myself out in the front, doing some light weeding and some casual seed harvesting, when the  dried out wheat straw  neurotic from next door shows up.

She asks me about the crazy drunken neighbor, as if I am responsible for the man’s behavior.   “I don’t know why he’s like that, I guess he is crazy.”  She asks me if I have called the cops on him and then asks  “What is my take on this?”   She has this notion that somehow I can resolve this for her because “I have lived here longer.” ( me,11 years her, 6 years)

I informed her of a time I called the cops, only to have them show up at my house, talk to me in right in front and all the while pointing directly at the guy before they talk to him for 2 minutes, then leave.  I tell her that I have an uneasy truce with the guy and I don’t want to ruin it. 

She looks at me like I am crazy.  I suggest that she, Mrs wheat straw call the cops.  She doesn’t like it, she mentions my dying tree in a snide manner, I tell her I’m trying to save the poor thing.  Just then like if on cue; We hear a “Yeah!”  She sighs and scampers off and I am left to my seed heads.

I was busy for most of the day; doing Mom stuff and gardening.  I could hear the party getting louder and louder.  Crazy drunken guy drumming on something and then he starting yelling out words but I couldn’t make out what they were, through all the slur.  I crept up closer and listened..It was “America!”  “God bless America!”  How touching and how patriotic.  This got a laugh out of me and the day progressed and eventually everything became quiet.

He must be napping, I mused and went to make dinner.

I am almost ready to put everything on the table when Act Two begins; It starts with a flurry of loud explosions (Fireworks) and ends a few minutes later with “You dirty F***ing Whore!”  over and over..Then bottles break and the roar of an engine, someone has driven off, I don’t want to look.

We turn up the music (Beatles, Abbey Road) and eat our dinner (chicken and rice, Yum)  I notice that it’s getting dark as the sounds of a click clicking of someone running in high heels tells me the party isn’t quite over yet.

 The night plays out without further incidents, or so I thought….I stayed up late writing about my “Unblinking eye of truth” post and chatting online.  It was about 1:30a.m. when I heard a noise, I didn’t know what it was and opened my front door and looked out.  There was the crazy neighbor’s adult son, I’ll call him Pudgy, kicking over my trash can!  He looks right at me and says with glee; “Call the cops.”

My stupid temper makes me run out and tell him to “Pick that up right now!”  He keeps going.  M.M. drags me inside…I am totally worked up by now and I stay up and drink coffee till I pass out……and then…Good Morning: it’s time to start the day and I’m off on a new adventure!  Have a great day!    Strawberryindigo.

The Colors of Life

 

The spectrum of humanity lives in my garden.  All the hues are represented.  I spent much of the day today here in the garden, working and enjoying the beautiful day. 

Here in my garden among nature’s living color.  The riotous reds and sunny saffron.  The bright fuchsias, vivid indigo and royal plums, Tangerine oranges and leaves of deep velvet green with tickles of snow-white petals kiss the Kelly grass. 

The butterflies flutter and frolic, while the songbirds twitter and tweet. The place hums with life.  Chickadees and blue birds, Robins and Crows, the little Wrens and the glorious hummingbirds all play and sing. 

 Raccoons and opossums, the neighbor cats and probably a few mice. A million kinds of insects and even a few humans also pay frequent visits to the garden.  It is an oasis of pure green in the city.

Everything is all organic.  I let nature do  a lot of the work so I can have more time to appreciate It’s wonder.

When I work the soil, I feel a certain connectedness to the Earth.  I feel so included, so a part of something much bigger than I .  A  cool cloud of  calm descends over me and my mind can finally relax.  I take in the whole experience of the garden, It is a delight to all the senses.

I plant a seed and watch that seed sprout out of the ground and grow into something beautiful  and useful, it’s like a miracle to me, every time. I can’t get over it, the more I learn, the more I need to learn.  

