A lovely wasted day


It was a day out with a friend-a friend who doesn’t make demands and who appears to enjoy everything.  It was a good day.  The best part is that by doing something with a friend I got to see things partly from her point of view.

In a large antique and art mall called The Screen Door in Asheville we poked around through the stalls.  The mall contains an eclectic collection of things brought there by a variety of people with a variety of interests.   She and I found things we both liked and  there were things that she particularly liked.  My friend knows antiques and she is particularly drawn to pieces of glass  and old pieces of furniture.

Hearing her talk about those pieces and the history  about those things make them much more interesting.  She was a lens through which I could see these things in a new way.

We lunched at the Grove Park Inn.  She had read a book about the Grove Park and began to tell the stories she had learned like a docent at a museum.   My daughter used to work at the Grove Park and so I took her to some of the places at the Grove Park that my daughter had liked to share with me.   We were lenses for each other with an extra one, my daughter by proxy added in.

So in some ways lunch was shared with my friend, my daughter and those historical figures who my friend brought to life from her reading.   Then there was the waiter who joined in conversation with us explaining some of the new renovations.  In one of the shops we had a conversation with the sales lady and in our talk we learned even more about the Grove Park and its purchase by Omni.

After lunch we went to the house of a mutual friend and artist to pick up one of my paintings.  My lunch mate had not been to this friends house.  We went into a studio to pick up my painting and into her house to see her new kitten.  We talked about art – art collected and art being produced.   We talked about making a date to lunch together and perhaps add another person into the date.

In seven hours we drove around 100 miles.  We fed our minds, bodies and spirits through sharing experiences, talents and ideas.    Was it productive in any other way?  No clothes got washed,no errands run, no kitchens cleaned or dinners cooked.

But I will remember this day.   The ones when I washed clothes or ran errands or cleaned the kitchen or cooked are all piled up in the corner to be sorted and run through again and again.

The human spirit needs days where they can be freed to experience and share and hopefully grow in unexpected ways.  Sometimes our friends and new acquaintances provide a fresh pair of eyes to see the world we have started taking for granted.   Like old glasses we need a new lens to look through and refresh ourselves.

No bells, no whistles, but a simple invitation and some gas in the tank.   I had a good day.

Daylight’s Savings Time


When do we get to cash in on all the daylight we saved during daylight’s savings time?  I’ve never understood why we still continue to have daylight’s savings time.  It seems to make Fall mornings particularly difficult when it is so dark at 7:00 a.m. before it changes back.

After it changes my dogs wake up at 7:00 a.m. based on daylight savings and now they are waking at 6:00a.m. by the clock.   It is not an easy transition for them.  They need to out and “do their business” and their stomachs seem to behave like alarm clocks.

Monday through Friday I take them out in the morning.  They start whining about 6:45a.m. , now 5:45a.m.   My mini australian paws at this kennel door.   My 13 year old pomeranian joins in with her own distinctive groaning.

Now I am sure you are asking “why do they have the kennels in their bedroom.”  That is a very good question but one that would take too long to answer. As it is the kennels are in the bedroom and so very morning this is the routine.

I put on my robe and I take them out the door after turning on the lights.  I always admonish the aussie to stay close.  “Don’t go too far.” I say but he always takes off around the house.  Sometimes he triggers the light with the motion detector on the garage.  Usually he doesn’t.  While the pomeranian stays fairly close to the front door I use the flashlight on my iPhone to try and spotlight the aussie.

My concern is about possums and raccoons and coyotes.  Lately I have smelled skunk in the early morning.   I don’t think an interaction with any of those animals would be good for either of my dogs or me.   I always think about the fact that I need to procure a better flashlight and every morning I fumble with the iPhone.

As I write this I can see the error of my ways yet I don’t feel the least bit inspired to correct it.   I think I embody the very reason we don’t stop daylight’s savings time!  It is simply habit.  Ridiculously engrained habit that a little bit of planning and reconditioning could probably change.

So, I guess I will go look for flashlight.   Change one thing.   We’ll see how long it lasts.

the enigmatic orchid


All of us, (and maybe the recent advent of Halloween is to blame for this) have at one time or another considered that somewhere there is a giant venus fly trap that could swallow a person.  I certainly enjoyed both versions of “Little Shop Of Horrors” that I know of on film. The one with a young Jack Nicholson is great but the musical version with Rick Monanis is pretty awesome.  There are some plants that look like they could eat you if they were large enough.

