Monday, February 29, 2016

The Oscars...2016

A well deserved win for "Spotlight" last night!

I was pleasantly surprised. Having seen both The Revenant and Spotlight...and although DiCaprio certainly deserved his Oscar..."Spotlight" was hands-down the superior film.

Chris Rock was edgy and spot on as the Host. Loved the moment when the entire crowd gasped thinking "...he did NOT just say LYNCHED."

Happy for Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith. And loved Smith dedicating the Oscar to the LGBT Community.

DiCaprio was humble and altogether wonderful in his acceptance speech.

There were several recipients including DiCaprio and Smith who took a moment to address social.environmental/economic issues as well in their acceptance speeches. I applaud them.

And,as usual, the red carpet glowed...although it was a bit disturbing to see all the black dresses this year. 

"No..we won't boycott...but we will dress all in black..."

The effect was funeral-like at points. The point, I suppose. The best black dress of the evening

And the worst

And honestly, can't you see Helena Bonham-Carter pulling this dress off with panache. Jennifer is just too sweet to do this look. my opinion best dress of the night went to Cate Blanchette with this

Which just had that old time Hollywood movie star feel to it. And I love that.

And for the guys
(actually I think his face and beard made the ensemble)


 With one of the Worst Dressed nominations going to Dearden for the "Miss Scarlett at Tara...I Tore Down the Drapes and Made My Dress" Category

And followed closely in the male Worst Dressed by Pharrel "They Said There Was Flooding" 

Also LOVED Lady Gaga's performance of "Til' it Happens To You" which actually brought tears to some of the audience.

So...another awesome night on The Red Carpet...

Now soooooooooooooo excited that tomorrow is Super Tuesday...and March 1st...
        and it is off to Virtual Portugal at last!

If you live in one of the Super States...don't forget to


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Jeggings...or I Can't Bloody Well Leave the House Wearing Pantyhose...Wrapped in Leather...and in Praise of Adult Sons

David Bowie...making jeggings cool before they were even "a thing". Who knew, right?

I had resisted them forever.  Every time I tried them (in various colours) I couldn't shake the feeling of walking out the door in pantyhose.Oh sure...they were amazingly comfortable and let's face it...nothing accentuates the thigh-gap quite like these...but leaving the house in underwear...

Until recently. 

When I found, to my surprise and delight, they made them with faux seams and pockets and lines and they looked like the perfect skinny jeans...and a dream with tall boots and big sweaters.

Took this last night after wearing them out all day...and someone clean that wretched mirror...please...

So yeah...finally incorporating jeggings into the wardrobe. With the infinity scarves and the purses.  Found a black jean pair I really like, too!

Bought these a few months back

And got this for a steal off eBay last week (distressed leather)

So, I'm a really happy camper!

Spent Saturday with Chris (solo) for part of the day...and Sunday (solo) part of the day with James. And though I enjoy Chris' friends around and love love love Nicole and the is so wonderful to have a bit of one on one time with the boys.  We have all agreed to make at least one day a month (each) that it is just us, solo...again. 

Adult children are so much more interesting than when they were small, and you had to be the Authority Figure. 

Listening to the minutia of their (now adult) lives, hopes, dreams, challenges, laughs and frustrations. Laughing together at REAL jokes now...not the kind that start with "Knock Knock"...Discussing Politics and the 2016 Election, World Situations, Music, Listening to Chris play his new Sicilian...or James strumming and singing with his Dad's Dunwell Six String.

It is nice...and I am blessed. 

Chris and I discussing an afternoon soon in Avon with Greek Food...and a stop by a craft wine/beer shop. I am learning to make various cordials and liqueurs this summer and need bottling supplies... a trek to Michael's and Hobby Lobby for brushes and canvases and art supplies, and a nearby used book shop that Chris proclaims is "the very best".

James and I looking forward to Spring warm up and spending an afternoon out at one of the ponds fishing...and a picnic lunch...and relaxing outdoors. Maybe catching dinner. And,of course, hunting mushrooms together in April... the first of the car shows.

When they were little I thought they were all incredible. When they were teenagers, I often thought they were living on borrowed time. Now that they are adults, I realize my first impression was the right one!

 Adult Children are Amazing.

The Eldest

The Youngest

Thanks for a Wonderful Weekend, Guys!

