The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Rusty McHugh Memorial 

Tomorrow from Noon till 4PM there will be a Memorial Service for Rusty McHugh who passed away recently. Link here for more info on that.
In rememberance of Rusty I wrote this short story...

Rusty McHugh

I met Rusty in January 1970. He lived with his mother, his grandmother and 4 brothers in a 2 story, white, frame home, right across the street from the First Presbyterian Church of La Grange.

It was a house full of motherly love and boy chaos. Downstairs was neat as a pin; upstairs was a rumble of t-shirts, jeans, shoes, model airplanes, baseball bats, insect collections, tadpoles in jars, Scout kerchiefs and camping gear. Rusty had a sunny but tiny room on the south side of the house, over the back porch. He could look out his window onto a large backyard with stately old hickory trees and watch his brothers, all younger, tie dye T-shirts or fire BB’s at errant squirrels.

Like all 18 year olds, Rusty wanted independence. He dreamed of a day when his newly formed rock ‘n roll band would hit it big and bring him fame and fortune. He dreamed of endless music bookings and rubbing elbows with singing icons. He wanted to move out and get on his own. He wanted a place where the band could practice loud and late into the night.

Around March, one of the members of the band found a house at an affordable rent, out in the countryside, just across the state line into Alabama. Like the Marshall Tucker group, Rusty’s band would live together, tune their rifts and emerge full flower into the music business. So one Saturday afternoon, we packed his belongings into his 1967 Camero and made the first move.

This cottage out in the country sat way back from any hard paved road. It was a house on a hill in a pasture, no trees for shade or company. The only charm it had was that wildflowers were blooming early that year so the overgrown front yard was pretty with Bachelor Buttons. A little worn, it could have used a fresh coat of white paint, but it had a welcoming front porch.

Stepping inside the front door was one large living room. This would be where the music equipment would stand. There were 2 bedrooms and a kitchen in the back. Let me say this again…there were 2 bedrooms and a kitchen in the back. Had I mentioned a bathroom? No. There wasn’t one.

Once common in the rural South, this location was the last time I ever encountered an open pit outhouse.

To seek relief, you had to exit the kitchen via dangerously wobbly wood steps, follow a red clay path across a scrubby back yard, pass through a barbed wire fence and take a sharp right out into a field. The wood of the latrine was weathered, unpainted, splintered. The door didn’t close. There was a cold-water spigot on one side, outside, for a wash up afterwards if you pleased. At least some previous occupant had installed a store bought seat on the bench over the pit. An open, smelling pit. If you think the band members ever remembered to bring tissue, think again. Rusty thought using a Sears catalog was a grand Southern ritual in which they should participate.

It was voted that girlfriends would not reside here. That suited me. I couldn’t have lived with an outhouse. I had had to endure them at the summer camps I had attended and knew first hand about the insects and snakes that might keep you company while you meditated. I tried to time my visits so as never to have to visit the pit.

Almost every afternoon at the house people would drive out for a visit and to hear the new music. As Rusty wrote it,…”do a little smoke, tell a few jokes, drink a little wine, make everybody feel fine…” Sometimes there’d be a crowd of nearly 50 people and dogs and Frisbees and general hippie happiness. I was pretty content to smoke cigarettes, drink Hoppin’Gator and gaze at my crush, Rusty while he strummed away.

Now, the crowd got to be so large and so regular, that the local Sheriff caught wind of the gathering. Surely, he’d let no hippies move in on his jurisdiction with their long hair and marijuana and free love. No siree. He intended to investigate.

So one Friday afternoon, as a small number of us sat on the front porch, the Sheriff staged a raid. We saw them coming up the dirt road. Rusty spied them first.

“Quick!” he shouted “Save the dope!”

Rusty and Ray flew through the house back into the kitchen. Ray opened the small cabinet over the oven and grabbed the jar labeled “Oregano”. “What are we going to do?” Ray sounded truly alarmed.

“Put it in here.” Rusty had produced a large mayonnaise jar.

