Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An Ode to Incompetence or Procrastination or Standing On The Lawn Nekkid or All of the Above

Oy!  For days I have been hovering on the outskirts of an attack of anxiety and have just finished performing  the deed which engendered the prickles.....  I have just fired my Gardener for complete and total incompetence.

So what, you say?  Big deal..  Yeah, for me it is a big deal. For one thing, I hate having to fire anyone.  In my lifetime I have hardly ever had to do it, thank heaven.  I guess the time worse than this was when I had to fire my best friend, but hell,, what  could I do.......she was incompetent.  I can't stand incompetent.

This case was paticularly hard because of my own procrastination and....face it.......incompetence at firing people.  I have been wanting to fire this guy for 40 years and just never made it, till today.  Forty years, you say?  Yes, dammit, forty years......wanna make something of it?  Actually, I knew after the first few months in 1973 that he was not the greatest Gardener in the world, but, at the time I was young and healthy and loved working in the garden so it didn't matter so much.  I could sort of fill in the blanks myself and make up for his lack of skills.  But it pissed me off.  As I said....I hated incompetence....his and mine. I would  repeatedly try to improve his methods........I would tell him of things I wanted done that he should have known needed to be done.  He always acted as if I had asked him to do something outlandish and  totally foreign to the world of Gardeners like putting on a tutu and dancing the swan part of the Swan Lake Ballet. ("What??  You want me to trim those vines in front of the gate??  But they don't need to  be trimmed, if you just push the strands aside like a curtain and walk thru the opening.")  Then he would nod sadly and say, "OK, next week.   And, by gosh, sometimes he even did it the next week....but sometimes not and certainly not on a regular basis as needed.   Sigh.

Each month when I would present him with the check for his work (?)  I would clench my jaws to keep from uttering obscenities and put on a fake tepid smile.    Oh God....not only was I incompetent, but a hypocrite besides!  Once indoors, I would groan, screech like a banshee with a vocabulary of particularly dirty words and phrases (in several languages),   pound my fists on the table, hit my head against the nearest wall and scream, "I've gotta fire that  guy.....why didn't I fire that guy?"  And so it went.  For Forty Years.  Yes, I know.

After 20 or 30 years it became like a bad marriage in which only one of the partners was dissatisfied.  I soon realized that it was useless and unrealistic for me to fantasize that he would come to me one day and brazenly tell me he was leaving me for the prettier lawn down the street.  (...but of course I was beyond rational by this time)    .  Of course, it was up to me to act and, so far I had been incompetent beyond  belief at acting on this matter.  (I was worse at firing him  than he was at gardening.)  Sob.  As I may have mentioned, I hate incompetence, particularly my own, so this has not  been good for my general self esteem for the past near half  century.  But as my youth and vigor have gone the way of the bustle and gas-lamps and girdles and skirts that end at least 4 inches lower than the crotch,  it has become an increasing problem and by now the absurdity of it all became so monstrous that words or my mind could not deal with it.  Last week, I wistfully looked at several of my neighbors front yards with envy.....nay.....raging green eyed jealousy....I might almost say lust.........several of the deadly sins....and was trying to decide  between murder and suicide.....I believe they are both also on the no-no list..  And it happened that the Gardener who services those lucky neighbors  was, at that  very moment, servicing my neighbor next door ....the garden, that is.  So I spoke to him and asked him if he could, out of the kindness of his heart, fit me into his schedule.

It happened like when you see a piece of thread protruding from a seam of your garment and you tug on it to remove it and things are nevert he same afterward.   Before I knew what was happening, the sleeve fell off of my caftan and the other sleeve was threatening to follow it, and  had I not gathered up my skirts and what was left of my garment and fled to the porch I  might have ended up standing stark nekkid on the lawn at Califa street.  That little piece of thread apparently held everything on earth together.  When I caught my breath and weakly waved goodbye to him it seems I had contracted for him to come on Saturday and "clean everything up" (also remove a hundred or so unwanted plants and plant 1000 or so desired plants and heaven knows what else besides come every week and  beat all the foliage, plants and vines into submission henceforth.