 And Chris, thanks for the ride out to see Aunt Pam, too!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Lazurus...the REST of the Story...and why Guardianships are a very very very bad idea...

It has taken a while to even write about bear with me.

Remember at the end of last year when I was in such a deep funk and circumstances so bizarre that I remarked  

" one could fathom them"

Hell, I couldn't even get my head around it.

Well here goes...

To understand what happened you have to reflect back to the story of Lazarus. No, not the department store...the biblical story.
 Dead guy...walks out of tomb, Lazurus. has been a lot like that.

On September 15th last year I received a call from my oldest childhood friend's caregiver telling me that she had suffered a massive heart-attack, and was gone.

Gone means a lot of things to a lot of different people, apparently.

The next day I would find out that the EMT's did in fact re-start her heart and she was placed on a she had no DNR in place.

At that time she was non-responsive, basically comatose and being kept alive through machines and tubes.  At this point her caretaker stayed with her not leaving her side.

The doctors gave her no chance for recovery at all. In retrospect, obviously they didn't know PAM very well.

To make matters worse the Trustee over her Estate left to her by her father on his death (...did I bother to mention he was a lawyer???) decided to take matters into his own hands and file for Guardianship in Probate Court.
And got it.

Shakespeare was right. Let's kill them all.  

His answer to the whole problem was to discontinue life support...pull the plug. 

With no living family, and only her caretaker and I to say anything to the contrary...who would resist.

Her caregiver, Calvin, pretty much lived up at the hospital with her during those weeks of insanity. Keeping her comfortable, brushing her hair, insisting on TPN...

After saying my goodbyes, I kept in touch with her nurses and Calvin on the telephone...but really did not anticipate any change in condition.

Until the day she re-opened her eyes...started tracking...and squeezed his hand. 


In the midst of this the lawyer became The Guardian...the first thing he did was to refuse to let her caregiver or I back into the room, and we were to be given no further reports on her condition.


The next thing he attempted to do was to discontinue life support.

My friend owes her life to Calvin, I, and Adult Protective Services.

The next day or two was a blur of phone calls for both of the Hospital The ersatz lawyer/ our own the Probate Court judge that granted the Guardianship...and Adult Protective Services, of course...

 Finally, an Emergency Meeting was granted.

The Nursing staff backed Calvin and I, saying that she was now responding appropriately, and that removal of the vent was tantamount to murder at this point. Adult Protective Services stated that The Guardian's refusal to let anyone in her room was isolation and illegal. They also blocked him from selling her property, euthanizing her animals (which her caretaker and wife had been caring for in her absence) or in any way dissolving the Estate.
 All things he had said he was going to do.

 Oh...and he no longer could make any decision to discontinue life support.

They stated that her lungs were very weak and removal of the vent was impossible...but through the use of a tracheotomy they could help get them stronger and her breathing on her own again.
So they did the trach.

By October she was moved to another nearby hospital that specializes in this type of rehabilitation.

By December she was able to wean more and more off the vent...but it was still necessary. Her lungs were getting stronger and she could communicate through the use of a white board. They were working with her with bites of solid food and she knew all of us when we walked into her room, and responded with a huge smile. And a silent laugh when I told her she had to hurry the process along or I was going to eat BOTH the lobsters myself on our combined birthdays.

They continued to work with her. Eventually she was weaned off the vent.
(...face it...some people will accomplish anything for a stuffed lobster dinner...)

At the end of January after Speech Therapy had been working with her, teaching how to speak with the trach...I received another phone call that made me cry.

After nearly 5 months of silence...I heard Pam's voice again...on the other end of the phone. Her surprise to me.
Once again...there really are no words.

Now they are working on restoring her muscles which have atrophied from non-use, and the eventual goal is to return to her home...caregiver and animals.

So has been a Roller-Coaster Ride of Emotions...from crying and mourning her "death" to that moment...hearing her voice again...crying from happiness..and knowing she was going to make it.

And selfishly, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when she made her next call to The Trustee/Ex-Guardian Lawyer...just to see his face.

Hearing  "A Whiter Shade of Pale" playing somewhere.

I'm surprised the old guy didn't have his own heart-attack. TODAY is the day...and in a few hours, albeit in her hospital room, Chris and I will arrive with the Birthday Lobsters...although I doubt they will allow the candles to be lit. Oxygen use and all of that.

