Christian · Gardening · Humor · language · Relationships

The Hypocrite’s Goose-egg

If there’s anything the Lord made clear, it’s that he strongly dislikes hypocrites.

Last night I was one and I sure got what I had coming.

I am a gardening nut. I could garden all day and all night if I could. But life interferes. A few days ago, I helped a friend, who has never gardened in her life, set up and plant a garden. I felt like quite a gardenista, giving her all kinds of tips and sage advice. I wanted to set her up for success and a lifetime of great gardening. To do so she must survive many mishaps, let-downs, and challenges.

We were loading mulch into our wheelbarrows and carrying it to the garden. I noticed that whenever I returned to the mulch pile, the pitch fork was lying (not laying, pitch forks don’t lay anything. I guess they lay dirt…) on the ground with prongs pointed upwards. I just now learned that “upward” is interchangeable with ‘upwards’. Pretty cool. I’ve never been sure which one to use. But I digress.

She works in a trade so I’m sure tools are pretty important to her. Responsible garden dojo that I am, I promptly educated my trusting apprentice on the proper use and placement of the pitch-fork. “Stick it upright on the pile or in the ground so you can see it. That also saves you from having to wonder how long ago it was you got that tetanus shot as you do the ‘I just stabbed by foot with a manure laden tool’ dance.” She was impressed.

This woman will make a brilliant gardener, just like me.

Yesterday I worked in the yard after dinner. It was getting dark so I decided to haul one more load of mulch to plant my banana plants before turning in for the night. It was pretty dark but I could still make out forms. The last few feet to the hole were uphill so I had to really muscle that loaded wheelbarrow. It was all I could to balance it on the hill as every time I tried to set it down it threatened to tip over. I threw the pitchfork off to the side to get it out of the way. I strained and twisted my poor body, one knee raised to support the wheelbarrow, and one hand holding one handle. Gutteral grunting was helping a lot and when I stopped grunting the behemoth load pitched dangerously till I resumed the grunting.

I was in a lurch, I couldn’t park the creaking wheelbarrow but I couldn’t very well stand here like this all night. The darned thing decided to help me out as it swayed this way and then that. Finally it leaned over so far it staggered and toppled like a drunk. I quickly let go so it wouldn’t fling me across the garden in the dark.

I stood there tried to look dignified and glare at the foolish pile that was nowhere near where I needed it to be. At this point I could hardly see the hole but I could make out the broad starts. I was very miffed about this predicament. I stepped to the side of the mulch to the retrieve my pitchfork when out of the clear blue a golf ball at top speed clocked me so hard right in the forehead that I saw stars.

I don’t know if the bonk jolted me worse than the shock. I stood swaying like my drunk wheelbarrow. The strange thing is that the golf ball didn’t fall. My hand quickly went to my forehead for moral support and found, not a golf ball, but a long hard handle to my pitch fork still standing in place!

Of course I’d dropped it, prongs facing up, stepped on the prongs, and clocked myself in the head. I was still standing on it. I hadn’t thought of this consequence!

I nursed my goose-egg and my pride. I’ll get to the pile tonight.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/survive/

Gardening · Humor · Relationships

Impressions II

As I pulled up the bumpy side-road around 7.18 pm, I could see him looking up and down the road nervously. He waved enthusiastically and hurried up to me after I pulled up, shovel in his gloved right hand.

“Well hi!” he greeted happily. He hurriedly took off his glove to shake my hand after he opened the door to let me out. “I’ve been working hard… real hard. I’m done with banana plants forever. I’ve had it. It’s good to see you.” He smiled.

We meandered to his amazing back yard, stopping and bending to smell this, reaching up to touch that – an inebriating feast for my senses.

“You were the first one I offered them to and I wanted to make sure you were the first one to get them.” He had tens upon tens of them. I nodded and smiled. I only wanted 4 but it would have to be this way. Order, order, order.

“I offered them to lots of people. But you were the first.” He bent over to pick a weed. His clematis were stunning. Purples of all shades bursting and spilling over.

