Saturday, July 26, 2014

My Muse

There are many family and friends who ask me, who tell me, I need to start writing again. They don’t realize, though, how difficult a request that is for me. I believe for me to begin writing again means that this is the first thing I need to write about, but to do so is so very painful. I also know that this will be painful for others to read.

I began this blog when my husband and I lived apart for a year. We did so only because life and obligations dictated it. It was my way of keeping us close. He loved the posts and would email me with topics to write about. Many of which I did. He was my biggest fan. He was my muse, and I never realized it.

On November 2, 2012 I came home from work and he was gone. A massive heart attack had taken the life of my beloved. There are so many things I remember about that day. Many I can’t and won’t share, but the one thing that stays with me is that I didn’t want to be at work that day. It wasn’t the typical “it’s Friday, let’s get this over with” thing. I was extremely antsy and had an overwhelming sense of foreboding. I was anxious to be home with him. There was so much I wanted to tell him.

And now creativity, in writing and in other aspects, seems joyless…almost silly. There are times that just dealing with life…work, bills, chores, is all my brain can handle. I know he’d hate that. He was, among other wonderful things, a joyful person. His joy was contagious.

On so many occasions happy, random memories of our life together seem to come to me out of the blue, things I haven’t thought about in years, and many times I find I channel one of his quirky phrases in reaction the simplest things. These things make me smile. He is in my heart, and will always be, but I know now, in hindsight, that his joy for me fed my creativity. He was my muse, and now my muse is gone.

Maybe writing this will expel some of the pain. Maybe writing again can be my way of honoring him. Maybe those random memories and Bruce-isms can take over now and bring back my muse.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

We Built It

This may very well be one of the most controversial things you'll ever see posted here...
but some things need to be said.

And David Walker, Jr., a partner in the law firm at which I am employed, said it very well in an office-wide email this morning:

"You may have noticed the banner hanging on our facade this morning, which states:  “WE BUILT IT”.  You may have seen it in other businesses as well.

By way of explanation, the message is our rejection of the President’s allegations that somehow Government is responsible for individual effort and success or failure.  In particular, these are his remarks from a speech in Roanoke, Virginia:
'Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. 
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  
We reject Mr. Obama’s accusations.  We do not believe anybody other than the people who invest in this firm, work for this firm, and make the daily decisions that guide this firm are the people who built this firm.  We do not owe our success or failure to any Administration – it rests solely upon the effort, intellect, and ingenuity of the people who own and work for this business.  And we believe that is the case for almost any small business, including many small business owners who are our clients

Furthermore, the notion that government or some other state-owned entity built roads, schools, bridges, and other infrastructure on its own is in and of itself ludicrous.  Roads, schools, bridges and post offices – while in existence before our firm – were nonetheless ALSO built by other businesses and people who paid taxes.  Roads and bridges don’t just appear out of nowhere as a result of the largesse of government.  Roads and bridges are themselves constructed by businesses and taxpayers and paid for by other businesses/taxpayers who preceded us.

It is for these reasons that we reject Mr. Obama’s premise and assert that We Built This business."

Insert applause...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Let's Play Catch Up, Shall We?

First of all, I'm sorry. I hate it when my favorite bloggers don't blog, and, not that I'm anyone's favorite blogger, I really should do better. Of course, I'm not going to make any promises either...sorry (again...I just need to shut up already...)

First of all, there's a new gnome in town. His name is Sean. Sean has a distinctive way of speaking...all his s's come out as sh's. (If you're wondering if I've completely lost my mind, you need to refer back to the Changes in Latitudes post.) Sean came to us all the way from Colorado (thank you to those responsible). He's probably glad he got the hell out of town.You will also note that Sean is not in the tree. We figured he'd live longer if he didn't have far to fall (or be pushed).

If you look closely you'll be able to discern that there is in fact a logo on Sean's pointy little hat, and he is holding a football.This should give you some idea where our NFL loyalties lie. Although, in this part of the world there aren't very many opportunities to watch these games in high-def (stinkin' Falcons!)...but there is the internet!

We also have another new resident in the forest.

This is Eddie. At the time this was taken, Eddie was not much bigger than the cat. While his mom (we shall call her Felicia) foraged in the field by our yard, Eddie came to relax right by the fence. I managed to get within a few feet of him. Since this picture was taken, Eddie has broadened his horizons by venturing across the road, getting himself stuck in the kudzu and having to be rescued by Felicia. Never a dull moment at The Hermitage!

Progress has been made on the pond...

Ignore that blurry part at the hair was, as usual, out of control. This is the upper pond. The seating area still needs to be finished....also, right behind the chairs is a rock garden planted with sedum, ice plants, columbine, a few daisy-like plants and some other creeping thing of which I do not know the name.

Stream looking down from the upper pond. You can see the lower pond at the top of the photo.

Lower pond. Note Sean's more secure position. The bug will probably be relocated. All those plants between the rocks are intentional. They have little tiny purple flowers that look like forget-me-nots...just much, much smaller. Don't ask me what they are...I have no memory for such things.

Right after downloading these pictures I stood up and saw a cardinal splashing around in the stream. Of course, when I opened the door he flew off. The birds love the stream, and we were entertained one evening watching a young Titmouse try to figure out exactly how he should go about it getting his feet wet. I now have a new catch the birds on video.