I have learned much over the years and have accomplished much as well.   Many times I had to learn the hard way until I finally learned that I don’t know everything and that it’s O.K. to ask for help.  I’ve learned that nothing and no one is perfect and that is a good thing.   We are all different: but just as beautiful, just as vitally important.  All of us contribute to the beautiful essence of the garden of humanity in our own unique ways.

We need a spectrum of colors in our garden of humanity.  And love and understanding for one another.  The health of the garden depends on all of us…From the bipedal big-headed hairy ape, to the smallest microbe.  We need to work together for the good of all.

As I work in my garden I think of these things;  I start to believe that nothing is impossible, if you believe.  Every plant starts with one tiny seed, and ideas are like that.  Some land in the wrong place, some never germinate or get water, some just wither and die, and some are even stepped on.  Some ideas, with love and care and attention can grow and become tall powerful towering trees, like the great redwoods.

I believe that, if we all believe and work hard.  Humankind can achieve wonderous beautiful things. Together, we can do much. Apart, we achieve nothing.  And maybe someday we can all live in peace and harmony.  Just like in my garden.

And while we are on the subject…Check out My Garden page  for a tribute to The Sunflower and more…Wishing you Peace and Happiness,

 Strawberryindigo.

Behind the Tide

Earlier this summer, M.M. and I packed up the two teenagers and headed to the beach, to one of our favorite coastal towns.

We had been there before.  It’s the perfect place for family fun in the day and other kinds at night.  There prevails an old school carny atmosphere and brassy charm.   This town reminds me of a big-mouthed quickly aging carnival queen with a great right-hook and a heart of gold.

Needless to say, I love it there and my family does too.  The last time we went there, it rained the entire time.  We had a good time, but not a great one and this time, we vowed would be the best time ever.

I like to play travel agent so I did some research and found us a nice place with two extra bedrooms, an indoor pool, room service, and all the extras (free coffee!) at a price that we could afford; in other words, I did the impossible for that town at that time. And while I’m patting myself on the back for being so utterly brilliant,( save your applause for the end)   Take a look-see at the beauty which is part of our Great United States

Those are some of the reasons why we like it here so much.  I have a fondness for the Ocean that is almost instinctive.   The sound of the surf is like no other sound, it feels so comforting..so natural..the sound pulls me in and embraces me in tranquility.  The warm sand below my feet, the cerulean sky above and the yellow sun shining down .. I could almost stay there forever….. 

We have just arrived and I am eager to get to the sand.  Our suite is just what we expected and I hastily unpack and then, with my 16-year-old in tow…head to the sand and surf.

My need to be in the center of everything left us with a three block walk to the beach, this I did not mind since we passed by several shops and the cutest little mall…..There I taught my son a valuable lesson in patience and bought myself a new hat!  

Topped with my new hat we headed to the beach proper where we were greeted with a wall of humanity 10 feet thick.  I had never seen so many bodies pushed up together in one area, they reminded of seals or walrus packed up together like that.

There was music playing, little girls with fat stomachs in tiny bikinis gyrated to a Gaga tune, old furry men sat and drank beer while their too brown wives tanned their hides in the sun, the sweet smells of marijuana and coco butter mixed with the late afternoon heat, producing a pungent but intriguing aroma.

I had to get to that sand!  I ran ahead and ditched my shoes on the way, soon I’d be there… and then I was there,, I almost cut myself on brown beer bottle glass!  What? My eyes scanned the sand; It looked all used up.. a million footprints, cigarette butts and trash all over.  I almost felt like crying……..

We had been to this very same spot 18 months earlier and now it seemed so different, it was loud and raunchy, the aging carnival queen with the heart of gold, had been replaced by a mean old barfly with bad teeth and even worse breath. 

And then I saw “The Bitch”, she was new on the scene but I could tell that she would be a major player soon.  She wore the name of a famous chain hotel, utilitarian looking and gigantic, it was like Nazi’s had designed her.  What a monstrosity.  