The banana starts were surrounded by dead, ugly, bulbous growths. He started to  load them into the pots I’d brought. Immediately, I realized they wouldn’t fit unless the dead parts were cut off. I was making strange altering shapes with my lips, the way I am told I do when I’m musing. Should I say something or just watch? He tried to wrestle the whole mass into the pot.

I ventured cautiously, scratching my head then stroking my face unnecessarily. “What do you say we cut the dead part off? Looks like the start has lots of its own roots.”

He stopped what he was doing, leaned in, and locked empathetic eyes with me. “What you don’t know is that this dead bulb feeds the start. It’s the original mother and after it died, it now feeds the starts. If we cut it off, the start will die. Now, technically it’s your plant, so you can do whatever you want with it, but that mother needs to feed the start,” he explained patiently, really needing me to understand this.

That was all very good but all I wanted was to get it into the pot. I stroked my face again and walked away to admire other plants and give the man his dignity.

A brutal breeze was whipping around. After an eternity of finagling, the kind that comes with much sweating, contorting, grunting, and mumbling, he said, “You know, we will probably have to cut into this mother to get it into the pot.”

“That’s a great idea,” I assented casually from across the yard.  I really need to stop touching my face so much.

I eventually strolled back to him. He had loaded four pots and one was more full than the others. He’d placed two starts and their dead mothers, God rest their souls, in it. An empty pot sat beside it. He was struggling to load it onto the wheelbarrow.

“Josh, let’s take one of these out and put it in the empty pot.” I suggested, trying to help him get the pot off the ground.

“It needs to stay with its mother, ” he explained.

“I know that now, but it looks like we have two sets in this pot. I was thinking we could put this top one in this empty pot.”

“It’s your plant now, so you really can do with it as you please. At your house. I told you I am so done with the darned banana plants.” His voice was strained as he heaved the incredibly heavy pot onto the wheelbarrow. “Done with them, that what I am!”

I could see why. They were killing him. Literally.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/impression/

Gardening · Humor · Relationships

Impressions I

I dread his calls.

My friend Josh is an older gentleman who lives alone in a meticulous house. He is a great guy but overly congenial. He is as set as cement in his ways and worships orderliness. He has a magnificent garden and enjoys sharing plants. I ran into him the other day and he mentioned he had some banana plant starts to share.  “Would you like some?”

“Sure.” I responded.

He called early the next morning. His phone calls aren’t easy to navigate and I didn’t have it in me to answer. It would be hard enough to slog through the voicemail. He didn’t let me down: “Hi, this is Josh. I have banana plants ready for you. Let me know what time you can come by today. They’ll need to get in the ground pretty soon here. Call me back and let me know what time you can come. I’ll be home all day. The morning’s fine. The afternoon would work too. Call me back.”

The day got away from me. He called again the next morning and I answered. “Good morning,” I said.

“I called you yesterday but you didn’t answer,” he said, almost hurt.

“Sorr…” I started to say but should have saved my breath.

“So, you’re the first one I offered the plants to and I want you to be the first to get them. They need to get in the ground pretty soon you know.” He could tell I was not appreciating the urgency of the matter.

“Well, good morning, Josh.” I smiled.

“Yeah! So… what time can you come today?” He was undeterred.

“Today doesn’t work for me but I can certainly come tomorrow.” He paused. I could tell he would have to pull a chair for this conversation.

“Tomorrow… mmhh. I don’t know. Let me look at my calendar.” This part of the conversation is the same every time.

What I don’t understand is that he already has all of today blocked off for me, never mind it’s a 30 minute job. “How do people get through life?” he is asking himself, incredulous.

“I guess I can do tomorrow. What time?” He is clearly put out.

We set a time and he hung up before I finished signing off. I smiled.

Not an hour later I learned I’d have to cover my coworker who’d been in an accident. I picked up the phone to vex Josh.

“I could have swore you said you couldn’t come today,” he was scratching his head in confusion. “Mmhh… I don’t know, let me look at my calendar.” I was really throwing him for a loop. “I guess today is good. What time?”

“I drop my son off at Scouts at 7 and can come thereafter.”