Tomorrow I will be jetting off to a far away, and much cooler (both literally and figuratively) land, to spend a few days with the other love of my life. Right now I'm all fidgety and butterfly-y...I get this way before a big trip...little known fact about me...I hate flying, not because I'm scared, but because I hate the whole process...the rules, the attitude, the being crammed into a 2 x 2 box for 5 1/2 hours. Don't get me wrong...I can't wait for the makes the journey so worthwhile. I'm sure I'll have many adventures to report...and I will.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Trouble Afoot...

So, we have this tree. The gnarly old Bradford pear which I have previously referred to as the "giving tree", because of the multiple bird feeders festooning its branches.The "giving tree" split in half one fateful day, leaving a nice little ledge in which to place things...

like garden gnomes.

More specifically, Henry and Helga. A chubby little gnome couple, blissfully in love. A lovely golden, heart-shaped locket dangling from Henry's hand. I'd show you pictures, but I can't.

Now because this tree is festooned with bird feeders, it also attracts attracts squirrels.
Squirrels make my husband crazy...
Think groundhogs in Caddyshack.

There have been a lot of attacks on squirrels lately.
Attacks, which may have resulted in squirrels temporarily becoming dog toys.
Just saying...

Anyway, so I come home from work today.
Feed the dog, pick up the mail, check out the pond...
and I notice that something is awry.

Upon closer investigation I find this...

and this...

Gnome body parts strewn across the stream...some unaccounted for...Henry has a gaping hole in his abdomen and Helga's throat is MIA, along with her spleen...(if garden gnomes had such things.)

So I ask you...
is this just the result of hijinks among the wild things of the Appalachian foothills, or
is there something more sinister at work here...

like revenge?

Funny Squirrels - Funny Squirrel Picture 85 (

Mr. B better watch his back...

Friday, April 27, 2012

A New Decade...

Twenty years ago a tiny little girl decided that she was sick and tired of kickin' back in the womb, and
made her world debut three weeks ahead of schedule.

She's been setting her own timeline ever since...

Happy birthday, sweet child...

your time has only just begun...
savor the journey.

Love you the most,

Mom and Dad

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Great Toadpole Relocation of 2012

It would appear that the resident toads of Bruce's Hermitage were very prolific this spring; finding the calm waters of  Lower Hermitage Pond an ideal nursery for their burgeoning brood. The pond was literally teeming with tiny toadpoles...thousands, actually.

Meanwhile, as Mother Nature provided us (or rather Mr. B) with lots of prime, pond building weather, the inevitable was bound to happen. That is, someday, in the very near future, the pump in Lower Hermitage Pond would have to be turned on, which in turn would flood Upper Hermitage Pond, thereby causing Hermitage Mountain Stream to flow between the two. It is a carefully orchestrated engineering feat, which must happen at just the right time in the pond-building process to ensure the success of entire endeavor.

Two weeks ago Mr. B had a little chat with the toadpoles of Lower Hermitage pond, informing them that they had one week in which to lose their tails, grow their legs, and be on their merry way. He explained that the Pump of Death, designed to move 6,000 gallons of water per minute, essentially mulched anything and everything that got sucked into it. They were unfazed.

Meanwhile, we received several inches of rain one afternoon, and there was a great flood. Many toadpoles were washed to their deaths in the mud flats. And I'm pretty sure that my husband gave the toadpoles another week's reprieve, because he caught me rescuing those that were fortunate enough to have been washed into small pools formed by the flood.

Last weekend was a perfect weekend...sunny, 70's, light breeze. Patience had reached an end, and there was no indication that those little devils were going anywhere anytime soon. So, Mr. Mush came up with a plan that would make everyone happy.

He set up a nursery pond outside of Lower Hermitage pond, we would transfer as many of the little guys as we could catch to their very own private pond , and the pump would get turned on. Everyone wins.

 (All those little black spots are toadpoles)

So Sunday morning, armed with the pond skimming net, I embarked on Operation Toadpole Relocation. Now, you can talk yourself silly trying to 'splain to these rascals that they were going to a much happier place, a place devoid of sucking, mulching pumps, with plenty of moss to eat, plants and rocks to hide amongst, and their very own bridge to freedom once they finally decide to grow those little toady legs. But they saw it more as an impromptu game of hide and seek. Fortunately, there really weren't that many places they could hide.

Finally, the scooping was done, the pump was turned on and we held our breaths as we witnessed the magic. As the water came rushing down the stream, I looked up the hill and got the TD sign from Mr. B. Success!

Interestingly, while watching the water flow into the upper pond, we were awestruck to see several toadpoles had survived the Pump of Death. Then, equally dismayed to watch as they were swept downstream on a rocky bumpy ride back from whence they came. It would also appear that two fish survived the falls. The rest of the toadpoles that didn't get relocated or sucked to their deaths? They are happily feasting on the shallow edge of Lower Hermitage Pond.

Now comes the fun part...putting on the finishing touches!
This could take awhile.

So, I ask you...
how much do you love a man who cares enough about a bunch of baby toads to provide them with their own nursery?
I know how much I do...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"What do you wanna do?"....

"I dunno...what do you wanna do?"
 (Hint: these are vultures)

So, can you name that movie?
I'm betting on only a couple of you...
but I'd love to be proven wrong.
(It's one of my all time favorites.)

As a side note: there were about 30 of these guys perched in this and the adjacent trees...
a face only a mother could love, but still cool to see perching in groups like this.