“You know, Flowers and…”

My husband and I love gardening- we like existing outside, as much as we can- and we like doing it in a nicely landscaped place. And I have dabbled enough in landscape design to be all annoying about it. I like a French Cottage style- not as chaotic as English Cottage, but still emphasizing an abundance of flowers while also incorporating veggies and herbs right in the same spaces. Also, all organic, and stuff. So.

Back in the day I used to work in a garden center and thus became a bit of a plant snob- I want the unusual, the hard to grow, the unknown, the ones with cool historical stories. Honestly, a landscape of New Gold Lantana, Salvia greggii, Knockout roses, and crepe myrtles might as well be beige walls as far as I’m concerned. (So Bourgeoisie! I’d have never made it through the Reign of Terror with that kind of attitude, let me tell you- Robespierre would have definitely seen to that. Ho, ho!) But also people- please don’t fall for the trap: most commercial growers and big box stores grow plants that look good in POTS so you’ll buy them- for a rockin landscape you want plants that do best in the GROUND- they should almost always be just green and unassuming looking in pots for sale. So.

Our house had been abandoned for 20 years before we moved in- and the people who flipped it as an income property ran out of money and bad ideas and installed next to no landscaping. They did put 8 shrubs in, actually. They were Yaupon Hollies. And if the latin name of Ilex vomitoria ‘Nana’ doesn’t just perfectly sum them up, I don’t know what would. We ripped them out. So… we get, finely, to my point here.

Slowly… ever so painstakingly slowly- we’ve been landscaping. The front yard has sod and new shrubs. (anyone care what kind?) They’re dwarf myrtles, Myrtus communis compacta. Sweet myrtle is a plant that dates back to ancient times, with the first recording of it in written history in 50 AD. White flowers. Purple berries (edible, yes. Palatable? eh.) It’s considered an herb, and I use it extensively in cut flower arrangements. Supposedly it was one of the plants Adam was allowed to take out of the garden on Eden (how’d that work? Some kind of severance package, maybe?). We also have a side garden in and establishing. We’ve planted poppies and larkspur seeds in the 70′ bed between our new driveway and our neighbors. So, even with a now 10 month old we have done some really big projects. Oh- and we took out the trash trees in the back: Cedar Elms and an Arizona Ash (Boo! Hiss! Who plants those awful things?! It’s dead now.) And my husband and some contractor (cough cough, Dad, cough cough) installed a new fence. Okay! Jeez, this is taking together all too long to get to the point of… “Hey, wanna see the few flowers we’ve got over here right now? There aren’t that many because we haven’t landscaped the backyard yet, but we eked out what we could this year.”

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Francis Dubriel Rose. We get a rose for each of the girl’s when they’re born. Mary’s middle name is Francis (How Catholic are we, amiright?! Not very, actually.) so this one seemed like a good choice. Turns out it gets 8′ tall. Gulp. Maybe should have done a bit more research. It’s from 1894 and named for a rose breeder in Lyon, France who started out his career as a tailor. (My plant snobitude- it is DWARFED by my level of rose snobbery. lovelovelove me some antique roses. Hearts.) Hey and look! Turns out the jerks who sold us the house didn’t even sand the exterior before they painted! Haha…yeah. Don’t do that.

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My Nutmeg scented geranium- love those leaves! Flowers are small but very cute and both are cute in cut flower arrangements. Hey and look! You can see that the jerks we bought the house from built the deck using nails instead of screws! haha… yeah. Don’t do that.

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Chocolate Sunflowers… now that’s one to file away for future use! I tried to angle the picture to exclude the neighbors house and her one of her no-goodnik son’s truck covered in assault rifle stickers. Grow, sunflowers, GROW!

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Coreopsis from a wildflower mix the neighbor gave us to add to the driveway bed. Huh. That’s not hideous…thanks, neighbor! Now, about that asshole dog of yours. And the other one. And the other one. And the new puppy…

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John Fannick Phlox named after… some guy in San Antonio. Owned a plant nursery. They can’t all be interesting stories.

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Weed grass heads from the bamboo forest/ghetto in the back corner. The seed heads do look nice in flower arrangements, though. And that’s all I got… except for this last one, that is.

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Happy Saturday. (“Don’t say Cat-urday, don’t say Cat-urday…”)

 

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Almost Murder, Most Foul

Annnnd… the children almost killed me this morning.

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The snake… is fake. The heart attack sure felt real though.

 

See what happens when you try to clean under the tub? Remind me to never do THAT again!

What are you most proud of?

It’s an interesting question.