Her's named Rufus this year...mine, Clyde.  

And somehow I know,  this year's lobsters will be the BEST of our entire friendship.

As an aside...she has explained her experiences, thoughts and feelings during the time she was essentially checked-out of life...not what you would expect, really.

No bright tunnel or white light. No fluffy angels or dead relatives. No pearly gates.  Imagine a dream...a long pleasant dream. She could hear us talking. It wove into her dream in odd ways. When the staff was discussing the removal of the life support she said she was "...sitting on a bale of hay on the hillside...listening to them back and forth...watching them..." but to her surprise she said she really didn't feel anything positive or was more of a wait and see thing. She said at one point a lot of the pleasant memories of her life wove through the dream...that it was like re-living them again almost.  


So off in a bit with Chris to see Pam...and share another birthday together!

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

Celebrating 43 years of friendship...can't
let a little thing like dying get between
us (or our lobster dinners)

Love ya, sis!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Almost Spring...Delegates, Super Delegates and Bernie...and The Office

And I think we are all READY!

The temperatures up to 70 last weekend!  Sure, it is slipping a bit this week, even maybe snow on Thursday...but Winter is on the way out!

The Eldest and family took the warmer opportunity to trek in the woods near their place

With Aiden riding in STYLE

And the Youngest enjoyed "windshield time" with the new car, and is back to  some hiking at the nearby nature parks.

He ninja'd in before work, leaving a surprise on the table for me to find when I woke up.

Baklava from my Favorite Greek Restaurant to go with my Morning Cup!!!

The Middle has been working his ass off....and hopefully will have vacation time by next year so he can come up again. We talk all the time...but it just isn't the same. 

My Oldest is apolitical...which is just strange given his upbringing. The Youngest and the Middle and I, firmly supporting

The Bernmeister.

The total Pledged Delegate Count is now

After Nevada.

These represent the actual number of delegates won during primaries or caucuses. In this case Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

When you listen to the mass media and the pundits pontificate about Super Delegates please keep in mind one thing...Super Delegates tend to change with whatever direction the wind is blowing. They don't actually cast their vote until the very very end...and usually it is for the candidate that is carrying the popular vote.  Therefore, at this early stage in the game, trying to second guess them is fairly useless. In this election  they are trying to demoralize "the movement". Also, the Delegate numbers are going to yo-yo between now and June. One Primary won or lost does not a Nomination make. 

In short- BREATHE...we're fine.

After all the Debbie Wasserman-Shultz/DNC finagling and the Media Blackout it any wonder that there is a huge growing movement in the Revolution for

Something the DNC might want to consider before handing Hillary the Nomination. 

Just Saying.

And a tremendous shock when I returned to "My Office" on Friday.


 For several years now Lisa and a few of my friends at The local library have referred to The Periodical Room as  "Carla's Office" this started when a couple of friends were trying to catch up with me for lunch and Lisa headed them in my general direction upstairs telling them "I think she is in her OFFICE"...then another friend called the upstairs desk for me (receptionist?)..and it stuck.

 I kind of like it.

Anyway, during a recent remodel they added a round low table and several wing-backed chairs that I absolutely adore...and there is talk of plants.

So...Friday I was met by Lisa on my way up saying

" the way...they re-painted your office."

Which was somewhat alarming, because whoever is in charge of paint chips in that organization must have either been

1.) Raised in Mexico..where Cantaloupe, Teal and Yellow sit side by side with Lime Green...  

2.)  Ray Charles' previous personal decorator.

My fears were confirmed when I walked into my newly painted "office" which is now...this colour.

Only a few shades lighter than Meep Vomit Green.

Actually, about the shade of Meep.

Oh Dear God!

Lisa and I shared an evil laugh...but it was Idgy's Brilliance that fixed the situation for me, as we discussed it over coffee this morning...something like this:

Me:   You have to get your interior decorator's license quickly and come fix this for me...

Her:   I'm thinking cute Latino waiters...Sombreros...Margaritas...Limes and Marachi music...and a Basket of Tortilla Chips.

Me:  I'm LOVING IT!  
Maybe a Cantina Menu. 

"El Libro y Cantina"

So, now...I'm contemplating showing up in a Sombrero with a plastic Margarita glass, shaker of salt and a wedge of lime.

Could be funny! 