“But it’s dark at 7,” he was completely befuddled.

“No Josh, it’s not dark till 9.30.” I said smiling.

“Really?? Alright we’ll see. Guess I’ll see you at 7. I’ll put it on the calendar.”

“Not right at 7, a little after.”

This was brutality. “But you said 7.”

“Josh, let’s say 7.15.”

“I could have swore you said 7. I’ll change the calendar.” He muttered breathed deeply.

I made a mental note to look at this calendar when I got there. He will never understand me or how I muddle my way through life.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/impression/

Humor · Poetry · Uncategorized · We've All Done It

Ten Second Lag

Careful now!

I cautiously stick my big toe into the shower

to test the temperature.

Too cold.

I jerk my faithful harbinger out and

turn the knob counterclockwise

ever so slightly.

The second testing proves only tepid.

I turn it up again and inch my way into the stall,

I unwittingly touch the cold wall

and breathe in sharply.

How long is the lag

between adjusting and results?

The seconds, how they drag

in this temperature precipice.

One would think that

One wrong move will be the death of me.

I step in confidently to embrace the warmth,

“Aaaaarrgghh, turn it down! Turn it down!”

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/precipice/

Farming · Humor

Rendering

I was bent over, harvesting asparagus yesterday when my sweet neighbor walked up to the fence and chuckled, “So… you might want to shut your windows tonight. We have a  stallion visiting for a couple of weeks.” I laughed, gave her a “wink, wink” and made small talk.

Well, I am not laughing or winking  now. That animal was at it ALL night looooong! And the noises were other worldly. The grunting and crashing, the galloping and whinnying, the snorting and screaming, ALL night. What on earth!

He is thinking, “My owner is getting paid by the minute for services rendered and I aim to… render… services… every… freaking… minute.” I for one am ready to render the darned horse.

And we’re going to have 13 more nights of this??

Did I mention that from 8am – 9am this morning he was fast asleep? Lucky for him I didn’t have a stick long enough to poke him with through the fence.

And “You might want to shut your windows,” is that code for “You might want to move 20 miles away for a while”?

He has been cornering and herding the poor mare ALL day looooong. I take that back, he also spent significant time attacking and posturing at the resident gelding, running into the gate that separated them and hoofing at the air like a majestic wild horse on the open range. Surely he can’t last 2 weeks like that. He will undoubtedly die this Saturday at this rate.

So I’ll go ahead and call the renderer and make arrangements to get some sleep this weekend.

culture · Humor · language · Uncategorized

Clazy Making

I belong to the Kikuyu tribe which is notorious for many things. Among it’s highlights is what Kenyans used to call shrubbing. Shrubbing is taking English words and Kikuyunizing them (or converting them so they contain distinct traits of a tribal language.) It is no fault of mine that I frequently say “clazy”. It’s one of my favolite shrubs.

Kikuyus swap most of their “r’s” for “l’s” and vice versa, hence, “the rion is at the liver,” doesn’t mean that the king of the jungle is now eating the organ but that he’s slaking his thirst.  The trouble for outsiders trying to decipher our speech is that some Kikuyus swap the  letters 100% of the time while others are part-timers. There are also words or parts of words that remain unchanged, for example, “I leally enjoy brogging.” It’s always “leally”. Never “learry.” That would be lidicurous.

Of course one can never tell exactly what the admonition “Ret us play” is. If the minister says “Prease play,” you watch to see if he brings his hands together before you jump up, whooping and horrering; whereas if the teacher says, “Ret us take a blake and pray,” she’ll probabry open the door and ret the students out for lecess.

The most faburous thing, of course, is that we are notolious for doing this with full confidence and autholity. We are tluly an amazing tlibe. We lerish the aduration and adolation of the world and they are tickled pink at our verbal plowess.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/pink/

 

 

Family · Humor · mothers · Uncategorized

The Unravelling

My mother raised five girls, God love her.