She dwarfed the other hotels. They looked old and cheap in her shadow, I had no trouble imaging what would happen to these old gals in the near future..The fact that one already sported a “for sale” sign was just more handwriting on the wall.

The older I get, the more history in the making I get to witness, some of it is exciting, some of it is sad or scary, some of it is quiet and slow and steady and before you know it has already happened. 

No matter what happens, something is always happening and change is inevitable, especially with us humans.  Building bigger and higher and newer. In our race to keep up, do we ever notice if this race is one we should be running?  

I watch the poor patrons of this hotel trying to make the best of their vacation by swimming in a pool while construction workers with power tools hammer and drill above them, I can’t believe this…one drops his tool; he yells down to us, asking if we can see it in the tall beach grass.   We shake our heads “no”  and get the hell out of there.

The sun is setting as we start walking back and I can’t help but feeling that this will be our last time here… and I am reminded of a quote

“The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future”

**Marya Mannes (1904-1990)

Happy Labor Day–Strawberryindigo.

Saturday night fight: Kirk VS. Picard.

Kirk vs. Picard (2/365)
Image by JD Hancock via Flickr

There’s something I must confess; I am a Star Trek fan from way back, I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject of Star Trek, there are many others better versed in The Star Trek Universe. I am but a humble appreciator of quality Science Fiction.

Two of the most well-known of the Star Trek characters are among some of my favorites.  One is James T. Kirk.  Captain of the Enterprise in the orignal series and Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek, The Next Generation.

Come on, who wouldn’t be a fan of either one of those guys?  I can’t help but wonder:

Who would win in a match up between the two?

Kirk Vs. Picard…..Let’s do this thing!

James Tiberius Kirk  Captain of The Enterprise in the original series.  What can I say about this swashbuckling Romeo with illusions of grandeur.  A tin plated hero adored by his crew.  A man so devoted to his ship, he had no woman before her.  It was almost sexual between Kirk and his girl.

Not that Kirk didn’t like a little, well a lot on the side with every humanoid female in the galaxy.  But no matter how strong the pull, Kirk always returned to his beloved.  The Enterprise.  

Kirk was as loyal as you can get and the bestest friend anyone could have.  Sure he was hung up on himself and all that.  And he wasn’t the brightest bulb.. so what.  He had Spock for that.

Kirk had spirit and that boy sure was plucky.  He loved a good fight and I love watching him in action, especially when he gets that little dribble of blood on his lip and his shirt gets torn.  Wow!  Now that is quality television right there.

Kirk never let a little thing like the Prime Directive get in the way of a good time.  Dammit, Jim had his priorities straight.  If I still drank,  I’d go have a beer with the dude, maybe several, and some Klingon Ale too.  

As captains go, Kirk was O.K., but as your roommate in college…totally amazing!  Kirk’s the man! 

Jean-Luc Picard  When I first met Jean-Luc back on Farpoint station I have to admit, I had my doubts.  I didn’t know what to think..A bald Frenchman with an english accent?  He sure was no Kirk, but who could be? Right?  So I gave him a chance, he had no Spock.  He needed all the help he could get.

Jean-luc was a little off-putting and stuffy.  As I mentioned, I didn’t know what to think….until Wesley Crusher, Picard hated children: Wesley included.  I hated Wesley.  We were united in our hatred of Wesley Crusher!

This endeared Picard to me.  As the seasons went by, I thought more and more of Picard.   His calm reasoned approach was reassuring.  Maybe I needed a Dad, not a boyfriend.  I don’t think Picard was in a hurry to get in a conflict, he tried to think his way out, instead of fighting.  (We need leaders like this in the real world)

I’ve done much thinking on this vitally important question, I go over and over it again. Some of the greatest minds have pondered this and how can I, little me, even begin to answer it?

I guess Picard was the better Captain, Kirk was the better all around guy and Spock….he’s the best of all in my book.

….Besides I like Spock!  All that logic and emotion rolled up in one.  Totally conflicted, just like me!  Haha.  He is, in my opinion; light years above the rest. He should have been Captain.

