Thursday, August 28, 2008

Alphawoman's Garden of Grass

Sometimes I just have to fill up an entry with help from a visual narrative. Yesterday I was working in my garden aka the back yard

Usually I am out there in the mornings as the heat of the day has not yet hit. Anyone living in this area knows we have had a very hot summer and little rain. At least little rain as of late. My roses have suffered from a multitude of circumstances including but not limited to the heat, the Jap beetles, and the dreaded yellow spot. I have inherited approximately 21 rose bushes/plants and have not, to date, killed any of them! As a matter of fact, since the heat has broken, and the Jap beetles have died off for the season, the roses are looking very spiffy!

Please do not point out the black spot disease (as I  am a slow study). I have learned how it happens and how to treat it. The other day I spent hours picking out the dropped leaves from the mulch. Mindless work that allows deep cracks in the brain to appear.

My back patio area is nothing short of a Sahara-like heat bowl. The southern sun beats down all day long! Nothing survives on the patio of white concrete and sand colored wall. Since I have been traveling back and forth from Memphis all summer and relied on the daughter to water .... well, there were horrible deaths of many hardy plants.

As I said, I am a slow study. It took a while to realize succulents were the answer! They come from the desert, right? So, I was spending yesterday afternoon replanting the resilient remarkable succulents when my back neighbor comes across the yard.

He was so nice. He brought along a bucket of potting soil as a gift. We chatted a bit about the things neighbors chat about when he suddenly changed the subject and waved his arm towards a corner of my yard and bluntly asked, "Is that a marijuana plant you're growing up there?"


As if!!! How funny! It does sort of look like one if you never have seen it before! So I assured him it was a bamboo plant that a very nice person in west Tennessee had given me and I was trying to get it to thrive in southern Indiana. And behold! It is throwing off a baby shoot.

A little later my next door neighbor came over and we chatted about my tomatoes.

And my roses.

And I assured him I was not growing marijuana and he laughed. He was more in the know because he told me I would have been busted long ago if that was the case.

It was only when I went inside I realized I was not wearing a bra under my t-shirt. (No picture!!)

No wonder I had so many male visitors!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Living on the Edge

It has long been a running joke between Joe and myself that I am indifferent to the dangers of having low gas levels in the car. When I drive he is constantly checking the fuel gage and making comments about gas stations. He has been known to break out in a cold sweat on Interstate 55.

When the refuel light comes on and I see his tension rising I always say, and I mean always, "I'm good for 20 miles".

And then I looked it up in the vehicle manual and found out I had an extra gallon adding another 30+ miles I could now say, "I'm good for 50 miles", but I do not want to give him a coronary.

On my way home the other day the refuel light came on and I felt that touch of annoyance rush over me. I hate to fill up with the gas prices being where they are now! Who would have thought that finding gas under $3.80 would be cause for celebration? While in Memphis over the week-end I gassed up at $3.31 and loved the feeling of not feeding over $50 into the proverbial black hole. The prices in Louisville are much higher than in Tennessee. A lot higher. So I fired up the computer and found the lowest gas prices in the metro area, which was $3.51 at the station located at Bashford Manor Mall.

I'll be damned! I was heading over to my brothers for dinner and the Mall was fairly close by! I could save big money by heading over there! And by big money, I mean approximately $3!!!!

And with my new found discovery that the reserve was around 50 miles, I was confidant that I could make it.

After my visit I flipped the trip and began to pay attention to the mileage thinking that I had not actually looked and the gage was **gasp** under the E.

4.9 miles to the Mall and I felt a rush of what must have been relief as I pulled up to a gas pump.

But only momentarily.

I turned my purse upside down and poured out all the contents on the passenger seat. Horrors and double horrors I had no wallet!! I could see it plain as day sitting next to the computer as I had ordered something on line for my mothers birthday before leaving.

Now I was in a cold sweat.

I had two one dollar bills on me. In the ash tray was another $1.25 and checking under the seat and in the trunk I found another 75 cents.

Enough for a little over one gallon. Needless to say, the needle did not move very much and kept its secure little home under the bigger than life E.

50 milesdid not seem like much of a life line on the drive home.

This story ends well, as I made it and the trip says it was only a 26 mile gamble from my bro's house, a little gas added, to the comfort of my drive way. A huge sigh of relief escaped from my clamped lips, my hands relaxed from their death grip on the steering wheel and the paralyzing fear of running out of gas on the I-65 Spaghetti Junction Bridge becoming a faint memory I sashayed triumphantly into the house.