Towards the end of her life, all five of us snollygosters were regularly cracking up at her fashion sense. An ounce of wisdom shared among us would have warned that things were falling apart and that our lives were about to unravel with the ending of hers. But no, there wasn’t an ounce of wisdom to be found among us, we were too busy trying to catch our collective breath and recover from a new round of side-splitting laughter. Sometimes we laughed till we cried.

I could count on the others to burst at the seams, convulsing on the floor when I wore her clothes, in mockery, in the most clashing combinations possible and imitated her walk and mannerisms.  It was all I could do to remain upright. Ours was uncontrolled buffoonery beyond compare. Did she dress in the dark or was she just feeding this foolishness frenzy?

She’d chuckle quietly and call us idiots. She’d shake her head and watch us carry on, incredulous that she had allowed any of us to live to adulthood instead of eating us as babies, like many other species do. She’d look down at her attire and smile. We knew what was coming next: she’d pat and straighten the outfit  with her pretty hands. This was a gesture of approval and a sure statement that she had no inclination to go back upstairs to change. This led to a fresh wave of howling and hawing among the idiots, slapping at the table in disbelief.

It was only made worse by the fact that she was extremely fashion-forward in her hey-day. She was famous for stunning outfits worn with grace and elegance. So really, she brought this upon herself. Sure we felt sorry, but for crying out loud, where on earth does one go to buy a skirt like that? Har, har, har! Oh, that was good.

I am filled with guilt and a desire to make atonement as I write this. To mock one’s own mother, God rest her soul, is truly unforgivable. My eyes start to tear and I feel a surging deep within me. I bite my trembling lip, and shake my head pensively as I try to compose myself. But this heaving is not remorse! It’s a memory of the time she wore the black and yellow striped sweater with the…

Here we go.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/unravel/

culture · Humor

“When I had Jury Duty…”

Last week I had jury duty for the first time. We were there from 7.20 am to 5.07 pm. I was enthralled with the process though I ended up sitting in on a rather petty case. What a thorough, involved, and fascinating process. And to think this happens every day across the country.

An army of citizens, some licking their chops, others outraged reorganized their lives: childcare, work, carpools, co-workers, school. For me, all this because Her Majesty walked out of a J.C. Penny with $64.00 worth of make-up.

It was the second time I had  been summoned. It’s my privilege. The first time, I called the night before and was dismissed. I had mixed emotions and felt somewhat rejected. I consoled myself, “Better to be dumped now than to show up for nothing tomorrow.” Four phone calls later, my life was back on track. This time after tiresome instructions on the voice-recording, numbers 160-299 were ordered to show up. I was number 299. Again, mixed feelings.

I’d received a sweet text from a  friend I hadn’t connected with for a while and I carried some writing paper with me to court. She got a twelve page hand-written letter.  Why don’t we hand write letters any more? It must be amazing to get one!

After a tedious check-in and registration process, a judge came in to speak to us for ten minutes. He thanked us for putting our lives on hold. “Even the brain surgeon who tried to tell me he had a surgery scheduled couldn’t get off the hook,” he said. “No one is more important than anyone else.” I got a mental picture of myself on a literal meat hook, flailing hopelessly. Is that what this was?

The throng was whittled down to  about seventy people for 3 cases. As expected, some were relieved, others miffed. I couldn’t look any in the eye, unsure if I was fortunate or condemned to hang. Twenty four of us headed to one courtroom, up three flights of stairs, down long cold hallways, around corners. All marching in tense silence.

We had to stand in order and not swap positions. We had to sit in order. We had to scoot along the bench in order. The case was quickly introduced: the state of Oregon vs. Her Majesty. Why the state of Oregon I will never know. J.C. Penny must have been busier than the brain surgeon. My tax dollars at work.

6 potential jurors were called up to the jury box (I really should have learned what the technical terms here are, now that I am an expert in the field.) The defense attorney stood and immediately tried to put us at ease. It wasn’t working. Her Majesty sat beside her twirling her hair and trying not to look nervous. It wasn’t working either. The attorney spent 30 minutes getting us to relate to the client.