Ray shook the “Oregano” in, screwed the lid down tight and looked up at Rusty. Rusty nodded towards the back door and Ray’s instincts took over. Outside Ray flew, jumping off the back porch and skipping those rickety steps altogether. Unbuckling his jeans as he ran, he made it to the outhouse and sat down.

Rusty sat calmly on the floor in the living room, picking guitar. He greeted the officers as they entered and invited them to search anywhere they pleased. His casual manner put everyone, especially the cops, at ease. The deputies opened a few cupboards. They did check the spice rack. They looked inside guitar cases and gave us hippie chicks the eye.

“You kids seem alright. Your music is pretty good, pretty good. But don’t go drawing a crowd or attracting runaways or dope dealers out here, Understand?” We all nodded our agreement.

They left the house but didn’t drive away. They seemed to be having a conference by one of the cruisers. Had they changed their minds? Was this not to be a peaceful encounter after all? The Sheriff strode back up to the porch and peered at us through the screen door.

“Hey!” he hollered. “One of ya’ll come get these dogs out of the patrol car!”

We looked. One of the deputies had left the door of his car open. All the resident dogs had piled inside, hoping for a ride up the road with their tongues flapping in the wind.
I fetched the dogs and the pigs cleared out.

For an hour afterwards, we sat in the living room, laughing and giddy with relief. Rusty suddenly asked,”Where’s Ray?” He’d been forgotton in the excitement.

A committee of 6 of us, Rusty at the head of the parade, marched out to the outhouse to find him. There sat Ray over the pit, jeans around his ankles,sound asleep. Shaken from his nap, he stammered, ”The deputy saw me sitting here and didn’t ask me to get up. The grass is in the mayonnaise jar tossed down in the pit. How are we going to get it out?”

Love conquers all, but there are a few things a girlfriend never wants to know. I kissed Rusty goodnight and drove home. I left him and Ray to solve their engineering problem alone.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mosaic art lessons 

Quiz: Which one of these people has had art lessons?

On the brown circle is a cardinal drawn by Mosaic Mom.

On the white circle is a cardinal drawn by Little Mind Escape.

Give up? DUH!

Thanks for the help, M.E.
Auntie D. is going to love the stepping stone!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Time Flies 

Monday, March 27, 2006

Slow and Steady wins the mosaic race 

So I got more primer on the shoes...it'll take 8 coats in all. And I set them in the sun to bake.

One of the little bird houses is so much fun. Will post photos tomorrow. But man, o man, that camera eats batteries.

I think I have finished the computer board. Got the final dice and jewelry on, plus a feather just for whimsy. I'll be able to stand it up tomorrow and get a good look at the balance and flow. Pictures then, I promise.

I did a lot of writing today. Mwahaha! Getting even with all them 7th grade bullies is fun! Stand Back! I have a keyboard and I know how to use it!

Tomorrow Little Mind Escape and her new boyfriend Metal Band Drummer are coming for supper. We're harvesting Broccoli in their honor. Menu is Roast Chicken, Broccoli, Yellow Squash, Salad with home grown lettuce, tomatoes, cukes and onions, and for dessert...Strawberries on shortcake soaked in Grand Marnier with Redi Whip.

I love getting a Redi Whip Buzz. Mwahaha!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Mosaic Extension 

Last week temperatures had reached 90 degrees. Since my studio is not air conditioned, I was about to pack in mosaics for the summer.

But a little cold front blew through and dropped highs back into the 60's. I've used the extra studio time to work on a computer board, 2 birdhouses and, God help me, I started 2 more shoes!!!

I'll never get it finished before the heat comes back, but, hey, it's progress!

Doesn't the white wisteria look awesome? It smells awesome. too!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Mosaic Mom's Mosaic Shoe Collection

Friday, March 24, 2006

If you are looking for my opinion about the Palm Group Rebuttals, click Archives for March 2006 and scroll to March 14.

Around town 

According to the Orlando Sentinel, appx 227,000 people moved to Lake County last year. Today all of them were trying to get to Targt at exactly the same time I was! Grrrr!

