Email from Face Book

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It’s been 48 days since I deactivated Face Book, so I’m a little more than halfway to my 90 day commitment.

Face Book has taken to sending me emails that say stuff like: Your friend so-and-so has updated their status. Go and see what they’re up to.

Uh-uh, guys. I know if I click and enter my password, I’m reactivated. Although, in a way I’m glad Face Book wants me back enough to chase me. I miss my online friends and family.

As for the photo, this is the first–and maybe only–Siberian iris so far this year. If it truly turns out to be the ‘only’, I’ll need to plant more.





Here Come the Peonies


My front garden’s looking a bit jungle-like with three giant peony plants coming into bloom, along with the irises. And the false indigo. And the clematis.

Speaking of peonies, how do you pronounce the word? When I lived in Omaha, it was pronounced pee-nee, and Omaha has Peony Park amusement park. Folks would ask, “Did you get out to Pee-Nee Park this year?” And since I originally hail from the East Coast, I thought it was spelled Pee-Nee. To go along with Ak-Sar-Ben.

Here in Kansas, especially south of Kansas City, folks are likely to say pee-oh-nees, with the accent on the second syllable. Me, I say pee-a-nee, accent on the first, and leave it at that.

However you say it, they’re gorgeous, even covered in ants.



Do you see that frilly leafed plant at the bottom of the photo? Unless I miss my guess, that’s Nepeta (Catmint) Walker’s Low. It has a lovely blue flower and a musty smell. When in bloom, bees and butterflies will cover it, making it difficult for an insect-phobic human like me to get close enough to weed.

Fifteen years ago, I planted a tiny Walker’s Low plant that in five years’ time grew so large it took over a third of my front flower bed.  In the fall of 2008, I spent three days ripping it out.  I dug deep and then deeper to get every bit of root.

Or so I thought.

Now it’s 2018 and if my powers of identification are correct, here it comes again. Out of the ground, like the unwanted dead haunting my garden. Not quite sure what I’ll do. Tear it out? Leave it, having learned to prune it back—severely—every fall? Whatever I do, I gotta admire its persistence.

This past year, I’ve had my own lessons in persistence. I’ve been a technical writer for many years but always wanted to write dark fiction.

Fantasy. Horror. Paranormal (gasp) romance.

But I didn’t just want to write stuff and put it away in a box or on a flash drive for posterity. I wanted to publish. In my lifetime.

Last year, I decided it was time to figure out how. Without burdening you (at least not yet) with all the details, I stumbled upon a fabulous coach who taught me what my Walker’s Low already knew. Keep at it. Do the work. Show up. Persist.

After 14 months of alternating between discouragement and determination, I have two short stories, publication forthcoming sometime this summer. Stay tuned…


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Just planted this black lace elderberry (Sambucus nigra) and it’s already blooming pink.  I’ve tried elderberries out of online catalogs without success.

So if you need a reason to buy local, here it is.

Black Spot on My Fringe Tree


Last year, I planted a stick that claimed to be a North American Fringe tree. Located in the front of the house, I planned on it growing according to the label–ten feet in about five years.

I’ve since read other labels attached to North American fringe trees (not sticks) and found that the native fringe tree is a moderate grower that will reach 18 feet. So I may have planted my stick in the wrong spot.

Meanwhile, after our April rain of two inches, I noticed some black spots on the leaves. I’ve done my research and the tree needs fruit tree fungicide. If I don’t spray, eventually the tree will die.

Maybe I should let it die? No, that seems cruel. I should dig it up and replant it somewhere in the back. And get a shorter tree for the front.

Or I can spray it with fungicide and leave it where it is. I have the right fungicide. Problem is, the wind has to die down before I use it. At the moment, we have winds SSW at 12 MPH. Way too much wind for spraying.

If I had more money than time, I’d replant and replace.



This Should Say Happy Mothers’ Day


Almost all the blooming trees have lost their blooms. The irises are out in force, and my lilies are popping up. And it’s hot. Humid. Dry.

Wait. Humid AND dry? How is that possible? According to the weathermen, we’re (meaning Louisburg and surrounds) in some kind of weather bubble. Rain all around us but none here. We did have lightning and thunder yesterday, terrifying my dog Loki and making me feel foolish as I watered in the middle of a potential storm.

Where did spring go?

Happy Mothers’ Day to all my mothering family and friends.

Where’s the Audubon Society Book When I Need It?

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Is this an Oriole?

He’s been hanging around for a while–usually when I DON’T have my camera. Today, he stood on the covered grill long enough for me to snap a photo through the screen door.

Last spring, in the middle of a sleet storm, I saw this same bird and his duller-colored mate. Made me think of the Zachary Richard song Au Bord De Lac Bijou and the pair of hirondelles (swallows) that returned every year.

This colorful little guy is trying to drink from the hummingbird feeders. I hope he isn’t scaring them off.






Part and Parcel


Every so often, I read or hear something that activates my ‘grammar police’ gene. For those who don’t know me, I worked in communications before retreating to my acreage in Kansas. As a communications professional, my job was to keep a critical eye on the grammar of others. Lots of people hated me.

Still. I’d like a dollar for every time I corrected THEIR, THERE, or THEY’RE and YOUR or YOU’RE. When to use I instead of ME was always good for an argument. And the intricacies of THAT and WHICH caused me frequent heartburn.  I blame the current state of my health on verb usage with collective singulars like STAFF and the transformation of nouns-only like IMPACT into verbs. And let’s not talk about how to spell ‘a lot’ and ‘all right.’ ALOT and ALRIGHT are not (yet) words.

But without doubt, my all-time favorites are idioms that someone gets wrong. Today, a TV news pundit said, ‘part and partial’ instead of ‘part and parcel.’

Now how can I be sure? I played it back several times (thank you DVR) and heard ‘partial’ instead of ‘parcel’ every time. I’m as sure as can be about this horrendous misuse, meaning I’m not very sure at all. So, I decided not to call the person to account by sending a corrective email. But if you’re interested …

‘Part and parcel’ is a legal term, from about the 15th or 16th century, and is a long way of saying that you’re talking about ‘an essential element’ (Merriam-Webster).  As in, ‘sunlight is part and parcel of healthy plant growth.’

Frankly, I haven’t seen or heard this idiom used in a long time, and in my world, the phrase is anachronistic. I wouldn’t use it in writing or speaking.

But imagine my surprise when I heard ‘part and partial,’ which I take to mean ‘this part and this other part.’

Wait. Which part?

Idioms used incorrectly are part and parcel of my anxiety. Or hilarity.

And the photo? Just some tulips blooming in my pink garden. For those who like pictures with the words.