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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This is Not What I Should be Writing About

I should be writing about any one of those handful of topics that churn inside, but I'm very good at avoidance. I practice it in all manner of ways. Class clowning works pretty well. I do or say something goony and the audience laughs. It sustains me for awhile. Or I become interesting. It engages others and one doesn't have to spend any time inside. After all, it is rude to ignore someone who wants to interact. So I'll say it again. This blog is never going to be a pretty flowers picture blog. It was never intended to be. I don't want it to be. That's not what I do. Nor am I a professional or amateur horticulturist. The reader doesn't want to read, and I don't want to write, about how to grow this or that plant. This is not a blog about plants. Plant blogs exist elsewhere. What this blog and the writer are about is (mostly) connecting with others. And that's what this post is about, even though it may seem initially that I'm still on about the damned plants.

So I've posted a couple of times about the bromeliads and the felonious felines. Now it happens that Mother Badger reads the blogs and often has some comments to make. But she does it her way. She doesn't jump on the blogs as a public follower and she doesn't post her contemporary photograph. And she doesn't drop her comments into the blog. She reads the blog and makes comments in e-mail. That's her way, reader. We've all already agreed there aren't any rules to this. And nobody tells Mother Badger how to do anything, anyway. Sometimes she is right up to speed, reading the blogs as they're posted. Other times she drifts away for awhile. I don't think she's consumed by it. This time it happens that she was keeping right up. And she had some information to impart to me, because Mother Badger knows about bromeliads and the like. So her e-mail after the first post gave rise to the second post. But her e-mails after the second post have given rise to this third post and to plenty of belly laughs.

I have a vision of Mother Badger sitting at the computer in the Arizona Room, her face toward the wall and her back toward the dining room. I feature her reading the blog and thinking "Hey, I have something to say about this!" She leaves the blog, shoots the e-mail and returns to the blog. She reads more and lands on something that makes her muse. "I have a comment about that!" She leaves the blog, shoots the e-mail and returns to the blog. Yet another part of my brilliant meanderings grabs her attention. She leaves the blog, shoots the e-mail one more time. For the last post brought three separate e-mails and made me think, "This is like conversation! This is almost as good as being in the same room, visiting."

So this time, some of the knowledge imparted is this: when I use a knife to cut the pups away from the mother bromeliad, I should dip the blade in Clorox first. I never planned to become a bromeliad obstetrician and was, in fact, just a little squeamish about such things during my own pregnancy and childbirth experience. However, I'm in the soup now. My curiosity is running and I must move forward. I wonder if the Clorox is some form of antiseptic for the birthing process. I'm kidding! Come on, reader. She didn't state the purpose of the Clorox, but if she says "Do it," I shall, when the time comes. She also said I must use Root Tone on the pup, and that, I do understand, because my research shows the pups don't always have a good root system when it's time to remove them. I liken the Root Tone to the baby powder of this operation.

She had some well-conceived advice that could result in my being able to keep plants at home. She recommends that I steep a strong solution of cayenne pepper and water, put it in a spray bottle, and liberally coat a "test" plant. It occurs to me that cats have a very refined sense of smell. Perhaps they'd be deterred when they stepped up to take the first chomp. But if not, Mother Badger assures me their first bite will be a surprise, indeed. "Hotter than hell for humans or animals," so she says.

Lastly, she offers me encouragement and urges me forward. She commented that my pictures reveal lovely, healthy bromeliads which shows that I am on my way. And she suggests that now I am hooked, I should look into proteas. Hmmmm . . . I know about them. At least I could point one out if I saw it and say, "That's a protea." I Googled "protea". They're a little like the bromeliads in construction! I'm not sure where I'd locate one in Las Vegas, Nevada, but I know how to learn that, too. Hmmm . . .

