mamculuna: (Default)
( Nov. 27th, 2005 10:50 am)
My current reason for little posting of late is the time I'm spending writing, so guess that's good. But I am reading what everyone else is doing, at least, and glad you're mostly all well and entertained. For now, a few updates and then a meme.

Updates: The new cat has acquired a name of sorts--not nearly as elegant as she is. Mop. After rejecting Alice, Sita, Shag, and various other possibilities. She does look like a mop, or maybe a dust bunny. I haven't had a cat like her in quite a while. She totally destroys my old theory of the bitchy calico/tortie and the loud Siamese--she clearly has both, but the dominant strain seems to be the sweet longhair. She has a tiny kitten-like mew, not a Waugh! like Orange or a long whine like Fernie. She's Not Interested in going outside--she can see it all perfectly well from a nice window, thank you. She'd not territorial. BC, our feral but cuddly outside cat, occasionally comes in for a brief turn around the living room or kitchen. Mop barely opens her eyes to see the intruder, and doesn't react at all. BC watches her in terror, oddly, since BC is one tough cookie and has beat up some truly warlike cats in her time, and made both my former cats, Fernie and Orange, dance to her tune. But not Mop. Mop also is a faucet drinker, her only difficult trait, and while she's very sweet is not the big-time purrer that my other cats have been. I think I had a longhaired white cat a while back with this same laidback style. Now we have to find a way to teach her to love travel, and she'll be a very serviceable cat.

Alice the book is also behaving well, or at least appearing on demand. For which I'm thankful. And even more thankful for my Faithful Reader(s?)!

My garden has definitely taken a turn for the better. I (with the help of Elmer who works for pay but clearly feels a lot of pride in our accomplishment) have cleared out lots of blackberries and cherry laurel and general junk, and planted many nice things: pyracantha, Chinese fringe tree, some kind of jasmine ground cover, a couple of oak-leaf hydrangeas and one blue regular one, several Indian hawthornes that hopefully will grow up in front of the somewhat leggy boxwoods, and a lovely pink sasanqua. Also some collards and herbs, and moved some wild roses, iris, and day lilies. And put nice pinestraw beds around it all. Elmer likes nice geometrically straight lines, so I don't have the curves that are so in fashion in landscaping these days, but really that's just the pinestraw--I can make curves later if I crave them. I really think he got a kick out of seeing it all finished, and I was glad. Life is hard for him, but somehow he's still surviving and not in bad trouble--a good achievement for an uneducated black man of our generation. When he comes by again, I'm going to try to get him out of trouble with the food stamp people, and possibly even on disability--he's at least 50 and has had one stroke, he says.

I am reading some books on history--Ireland, Vietnam War, SC--but also Son of a Witch which so far is fun, almost as much as Wicked, of which it's the sequel. Started but didn't love City of Falling Angels although I do love Venice. Have not yet seen the new Harry Potter--maybe tomorrow.

Yoga is coming along. I've done quite a few assisted handstands, and still have hopes of achieving my ambition to do one unassisted by the end of the year. And tiny progress on the wheel (backbend): can now get my head a couple of inches off the floor. Tomorrow I'm totally indulging myself in a private lesson to work on both. More later, on that.

And now I can start thinking about Christmas lights on the small tree out front. So beautiful when done, such a pain in the doing.

ETA: Forgot the Five Simple Pleasures Meme, ganked from [ profile] midnightsjane:Name 5 of life's simple pleasures, then pick 5 people to do the same. Try to be original and creative and not to use things that someone else has already used. Tag 5 people on your list.