“Have you ever taken something that’s not yours? Of course you all have. And what really, is stealing?” She wore an ill-fitting suit. She looked like she’d be more comfortable surfing or bungee-jumping in a jungle wearing an old t-shirt, cut off jeans, and worn Tevas. She looked like the fun big sister who’d vouch for you and save your hide. Mr. Prosecutor, on the other hand, was serious, well coiffed, eagle-eyed with a hooked nose to match. He meant business and had plans for the royal snollygoster who was smacking her royal chewing gum.

They both engaged us and made sure we all responded to various questions and scenarios they set up. The judge thanked and assured those that would not be selected that we had not wasted our time as this was an important part of the process. Presently, they began to choose jurors.

The lawyers write something on a small piece of paper and the clerk shows each of their papers to the other. Each nods and the clerk walks it to the judge who excuses one of those in the jury box. Yup, he’d wasted his time. The next potential juror is called up to the box so there are always 6. I pick  my back-pack and jacket up off the floor and scoot to the right.  The lawyers write on another piece of paper which is then showed to the other. They nod and it’s walked to the judge. Another is excused. Pick up, scoot. And again. And again. I’m called up to the box. Pick up, walk. Juror number 5. All the rest that haven’t been called up are thanked and excused.

The non-committal mugwump beside me is elated to go home.

Specifics of the case are presented. We are sworn to secrecy and to not touch our cell phones till after the case. More instructions and it’s noon. Lunch time. We will reassemble in an hour. Really? I have never felt less productive in my entire life. It had taken 5 hours to get to this point. In my mind, this could easily have been about thirty minutes worth of work.

Lunch feels like it’s four hours long and we’re all sitting on our hands in anticipation with thirty minutes to go. We’re prohibited to say too much to each other about the case.

The afternoon goes like I thought a jury duty shivoo should. Rapid-fire questioning. Witnesses, cross-examination. “For the record, please pronounce and spell your first and last name.” Objection, hear-say. Sustained. Her Majesty whispers repeatedly to Jane. Being a documentation Nazi, I am appalled by the store security and the shoddy work they did and reported. They omitted important details. We watch surveillance footage. Eagle-eye is on his case and the case is clear. Theft III. Correct person, correct date, intent established.

Back in our chambers, we deliberate for close to an hour. There are strong feelings and opinions. I am not convinced about intent as some are. We turn it over this way and that. The physician in the group is also unsure. The ex-marine is bumfuzzled. The nurse and manager are certain she meant to steal the merchandise. The retiree would really like to go home. It’s 4.54 pm. We can come back tomorrow. This isn’t majority rule. That would be easier. But we must all agree. Did she intend to? The store could easily have done a much better job convincing me of her guilt. They did not. They punched holes in their credibility. We wish that along with making our decision we could wag our jury finger with some strong words for Her Majesty.

We buzz the clerk at 4.58pm. At 5.03pm the judge pronounces her not guilty. I feel sorry for the prosecutor. Of all the people, he actually did the best job, but he could have done better.

I can’t wait to share this day with the world. I quickly learn that everyone I tell I just had jury duty immediately says, “When I had jury duty…” and launches into a twenty minute tale of woe. I guess they didn’t get to tell anyone their story when it was fresh.

I suppose I’ll have to wait till someone tells me they just had jury duty and then I’ll jump in and say, “When I had jury duty…”

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/record

 

 

 

 

Farming · horror · Humor

Wild About Cows

Wildly afraid, that is.

I grew up surrounded by savage lions and buffalo among other very wild animals. Cows are in a class all their own. They are terrible beasts that will devour their prey mercilessly at the least provocation.

I grew up with them. That might be part of the problem, considering I weighed forty pounds and they, about a thousand when we first met. The only thing they do that’s more disturbing than just standing there, staring unashamedly, is to gallop wildly, lunging their crazy heads, their massive bellies heaving powerfully. They fling their long strings of snot in practiced circles, bellowing in demonic tones, and charging me at a ground shaking twenty-five miles an hour.

“They wouldn’t hurt you,” my husband says flippantly, “they just want the food you have.” Well they can’t have the food I have!