It was Mother Badger's final statement, however, that created the most electrical connection for me. She wrote, "There is something primitive about propagating plants, like teaching . . . . " It struck me hard. This woman was a teacher because that's what she wanted to be. She did it long and I know she did it well, because it's what she loves. And that's what she's just been doing to me. Teaching. Again. I could write several posts about things I have learned from her, but that's for another day. For today, I'll just remind myself that we all have something to give to others. That's how it works. I'll give you a little of this that I have in profusion and I'll take a little of what you possess that I lack. That's the way it goes. It reminds me that I should continue to make eye contact with other humans and say what I have to say, ask what I have to ask. It reminds me of the importance of remaining open and trusting those who have shown themselves to be reliable.

OK, stick a fork in me. I'm done. If I get bromeliads or proteas or a flower or anything else I think is beautiful, I might take a "pitcher" and post it. But I'm done playing the bromeliad investigator of the blogosphere and shall now move on.

In my ears right now: It is a dark, shitty, wintry day in the desert southwest. It is snowing near my home and in my Mojave Preserve in places I was startled to see named in the Severe Weather Alert. In severe weather, people don't exclaim, "Let's call the carpet cleaners out!", so my phones are dead after a booming day yesterday. I'm alone and I could slide a little if I made a poor musical choice. So, dedicated to Bloomsbury Bird and Benson Bird, even though it's been done before. Reader, I do know that parakeets do not possess musical taste, but I swear they react differently to dirges than to something like this. We needed this today. And I can dance to it! Or better yet, hula hoop!

Something that charmed me: I had a terrible 9 mile walk this morning in hideous conditions. Screaming wind. Wet. Cold. I gave some serious thought to crying as my eyes streamed onto my face and the wind chapped me there. Except crying would have just made for more chapping, so I soldiered on. I wasn't a happy girl when I got home to shower and get ready for work. But driving in, I was struck by how many of "those" trees are popping. For at this time of year, the cherry trees burst. There are pink and white varieties, and I describe them as exploding Q-tips. I passed hundreds of them. And this weekend is Daylight Savings Time. And the following weekend is the spring equinox. And the weekend after that . . . and so it goes.


  1. It's also St Patty's day at least here in the OV. The parade will wind right down the block not a football field away on Saturday.

    Some of the daffodils have bloomed but I think we all know what a daffodil looks like.

    These protea look like an alien life form to me, did they perhaps migrate from Roswell to Las Vegas?
    An hour ago I had my arms up to my elbows in good dirt cleaning out around the roses. And Its glorious weather here.

    I've been nominated to do the local sun dance if necessary.But I don't like the whole idea of having my nipples pierced. (WV) it causes a lot of strexx. Disnot! (WV) Distu! Well (Wv) pardinke me! Thats enough for today Tag. Yes Ma'am.

  2. Les - You don't need to explain or apologize for posting what you post. It's wonderful and gritty and who you are. You are shiny and happy and spontaneous.

    Do you mind if I stalk =]V[ along with you? I noticed him in your sidebar and wandered over ....and liked. How did you find him? I guess that's what this whole blogging thing is about. We can't really own who we follow, but I feel like I'm stealing when I start reading one of your discoveries....but then again, I wouldn't have you for a friend if I had not clicked on photography in my profile and stalked Badger for a while. That is how we found each other, isn't it?

  3. @ Kassie ~ More than an "apology", it is a reminder to myself to move some other things along. There are some demons I could exorcise if I'd finally write and publish them, gather comments or not, and move on. I DO tend to avoid things I'd do better to address, sometimes.

    Matt became my follower a short time ago. I finally found a moment to go look at his blog and I liked a LOT of what I saw there. I follow him now and we've begun to comment back and forth. I like him. If I'm not mistaken, Matt would have found me through the fabulous Erin O'Brien.

    I look at the finding followers thing a little differently. I think it's a gift we give our followers. "Here's another of my friends. I think you'll like him/her." Not stalking, but openly, generously presented.

    Yes, you were on Digital Existence as his follower. One night when Mr. Insomnia had joined me in bed, I got up and looked at every blog I knew about at that point. I found your blogs and was fascinated by all of them. What? A woman who makes funky stuff out of other funky stuff and lives in SUGARHOUSE? The next morning, I told the Badger, "You've got the most fascinating woman in the world as a follower!" I'm glad we found each other.

  4. @ Friend Tag ~ My O'Farrell ancestors would appreciate the early recognition of St. Paddy's!