Live Long and ProsperStrawberryindigo.

Friday Afternoon Sounds

The following is a true story; only the names have been changed to protect the innocent… 20 minutes ago…The rustling of leaves in the overhead trees, birdsong, barking and a faint radio.  The neighbor screams, a vicious “No!”, followed by two more, A “yeah!, more birdsong, then a lone crow. Another scream and…ahhhh… the air conditioner kicks in and drowns out my crazy neighbors…..

It’s just your typical Friday in my neighborhood.

I hear Florence and the Machine..It’s a surreal tune and I go to the front to investigate.  My neighbor, The head of the clan of crazies is getting drunk on his front porch.  His dusty black car sitting in the driveway, sans a driver, with the radio blasting.  I don’t mind, I like the song.

He screams a “Yeah!” again and points across the street to a stop sign lying in the grass.  apparently he has seen me and he wants me to know about it.  He yells, I think, “Three Times!”,  I half-smile and wave the peace sign at him and scoot on back to the studio.

I have many “interesting” and noisy neighbors.  The three dogs, Fletcher, Jimmy and the new one,The Moaner.  The cute little girl next door who plays the violin almost constantly, the same tune that sounds like the theme to “The Exorcist“.  The Giggler on the other side and his friend, the doughfaced punk with the fluffy dog. They watch their dogs play and giggle until all hours of the night.

It is the night when it truly gets “interesting” around here.   Many times the police are called on the neighbors with the ironic name, who report many “crimes”.  Once the police showed up at our door looking for one of them who had been reported kidnapped, later he’s screaming as he’s been taken away by the bald cop.

The radio plays all night.  It’s not so bad since again I like the drunken crazy guys taste in music.  It drowns out the creepy flute music and reedy voiced woman who sometimes sings like her heart has been broken.

You can see why a visit from raccoons would be a welcome distraction.  Did I mention?  Those rascals showed up again last night and they made quite a  racket.  This morning I discovered a sunflower head missing, just a stem left. I think one of them took off with it.  Who knows.?  Just another day in the neighborhood.

Wishing you a quiet evening–Strawberryindigo.

Moonlight Write

I was restless in the wee hours so I decided it would be the perfect time for some night writing.  I stepped out into the darkness.  There is a certain quietness at night that I like to curl up with.  The night is solemn, it’s still and penetrating.  I can do much pondering at night. It is empty enough for me to feel the oneness of everything and I feel connected to it.  I walked down the long sidewalk and into the studio.

The usual suspects, Mario, Jacky and Sunny, were already on the scene.  Mario sat atop his perch on the desk, Sunny planted herself in the night garden and Jacky was sleeping in my chair.

I write in a converted garage that’s quite nice.  It has cherry paneling and two skylights.  It’s located at the south end of the garden under a tall pine tree.  It’s really more of an office but we call it the studio.  This is where all the magic begins. Ha Ha. Well, I like it.  It is the perfect place to write.

Jacky
The famous Mario

The cats think it is the perfect place to nap and Jacky has taken a liking to my chair.  We have to arm-wrestle for it daily and he usually wins.  He’s very muscular.  Mario likes to sit atop the desk. Sunny; she’s her own cat and wildly independent.  She likes to spend most of her nights in the cool air outside.

Sunny at night

Jacky is a recent addition to our family.  It can be difficult introducing a new pet to the household.  Adding to that the fact that Jacky is almost full-grown and a male.  Mario was the ruler of the roost before Jacky came and there has been some tense moments.  Mario feels a little put out and perhaps jealous, as well.  Jacky is trying to find his place.  I know he wants to fit in and as time goes on, he’s doing just that.

“The Boys” ( Mario and Jacky) have been spending time together and I can just tell that someday they’ll be the best of buddies.  Sunny on the other hand, still hisses at Jacky once in a while.  I hate to say this but Sunny can be a little testy.  We love her but she doesn’t have the best of temperaments.  M.M. has nicknamed her “The Rat Mole”,  A name that has stuck.  She also is known by Santino or Sunny two-tones because she is a Calico.