And the answer to “what are you proud of” has pretty normal answers. (I’d say my marriage and my children- but those feel more like winning the lottery than something I can take credit for) So… graduating college. Some trophies I got during my teenage years. Becoming an instructor in karate. Being promoted. This career I’ve worked hard at. Buying a house. The occasional exuberant spring show on my roses… And some others.  And I am proud of those, I am. But no. What comes to mind when I think of the thing I am most proud of is a day I was sitting sullenly on a shuttle bus- heading to take a final at UT Austin.

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I was behind on my studying. It was much too early for me at the time- crack of 8:30am- and it was before my enthusiastic leap into the caffeinated world of coffee. So there I was- hair a mess and wearing a dog hair covered t-shirt. I’d timed my entry on the bus to snag one of the last seats so I could read my textbooks- cramming furiously. And yes- that means some pretty callous line cutting was committed by yours truly. And I was wearing uncomfortable shoes. I had about 5 years there of just uncomfortable, cheap shoes. I was 21, maybe 22.  And sullen. Don’t forget sullen. Painted that less than rosy picture yet? Okay. Moving on.

So a young mother and her toddler daughter get on a few stops later. There were no seats left. And nobody gave up their seat. Not any of the guys. Not any of the people on their phone or staring off into space. And so I – notebook and textbooks in my lap- offer her (sullenly, I’m sure) my seat. She turned me down, shyly. Politely. And so she stands there, holds her little girl’s hand in one hand, and holds onto the seat rest right behind me with the other. And… I know how precarious that is. Those shuttle drivers  were quick to brake, and even faster to accelerate. I’d seen people fall before. People who weren’t holding onto children.

And so… I had this weird tension. And I guess it was attentiveness, but not to the studying I needed to do. So when we braked suddenly, and that young mother pitched forward and would have fallen on her daughter- I caught her. I grabbed her upper arm and jerked her backwards. It happened really, really fast- but I was ready for it. Later, walking to class my right arm hurt from the force I used- I’m sure I left a mark on that poor lady. I stood up (dropping one of my books in the process) and told her to sit. She again tried to refuse, but I made her take the seat. She sat and put her daughter on her lap. I awkwardly picked up my book and stood in her previous spot. I had to put my books up in my backpack so I could hold on with both hands- there would be no more studying. My feet hurt. It was another 30 minutes to campus.

I bolted off the bus(sullenly, still, I’m sure) and trudged off to class so I could sit in the hall and try to finish my studying and then a few hours later took a test for a subject I can’t recall now. I have no idea what grade I got.

And yet- it feels like I passed the test that counted that day. And I may not have passed with flying colors or anything. But still.

It’s what I’m most proud of.

And another thing…

If the quote had been- “I can do what I want- punch them in the back of the head- and I can do it because I’m famous. I just can’t stop myself. I don’t even ask I just start punching” – this would be a much more clear cut argument, right?  That’s assault! End of story! You sick bastard!

But you take it into the muddy world of female sexual identity and societal perception of collective ownership of the female form… well that gets a little harder to wade through. Because the boundaries are blurred (They really shouldn’t be, this should really be quite clearcut here.) and what is even seen as impinging  gets muddy.

Let’s break it down:

Who can impinge? (No one, you ass.) What action is impinging? (If you have to ask- then that.) Is impinging so commonplace that it’s seen as okay? (Short answer yes. Long answer… also yes. Damn.) Is that how you spell impinging? (Turns out yes.) Is impinging really the right word I should be using here? (Ah. Yes, the perfect one. High five, Vocabulary.)

 

 

I am thankful that all the Trump signs make it easy to figure out where to not go trick or treating.

The Sexual Micro-Aggressions Faced by Being Female

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I was 35 and walking through our downtown with my husband. Some douche leaned out of a car driving by and aggressively yelled: “HOT CHICK!” at me. At us. I was holding my husband’s hand. I was wearing a maxi dress and just about as covered up as if I’d been wearing a burkha.

I was 26, had just started a new job. A customer came in, looked at me, and said how I had inspired him to go home and f*ck his wife for the rest of the day. My new coworker came out of his office and kicked the guy out. My boss called to apologize to me. That guy was told to never come back. He later burned to death in a traffic accident, I heard.

I was 16 and getting gas. Waiting patiently in line to pay my $5. An old man, 70 plus years old- came up very close behind me and said: “Mmm, mmm… I’d f*ck you so hard and so would my grandson.” I tried to redirect the conversation- because my coping strategies were… nonexistent at that point, I guess. Because I didn’t want to make a scene, maybe? Because I didn’t know what to do? Because… I don’t even know. Because I was only 16. And he was 70.