I guess Joe wins this one, but don't tell him.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Use to Be Such A Sweet Sweet Thing...

...Until they got a hold of me. ( Alice Cooper, No More Mister Nice Guy)

I have no idea where I heard this, but it stuck in my head because Joe threw out all my unframed prints I had stored in an old, old, old trash bag. Like from the 1970's it was that old. And it looked like something important was in it, laid up against the kitchen wall. Oh well, ...oh well....I heard something that went like this, "You forgave them for throwing away your concert ticket collection".

Which made me check on my collection, which I have spread out in several places. (so that if he can only throw out part of it)and I fingered the Alice Cooper ticket from the mid-70's and remembered. (which is exactly why you hang on to stuff, for the memory bomb).

I was living in Mayberry* while I was waiting out an academic suspension from college and working at some minimum wage job (that should have convinced me to straighten up and fly right...but that is another story) and Alice Cooper was the hottest thing on the concert circuit.

It was when he was chopping off his head in a guillotine. Rock theater. I think he invented it, didn't he?

Naturally we had to drive to Louisville to catch the show. I am thinking Rupp Arena was not yet built. (damn I'm old) (but younger than Alice). I say "we" because I had talked Bad Bob into going with me.

Bad Bob.

Bad Bob.

How I hooked up with BB I do not remember. More than likely I just drove around Mayberry* determined to find someone to make the trip with me because someone else had bailed on me (?) and found him. More than likely smoking cigarettes by the convenient store and trying to pick up chicks.

I met Bad Bob at the swimming pool years before. The swimming pool was the place for summer fun and everyone went to idyll away the summer heat. Bad Bob was from the wrong side of the tracks to put it politely. I'm not certain if he/his family had a membership to the pool, but who was going to stop him? He did not earn the name Bad Bob for nothing!

Joe has known Bad Bob since elementary school. Bob was held back, much to the horror of Joe's class. Joe had gotten a brand new knife, (I know I know, this is boy stuff from long ago) as a gift, maybe a birthday gift. Anyway, Joe was at his locker when Bad Bob comes up and tells Joe he is going to swap him a girlie magazine for his new knife. And that was all there was to it. Joe was in no position to disagree. He handed over the knife and received an girlie magazine from the 1950's (or so he says) that was so looked over the cover was gone and most the pages were missing. The new knife is gone but Joe is left with his teeth (he would have had to fight Bad Bob to keep the knife and Joe is no dummy).

Anyway, for some unfathomable reason, Bad Bob and I were friends back in the pool day. We played chess while I was watching the front desk (oh yea, I was a lifeguard) and stuff like that. He hung out with the most popular kids in Mayberry* High! We drove around, which was about our only form of entertainment when the pool closed, and drank bourbon straight from the bottle. (I think this was the summer of Easy Rider, nick, nick)

I once ran across Bad Bob, who had become a respected (of sorts) builder in Mayberry* at the church carnival. He was with his wife and children. We smiled and acknowledged each other, but the eyes, his eyes told me this was no time to have a conversation. His blond beautiful wife looked on, blowing smoke from a lit cigarette. As I said, we nodded.

The last time I saw Bob was at a small bar. We were tossing back beers and arm wrestling, of all stupid crazy things. We ended up in my car and he was driving me somewhere and we were pulled over by the police. High School all over again. The police drove me to where I wanted to go and Bad Bob went to jail.

(This is the strange weird part)....There is this noon mass that is held at a church in Lexington that I use to go to when I felt the need. I was sitting in the back and realized that out of the 15 or so people there I knew one of them. A guy from Mayberry! During the mass it is asked if anyone has a request for prayer and my friend asked for prayers for Bad Bob.

He took my hand after mass and told me Bob was dead, had killed himself. He had put a paper bag over his head and shot himself.

Alice Cooper's show in Louisville. Bad Bob tolerating it for me, his friend.

I have a small collection of old concert tickets.



*Ficticious name for a place that could have been Mayberry back in the day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Alphawoman's Guide to the Universe

(My Moleskine)

I have a  moleskine notebook I keep in my purse dedicated to mundane things as shopping lists, addresses and the name of songs that take me by surprise. It is a treasure trove of interesting things such as the title of books to read, movies to rent, over heard conversations, places to go, brilliant observations, a cache for newspaper clippings, postcards, snapshots and a holding cell of quotes from a variety of sources. It also serves as a collection of off the wall thoughts usually scribbled as I drive down the highway. Those, my friends, are very difficult to read!