I have just come the strange realization that all three cats have gangster names.  Mario, Jacky and Santino. This may mean something, I will have to ponder this…

Just as I am pondering, I hear a sound of rustling in the bushes.  It is loud and I and the cats freeze.  The two boys and I slowly creep out of the studio to investigate.

We see them and they see us.  It takes me a minute before I realise that there are six of them.  They are raccoons and they are so cute.  I know they are wild but they seem so cuddly.  The closest raccoon looked at me right in the eyes.  It seemed to be asking me for something.  I began to speak to the raccoon in the soft sing-song voice I reserve for animals and babies.

The raccoon inched closer, I think I could have lured it in the house.  It seemed so tame. It seemed to be fascinated with me talking to it.  It inched even closer,  all of a sudden I get tense, I back up right into a potted plant. I let out a small sound of surprise and the raccoons scatter into the night.  I curse my clumsiness and gaze into the darkness.  It’s just as well.

I laugh as I think of the look M.M. would give me If I brought a raccoon into the house.  He already thinks I’m crazy, but it just might be a lunatic he’s looking for.

Hoping you find what you’re looking for….Strawberryindigo.

Retro Revert

Ms. Pac Man on Crack
Image by boboroshi via Flickr

The other day I went and tripped around downtown with my teenage son.  He’s 16 and I don’t know how much longer he’ll want to be seen with me, so I take advantage of these situations.

I led the way as I showed him where all “the cool shops” were.  There was just one thing about that; all “the cool shops” I once went to were all gone..they existed twenty years in the past. I felt stupid and old at that point.

If that wasn’t enough; my famously poor sense of direction got us lost.  We started wandering into uncharted territory.  It was a park filled with young “business” people who were selling their “wares” all across the length of the park., it was obvious what was going on.  I was glad that my “Suburban Mom” look deterred them from asking us if we wanted to “score” something from them.

As any good parent would do, I used the situation to preach against drug use.  It was then we found a Starbucks!  After having some caffeine and a realisation that I can be a hypocrite,  we pressed on…

It was starting to get hot and technically we were still lost.  My son is a great guy, I would have to say that because he is my son, but he is  truly a one-of-a-kind special person.  I wish I could take credit for this.  In reality, I got lucky with him. I’m not just bragging him up for nothing.  He has tremendous patience with his sometimes scatter-brained mom….

Now here we are, it’s getting hotter by the second.  My son wants me to ask for directions, I refuse; stating over and over; “I have a good feeling about this, let’s go that way.”  We go on and I’m starting to really feel the heat, all I had to eat was coffee all day and now its starting to take its toll…

I feel like a bad mother, dragging him around like this.  I am sweating and I think I’m about to pass out when I see it.

What is “it”?  you ask.  A glittering oasis in the desert; An old school retro arcade! Yeah!  This town rocks sometimes!  It doesn’t take much to revert me back to kid again and this was no exception.  It reminded me of the old days.  Inside it was dark, hot and packed and I felt eleven all over again.

The change machine was broken but we found a few quarters. This is exciting to someone like me and my son could see it in my eyes, they practically pulsated as they darted from one game to another.  We pass Frogger, Mr. and Ms. Pac- Man, We skirt the pinball machines and pass centipede and right over to the Mortal Kombat! Yes!

Now I will proceed to kick some @$$.. I won the first match. HA!  My yellow guy beat his blue guy!  I can see my son is surprised and a little impressed.  That is almost impossible; A 16-year-old boy being impressed with his mom… watch out son…

Next round, he kills me, blood everywhere.  What a mess.  Next round, more killing.. I am dead, well, yellow guy is dead.  I am looking for more quarters…

My son, being 16, is looking for the lunch I promised.  I vow a re-match and we go and get some bad Chinese food at the mall.. and that is another story…What a great day!