(This is why we have been "besties" for heading into ten years, now)

 More anon...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Voices in My Head: Continuing Work on My First Fiction Novel: The Plan

So one of my favorite writers once advised me in his book "On Writing" that you had to give your fictional characters a voice of their own. 

So that is GREAT, how the hell do you get them to shut up???

Working steadily along on my (as yet untitled) piece of fiction. Have the first chapter (draft) done and beginning the second.

This is the interview with The Deserter, I promised.
[The Commanding Officer at Ft. Leavenworth Military Prison hands me off to a guard who ushers me into a small room. Our time is very limited and initally was refused all together.  At the table sits a child. Not literally, of course. He is 24 years old and has spent the last 4 years of his life imprisoned. He is also the only other survivor. The guards at this Military Prison don't see him this way. To them and the rest of the world he will always just be a deserter. Someone who abandoned his platoon. Small for his age; he is thin with a dusting of freckles across his nose and cheekbones. His ears stick out hopelessly under the high and tight haircut. He could pass for 18 easily. When I enter the room he immediately stands to attention. I motion him to return to the straight back oak chair and he does.]

[I ask him if he knows why I am here. And our interview begins.]

"No sir."

"Private First Class David Gentry, Sir.  But most of the guys just called me "Ohio".

"On account of bein' from Ohio, Sir"

"Yes. He was my Commanding Officer, Sir. If it hadn't been for Mark, I would be dead now."

[I find it odd that unlike all the other military trappings he exhibits, he does not
refer to Mark as SGT.Cole,  but simply Mark, like an old friend]

"You see, Mark told me that night to clear out. Said that everyone was going to die in there. So I found a chance and lit out."

"I don't know, Sir."

"He was always real good to me, Sir. The older guys liked to dog me some. Mark always stopped them. Sometimes we would talk."

[PFC Gentry up until this point had no idea that Mark was still alive. When I tell him that Mark survived and that he is currently in the VA Hospital his immediate affect is disbelief like that of a child who has been told there really IS a Santa Claus]

[ He sits quietly absorbing this impossible news]

"He saved my life."

[He repeats this quietly over and over]

"My folks. Yeah. They're still alive. Don't want nothin' to do with me now though. Says they're ashamed of me. Because I deserted, I guess. I don't rightly know, sir. Haven't seen them since before the court martial. About three years, Sir.  All military, sir."

[ the guard re-enters and motions that our time is up]

"Sir? Do you think maybe they might let me see him sometime?"

[ He says this like a lost child might ask for its father, and he is still looking back at me for an answer as the guard leads him shackled back to his cell.]

I have no response. They would barely let me see him.

Sometimes I hate my job.


And the culmination of the first chapter by the doctor...


I should have introduced myself earlier, I suppose.

My name is Doctor Richard Troy and I have a private practice in the State of Pennsylvania. I am 58 years old and have been a psychiatrist for almost half my life. I was married just after college. My wife was raped and beaten severely in our home several years ago. She lingered for days, in an induced coma, never regaining consciousness. Too much brain trauma. If she had lived they said she would have been in a persistent vegetative state. Mercifully, she died quickly when the life support was removed. The police called it a home invasion. They should call it what it is.

A life invasion.

We had no children. After her death I have devoted myself almost completely to my practice.

I live alone and do not socialize a great deal. For years I blamed myself for her death. I felt quite guilty.

I was often away at conferences. She had repeatedly asked me to stay home more through our last years together. I was away at a Conference when the attack occurred.

I was asked to consult on Mark's case by Dr.Esselweiss, the lead psychiatrist for the VA Hospital.  Mark's case is a bizarre one. By all accounts he should have died in the blast. He did not. With the exception of his right arm all of the limb loss occurred after he arrived state-side. Being a diabetic his healing was quite slow and subject to numerous infections. When his left leg became gangrenous, it too, was amputated. Remarkably, he shows no signs of a TBI despite the concussive nature of an explosion that size. I don't believe in miracles, myself, but if I did- I would say that Mark's cognitive status would certainly qualify as one.

After the surgical amputation of his last limb, and because of his mental status the VA offerd him the chance to be involved in an on-going experimental project.They are developing an exo-skeleton (Exo-Shel) that is completely controlled by neuro-impulse. Brain waves. Simply put, it is his best chance to walk with robotic legs, have arms to use again, and eventually resume some semblance of a life outside this hospital. He had been talking very positively about it until the last amputation and his subsequent divorce.