This brings me to Orchids.  Their name supposedly comes from the ancient greek meaning “testicle”.   I have tried unsuccessfully to nurture and care for a few of them.  Two varieties in particular.  I have a couple of the the ones whose leaves look like flaccid seal flippers.  They flap down over the sides of the pot and look dusty and like they are ready to rot and drop off the plant – but they don’t – they just hang here – sadly.   The other one looks like a bamboo shoot that keeps putting leaves out every inch or so.  They grow up and get top heavy and you have to prop them up.   

The seal flipper one has a lovely bloom – when it blooms.  It looks like it could be one of the faces of the flowers in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland.   It is white with some purple trim and the inside parts curl in and look if they were bigger and stronger like teeth that could hurt you.  Under those floppy leaves is a mass of gnarled and jointed worm like  stuff which I assume are the roots.  They  are very ugly.  Some of those roots die at times and turn brown and all of them worm their way through a mass of sphagnum moss that is required for potting.   

I nurtured these plants in a special window of our house.  The only window by my calculations that had the right sun exposure for them.  I spritzed them and then turned to freezing ice cubes containing their special plant food. I gingerly placed the ice cubes on the mass of wormy roots and sphagnum moss.   I always worried that someone would use some of those ice cubes in their ice tea.   A long spindly shoot would emerge and head towards the window.  Little round buds would appear along the shoot.  I would sneak in each day to check only to find that the little buds had turned yellow, then brown – and eventually fell off.

So in frustration I told my husband to get them out of here!  In late Spring he took them out and put them under the Japanese Maples by the front door.  It rained a lot this summer.  Drenching, mold and mildew on shoes producing rain.  The sphagnum moss in those orchid pots could be wrung out with the water.   Yet the orchids grew!  Blast them!  They grew and now – they are blooming!  Blooming and blooming and blooming.   Testicle plants!

I remember seeing corsages of orchids.   Pinned to the shoulder of  an une jeune as she floated out the door on the arm of her escort.  She hoping secretly that when he held her close  he would not crush her corsage – at least not so much so that her mother noticed.     Would the mother been as happy about the decoration had she known the greek origin of its name?

I think plants are supposed to help you relax, calm you, bring you in closer union with nature.  Orchids frustrate me.  When I go down the hall and see them in that window – which is NOT the window I calculated for them to exist in – and see those mocking blooms . . . I don’t say nice things to them.  I don’t’!  I ask them “how dare you?”   All that ugly stuff at your feet.  The flaccid leaves and mass of wormy sphagnum and yet you stand there with your sweet face blooming!

I’m working on african violets now.

Why I hate grocery shopping


I hate grocery shopping.  It is tedious.  I am not good at making lists.   It is always cold even in the hottest months.   The carts always have one wheel that wants to rattle, shake, clunk or veer off in the direction you do not want to go.

You can spot the career shoppers.  They read labels.  They bend over and peer at the shelves – picking up items and reading the backs of them.   They pay attention to the price per ounce, pound or item.  Seeing them do it makes me think I ought to do it and I don’t want to do it.   I want to get out of there as quickly as possible.

I tried for a long time to be ecologically conscious.  I bought the little paper/fabric bags and I stuffed them into my trunk.  I would go into the store and forget I brought them and I would have to return to my car.  The bags took up a lot of space in my cart and when I got to check out you see the thinly veiled exasperation on the face of the person getting ready to check me out.  So I would go to to the self check.  But that was worse.  The mechanical voice kept telling me to put things back on the scale or to wait for the cashier or worse yet to put my item in the bag.

Today my husband and I went to the grocery store together.  He was making a beer run and I knew we needed coffee.   We made quick work of it but when we got to the register (which has gone from cashier emptying  the cart back to customer emptying content of cart on sticky rolling conveyer)  we found in the space a cart with a ladies purse open and a pile of halloween candy on the conveyer.  The owner of the purse was nowhere to be seen.

“She had to go get something she forgot” the cashier said nonchalantly.  My husband and I looked at each other.  The woman was still nowhere to be seen so  I used my arm and swept the pile of candy to the back of the conveyer and began unloading our small cart.   The cashier started beeping our items through.

A nicely dressed middle aged woman walked up behind us – her arms full of canned items.  Her hair was lovely her clothes neat with attractive jewelry draped around her neck.   She sat the cans down behind the candy and  picked up her pocket book.  “I’ll be right back.” she said to the cashier and again leaving her cart went back to the shelves to retrieve something else.

“Well,” I commented to my husband and the cashier.  “That’s one way to do it.”  Maybe if I could find an obliging cashier I could take up this method.  You could combine your daily walk with the other tedious task of grocery shopping.  But to be honest, I still don’t think it would make me like grocery shopping and besides apparently it only works if you are nicely dressed.  I won’t put forth the effort either.

Does Amazon sell groceries?