  Strawberryindigo.

Wishing you a great day!

                                                      

Techno Crazy

Our computers
Image by aranarth via Flickr

Dear Computer:  I hate you!  You have screwed with me all day and I’m not going to take anymore!  I am not in the least bit technical and frankly, I don’t want to be.. I don’t understand machines, they are foreign to me.  This is not the best thing in this techno crazy world and believe me, I try…but sometimes I think I’m cursed.  Today I really think I was cursed.

My computer started acting up from the get go this morning.  I was in a fine writing mood and that was changed by my ignorance of technology and my computer being the spawn of the devil.  Seriously, I am ashamed to say that my computer is an ancient relic that’s 10 years old!…gasp.  I think its tired of me and I am tired of it.

After suffering an anxiety attack for a few minutes, I decided that action was necessary and M.M. and I took ourselves down the road in search of a new computer.

Initially we went to the land of cheap goods and cheap labor where the poor can shop for entertainment, or as I call it: Wal-Mart.  It should have occurred to me as we walked in the door and smelled onions that maybe this wasn’t the place to get electronics, but hey, I’m ignorant in such matters plus I needed to get some cheap socks.

We found a cheap laptop, then we found another and decided what the hell, let’s get two.  We are like that, M.M. and I.  Together we create a third personality that’s three times as nutty as one of us alone.  Fortunately this third person has stellar credit so we had no problem with cash flow.  No, it was Wal-Mart, Their machine was down, couldn’t process the credit application.  We tried four times and left in disgust.

 I did get the socks and some free milk duds they gave us as I consolation prize, I don’t like milk duds, they’ll suck out your fillings if you’re not careful.

We drove down one the ugliest streets in town, saw a dead man on the sidewalk (I’m not kidding)  The cops were there and I saw him, his face, the guy looked dead, I mean its something that you just know when you see it.  It’s also an image I won’t forget….And so I tried to…And then

The two gang members on the corner who started to yell on us helped me forget the poor dead man.  They didn’t like the way M.M. was driving and expressed themselves rather loudly.  We turned and I flipped them the bird…And then the sun broke through the clouds…We made it.

We made it to an office type store full of bright shiny colorful office stuff or as I call it: Office Depot. We went straight to the laptops, determined as ever.  We found two cute white ones, They’re twins! We had to bring them home right away. We signed the adoption papers with no problem, the paperwork sailed right through and before we knew it, we were back home with two shiny new laptops.  Wow!  I should have been excited but somehow our victory tasted bittersweet.

If I learned anything from my “adventure” today, maybe it was that in this country, the key to happiness is the availability of cheap goods and excellent credit.  Or really, if I think down deep with my heart maybe I’ll realise that all of that “happiness” really doesn’t mean a damn when you are dead old man alone and unloved by the side of the road.

Good night

 Strawberryindigo.

The grass is always greener…A letter to my neighbor

The lawn of a garden taken from a low level.
Image via Wikipedia

I don’t have an alias for you so I will call you: The man who messes with his lawn too much.  I used to call you the poisoner but I thought that was a little harsh, maybe you are just ignorant.  Keeping that in mind I decided to write this open letter to you. 

I see you often since we are neighbors.  I see you water at all times and rather frequently, almost everyday in the summer.  You’d think that because of this your lawn would be lush and green.   It’s not.  You know what it looks like….It looks sick and patchy.  It’s hard to take.  Even my shriveled up tree looks better.

You are constantly at work on your lawn; mowing very short so that it resembles a brown golf course.  You re-seed it at least twice a year and you are spraying pesticides around like there is no tomorrow.  It’s a bit ridiculous to tell the truth.  There you are, wearing goggles with a giant container of poison on your back.  You spray and spray.  Everywhere.  I’m tempted to run out and scold you.  I want to scream “Stop the insanity, you are poisoning our planet with your damned pesticides!”

