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Monday, April 25, 2011

36 years ago today

May dad died 36 years ago today. I was 14. It took 5 years for cancer to finally win. Frankly, I mostly remember him as a man we went to visit at the VA Hospital. I remember the phone ringing in the middle of the night. I knew it was the hospital. I knew it meant he died. Then I heard mom cry.

This is a poem I wrote soon after his passing:


My daddy was tough
My daddy was kind
He was the kind of man
You very rarely find

He had such reason
To moan and complain
He never did
Even when in great pain

He always wanted
Me to have the best
He never wanted me
To be like all the rest

He was a proud man
He held his head high
Never put others down
Oh God, Why did he die?

We watched him suffer
Five long, drawn-out years
We sure watched him, all right
Through the saltywet tears

The one time he cried
Was on his dying bed
The last time I saw him
Five days ‘til he was dead

He is gone now
We can’t revive what’s past
Now mommy cries a lot
‘Cause nice guys finish last

I can't say that this any great art, but I was a kid, and I was hurting. I have used poetry at many times of hurting in my life. I've never really shared most of my writings. 

My dad was an orphan; his mother died in childbirth with his youngest brother and his father "died of a broken heart" shortly after that. His mom was German and his dad was Irish. His three sisters were old enough to find work, he and his two younger brothers went to a German Catholic orphanage. The middle brother, Chuck, died when I was a kid. I vaguely remember him as a very obese man that was buried in a double wide casket. The youngest of the brothers, my Uncle John, remained a devout Catholic his whole life. He is a Deacon, and a former National President of St Vincent De Paul Society. He is 84 now, and in frail health. I last saw him eleven years ago. All of the sisters are long gone.

My dad, Robert,  was born August 9, 1918. He died April 25, 1975. He was only 56 years old.  He was a Marine in WWII. He was on a bridge in Okinawa that was blown up by Kamikazes. His pelvis was crushed and he had several discs in his spine fused. He last worked as a tool and dye maker for Boise Cascade. I wish I could tell you more, but that's all I know.

Here's a picture of my dad in the Marines. I think he looked like John Wayne. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beginning of Spring Break

Treklet & I started our break Friday night. We had a yummy Groupon dinner at Dominics Italian Restaurant and then saw Classical Academy's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. We enjoyed the show very much!

Saturday we went to a Tweetup at the Safari Park's Butterfly Jungle. We spent about 90 munites there, then we had a Toys R Us adventure.You can view it here:
A Trip to TRU With Treklet

While waiting for my tow hitch to be installed on The Leviathan, we hung out at the library. Treklet got a book and I took advantage of free WiFi for my iPADD.

Sunday was loads of fun. After church we headed for the Sikes Adobe near Lake Hodges. It's a replica of the historical home that burned down in the 2007 Firestorm. We learned a bit about the Sikes family from the docents, Treklet decorated a basket, then hunted for not-so-hidden eggs. I won the Jellybean Contest and got 10 tickets for her to use on pony rides and bouncers. Farmers Market was going on at the same time, so we bought fresh produce, bakery items and I even got a chair massage!

Monday has found us stuck inside. We were going to have a pool day, but the weather is not very nice. It's cloudy and cool, so instead we watched some kid shows, went in the jacuzzi for a bit and made egg-shaped Rice Krispie Treats with M&Ms inside them. What a sticky, gooey mess! It may take hours of soaking to get the marshmallow goop out of my pot.

Later on we are going to participate in a service project with her castmates in Wizard of Oz. They are packing boxes of cereal for the local food banks, then we'll have a pizza party before rehearsal.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Say hello to my little friend!

Well I didn't relax for very long. I did a lot, yet it was actually relaxing. I think it's because I was on MY time, and I didn't have run off anywhere. It's nice to stay home and awesome having a carpool for Treklet.
So what did I do?
Weeded & fertilized my veggie garden
Picked tangelos & limes
Made a garlic tea insect repellent (it's steeping OUTSIDE)
Cleaned an refilled the fountain
Picked up dog poo
Adjusted the spa chemistry
Ran a load of "delicates" through the machine & hung them out to dry
Filled the bird feeders
Watched The Cape (well mostly listened) while I gardened
Unloaded the dishwasher
And made this video!

Relaxation! It's actually hard for me.

I woke up with a bit of a stuffy head & sore throat. I'm not really very sick, but since I had nothing pressing on my calendar today (amazing, right?) and it's not my carpool week, I asked The Alien to get Treklet ready for school so I could sleep in. Of course, 20 minutes later I was up anyway. Still, I am taking it easy for the second day in a row! This never happens.

I checked out a show on my Netflix queue, Arrested Development, while I browsed Tumblr. I enjoy the pictures on Tumblr, but it really is just fluff. The show was lame. It is now deleted from my queue.

I'm now sitting in my uber-comfy papasan chair on my balcony soaking up sunshine and reading (and blogging) on my marvelous iPADD. I'm so pleased that we splurged on this wonderful gadget for my birthday last month! I am also amazed at the battery life. Yesterday I streamed Hulu, read comics, tweeted, tumbled, facebooked, browsed, listened to music and cooked (recipe app--its not a kitchen utensil) with my iPADD all day and into the evening with a single charge. No way my iPhone can battery can keep up with me like that!

I just finished reading Volume 1 of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman with my pooch, Tuvok at my side. I can hear our resident House Wren singing his heart out, announcing to the world that this is HIS yard and that gourd holds HIS mate and HIS nest. Lesser Goldfinches are at the Niger feeder and Anna's hummingbirds buzz to and fro sipping nectar from the feeders I replenished on Sunday. All three feeders are nearly empty already. The fountain trickles steadily. The air is heavy with the scents of jasmine and orange blossoms. It's all so calming and peaceful, yet my brain keeps interrupting: better fill those feeders, the fountain looks a bit green--time to clean it, fruit is falling--you should go harvest the tangelos, maybe you should fertilize and weed the veggie garden....

It's 10:30. Have I relaxed enough yet? Can I go DO stuff now?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

vernal nightfall

thick scents of jasmine and orange blossoms
with every breath invading, overtaking
intoxicating, heavy

crepuscular sounds
of eerie nighttime creatures
the darkness is almost
the light is not quite

no breeze
air heavy with perfume
cobalt turns to midnight blue
beacons begin to penetrate the vault of heaven
finally brighter
than the gloaming

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I like bats. I don't understand people who are afraid of them. Afraid of what? They eat bugs, not people? The bats around here are smaller than the palm of your hand. I mean, it's not like they're SPIDERS!

Treklet & I enjoy sitting on the balcony at dusk looking for "batty bats." The back of our house faces a hill, the lower part of which is covered in native live oaks and the upper part in avocado trees.

Yesterday afternoon I spotted something on the stucco outside my house. It was a little shivering bat! I snapped a couple of pics from a distance of about 3 feet, then the little furball spread its wings and fluttered into the woods.

Today as I was browsing my Google Reader I spied this article on bats: Bats Worth Billions to Agriculture--But They're Dying Fast.  I also spied this article on bees: Honeybees 'entomb' Hives to Protect Against Pesticides. I find lots of dead honeybees on the ground around my house. I often wonder if the avocado grove uses pesticides that are harmful to them.

Bats and bees: two amazing species that are very helpful to humans, yet both are so bitterly feared and hated, and both are in very big danger. Think again about the precious bees and bats, won't you?