Oh......talking about little pieces of thread and the consequences of pulling them,  I guess I should go back one step further and tell you what really started the Great Green Avalanche.   You all know what a tyrant I am about saving money and being frugal.   Well, one day last week I got a coupon offer in my email for $30 worth of plants at a local Nursery for only $15.   To quote Eliza Doolittle,  "Gaaaaaooooooow".  How could I resist?  It was only when I stood contemplating 3 flats of Lobelia, one of Gazanias,  one of
Cosmos and two of Impatiens that I realized that no matter how I communicated to my current incompetent Gardener the urgency of getting the young plants into the ground in some tasteful arrangement before the leaves fell from the trees in the fall it was hopeless and the only way in hell to handle everything  was to fire the sonofabitch and get somebody who was Competent.  Now.....tell me.....do I know how to face a problem and solve it or what?  (We will never speak of the 40 years nor fact that that $15 coupon ended up costing the national debt in weekend Landscape transformation fees........that IS understood, isn't it????)

My last word on this whole thing is a warning to all of you........be careful (of exactly what I cannot say) but you never know  when you get up in the morning and open your Email what monstrous changes it might bring about in your erstwhile boring, uneventful, incompetent overgrown jungle of a life.  That is what makes life so interesting, I guess........now I must go and lie down and put cold cloths on my head.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

You May Think You Have Seen the Moon, But I Bet You've Never Seen This One........

I am just passing along one of the most awesome videos I have ever seen (sent to me by the brilliant musician and beloved friend, Richard Broadie). I can only suggest you have smelling salts handy, plus a cheese  knife and an assortment of crackers.

Love, Lo

Here is something a bit random, but none-the-less astounding. A work mate of a friend who is also a photographer captured what is, to me, one of the most remarkable things I have ever seen filmed.
It is a 3 minute video clip of the full moon rising over Wellington, New Zealand. It was shot on Jan.28, 2013, a calm summer evening, as people gathered on the Mt. Victoria Lookout point to watch the moon rise.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Who? Me? .......How About That?

I am flustered and flattered that two wonderful lady bloggers seem to have nominated me for an award.    I am not much for awards since I do not do this for fame and fortune but mostly for fun, but I would be untruthful if I did not admit I am tickled that someone thinks me awesome.  Will the wonders of blogging ever cease?

So let's see now........first I want to express my thanks.

Thank you Bad Word Mama at http://badwordmama.blogspot.com/ and Akashic Window at http://akashicwindow.blogspot.com/ for this unexpected honor.

Now what?  I think I am supposed to tell you and the rest of the world 10 things about myself that no one knows.......not so easy when I have claimed to have no secrets and have spent the last 30 years or so blabbing everything to anyone who would listen.   However,  I will tell you at least a few things that may come to mind in the next 15 seconds.
* I have recently looked into a dark, long uninvestigated pocket of myself and found that I am not really the supposedly wise, tolerant, compassionate, kindly person you and I all thought I was........I am a fraud.  I think the real me may be a snobby, supercilious.  judgmental, wrathful, vengeful, mean-spirited wretch......at least on alternate Tuesdays anyway.   There are those days when I rise out of  bed and hardly recognize myself.  Of course, being a Gemini I can always cover my shame by declaring my alter ego to  be the Saintly one and this evil persona is simply occupying the bodily premises until the "real Lo" returns from doing good deeds somewhere.......it is always a shock to me to discover that traits I thought I had stamped out years ago  can be brought back to life by things I hate the most.......like Unmitigated Stupidity......of which there is so much....hence my unfortunate recurring transformations into Ms. Hyde.  

* Actually, I guess I am as passionate a hater as I am a lover and my most recent eruptions have not been from the Terrorists, insane and misguided and  evil as they obviously are, but the Cowards, our despicable elected officials,  who are so in fear of the NRA and their jobs that they cannot enact a single gun control law.  Yes, ordinary terrorists maim and kill, but how can we calculate the number who will be maimed and killed by the cowardice of these failures who are supposed to be doing good and consistently do ill or nothing ?   I fervently wish for some terrorists who would release 160 trillion STD fleas into the chambers of the houses of Congress.   Shakespeare said it best....."A pox on both your houses...."

* The only other thing I can think of to confess right now  is that I have been known to flip to the last chapter of some particularly badly written mystery story to find out whodunit without having to read through all those poorly plotted pages.

I will only say that I am properly ashamed of myself, for whatever that is worth.   But sometimes it feels so good to  be rotten.

  So now you know.  It will not surprise me if my follower count goes down drastically after this.......I really must learn how to lie.  Dammit, I used to know how.....that was before I discovered that it was more trouble than it was worth.  Sometimes I regret having lost the skill.