1. Chai tea with lots of ginger and pepper and cardamom, and rich whole milk, on a cold afternoon.
2. Waking up on my own with no alarm clock and no rush to get up.
3. A fresh, unstarted NYT crossword puzzle.
4. Hot roasted oysters and a little glass of single-malt Scotch.
5. Reading a short-short story by my nephew, all grown up and writing fantasy

I'm tagging whoever has some pleasures to share.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Oct. 8th, 2005 01:44 pm)
Still living and eating well in California--Thursday night at Gombei in Menlo Park with [ profile] oyceter and [ profile] masqthephlsphr and [ profile] fannishly. It's a very good Japanese restaurant (intended to save some of the excellent unagi to bring home to D (my son's partner and my host here), but sigh, no will power when it come to good food). Many thanks to Masq for excellent driving under trying circumstances, and to all three for a pleasant evening.

Friday, went with D's stepmother to work on restoring the gardens at Alcatraz. She works with historical gardening, so it's a real delight to spend time with her and to learn about the plants and the history of the place. You can see some tiny picture and read just a bit at:

From some angles, Alcatraz looks like a Greek Island, with old white ruins, high cliffs, and the sea straight down. It had no soil originally, and space had to be blasted and soil hauled in by the soldiers who were quartered there (originally to defend against Confederate invaders!) Then inmates later on worked with guards, but also had their own gardens.

Then my younger son and I went to the new Museum of Asian Art in SF. It's such a well-done museum, with such rich detail, that I can never see more than one section at a time--this time it was China, esp. the very old, pre-Buddhist section, and the wonderful jade. But the Chinese Buddhist section is fascinating, too. I'd already done the South Asian part--am saving the Himalayas for a later time, as well as Korea and Japan.

We ate lunch at a wonderful Vietnamese place called Tu Lan on 7th street (I think)--great spicy beef soop and spring rolls, yummy.

Trying to complete the baby sweater and hat by tonight to give to the mom to be before I leave (she's my friend's daughter, the one who got married in Italy last year). Baby may get here first!

T and D's new cats (or kittens, I think) have names: Ronin and Bandito. I will try posting a picture in a bit, if my camera works for once. The plan is to let them explore the whole house this weekend, after a week in the bedroom. The room's so much bigger than the cage they were in at the Humane Society that they seem quite happy, but interested in seeing even more.

I'm loving it here so much, the lovely bright sun (although foggy on Alcatraz!), the good walking and strenuous climb back home, getting my leg muscles back in shape, the fun stores, restaurants, street fairs, and new kittens--and the quiet good times with D while his partner T (my son) is working in LA. PRaise to D! This has been the equivalent of having his mother-in-law visit for two weeks, but he's been the soul of graciousness and good humor, happily including me in things, never showing that he felt cramped by my presence. I was never that great with my mother-in-law, though I loved her dearly. I spent weeks in her house, but always chafed at the differences. Maybe there's less conflict with different genders, or maybe D is just nicer than me! Not hard.

But will be glad to get back to fall in the South too--still not too late for one last swim if the weather's good; the leaves will be changing, and I miss my friends, my own yoga teacher, my Buddhist group, my house, my car, my part-time cat.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Jun. 27th, 2005 03:00 pm)
Sitting here, my back garden actually looks like a garden, for a little while at least. Daylilies and coneflowers, althea and lantana, all the pinks and yellows from big to little, and lots of rich green lawn. The magic moment, all too rare in the south, between drought and deluge.

I came home one day last week, before I went out of town, to find my neighbor mowing my front lawn (it wasn't hideous, just a tiny bit shaggy after a lot of rain). Bill had arranged with him to get his 11 year old son to mow but only when we were both in Chicago for a long time--and now even though I'm at home, here's the Dad the Preacher doing it. Can't exactly pay him $20. I don't feel at all comfortable. I'm sure he feels it as a neighborly gesture but I feel weird about it, partly because I know he's here as a missionary and everything feels just a little like manipulation, partly because it makes me feel like a wizened old lady (heh, heh, my dears, I can still hobble around after the lawn mower myself, even after all these years...) And partly I feel irritated with myself for not just enjoying a nice favor. But there's something just not easy about this. Will have to hire a real lawn service, I guess.