I was 14 and working Wurstfest (a knockoff Octoberfest. But about sausage? I don’t know) and a 30+ year old man and a woman saying she was his sister (DOUBTFUL) kept coming back to my line. He wanted to date me. Offered to buy me a car. the “sister” said: “And he could do it- he’s a car dealer!” I was horrified. I said I was 14! He said it didn’t matter. My Aunt Kathy stepped in, walked out of the booth to confront him, and he didn’t come back. I love her for it. I wonder if I’ve ever thanked her?

I was 11 and my parents had another couple over, and were drinking beer in the kitchen. I walked in to get something out of the fridge and their friend, the husband, made some gesture behind me as I bent over to get a drink from the bottom shelf. All I know is he walked up close behind me- not sure what he did, but I can guess. I never asked my parents what happened. They never spoke of it. I never saw that couple again.

My oldest just had a boy say some very aggressively creepy things to her- about how he wanted to throw her on a bed. What he wanted to do to her and her friend. She’s 10. They told a teacher. They got him in trouble. But… but what to say? That feeling you have, my child- about how the world now  feels sometimes like a randomly awful place- is just the stone cold truth and other peoples’ objectification of you will be guaranteed to continue through absolutely no fault of your own? You will have to face it, and be strong enough to know how to call it out… but all that strength you will have to muster will be effective only in punishing bad behavior… not preventing it for you. Ever.

So, let me just say this. “Locker room banter” is how you show off to other dudes. So if you “show off” by saying aggressive and predatory things about women… it means you think those things would impress- that’s the whole point of it, right? And it makes you an asshole.  It makes you every single one of those assholes from my past- and every one of the assholes from every other female’s past. And all the assholes all three of my daughters will run across in their futures. So please. Can we not elect those assholes?! Please.

Also- Jesus Christ, Melania, wearing a pink, pussy bow pantsuit? (seriously… that is what that style is called.) Message, much? I’d rather you slowly start poisoning his coffee… but it’s a start.

Also, Also- if you EVER think any of this is the “fault” of the women getting harassed or that she somehow created some invitation for this into her life… you are just as big of an asshole as the idiot saying inappropriate stuff.

Also, Also, Also- if you have to equate that behavior to someone you know: “Wow, I wouldn’t want someone treating my mom/sister/daughter like that” then you also fail in the realization that women are human beings and their treatment shouldn’t have to be correlated to someone you know for it to be wrong. #youmightbeanassholeif…

Parenting Advice: Kill the Pajamas

Baby sleepers and pajamas are ADORABLE. And I still have some. And my older girls still have pajamas- but DON’T YOU BUY THEM, IT’S A TRAP!!!!!

Look- it’s PERFECTLY acceptable for a baby to sleep in a long sleeve onesie, soft pants and socks. And guess what? You don’t get judge-y looks at the grocery store when they’re still dressed like that at 2 in the afternoon like you would if they were in a sleeper. And besides- diaper changes are easier like that. #somanybuttons

Older Kids: Soft leggings or cotton shorts and a teeshirt- perfectly acceptable to sleep in. And lookie there- that’s looking on the up and up if someone drops in at 2pm (why is it always 2pm? Shrugs.) and they’re still dressed like that! And maybe they go the whole day wearing those clothes! And then that’s an entire outfit (times THREE in our house!) that I don’t have to wash and fold! *Cackles maniacally and then starts crying while looking at laundry pile*

 

TL;DR: Don’t change your pants twice a day. (Is that the real lesson? Read the post then, Lazy.)

Of Mindfulness Meditation and a Forehead Like a Sphinx Cat

Lessons Learned:

Practicing Mindfulness Meditation during a facial wax has to be hands down the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. Immerse yourself in the moment and just experience the world? Sure, do that- just not while you’re getting hot wax poured on your face and hair pulled out by the follicles. There IS such a thing as too much multitasking, turns out- and there can be NO better example of it than this right here.

Also, my brain just repeated the word “Mindfulness” as I was trying to clear my head and be mindful. Yo brain- saying a thing and doing a thing… those are two different things.

And I really need to remember to emphasize next time that I’m fine with fuzzies around my hairline. Because there seemed to be an unreasonable amount of attention being paid to what must have been a werewolf-level hairline, frankly. Let’s focus on the upper lip, lady- all I care about is not looking like Admiral Burnsides.

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…You missed a few buttons there, Burnsey.

Also I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT HIS SMOOTH FOREHEAD STOP RIPPING HAIR OFF OF MINE- JESUS CHRIST!

(And why would one even WANT a full face wax, you say? it’s cheaper than getting a lip and eyebrow wax separately, generally- and turns out makeup goes on way easier without the rest of the facial fuzz. Just learned ya something, I hope)