I have now reached the last part of my award tasks...........the bestowing of the award on some of my favorite Blog Stars, and this is harder than confessing my worst sins.  How can I possibly choose only 3?   (tenks gott my beloved Joe-Cranky Old Man has already been honored with this award so I can ignore him for this effort, but no matter what I do I will have to leave out a bunch of worthy bloggers whom I adore.  Shitpissfuck.) 

OK.  I am going to pass over some of my pet Stars of Blogland who are frequently showered with awards and honors (you know who you are, Murr, Pearl, Mary...)  and focus on a few of my quieter favorites  who warm my heart and make me proud to be among such noble, interesting, talented, intelligent  and brave souls. 

 Mr. T and Baron

Far Side and Chance

 Gretel and her wonderful felt creations
 The Middle of Nowhere

 Daisy and Herself

Hmmm.....I seem to have exceeded the suggested number of 3 honorees....oh, what the hell.....it 's my blog and I am the Awarder, so revel in your glory you dear folk and thanks for all the pleasure you bring me.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Unabashed Pimping For My Computer Guru- You'll Thank Me For This Someday

Being that my computer is my link to the world of intelligent beings and is the only thing that keeps me from going totally bonkers several times a day, it is of the utmost importance that the damned piece of tech crap remains functional at all times.  (pardon my disrespect, you dear Computer Thingy, but you know that you are often ...ummm..........flighty to say the least). 

Needless to say, on those occasions when I find that no screaming, teeth gnashing, digital tickling, banging, random poking or outright pounding  (either the computer or my head against the wall) does any good,  I resort to my tool of last resort....an incredibly talented, yea brilliant even, but still humble and very AFFORDABLE Expert who has never failed me in my desperate hours of need.  Even better and more  amazing, he can fix what is wrong with you (computerwise, that is) no matter where on this planet Earth you are located....as long as you have a phone and of course, a computer that needs fixing.  Neither you nor he need leave their respective abodes....you and he can stay in jammies and slippers if so desired.  All he has to do is invoke a magic program which connects his computer to yours and allows him to gambol through the mess you or the damned updates and system flaws have created, find the problems and correct them on the spot, finally handing control back to you of a properly restored and chastened servant rather than a Monster threatening to tear your heart out and remove what is left of your frazzled  brain through your nostrils or any other convenient orifice.  It is like a visit from an Angel with a knapsack full of miracles........and I am happy to report that he has just saved my life and sanity, not quite in that order,  for the gazzillionth time, having done it often over the past 4 or 5 or maybe 10 years.

Now, I am confessing that,  so addicted and so dependent am I on these infernal machines, that I have 3 (well, actually, if we are being really  honest, I think I may have about 6 or 7 but only 3 are currently in working order and of the current genre.  The others are lurking about here and there on the premises  because I do not know exactly how to get rid of them, but that is another story.   I keep these 3 around  because it never fails that I must send an urgent email or log onto my Stock account without delay and my main laptop decides to laugh in my face and warn me that, due to  the recent updates last night, which it insisted on making  before letting me log off, it could no longer open the most important program in captivity and therefore was going to take a vacation and go to Disneyland.  It does this periodically and leaves me with the most frustrating plain blue screen.....no cursor.....no icons, no task bar......NO CONTROL............zip, zilch, nada........it also leaves you farmished farchadadt and fardrayt......totally helpless, totally crazy, I tell you.   When this happens I usually scooch my tush 12 inches down the table to my backup laptop and almost invariably the two demons have gotten in cahoots and #2 refuses to perform too.  Sometimes it may be my fault because I cannot see well enough to plug the proper thingy into the proper hole and it has simply died of electricity deprivation  but often it has been afflicted with the same kind of errant update bug and snickers slyly at my hysteria.  I am then driven to dash in panic to the office where my old desktop sits ruminating about  better days when it was my one and only love.  As I turn it on I detect the mean gleam in its eye as it sees a way to punish me for my neglect and, since it has not had any updates applied for sebenty-eleben years  it is obviously unable to perform any but the most simple tasks and I am not in the mood to play Free Cell at this moment so all I can do it weep bitterly and reach for the phone to call David.