I need peace in the neighborhood so I grin and bear it.  It still bothers me. It’s all so unnecessary. 

I must say that I might be partially to blame for your obsession with your lawn, that and retirement.  Where I come in is that my lawn is the one that is lush and green.  Everyday my greenness stares you in the face.  It never used to be that way and neither did my lawn.  Once we were like you,  I didn’t use poison but I made more work for myself by how I treated my lawn.  I have learned a few things since then.  Maybe my neighbor, you can too…

 
watering in the morning

I have read many books and have at least a decade of first hand knowledge on the subject of lawn care.   Especially organic lawn care which I highly recommend.  Mother Nature really knows best.  I work with nature instead of trying to conquer it. You are fighting a losing battle there.

And so Mr. neighbor, the guy who messes with his lawn too much:

This one’s for you… Here are some tips I’d like to share to help you in your quest for a green lawn.

Watering  Do it infrequently and do it deeply.  This forces the roots of the grass to grow longer in order to get a drink.  This makes the grass stronger and better able to withstand longer periods without water.  Also do it in the middle of the night or early in the morning. Watering in the heat of the day causes the water to evaporate before it can sink into the soil. 

Mowing  Mowing height is an important element to consider.  Giving your lawn a super short cut may look nice to you but your lawn hates it. Keeping the mower blade 3 to 4 inches off the ground  is the best  during the summer months.  The shade the taller blades of grass provide enable the grass to hold on to moisture longer.  Thus you water less. In addition, the more you mow the grass the harder it works to re grow itself.  In my opinion, it feels softer and is more lush when it’s allowed to be longer.

 Poisoning  There is a better way.  You don’t need that.  Look around, it’s a dead zone over there. No birds, no butterflies or cute little insects, no weeds, nothing but dying grass. It’s depressing. It gets into our ground water.  It’s even found in breast milk.  Please stop it! 

Your lawn would healthier without all that.  Nature provides.  In the coming months, I will be writing more on the subject of organic gardening.  Perhaps we can whip that lawn of yours into shape so that by next summer, you will have a lush green lawn and more free time to spent with your wife, who I happen to know, is a nice person.

Happy Gardening,

Signed your neighbor,  Strawberryindigo.

A Very Rich Man, Indeed.

Warren Buffett speaking to a group of students...
Image via Wikipedia

Aesop once said the worth of money is not in its possession, but in its use.  I can think of no one person who exemplifies that idea more than Warren Buffett.  Some call him “The Oracle from Omaha.”, I call him inspiring.

Mr. Buffett has been in the news of late due to his company Berkshire Hathaway‘s $5 billion dollar investment in the troubled Bank of America and also Buffett’s recent piece in the New York Times.  In the piece he asks Congress to raise tax rates on him and his rich buddies.  What a piece of work this man is.

I had already thought the world of Mr. Buffett before his recent actions, not only for his investment and business prowess, his uncommon common sense and his personality, (Hey,the guy’s cool to me)  all of which I have to say that I admire greatly.

It is his record of philanthropy that I admire the most.  It is the reason why he is one of my heroes.  His pledge to donate almost his entire fortune to the good of others and his devotion to get billionaires like him to do the same is simply put; inspiring.

It is that attitude that can inspire us all, rich, poor and in between to give some of ourselves to help others.  It doesn’t have to be money, although that would help.  It could be your time, the most valuable thing of all.  It could be your expertise, or advice. Maybe it could be a kind word to a stranger who really needs it at the time.

This is what real magic is made of.  Love and care for our fellow human beings.  It gets around and believe me it comes back to you triple fold. It’s up to everyone to see how they can help.  We all have our individual talents and ways of contributing. I am not a financial titan like Warren Buffett, but my dream is to help in some way through my writing.

We as a country, actually we as a planet are facing unprecedented social,economic and environmental turmoil and this divided attitude we humans possess could spell much trouble down the road.  We can all do our part.

Thanks for listening,

Strawberryindigo.