    We might all know what a daffodil looks like, but there's not much I can think of that is better to look at. The proteas are something, aren't they? They're also tropical and I honestly don't know if I'll successfully locate any, even at a good nursery here. But I know how to Google!

    Take your shitty weather back, Tag. Cesar and Mike radioed in an hour ago. It was snowing on them. Down here in the city.

    I'm glad you stopped by, Dude.

  5. @ Kirk ~ Ha, my friend! Then that makes you pretty easy to get.

  6. Nine miles? You are kicking my ass, girl! I thought my five miles was a good spank. Guess you showed me.

    Good luck with the growing, thanks for the shout, and I LOVE the vintage pix of Mother Badger.


  7. @ Erin ~ People should bow at your altar because you put 5 miles on yourself. You're seecond to nobody for that. I put a lot of miles on myself every day, but I've been doing it now for a number of years, so it's just what I do. Last year I was training for a walking marathon I ended up not being able to participate in, but I've held onto the increased daily training miles. Someday, when I am very brave, I'm going to write about WHY I put myself through so much walking. There's a story behind it.

    Mother Badger's pics ARE wonderful and I've got plenty of her as well as the three youthful Badgers that I'll trot out occasionally.

    I thank you for popping onto the bus today, Erin! Erf-o.

  8. so many things in this post draw me, i don't know where to start.

    avoidance-know that one. intimately. doesn't work in the long run. know that intimately, too.

    proteas-perhaps my favorite flower. (i worked for a florist, several lifetimes ago.) almost infinite in variety, and teeth-grindingly challenging to photograph.

    propagating- we propagate what we love.

  9. I'm all for connections, Les, which is why I enjoy your blog so much. You tell a wonderful and meandering narrative, often including people about whom I know little, but it does not seem go matter.

    It is like eavesdropping on a fascinating conversation and not having to feel one bit guilty.

    The image of Mother Badger hopping from computer blog to email is wonderful and I do not even know what she looks like. I can only imagine a female version of Badger from Wind in the Willows skittering across the hallway in human form, grey curly hair and sturdy walking shoes.

    Thanks, Les.

  10. @ SOMH ~ I'm usually a pretty quick study, or at least of average ability, so I don't get why I can't quite catch on re: avoidance. I can run pretty fast and keep pretty over-busy, but just when I look in the mirror as I brush my teeth ~ ooops! there the issue is, sitting on my shoulder. I could be so efficient if I just dealt with things.

    Ha! I worked for a florist, too, but more recently. I need to write about the gay male couple, self-proclaimed queens of our 4-square-mile city, who owned that business and all of our exploits. My god, we were unruly adult delinquents! There once was a slumber party . . . never mind. None of that takes away from the beauty of the flowers.

    Very good observation re: propagation.

  11. @ Elisabeth ~ It is my aim to talk about the real people in my life as I write and to tell enough about them that the reader feels as if they DO know them. I try very hard to tell it the way it feels, and sufficiently for the reader to feel some of it, too. Not sure I achieve that often or ever, but that's what I strive to do.

    No guilt necessary for eavesdropping, as I invite you in!

    What a rich image, Mother Badger from Wind in the Willows! I think she will LOVE that when she reads it. For the record, she is a gorgeous older woman. Your intuition of sturdy shoes is a good one. She is a larger woman - taller, larger hands and feet than I have. Once we gave her a gift of jewelry and she reminded us that jewelry needs to be proportionate to the body and she's not tiny. She has the most glorious hair! It's perfectly silver, straight, thick, full, and always beautifully cut. Someday I shall ask her if I may post a contemporary photograph of her, but right now I enjoy showing her as she progresses through her 83 years.

  12. Mother Badger looks pretty gorgeous in that 1950s picture.

    WV-- foriests: More foriester than all the other forests.

  13. @ Kirk ~ And she's still ravishing today, in an age appropriate way. Actually that picture is late 1940s. They were newlyweds in the photo. The Badger was born in October, 1949, so I'm going to take an educated guess and day the pic is 1947ish. Ha ~ your WV! I wonder why the WV game charms me so.