My chicken coop happens to be in one of the fields that our cows graze in. I fastidiously save all my kitchen scraps for them in exchange for delicious eggs, a daily expression of appreciation for all my love. Based on my feelings towards my cows I watch them closely and only feed my chickens when the cows are at the far end of the field, a few acres away. I normally unlatch the main gate, latch it behind me, and stride as lightly as I can, my neck craning back and forth, much like my cocky rooster Rocky, across the twenty or so feet to the coop. I keep a stern eye on those monstrous beasts in the distance. Occasionally one will raise its head and consider the distance between us then return to its sumptuous feast of plain old boring grass. No kitchen scraps for you.

Today was a gorgeous fall day and I was in a great mood. I spied the cows in the far field and grabbed my mulch bucket and mealworms. I opened the gate as quietly as I could then looked over at the monstrosities in the far field. They didn’t even have the courtesy to look up. I unlocked the chicken coop and dumped the scraps, to their grateful delight. I looked at the regular spot for eggs. There were none. I tossed a handful of mealworms and they thanked me profusely by fluttering their wings. This took me all of twenty-five seconds.

I wished the chickens a happy day, turned to leave the coop and was met by a horrific sight. Time stood still as I beheld 2 massive bovines bounding at me not fifty feet away! At the same time, I realized that I had left the main gate wide open. I quickly locked myself in the coop and called Jesus incessantly. I had to divert them or I would have real trouble on my hands if they ran out of that gate. In a split second I scaled the ten-foot coop and fence, grateful for all the times I watched my son at parcour. He would have been proud of mama.

Once over the fence, I started grabbing weeds and desperately stuffing them through the holes in the chicken link fence to distract the cows from the open gate. This worked very well for the 2 by me. In my peripheral vision I caught sight of a third, gamboling straight at the twelve-foot opening, and, to my dismay, the gate was open towards her. I took off like a mad bullet, energized by her maniacal lowing as she kicked scads of turf 6 feet into the air, determined to beat me through that gate.

I will never, ever, be able to explain how I got there before her, grabbed that frigid green pole-gate two inches in front of her slimy snout, and backed up to lock its chain in place. She about screeched to a halt like they do in the cartoons, wild tail straight up in the air and blinked disbelievingly as I let out the most feral Tarzan-like bellow!

Christian · culture · Humor · Relationships · sad · travel

Dive Bomber (Reblogged)

I love hummingbirds. All facts about them astound me. I once sat stunned under a feeder as one buzzed the top of my head repeatedly. My wincing face portrayed my certainty that the pointed beak  at the end of those deafening wing-beats was going to bore holes in my irises!

There is one hummingbird I am not crazy about. I call him Dive Bomber. I buy the sugar, I pay for the water, and I clean and refill the feeders every couple days. HE drinks the syrup then stands guard beside it and dive bombs any other birds that mistakenly think I refilled the feeder for just any ole’ hummingbird.

I’m camping at a KOA in the desert. It’s 90 degrees out and there’s a pool, so my new friend Mary and I take the kids out for  a swim. The kind owners of the campground have provided 2 large canopies for patrons to enjoy by the pool. They are the only shade. One of them covers a large laughing family. The other shades 4 lounge chairs covered with towels. Dive Bomber is lounging in the sun beside the canopy, flexing his bulging, tattooed muscles and frequently dousing himself in sunscreen.

Mary and I grab chairs across the pool and head for the vacant canopy. Mary greets him cheerfully and courteously asks if we can shade up under this cover. He says, “We actually came here early so we could use one of these. You just can’t mosey over here when people are already here. That’s pretty rude.” He flexed his pects and returned to next months edition of Self Magazine.

He probably has never conceived the thought that he consumes less than 1% of the contents of the feeder. Nor that if he dared to leave his post he would be stunned to find a world of wonders:  fuschias,   butterfly bushes,  columbine, honeysuckle, new friendships… the list is endless. For hours and hours, his family used the canopy for less than an hour total, but, don’t touch my feeder, that’s pretty rude!

Father, please open my eyes to my Dive Bomber tendencies.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/buff/