A Cat Update and Things and Thoughts

The well is a bit dry today… so I’m going back to one of my favorite pump primers and seeing where a random word generator will lead us. First though, a cat update.

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It’s microchip official. It’s like marrying your pet.

Alabama, our just under one year old former stray adoptee, is just back from the vet after getting all the standard nips and shots. He had a bit of a rough go at it I think- when I dropped him off on Tuesday he had this tiny little squeaky baby voice meow- very cute coming from quite a large tomcat and the girls and I were big fans. When I picked him up the next day he had a much deeper and rougher voice. I actually commented on it and told the vet tech that had to be the first time a voice got deeper after a neuter! She said no, it was just because he meowed for 30 hours. Straight. I could tell in the way she said it that she wasn’t sad to see him go home. Poor guy!

Also, he’s taken to following me around and napping near me more often during this week. I think he sees me as his rescuer from the horror that was the vet office; forgetting that I was the one to take him there in the first place. I would fall to my knees and declare “It’s my fault! I’m so sorry!” but it’d be immediately followed by “And I’d do it all again too!” so I don’t bother. He slept it off most of Wednesday and now on Sunday it’s like nothing even happened.

So now onto… Random Word Prompts!

Strew: I don’t strew much in this life, besides blog posts and flowers seeds; being a more ordered and controlling person by nature. But the word reminds me of this quote: “Don’t worry about being scattered; remember that stars and seashells are scattered too.” Too much order and too much control are a bad thing- like that one planet in A Wrinkle in Time, so I should try to keep it more loose.

Winter: Well like, it IS winter, so not really going to be breaking new ground with that. But Texas winter is not like real winter. The grass is still green and we hang out outside a lot. It’s interspersed with cold days, and we’re probably getting into the real bits now- but by mid February it’ll be planting time for the hardier annuals and veggies. It still gets dark before 6pm though, so that blows.

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And in fact some of the hardier veggies are already in. No the Toscano kale doesn’t need tomato cages… aside from it keeps the dog from running through it or peeing on them. Even the best of dogs is still a dog.

One thing that I do (remember that controlling thing I mentioned) is I watch what color plants I put in the front yard to ensure that flower colors don’t clash with the Christmas decorations. So no yellow or orange out front, even though they’re some of my favorite flower colors. We had roses and geraniums and a few others bloom through Christmas… it’s a thing I pay attention to.

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The pink and bright purples are mostly in the back as well, like these decorative kale. Kales? What’s the plural of kale actually? (Google says it’s “kale.”) The decorative kale is right next to the vegetable kale-  and this makes me uncomfortable in ways I can’t really put my finger on…

Also, no one think I’m rubbing the mildness of our winters in their snow chapped faces- we just trade the months that are impossible to be outside with you northerners. July and August are MISERABLE and we tend to not be outside nor do outdoor activities during those times. It all balances out, promise.

Unaccountable: Something unexplainable… okay. I know exactly what this should be actually, but hesitate because it seems so insane to write out. Nothing ventured, nothing… alright. Here we go.

One morning in a summer many a long year ago (I was 10ish) my brother and I woke up before sunrise.

Let me back up. I woke up, immediately threw my legs over the bed, and walked out of the dark room. This is the antithesis of how I woke up in those days- which ALWAYS entailed sleeping much later and until I was dragged out of bed by my mom. I was also completely afraid of things under my bed… and so would wait for her to come get me so the alligator couldn’t. So every bit of this one morning is out of character.

Even weirder? My brother turning the corner out of his room at the same time I walked out of mine. Even weirder than that? We said nothing to each other, and just both walked to the front door, unlocked it, and went and sat on the stoop outside… to stare at a light in the distance, that slowly rose straight up and disappeared into the just starting to lighten sky.

I can still feel the marble of the front hall on my feet. And the stoop was so low as to be uncomfortable (only a few inches above the sidewalk.) I can remember sitting there and the size of the light we were looking at. (It was round, white, and slightly larger than how Venus looks in the night sky.)

My brother and I said NOTHING the whole time we sat there. It was probably an hour before Mom woke up and found her children sitting outside the front door. (I can’t remember if we shut it behind us.) But being a parent now I can’t imagine the heart attack this caused her.

My brother and I talk about it now every few years- just to confirm to each other that it wasn’t a dream I guess. But nope- we both remember it. It happened. It’s completely impossible for me to explain. One of those things I guess, like how I don’t really believe in ghosts but have heard them. Or how I don’t believe in aliens… but don’t think that was what the light was… but don’t know what it could have been… but it can’t have been that. But dammit… it was something. (I just called him to re-re confirm. This happened. He’s thinking ball lightening these days.)

I never speak of it honestly, though I guess now I just did. Maybe because it is so unaccountable. Maybe because I know if someone told it to me I would roll my eyes and judge them for such ridiculousness. Maybe because… I just don’t talk about it.

Bright: We painted our bathroom on the very last day before I had to go back to work from the holidays- on a day we had my folks over for dinner too, actually- and our bathroom is much brighter now, which I love. It was a lot to cram into a day- but it sure felt great to accomplish it.

The difference in switching from a flat sheen in paint to satin is IMMENSE in the brightness of your rooms. We also went from a dead looking but warm beige to a cooler grey/light blue. (I realize no one wants to read about paint after the Steven King-esque incident I just wrote up there… I’m trying to plow through myself, so let’s slog through together here okay?)

Anyway, we’re continuing the quest to banish ALL beige from the house… and same as our last house- looks like our bedroom is going to be the very last place we paint. It should be the first! The bedroom should be a sanctum! And yet… it’s easy to put priority on the public spaces of our house. It’s on the to do list in 2019, promise.)

As for the bathroom- it actually is giving me a bit of trouble. I tend to LIKE warmer colors- but the painting I really like in there is in cool colors. (Seen HERE. ) The painting looks good with the new wall color and the marble counters and floors. But NOW how to warm it up and tie it into the bedroom with the warmer colors in there? How to bridge this gap without clashing… I’m spending some real mind space and time on this ‘un.

Taste: Hmm. I have developed a taste for many things I didn’t like as a kid- chicken skin. Eggs. Bone in Chicken. Stuffed peppers. But god damn is caviar the grossest thing I’ve ever tasted and i can’t imagine that ever changing. Especially the big red salmon ones. Lord!

“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…”)