Since that time he has withdrawn further and further. He refuses to consider all antidepressant therapies available, and is quite angry at times. He is verbally abusive to the staff and myself. He is currently palliative care only, by his wishes, and often refuses even basic ADL care.

Both Dr. Esslweiss and myself, as well as the team of robotics researchers who have been working with him for several years now on the development of the Exo-Shel, are hopeful that we can help his come to terms with his situation and get him back into the Exo program.

That is why I am here.


And Mark's Interview. Beginning the Second Chapter


[ The day-shift nurse has reported that Mark has been very quiet today. Reflective. Cooperative. I am optimistic about our session. ]

"You're back."

[I answer affirmatively and he shifts a bit in the bed to gaze directly at me with his one remaining eye. There is white salt dried on the cheek and lower periorbital reigon and I suddenly realize he has been crying today. Profusely. His eye is streaked with red. I step closer and touch his shoulder to comfort him, and instead set off a new stream of tears]

"I miss Tracy so much. I miss all of them."

"Josh and Jade."

"Jerry, too."

"What a damn mess. It's all my fault, you know. Fuckin' stupid to keep re-upping."

"Did she show up last week?"

"Are they all okay?"

[Patient confidentiality prohibits me from discussing the particulars, not that I would, anyway, in this case.  I reassure him that everyone is fine. Today he seems to want to talk and that is what I am here for. To listen. To help. To get him back on track. ]

"I'm sorry I was rude last week. This has been...horrible. A fuckin' nightmare."

[I nod, and he goes on. It is easier to see him angry and defiant than it is to see him like this. Completely broken.]

"I don't blame Tracy. If I were her I wouldn't do this to the kids, either. Damn it, I just miss them so much.  Jerry is a great guy. We grew up together outside of Atlanta. Best friends. He really stepped in and helped a lot when I was deployed. With Tracy. With the kids. Uncle Jerry, they called him. I should be grateful that they have someone to raise them. do things with them. Take care of Tracy. It's hard... "

[He trails off, and then the conversation is replaced by huge child-like sobs. Gulping for air.]

[I retrieve a handful of tissues and wipe his misshapen nose clean, the tears from his face, and gently squeeze his shoulder...feeling a lump form in my own throat. He has a coughing fit, and then finds his voice again. ]

"Can I tell you about Tracy?"

[I don't trust mine at this point, and nod instead...and he continues]

"When Tracy and I started seeing each other, I knew we were from different worlds. She was backwoods. Not proper. My parents didn't like her. She was like a scared wild animal. She didn't trust anybody. It took a long time to get past that. She could be real hard. Angry. Hurtful. But she had a real sweet side. The side I fell in love with. She was "experienced". There I was, practically a city boy, and she was my first kiss. Hell, my first everything."

"As different as we were, I loved her."

[ he corrects himself]

"I love her."

"Her Dad, The General, is a great guy. He was more of a Dad to me than my own dad. Hell, I think I enlisted more for him than for us. He was so proud the day I told him I was enlisting. The Father I always wanted and never had."

"I had planned to go to college. Study engineering. But after Josh was born I knew that they both deserved more than me trying to make ends meet while I was going to school."

"Planned? No. Josh wasn't planned. But I have never wanted a kid so bad in my whole life. When they handed me my own son...I swore I would be the Dad to him that mine never had time to be."

"You know how that feels?"

"The General still comes to see me, you know.  Came in a couple of weeks back. He is still pretty mad with Tracy about the divorce."

  Told me

"Goddamn it,'ll always be MY son."
 [He does an imitation of The General]

"Asked me if I needed anything."
"I told him shoes."  [he grins at his own dark joke]

"You should have seen his face. He didn't know whether to laugh or cry."

"Smuggled me in a beer. Boy, if the nurses had caught us chugging it, I would have been in some deep shit."

"First time I've felt human in a long time."


"Do you think if YOU asked them, they would come see me?"

"I'm not mad or anything. Tell 'em I understand."

"I don't want to scare the kids."

"If they don't want to bring 'em maybe they could just bring a picture or two for here in my room. You know. So I can see 'em sometimes."

[ He looks hopeful and the tears have stopped. I tell him I will do whatever I can for him. He is no longer crying. I leave the stark room and the disfigured man. Then mine begin to drip to the floor.]