Little Mind Escape came home. We had a ball picking fresh veggies. Had to go to Tire Kingdom for a replacement tire (hence the spur of the moment trip to Target...along with the rest of the world). Enjoyed a huge dinner fresh from the garden, too.

I have tremendous fear going into my mosaic studio at the moment...Zeus caught a squirrel this morning. He brought the shreiking creature to the back door. "Good Boy" I praised him as he trotted off to have breakfast...towards the studio...

I think he took it inside through the cat port. I can't find it...usually there's a tail leftover...So did it escape...only to hide among the sacks of grout somewhere? in a few days is the studio going to stink?

At least we'll find it then says Plant Daddy. Grrrr.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Why is it when you want to teach someone about blogging, Blogger decides to act up? We absolutely, positively could not get photos to load yesterday. Grrrr.

And today, no problem. Go figure!

But beginners won’t know that it’s not them, it’s Blogger.
Anyway I told this student that the one thing he had to learn was…

Lean in towards the screen and shout, ”Stupid Blogger!”

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

another shoe 

grass shoe

Mosaic Cat 

Mosaic cat says," I am resting after a stressful day. Of course I am hogging prime real estate on the mosaic work bench. Fetch me some tuna and I might move out of the way!"

Monday, March 20, 2006

Mosaic Cat visits vet 

Mosaic Cat Zeus had to go for his annual vet visit and shots today.
Kitty no like go bye bye car!

Garden Poem 

Garden Zone 9 is Fine!

You left the cold North to retire to the South.
Orlando’s your new domicile.
You had it all planned for this tropical land;
You’d be growing a garden in style.

You planted before up in Garden Zone 4.
Orlando’s in sunny Zone 9.
You’ve tried really hard to green up your back yard
But your blossoms are dead on the vine.

You’ve got to redo all the things you once knew.
The rules are sure different here.
Put calendar down; change your timing around;
Face the flora without any fear.

In July it’s too hot for a vegetable plot.
The broccoli will sunburn to death.
In August you cry as the sun rises high
And you can’t even catch a cool breath.

You’ve got to remember to wait till September
If you want your beets to survive.
December is sweet. There is lettuce to eat;
Tomatoes and peppers and chives.

Then corn comes your way at Memorial Day
And that ends the season for beans.
Remember this verse before matters get worse
If you want to keep Zone 9 plants green…

The winter’s in summer and spring’s in the fall.
We harvest our crops in May.
It’s backwards, I know, but you’ll get it to grow
If you do it the Garden Zone way.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Yard Sale Success 

The yard sale was a huge success. It feels SOOOO good today to be able to go into my storage room and not have to move 8 things before I can get to the freezer for a package of chicken!

Have one piece to grout but will probably not get to it till Tuesday.

Sorrento called and invited me into the craft fair again. This time I said yes. I have a bunch of pieces that I am not going to tote to the Discovery Gardens show.

For Sorrento, April 8th, I am going to take a bunch of flower pots planted with herbs. Rooted mint this morning. Will take rosemary cuttings later. That should be a fun show!

They're going to have a bluegrass band this year!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mom! 

Happy Birthday and Happy St. Patrick's Day Mom!

Garage Sale Saturday! 

Instead of mosacing today, I will be loading up all the clutter in my storage room, applying tags and getting ready for a spring garage sale.

Come tomorrow...9AM till 2PMish...Good stuff...cheap...lots of furniture this time...all that stuff I saved hoping Little Mind Escape would want for her apartment.She didn't.
Plant Daddy even tossed in a few (left handed) golf clubs. I guess he's a committed fisherman now.

See ya tomorrow!

Mosaic Flower Panel 

A flower panel for spring. The half circle terracotta saucer is the base support for the panel.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Garage Sale 

I had a great photo of all the stuff I am tagging for a yard sale on Saturday...9Am ish to 2Pm ish. Come on over for the sale. Lots of furniture this time!

But Blogger seems to be balking at the photos tonight. Grrrr.