Incidentally, he can perform small miracles as well as large ones.   One of the most helpful things he has done for me recently was to  enlarge the size of the Cursor to Gigantic so that my poor dim eyes  can find it and see it.  Seriously, this has enabled me to continue to use the computer.......you have no idea  how frustrating it is to be unable to find the cursor when it is tiny and  hides coyly among all your blind spots.  Head bashingly frustrating until David reset some options for me.    One of his most valuable saves.

As long as I am being honest I must admit that for the Blank Blue Screen Affliction it was necessary for David to come to my house so he had to change out of his jammies, (tho I didn't) but for a number of years when he and his wife had moved to Portugal he saved me via long distance numberless times....only trouble there was the poor dear had to stay up till 3 or 4 am Portugal time in order to reach me at my preferred time of  6ish in the evening here, but he did it often and without complaint and was always able to fix my computers with thousands of miles separating us and 9 hours in time difference,.  What a guy.

Needless to say, he is 100% trustworthy and will NOT steal your passwords, secret codes or even notice your porn sites.  I wholeheartedly recommend his services for large problems or small ones.  (And NO, I am not asking for a commission.......my reward will be in saving your sanity and helping him  gain a new client.   I love Symbiosis.
                                                                           DAVID GOES
                                                                        (finder of lost minds)

(818) 284-5865

David Goes
PCT Business Services

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hey, Mr. DeMille, Doris Is Ready For Her Close-Up

                                                           TA DA  -  BIRDS !

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dammit, I Can Hear Them Whispering But I Have No Clue What They Are Saying

Beware all ye who are about to enter here.......Lo is ready to rant.

The world is full of selfish, self-obsessed, self-absorbed, self-indulgent idiots and I am fed up with each and every stinkin'  one of them.  They desperately need fixing and I have decided there is only one way to fix them.  If I were running things I would decree that two surgical procedures be performed on all of them...first a lobotomy and then sterilization.  There might  be 5 people whom I would spare.....I shall not name them here......but everyone else would get fixed, by gum.  The only ones who might escape this fate are those who can run faster than me, and since that includes everyone including the lame and the halt I guess the world is safe from my merciless "repair" project.  All I can say is, "faugh,  I have had a rotten day."

Were it not for God's Gift to the Universe, the Awesome Finches, I would surely put rocks in my pockets and jump in the the pool.......the deep end this time.  I figured out why it didn't work the last time I tried that.   How stupid can you get?  I guess you really have to mean it to jump in the deep end.....

Anyway, after today imploded, exploded  and self-destructed I hauled myself out of the debris a tattered wreck and spent what was left with my nose pressed to the bird cage observing the most charming, delightful creatures on the planet.   Except that, apparently even in the bird world there are selfish, greedy  bullies who insist on grabbing all of the nesting material for themselves even though their nest basket overflows with the stuff and there is hardly enough room inside for Frank and Doris not to mention the four eggs I counted this morning...yes......I lied.....I have reversed myself and decided to let them breed one brood so I can observe the fascinating process.  Frank, of the lovely voice and bullying propensities spent the afternoon depriving his smaller, weaker compatriot, Mickey, of every shred of straw that I had gathered and offered. After watching heartbroken  as he snatched the last shred from Mickey's gorgeous red beak and stuffed it vigorously into his own digs there was nothing left but for me to intervene.  I am just a meddlesome fool and that is the truth of it.    I spent the rest of the day selecting the choicest bits and offering them directly to Mickey's eager but inept beak.  It sometimes took 5 minutes for him to get the hang of it and get a good grip, but then what joy and fulfillment to see him drag it through the bars, up to the nest basket and in through the entrance, inch by inch till it was all safely indoors while Frank watched stomping back and forth on his perch in helpless frustration.  I have discovered that it is the male who is responsible for building the nest.  the women just sit around scratching their feathered fannies and watching their husbands toil away.  I guess they figure having to lay all the eggs is job enough for them.  Seems only fair, I guess.  I have read that both the male and female sit on the eggs and feed the babies if and when they hatch.

Frank and Doris are definitely the dominant pair, but the two smaller birds seem to accept that and cope pretty well.  They are all eating like foodaholics, enjoying their swimming pool  and flapping, flying, chirping and muttering sweetly to each other  all through the day except when they coyly enter their respective abodes and discuss the state of the economy, the freshness of the Swiss Chard, perhaps baby names and whatever it is they are saying to each other in that amazing, strange bird whispering and chortling that issues forth from the nest baskets when the pairs are inside.

