Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Haircut from Hell

No, I'm not going to show it to you.

It's my own damn fault. I wasn't 100% happy with my last haircut (I admit I'm never 100% happy with my haircuts) so I was vulnerable when a friend told me about S. S was wonderful, she said. S was beyond wonderful. People came from all over to experience her wonderfulness. In fact, they traveled so far that she had to situate her salon near the Interstate. I had to put myself in S's hands. I wouldn't regret it.

Regret is too mild a term for what I feel. I suspect S has more than a touch of sadism in her makeup. And maybe those people who arrive via the Interstate have more than little masochism in theirs.

Okay, here's my haircut: Imagine Julie Andrews (I appreciate her charm, but hate her hair) crossed with Queen Elizabeth (I admire her . . . um . . . stamina, but hate her hair). And imagine that this person has always had her hair cut in an institutional setting. By a student. A student who is attempting to pass the course yet one more time after seven failures. A student who is in a bad mood because of this and because an outbreak of her genital herpes coincides with her third date with the cute guy who works in Laundry.

Just imagine that.

It's been five days and the urge to smash all my mirrors is just beginning to subside. And that only because I'm wearing a baseball cap.

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Garden in June

I feel the first stirrings of gardening energy in April. It peaks in May and June, begins to dissipate in July, further deteriorates in August, and by September all I can do is laugh at the articles that talk about all the fall cleanup I'm supposed to be doing. I'm beginning to see that the amount of energy I have for the garden corresponds directly to its appearance. Most perennials are at their best in May and June. The later bloomers shine in July and part of August, but by the end of summer the garden is generally looking kind of rusty—and my joints feel about the same way around that time.

The rose Abbaye de Cluny, photographed this morning, is at the top. Pink roses seem to dominate the second photo. I'm always surprised at how my pictures of this flower bed never ever look as good as it does in person. I suppose it's good that you can't see the couple of tomatoes growing in containers that I tucked in there. In another month lavender zinnias should be making a show.

In the third picture you can see my 15-year-old blue delphinium, some foxglove, a couple of spent iris, phlox waiting for mid-summer, and anchusa. What you can't see are five roses (four of them planted this year), monarda, shasta daisies, lupines, lots of iris that need to be divided, and way too much archangel.

I can't claim that I have toned arms, but thanks to gardening I have biceps that I didn't have last winter. And I think my garden has muscle, too.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I Barked at a Deer Yesterday

(Obviously, not the deer in the photo. No snow on the ground yesterday. At least not that I noticed.)

When our collie-shepherd, Caroline, was alive, we never saw deer near the house. Caroline had only three legs (thanks to an overzealous hunter) and no inclination whatsoever to chase deer, but evidently deer didn't know that. They kept a respectful distance, which was a real boon for our garden.

However, Caroline has been gone for several years now, and it didn't take the deer long to move on in. Yesterday I looked out the kitchen window and saw a large buck taking his lunch break at my plum tree. Munch, munch . . . I watched the baby plums disappear and thought about the roses, hosta, phlox, and sunflowers not far away.

Remembering the deer's response to Caroline, I opened up the back door and barked. It was a great bark—deep, aggressive, and nasty.

Nothing happened.

I took a deep breath and barked again—louder, longer, meaner.

This time I got his attention. He stopped eating and turned to face me.

And then he lifted his leg.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Inside a Delphinium

Those of you familiar with delphiniums (delphinia?) know that these individual flowers, each about 1" wide or less, grow on a tall spike. The overall effect is gorgeous, but so are the little blossoms by themselves. The center part is called the bee. And yes, the blue really is iridescent.

I'm so glad the delphinium survived yesterday's hailstorm. The rose pictured below didn't fare so well.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Everything's Coming Up Roses

Since Crystal said there were lots of flower pics on my blog, I thought I'd better post another one fast. Actually, there are lots, but they're buried in the blog in various places.

Suddenly, my yard is filled with the scent and sight of roses. Here's Prairie Princess, bred by the late Dr. Griffith Buck of Iowa. His mission was to produce beautiful, fragrant roses that would withstand harsh winters. He succeed beautifully.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

If you told me this was silk . . .

I'd believe you.

Iris Perfect Pitch in bud yesterday.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I'm off to see the wizard......

The wizard in this case is an orthopedic surgeon. Would you believe I'm having surgery—real, operating-room, anesthesia-required, fasting-beforehand surgery—because a careless move in the garden resulted in the tip of a rose thorn getting embedded in the back of my hand?

My regular doctor sent me to the orthopedist because the little invader (the thorn, not the physician) is sitting on a nerve and a tendon. I thought he (the orthopedist, not my regular doctor) would whip out a scalpel and maybe a little needle for a little Novocaine, but no, he said the operating room was necessary.

In the meantime, I got another tiny thorn tip stuck in the end of my index finger, same hand. Yes, I've been good about wearing gloves, but one cannot pluck caterpillars off rose bushes with anything other than a bare (and sometimes bleeding) hand. (See caterpillar above and note thorns!) I figure by the time I arrive for the surgery on Tuesday I'll have three or four more.

A busy surgeon is a happy surgeon.

If I've learned anything from Grey's Anatomy, it is that.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Long and Short of It

I learned shorthand when I was 19. I'm not 19 anymore. (Or even 20.) Back then they taught the Pitman method. Today Pitman is obsolete. Come to think of it, the more "modern" Gregg method is probably obsolete, too. Is shorthand even taught anymore?

Anyway, I haven't had much occasion to use shorthand over the years, even when working as a reporter. My little Olympus recorder, all of four inches long, hears everything I need to remember. But I had just barely started interviewing a woman the other day when my little Olympus recorder began blinking strange messages at me. Oblivious to my plight, the woman proceeded with her monologue as if nothing had happened. I had to recall some shorthand in a hurry.

I'm not sure how to grade my effort. I have to conclude that when using shorthand for the first time in decades, one must choose between speed and accuracy. Since my monologuette was rattling off facts without pausing for breath, I chose speed.

I covered a lot of notebook pages with the squiggles I learned at the Mary Byers School. But I discovered that translating them into a newspaper article presented a bit of a challenge. Do you have any idea what Presses for put good my you means?

Or how about this: Local man for all about direct up.

And my favorite: Getting to it some full I like thing there it.

I'm thinking of using one of these as a direct quote. I may have lost my ability to take notes in shorthand, but it's good to know I haven't lost my sense of mischief.