I also had a nice photo of a new mosaic, but that too is floating around somewhere in cyberspace. Grrr.

Anyway...Garage Sale Saturday! See you then...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Floral update 

To their credit, Teleflora did straighten out the error in the orders.

No rest for Mosaic Mom 

I thought I'd get a rest after class was over. But I spent the day writing up my teaching notes. I jotted all the things I need to improve for the next class...

Then I realized the next class was headed into holiday time and people would want to make mosaic gifts. I grabbed paper and pencil and sketched off new designs.

Well, of course, I HAD to make the samples. I wound up mosaicing a Christmas flower pot!

Suzy had showed me how to correct a line on another piece, so I did that, too while I was in the studio.

Then I came back to the computer and began writing my resume that I need for the show on April 4th.

It never ends! Yay!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Last Mosaic Class 

Students worked hard right up to the last minute. This was a large mosaic flower pot.

And this student created a mosaic Easter egg in picasette mosaic style.

Palm Vote 

I think that in order for me to review entire book chapters certain conditions have to be “MET”…

M means I have to have Motivation.
For example, with only 14 weeks till my husband’s possible retirement, I am no longer motivated to edit scientific bibliographies. Somebody else will have to check those semi-colons and italics.
In terms of fiction writing, I would have to like the topic or the writing style or something rewarding for me to commit to that amount of work.

E means I have to have Expertise.
I was recently asked to review a book chapter or long article about somaclonal variation in in vitro floriculture crops. I knew my science knowledge was too dated to evaluate the writing.
In fiction, let’s say someone expands his short story and writes a book about cannibalism. While I did have crazy times in my college years, that topic would be outside any scope I could evaluate.

T means Time.
Through the middle of June, my schedule is one huge tsunami. No way I could commit to anything else. In July and August, I have a chunk of time. Therefore, chapter review work depends on when I’m asked.

If all these criteria were MET, I’d be glad to do chapter work.

I don’t think that chapter reviews can be discussed at the roundtable due to time retstraints.

As for writer rebuttal minute at group meetings…

It’s really more important for me to have instructions and conditions BEFORE review.
(and I am so guilty of not labeling my work for reviewers)

For instance, if I got a “sketch” from a writer, I’d look for the strengths and highlights. Things I think I would want developed into the next draft.

If I got something labeled “Last draft before it goes to the editor” I’d put it under a highly critical microscope so that it would be the sharpest thing on the editor’s hard drive when it arrived.

Kinda like carving a statue…rough cuts first, then fine details.

I resolve to assist the critique process by labeling all my submissions from now on.

That said, however, I don’t want to see a setting where the rules are so strict that all the life and fun are driven out.

So I vote that if people want a minute, they should have it.

Last night of Mosaic Class 

One student proudly shows her work on the last night of class...

Monday, March 13, 2006

Title Change 

Thank you for the suggestion but, no, I will not be changing the title of yesterday's blog to..."Two Old Heads in a Head."

Sunday, March 12, 2006

gotta go POTty 

Usually I shop the Eustis Publix. But today the Mt Dora store was handy for the few items I needed. I bought bread, cherry soda and potato salad and headed for the exit.

Unloading bags into the car, I determined that I needed to visit the Ladies Room before the 15 mile drive home. So I returned to the store and pushed open the outer door to the leu.

I smelled marijuana. Whew!

Not just a wisp, but a slap in the face thick, sweet, burning fragrance.

I figured someone was smoking a joint in one of the stalls.

I pushed open the second entry door and the aroma was intense. I scanned the air to see if there was actual visible smoke.

I heard voices coming from the handicap john at the end of the row. I figured the tokers were down there. Not as adventurous as I used to be, I slipped into the stall farthest away from them.

Should I report this or breathe deeply?

I considered my potato salad sitting in the car in 90 degree heat and knew I had no time to spare on law and order.

As I approached the sink, 2 ladies were discussing the atmosphere. The 70 year old lady was frowning. “What is that awful smell? “ she was asking.