While flipping through the pages yesterday, looking for an obscure tidbit I knew I had jotted down sometime, somewhere when I found a list of ideas to write about. Obviously I had been traveling down a highway and written in large block letters, that indicated I was traveling at a high rate of speed, HITCHHIKING.

What has happened to the art of Hitch Hiking? It was not that long ago that it was an acceptable form of trucking around. An easy way to get from here to there in a pinch. I'm not going to say everyone did it. I only did it several times usually when my car was broken down by the side of the road. But I knew tons of people who practiced it as their only form of transportation.

The times were different way back then. Our serial killers were limited to large cities, the major highway system we now take for granted was barely in its infancy. The youth of that time was represented by huge numbers, never seen in the history of the earth before and we felt we were invincible and could do whatever we pleased.

And we hitch hiked, criss crossed the world on a whim.

I have two really good stories, both happened to people I know, not to me.

My brother was hitch hiking to D.C. with a friend and on the way home on the outskirts of Somewhere USA were picked up by a large sedan with two very nervous, very scared guys. They traveled at a high rate of speed and crossed into West Virginia and began to slow down to kick out my brother and his friend.

"What's the deal?" they demanded.

"Man, we just robbed a bank back there and they were looking for two males in a dark car. We figured two more people couldn't hurt".

The second one involves a friend of mine who was hitching back home from Arizona. As was typical of the time, he met up with a couple of other guys on the side of the road and decided to stick together.

They were picked up and in a short time were driven off the major road onto a secluded side road.

"Give us your Money!" they were told as a knife was waved in their faces. The other kids argued and were taken out and smacked around until they coughed up their cash. My friend pulled his pockets out to indicate they were empty. His back pack was rifled through and nothing was found. "Man, that is why I'm hitching, I'm broke".

The robbers rode off leaving them in the middle of no where.

My friend had his money hidden in his boot. He bought them all a meal and then they split up.

Something else was also lost by the demise of Hitching a ride. The rich stories that were born of those more innocent less violent times.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Montage of Minutiae

And so he says, "You ever heard of Metropolis?"

And I say, "Superman's Metropolis?" And that is how we ended up at the River city across from Paducah on the banks of the mighty Ohio before entering the equally mighty Mississippi. I was not suprised that the area was over run with Super Hero fans. Lots of families and motorcycle gangs. Well, the type of gangs that are very established and everyone rides a very expensive bike with lots of expensive leather (ouch! it was 100 degrees at least) and lots of hot mama's (literally).

Why is it that it you become very successful on the Blogosphere that you are a BIG target for a snippy, mean spirited and down right ugly attacks (in the comments)? I like Pioneer Woman quit a bit. I don't care that she is obviously rich. I see that her Blog has become a "job" and that to have to sit at the computer and come up with something day after day can be exhausting. Hell, I use to post three times a week and it was killing me. Now it is all I can do to post once or twice a month! The attacks or actually attacks might be too strong a word.... The criticism of her site reminds me of High School. Oh hell, not even High School but Grammar School. Does anyone remember the notebooks that use to be passed around and people would write comments about each other for all to see? That's what it reminds me of. There is a lot of jealousy on this wide wide web and fueled by the cloak of anonymity makes it pretty vicious.

And it makes me realize I love the drama! As long as I am not involved. Believe me, I have had my share and it sucks and hurts.

My tomatoes are coming in like gang busters except for the variety I planted in the middle. They are cracked and creepy looking. I hesitate to eat them and as soon as they quit being so creepy I'm going to give those away.

On the way to the Paducah area I listened to a double CD I have of Dan Fogelberg and it reminded me of the time I saw him in concert...circa 1976....and I think it was at Bellamine University. Out of all the seats in the auditorium I happened to be sitting in the one that was in front of the guy who was so F-ed up he lost his balance and fell into me and cracked my head. I don't thing there was any blood, but I was in a bad mood that evening and then....I get bonged but good.

Also listening to Dan I realized that I did not feel the guilt and regret that usually accompanies the soft rock music I listened to from that era. That was an unexpected and very pleasant surprise!

Went to the tiny town in Extreme West Kentucky that I began my college career attending and left feeling violated and ....old. The town has totally changed and if I was shown pictures of it I would never be able to identify it. The old hang out where I would plunk down 99 cents and have a big breakfast has moved form one side of the street to the other and resembles a Waffle House. Then I could not find the old house I rented a room in and with horror realized the Waffle House clone actually sat on the spot!

I am saddened that my memories of my youth are slowly being erased!