So yeah...between Dr. Troy, and Mark, and Jerry, and Tracy, and "Ohio" and to a lesser extent The General...there are a lot of voices, plots, and sub-plots bouncing around in there.  Have used the Ingersoll Snowflake Method for developing my fictional characters, and it works extremely well.

So anyway...if it is late in the evening and there is a bluish glow in the window accompanied by tap-tap-tapping on the keyboard...we're all just having a late night chat. Okay?

Working on an interview with The General tonight!

More Anon...

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Nevada Caucus...and Preparations for Virtual Portugal

Have checked on and off during the evening...but they have finally called the caucus for Hillary. 

In the blogosphere the hew and cry is loud...we need to breathe.  Remember the long game. We still walk away with 14 delegates. And she didn't just walk in and do a caucus blow-out. It was pretty neck and neck all day. In short she fought for her win. And we would do well do remember in 2008 she also won Nevada...actually a larger win than this...and STILL lost the Nomination.


If we stand together...we can do this.

So, finishing up Spain and making preparations for March's Country in Frances Mayes Year in the World (Virtual Adventure) with Portugal.

And making a brief outline of the things I want to see, taste, try or buy.

Beginning in Lisbon...The Capitol.

I want to try ginjinha...a Portuguese drink made of distilled cherries.

I want to learn to make some authentic Portuguese cuisine.

I want to try/buy a cataplana of my own. The cataplana is a copper or stainless steel cooking pot with a clam-shell approach and  is generally used for steaming meats/veggies and seafood.

I want to learn the history of Lisbon and Lusitania.

I want to check out the azulejos (hand-painted tiles) and perhaps even get one as a souvenir.

I want to see the Moorish architecture that dominates the country.

I want learn to make Pasteis de Belem and Sonho, both Portuguese desserts.

I want to see Lisbon's Port Entry and the Maritime Museum.

I want to read Chauncer's : A Treatise on the Astrolabe.

I want to make Portuguese Almond Tarts, and learn to make some of their breads (which Mayes describes as exquisite) and try Bica. Portugal's equivalent of Espresso.

I want to see the Fiera da Ladra (Thief’s Fair) and the Alfama (Old Arab Part of the City)

I want to experience Fado  (rhymes with hair-do...not dough) and the Fadistas.

I want to earn to make Rissoles and taste Almonds suspended in good honey.

I want to explore Alentjo and the surrounding country-side. See the marble-yards and flocks of sheep with tiny bells attached to collars. A tinkling winding river of fleece.

I want to see the Cork Groves and harvests.

I want to learn to make some of the Acordas (dry bread-filled soups) of the area.

And see the woven rugs of Estremoz. The by-product of all that fleece.

I want to see the Castle at Obidos.

And try a Portuguese recipe for spicy goat-meat.

Maybe purchase an ex-voto or a bracelet with lapis lazuli to ward off the evil eye.

I want to see The Gypsies.

And try Portuguese Chocolate, all varieties!

I want to discover Sintra...and read the words of Lord Byron who once travelled through this small town and thought it worth mentioning. And the town is forever grateful. 

A hearty itinerary for such a small country. 

And to think, I almost bypassed it as 
"Not Interesting Enough" to bother with...

More Anon...

                    Starting Portugal on March 1st.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Parting...A Glimpse of Spring...And Working With My Bonsai

Life repeatedly teaches up that nothing is permanent...but how different that lesson feels when it hits home.

This week the youngest and his girlfriend/fiancé parted ways after two years. It was a difficult decision all around. is better, I suppose, than after you've married and started a family.

Heartwise, is still hard.
A broken heart is still a broken heart. No matter how young or old you are.

They are being adults about it. So that is good. They are both good people. Some times things just aren't meant to be.

Chris has a tremendous circle of friends and family who love and care for him very much, and he has thrown himself back into his music in a big way.  Donna, Dayne, Eric, Don, Kyle, Cody, Crystal, Kevin, Jacob, Jake, Amanda, Jasmine, and I have surrounded him in a circle of love and activity- and he will emerge a stronger person from this. I have no doubt. Maybe they both will.

Already he has made the joke

"I'm Hanging Out with an Italian Model, Now."

Referring to his Sicilian Carmelo Mandolin.

It's going to be okay.