“It’s marijuana,” replied the 50ish blond sudsing up.

“How do you know THAT?” insisted the old lady.

“Once you smell it you never forget,” said Blondie wistfully. We made eye contact and grinned. But the old lady was getting irritated.

Blondie covered her tracks. “My son is a teenager. I can smell it on his friends from time to time. My son had to tell me what it was.”

The old lady left.

“I used to smoke, but I had to quit when I got older. I can’t risk it anymore.” Blondie offered.

“Yeah, me, too” I sighed.

Blondie and I smiled at each other again and washed our hands. And washed and washed and washed. Neither of us seemed in a hurry to leave the restroom.

But, the thought of potato salad jarred me again, so I mopped up with the paper towels, flashed Blondie a peace sign and left.

It was the best public restroom I have ever smelled.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Floral Error 

My cousin Carol lost her husband, Fletch, to a long illness this week.

I logged on to Teleflora to have a bouquet of flowers sent to her home and offer her prayers and support.

While I was logged in, I thought I’d order flowers for my Mother’s birthday next week, and with a click, it was done.

My Mother phoned this morning to thank me for the flowers I sent for her birthday.

“Gosh,” I said. “I’m glad you’re happy, but they were supposed to arrive on March 16th. They’re early.” A dark cloud formed over my head.

“What do they look like?” I tendered.

“It’s a white basket of roses. No tag. Looks kind of like a sympathy arrangement.” says Mom.

Oh, my God. Does this mean Carol has an arrangement of Belles of Ireland with a tag that reads “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day Birthday”!!!!

No response yet from Teleflora customer service.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Oh, didn’t I learn a HUGE lesson at the Palm Writers Group Meeting last night.

I had written a little story about getting pummeled and bullied in middle school. I had submitted my little story for group review.

The group members gave it a good scouring, but that wasn’t the huge lesson.

I was surprised to hear that many thought it had enough merit to consider submission for publication. I think I’ll hit it with an editorial weed whacker and float it out for a try at that. But that wasn’t the huge lesson either.

Our FSU writing expert explained the line between autobiography and fiction to me so I don’t get “freyed” in future things I write about. A good lesson, but not the huge one.

What was the HUGE lesson?

I had written a stupid little poem. It was a mental fart.

Nothing of literary value, extremely personal and never, ever meant it to be read…especially not in public. Especially not by people I’d kinda like to impress…or at least let them think I’m semi-literate.

The huge lesson was that I had left the little fart poem in the bully story computer file. Thus when I e-mailed the story out for review, the little fart traveled along as a stowaway.

When the first reviewer at the table finished drubbing my story and then moved on to the poem, I was blindsided. I had a “Wish I Could Crawl Into The Carpet” moment. And then I had to endure 13 more people commenting about this fart in the elevator.

And therein lies the huge lesson…Check the contents of the files before you export them!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mosaic Context 

It's all about context...

A few days ago, Plant Daddy and I were walking along the southernmost fence line of the farm when a little rabbit hopped out in front of us. Awwww...we said...how cute. Aren't we glad the coyotes haven't eaten all the little bunnies. They are sooo adorable.

Tonight we were tending the cauliflower in the garden and the same little bunny jumped out. Grrrrr...we said...damn rabbit's eating the garden! Put Zeus on the catch and kill patrol!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Popsicle Blue 

My favorite summertime treat is sky blue popsicles!

I think the flavor is raspberry. I totally love the color, flavor, coolness, and Bonus! you get a set of craft sticks for applying mastik when you're done eating.

For Christmas, Plant Daddy bought me several colors of Bisazza. My favorite color was the sky blue one.

Today I wore a new shirt. It is sky blue. I felt absolutely beautiful all day. I put on make up! I added a necklace! I felt totally in love with this shirt. I predict I will wear my sky blue shirt until it is threadbare and falls off my body!

Happy Happy!

Monday, March 06, 2006

More from Mosaic Class... 