Oh,  Gawd........I have  become as insufferable  about my feathered children as people are about their sticky faced offspring and grandchildren.  I beg your forgiveness......but you might as well get used to it.   The obsessing and the apologies that is. 

Pictures will be forthcoming as soon as I can figure out how to shoot inside the cage. 

And, incidentally.....so far there has been not a lick of the Cat/Bird problem......tenks gott.

Now, off to bed....this has been an exhausting day with a few bright spots for which I am hugely grateful.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Don't Bother Me.....I Am Too Busy Picking Dandelions

Yes, yes, I know you all expected reams of babbling about my precious Finches, but I have not yet adjusted to this newest infatuation and don't forget, I am old and tired.  I have relocated them from the outdoor porch to the indoor sunporch figuring that I just can't trust the raccoon family with their agile fingers to live and let live.......better for the birdies  to take their chances with several odd cats who seem able to ignore the new tenants with aplomb and a certain nonchalance.   I have, thus far, achieved neither of those blissful states.   But at least I can sleep at night.

Daytime hours are spent offering sliced grapes, lettuce tidbits and whole leaves of swiss chard which they attack wildly with their little orange beaks snapping  and munching.  Unfortunately I read in my research that they love dandelion leaves and blossoms.  Hell, wouldn't you know it.......for forty years I have been coldly and mercilessly doing away with the dandelions in my lawn and now, all of a sudden, I need dandelions.  I have found a few errant plants in my garden, but I fear I will have to secretly rob the neighbors in the dead of night or openly just beg in the daytime. 

Meanwhile, I have ingeniously turned a cut down CoolWhip container into a Finch Swimming Pool and was tickled beyond words today to stand there with my nose 3 inches away while they cavorted and splashed and doused me with tiny drops of water from their antics and ruffling of feathers.

I know, I know, you want to see pictures.......well, I have  been trying, I swear.  Over the weekend I dug down through the mess that is my dining table/now my computer table and on about the fourth layer down I managed to locate both of my cameras.......both with totally dead batteries.  I charged them up over the weekkend and installed them today, after printing out the directions on how to use the damned camera....it has been that long since my last efforts.  Today I gathered up my courage (to face frustration) and took a few experimental shots.  As I feared, I got great pictures of the white neatly spaced 1/2 inch apart bars of the cage with bits of bird barely visible within.  This means that I will have to raise one of the sliding gates and figure out how to put the camera inside and position it to capture mostly birds and not bars, nesting boxes and perches.  I WILL work this all out, I promise, but it may take a while.

Meanwhile, I have wisely decided I do not want to raise Finch families right now, and this involves my having to check the nesting boxes for eggs and remove and dispose of the eggs if any appear.  If anyone dares to ask me why I do not plan to eat them I can only roll my eyeballs skyward and say they are too damned small to be able to peel if hardboiled and for an omelet I would need a production line of at least 400 female Finches so forget it.

I have found that these delightful creatures seem to like it when I sing to them.......sometimes they will intersperse a bit of harmony while mostly they seem mesmerzied by my voice.  I have not decided if it is the exquisiteness or the awfulness of same, but it is fun to watch them all inch closer to me on their perches and half shut their little eyes while I croon.  Once I master the trick of photographing them I plan a video with me singing to them......hopefully they will join in but I cannot promise that nor much in the way of harmony.

I had not planned to name them but I have noticed myself thinking of them with certain names.  Now  
you must understand that these are youngsters and I think one pair is slightly older than the other.  They are a bit larger, more cocky (you should excuse the expression) and more vocal.  To my shame I have found myself referring to the male as Frank (Sinatra) and to his blonde companion as
Doris ( Day).  The younger pair has somehow become Mickey and Judy.  I do not know if I can maintain these names and continue to hold my head up in respectable society........not that I really care what people may think, but I am sure some may whisper behind their hands that they thought I was better than that.

In addition to my adventures in Finchland I have been having to cope with a few thises and thats and consequently I am very VERY tired so I am going to sign off now.  I will report further as soon as I am able. 

Meanwhile, think good thoughts for me as I try pushing a camera inside the cage while filling the open aperture of the door with my arm and sleeve so no one escapes......and while you are at it you might say a prayer for a rsurgence of dandelions.   Oy, what have  I done?