Today...was FABULOUS.  As we made the transition from this:

And this

Aiden Snow Fort

To a balmy 65 degrees outside...sunshine...breezes and the promise of two more days just like it!  A tiny glimpse of Spring-To-Come!  And a a friend of mine (Kim) immediately sent this

Which has to be from a former season

Yeah, I'm there.
It is going to be about a month and a half, though! My god..I can smell and taste them from here.

I am anxious to see how the sporing does this year. Did well with the grays last year and I have tried adding Goldens now. Also going to do Oyster and Button Mushrooms later...and maybe Shitakes.

I picked up the winter accumulations and will be top dressing roses and boxwoods over the weekend. Moving some of my tipped daffodils and bulbs into baskets and clay pots. Repotted my Cascading Juniper Pine Bonsai today. It is nearly 9 years old, now, while it is still dormant from winter...and seriously contemplating picking up an established Wisteria and bonsai (ing) it.  Would make a beautiful specimen plant.

Saw this...

And was completely smitten!

After researching the subject, it seems that Wisteria is fairly easy to train and lend well to bonsai. Have copper wire...I can do this!

I can't wait to see pictures of "George"- Idgy's Wisteria - when he blooms in Spring!

I have to bite the bullet and trim my Ficus Bonsai over the weekend before it is too late. It is starting to get taller and taller and leafing out into a small bush...
Looks nice, but kind of defeats the purpose of a bonsai when it gets 2 feet tall and bushy.

So looking forward to a dirt 'neath my nails and muddy (if chilly)  knees again, weekend.

No matter how many times I open the compost box after a Winter Season I am still amazed by all the coffee grounds, newspaper, straw, twigs, egg shells, Old Halloween Pumpkins and dead vegetation/vines that have transformed into rich black soil.

It's magic!

('s decomposition...and red-worms)

So here is to a Taste of Early Spring-time.  

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Full Circle....Granada...Lorca and the Gypsy Ballads...

And so, I am ending my Virtual Adventure of Spain in Granada. His Granada.

Him, of course, being Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca. His poetry has followed me throughout my journey until I end here.  Just as his life began here, it would end here on August 18, 1936 at 38 years old. Death by Militia Firing Squad accused of opposing Francisco Franco's Rebellion.

"The City of Lorca."

Everywhere there are tributes to the poet/artist.
His childhood home and the home he would maintain as a young man are now open to the public. Tourist attractions.

Currently finishing The Gypsy Ballads, which you can read here...

Ferreting out the line- often quoted by Mayes

"Green, as I would have you, Green.  
 Green Wind.
 Green Branches."

Part of his ballad composed to a gypsy.

So, Granada...the name itself being the Spanish word for Pomegranates. And they are everywhere. Ripening in the trees, carved into sculpture and buildings, in the paintings and sold as ornamental  jewellery and trinkets.  Ruby red and bursting with seeds. Mixed in with perfumes and body lotions. I have selected an enamelled and crystal trinket box shaped like the fruit to purchase, as a souvenir of the city. It will arrive in a few weeks.

Online gift-shop, of course.

 The Alhambra Palace sits majestic at the foot of the snow topped. Sierra Mountain Range.

And is resplendent with both history and beautiful gardens.

Inside its fortress like courtyard is a city within a city.

And I listen to Angel Barrios. Mentioned in Mayes book and apparently available for purchase in the Alhambra Giftshop.

Where the 21st Century infiltrates Moorish Beginnings, with guided tours and tickets.

(...remembering for a moment...a friend's real time trek to Beirut, Lebanon where he was privileged enough to climb the endless stairs to the 7th century Mar Sarkus Hermitage (and Kahlil Gibran's tomb). When I asked, awe-struck, what it was like--he shook his head and replied sadly, and a bit bitterly

"They've turned the whole place into a fucking K-Mart." 

K-Mart was always our euphemism for commercial sprawl.
Think Gatlinburg.  Yeah...I'll pass. )

Even in death, Lorca was not left to rest in peace.  His body was purportedly buried near an olive grove near the Fountain of Tears.  When the family attempted to exhume the poet much later; they found the grave was empty. His body never found.

Awaiting a taste of the three distinctive Spanish Jamon (ham...the Spanish take their PIG very seriously...) soon...and then saying goodbye to Spain.

It has been a wonderful adventure!

 More anon...