Here are 2 student projects. Very nice!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sesame Street Mosaics 

Today's Mosaics are brought to you by the color "Yellow" and the numbers 2 and 9.


The color of the new towels I bought at Target this afternoon. Like fluffy yellow spring chicks.

The color of the teeth of the Harley Davidson Hell's Angel guy who smiled at me as he zipped around my Nissan doing 80 on the road home from the mall.

The color of the curried cauliflower Plant Daddy and I had for supper.

Number 2...

The number of mosaics classes left. Hope all my students finish at least one project!

The number of malls I had to go to to find Plant Daddy's slacks that he wanted.

Number 9...

Thursday the 9th...Palm Writer's Group meets...Yay!

This student finished a nice mirror project.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Where's My Lunch? 

Vet Sciences Building 

Soil Mycology should have been a cakewalk course for me, but I was barely passing the class. Daily my major professor nagged me about my grade.

“You’ve got to make an A,” Frank fumed, biting down hard on the stub of his cigar. “You’re doing a thesis on Mycorrhizae! You’ve got a Plant Pathology professor on your committee! He won’t approve you if you can’t make it through basic mycology. Study!”

That cocky, know-it-all stage of graduate school had caught up with me and slammed me hard. I hadn’t studied enough for the first mycology test and had made a “D” on the Myxomycotes. Done in by Slime Molds, dammit. I would have to play catch up the rest of the term.

The Soil Mycology professor was odious. Dr.Gary Corvais was the new hire in the Plant Pathology Department. Tall, tan, blond, under thirty, with a shiny new PhD. Sure he was good looking and didn’t all the co-eds notice. He made up for his youthful inexperience with strictness. Cross every t, dot every i. His students struggled and his lab technician was heard bawling her eyes out from the regular down dressings he dished her.

I disliked him for his perversion.

He didn’t wear underwear.

And how did I know this?

Three times a week he’d stand at the head of the class of us graduate students in Mycology 601 and lecture on soil fungi wearing paper thin, unlined, white trousers and no BVD’s. How could I be expected to concentrate on the Ascomycetes with his crosier formation hanging there for all the world to see?

Focus! I needed to score best grade possible. Turning in a good laboratory performance would help buck up the low test scores.

For our laboratory exercise, Dr. Corvais had assigned us to collect 10 families of soil fauna, plate clean cultures and correctly identify the genera and species we had harvested.

If you are a non-science person reading this, you have a vague idea that something hard was just given. You are right. That’s all you needed to know, trust me. It was one of those moments when one asks, ”Do I need a graduate degree or would a career at McDonald’s be okay?”

Well, somewhere, somehow, someone in the Plant Science Building mentioned that numerous good fungi could be harvested from cow dung. And as a bonus, cow dung could easily be collected just across the University Highway at the Veterinary Sciences Teaching Hospital.

I grabbed a stack of culture plates, waved off my colleagues who were inviting me for lunch and headed across the road. Pilobolus would be mine before 4th period.

Lunching is a sacred ritual at University. The Veterinary Sciences Building was deserted. I could find no secretary or technician to give permission, so I wandered out back towards the corrals on my own.

The concrete alleyways got progressively narrower as I made my way through the clinic area and rounded the corner to the stalls. To my left I saw that the lane was wet, freshly hosed. I’d find no dung samples there.

Curious cows lifted their muzzles from their lunch troughs to peek through the railed doors at me; but otherwise they went on eating. I wasn’t brave enough to enter their rooms for a specimen. I’d have to find a more accessible patty.

I turned right into a very narrow cul de sac wing lined with pens on either side. Then I spied it. In the middle of the hall. Still fresh and steaming, it was a beauty. I fell on my knees before it, slid on my gloves and was about to mine gold when I heard an earthquake approaching.

A one ton Black Angus bull was entering the dock driven from behind by 4 vet students.
From this position on my knees, I recognized that I was completely helpless. I was doomed to be trampled to death for the sake of soil mycology.

I prayed for a miracle.