In simpler and happier news, I've just gotten Charles de Lint's new book of old stories, Quicksilver and Shadow. I've read a few of these--it'll be fun to see them all together as he wants them. And tonight I'll see Travelers and Magicians--more on that tomorrow, but here's the trailer:
mamculuna: (Default)
( Jan. 13th, 2005 02:51 pm)
Finally decided to take advantage of the last warm day (cold front coming) to start clearing out the deadwood (sticks, leaves, blossoms, etc.) from the garden. I cut the lantana back and realized it's gotten as big as a small house, and the sweet clematis vine has almost solidified. Last summer I wasn't here, and the drought and overgrowth had almost killed everything except such hardy weeds as these. Sadly, the last two weeks of warmth have fooled some plants--forsythia's buds are beginning to swell. The camellias though are looking good, except one that has that awful mildewy stuff. I'm not up to using poison in my yard just for a few more flowers, so hope it doesn't spread. Will look into organic remedies.

Next task is getting out the blackberry and grapevines, the honeysuckle and oak sapling-ettes. By the time I get that done, I should be able to divide the iris and Mexican petunias, moving some to the front yard, and plant some oak-leave and regular hydrangeas. I'm not sure they'll survive, since I always winding up going to Chicago during the hottest part of the summer, but I'll give them a try.

My ultimate yard may well be just lantana, spiderwort, forsythia, azalea, camellia, Mexican petunia, sweet autumn clematis, and Turk's turban. I also have some extremely hardy swamp sunflowers that grow 8 feet tall, and some nice purple asters that bloom very late. And the Confederate rose may be coming back after all--looked dead last fall, but some of the branches still have green inside. And, oh, yes, dear althea.

So much like the rest of my life. Ignore things, don't nurture them, let trivia crowd out the important things...and then in the darkest days, a warm time when I find there's lots still living to cherish, and under all that's dead the possibility of things growing to blossom.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Oct. 15th, 2004 04:53 pm)
ganked from [ profile] ann1962 and [ profile] oursin

I knew when I planted
how little sun filtered
these close-needled pines
how meager's the sand
how voracious the blight
how melons rot
beans spindle
slug and centipede

It was
my instep though
the shovel scored
my fingers
the damp much shriveled
shedding seeds
in hoe-drawn lines
my neck the sun burned
as I thinned withered losers
staked the strong shoot
my heart
glory of okra bloom surprised
cream trumpet, purple throated
pistil’s staff gold-dusted
my eyes gauged
fat tomato
ripe in thunder
my tongue was anointed
my throat drenched
juice crunch
sparkle pungence
sliced sizzled canned
a steam a jar of summer

and in autumn’s garden
I uprooted
mildewed failures
leaves cores stalks
I hoed to rot
next year’s compost
against sand & shade
beetle & mold

When you see this, post some poetry in your journal. Leave me a note to tell me you did. There can never be too much poetry.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Aug. 22nd, 2004 11:40 am)
Well, I'm back in SC* with my good connection** and hoping to be part of LJ again. I've missed you all! I'm not going to try to go back and catch up--just starting in with today for both reading and writing.

It's daunting. The housesitter left the house clean, more or less, and the front yard mowed, and most plants still alive--but the back yard is a true jungle--three months of rain and sun do wonders for weeds. It may be beyond me--possibly I'll just weed out the flower beds and wait until fall kills the rest of the mess and start over. I have to find a better solution--like not going away for three months at a stretch, for starters.

One of the outside semi-stray cats is here, fine and healthy. Haven't seen the other yet--hope she's ok.

And then my car has an indicator light flashing. So I won't be able to get down to the beach to see if we need new roof shingles until next week. Oh, well, plenty to do here.

Other than all that, welcome home, Mamcu! At least the AC was working***!

*After trying to leave Chicago from the wrong airport--since when does the second part of a round trip leave from another airport?

**After a long session restoring my cable connection that the housesitter messed up

*** So far, anyway


mamculuna: (Default)


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