Lumbering Mr. Black Angus stopped dead in his tracks. He gave me a look as if to say, ”You are between me and my lunch. Move out of the way, now, and no one will get hurt.”

Leaving the petri dishes to traffic, I hurled myself up and clung onto the rails of a stall gate for dear life. Mr. Angus was in motion again. So tight was the fit between us, he wiped black leather stains on my white lab coat.

He swung his sirloins sharply, entered his corral and bellyed up to his own manger of oats. The students slammed the gate behind him then addressed me angrily. “You could have been killed. Who are you and what are you doing in the restricted area?”

I poured out my case to them, all about my mean major professor, and my mycorrhizae, the professor with see through pants and my need to make up a failing grade by cultivating cow dung.

A woman vet student with a long red pony tail reached without gloves into the manure, threw a clod of it into my petri dish and handed the kit back to me. “Get out,” she commanded.

I ran. I ran. I ran till I was breathless.

I’ve never been fond of cows or fungi.

I dropped Soil Mycology. I changed my thesis topic to Physics.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ash Wednesday 

Once upon a time I cleaned out our fireplace and dumped a bucket of ashes on the large Pittosporum bush outside the kitchen window. I thought it would make good fertilization.

The Pittosporum died from an overabundance of Potassium salts. I way over did it!

Yesterday, Ash Wednesday, Plant Daddy and I planted our spring garden. Zucchinis, Eggplants, Peppers, Corn, 2 varieties of tomatoes and Rosemary and Basil.

The previously seeded green beans are 4 inches up! Yay!. The baby cucumbers in the greenhouse are about 1 inch long! Yay! The yellow squash in the mosaic pot are verdant! Yay!

I love spring planting.

We harvested 2 cauliflowers, broccoli florets, and onions. Loquats will be in next week! Yay fruit!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Keep A Holy Lent 

I was eager to share Lenten meditations with my sisters in Christ at the monthly meeting of Prayerful Daughters at St. Confessions Church.

The homework assignment had been given for each of us to buy a cactus and create a desert diorama at home. Sitting beside our plant every Lent morning, we were to ponder Jesus’ 40 days of sacrifice.

Not only was I a newly born again Christian finding the joy of the Lord everywhere, but also I was a horticulturist, so this was fertile ground for me. Consequently I was happily anticipating the spiritual exchange when we gathered to discuss our lessons.

The meeting agenda proceeded with routine: fellowship, singing, and updating the prayer list. Then Mother Hazel stood, tugged at her clerical collar and called on the circle to share their “desert” experiences.

“My sisters,” she sighed in her saintliest voice, ”What has God revealed to you in the silence of your deserts?” she inquired.

Eyes dropped sorrowfully to the Persian carpet making the parish library seem more like a funeral parlor. Leather armchairs squeaked as ladies shifted into their somber states. One by one they recounted the isolation of their Lenten wilderness. Marriage problems, truant children, alcohol.They told their tales of sorrow, suffering and loneliness. Oh yes, they agreed, they knew how to suffer. They knew the absence of God.

But then, it was my turn.

“My cactus bloomed!” I heard myself blurt.


“It bloomed!” I repeated. “I bought a Mammallaria rhodanata and a beautiful crown of rose colored blossoms opened up around the top.”

Mother Hazel coughed. Anxious ladies stared holes into the rug. Nobody met my gaze.

“Look,” I offered eagerly, “The cactus bloomed. God reminds us of His Presence by giving us beauty in the midst of our deserts. No matter how much suffering there is in the wilderness, beauty’s there too. You just have to open your eyes, see Him through His handiwork, and take in the joy.”

“That will be enough,” hissed Hazel who abruptly closed the discussion. She offered a dry prayer and dismissed us.

They formed a little circle going for coffee; I wasn’t asked. I drove home sad that they were missing the signs telling us we’re not alone.

I recalled Eden where God came every evening to visit Adam and Eve. Eden was a garden. The place where God and Man meet is a place in bloom.

Go look at the flowers this Lent. See God. Find Joy. God wants to meet with you, too.

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