Friday, June 30, 2023

four steps backward, one step forward

Once again this extreme conservative Court has overturned established law. The elite whites have been trying to get rid of affirmative action since its inception and they finally got their way. Considering race (and in this case race means black or brown as if white is not [when actually there is only one race, the human race, whose skin color includes the whole spectrum]) for admission is bad but considering legacy, how much your parents have donated, and how good you are at elite sports like sculling are fine. That legacy, money, and elite sports are almost completely white is of no consequence. All things should be equal they say but that is not what they really want. If you have a black student, only their grades and community participation should matter and yet when you have a black student excelling in academics and a white student excelling in academics but the white student is a legacy applicant or has parents rich enough to 'buy' a spot or who went to an elite prep school and excelled in an elite sport that isn't offered in your run of the mill education system where football and baseball are king, which student do you think they choose? If all things should be equal then legacy, money, and obscure sports should not be considered at all. But that's not how it works. Without affirmative action we all know that all things being equal the white student is chosen over the black student precisely because of the color of the white student's skin.

Having a diverse student population exposes all students to the wider world, the entire spectrum of the human experience which can only be beneficial to this country and the world at large. The color of your skin does not define what you are capable of achieving given equal opportunities. Unfortunately this country was built with slavery and once abolished white people in power institutionalized discrimination against people of color via segregation and terror initially and once segregation was abolished discrimination still persisted. How many qualified black employees have been passed over for that promotion or even worse, not even considered because of the color of their skin? Even now through voter suppression, gerrymandering in states with large black populations make sure that they have minimal representation. Fortunately the Court did get that one right and these states are going to have to redraw their voting districts to give their people of color better representation.

Two other disastrous decisions were handed down this week concerning discrimination. Student loan forgiveness was declared unconstitutional so those who had to take out loans in order to better themselves will still be burdened with usurious repayment conditions that in many cases prevent the person from ever paying it off so it becomes a lifetime drain on their finances. When you've paid into your debt for 30 years you shouldn't still owe the same amount. The program would not have wiped out entire debts or even apply to all people with student loans. Only those individuals making less than $125,00 a year would qualify and then the maximum relief would have been $10K or $20K for Pell Grant recipients. They would still owe the remainder of their loan. This country bails out banks and the oil industry and the airline industry that fail due to their own poor business practices costing far more than the amount that would be forgiven students and no one squawks. Nearly twice as much that the student loan forgiveness program would cost was forgiven with the PPP loans and many republican congresspeople applied for and got a PPP loan, some upwards of a million dollars and those republicans had no problem thinking their loans should be forgiven. But as we have seen with every no vote by republicans on every bill intended to relieve or benefit the middle and working classes, unless you are rich you'll get no help from them. But if you are a millionaire or billionaire they're right behind you eager to hand out more tax cuts to the 2% increasing the national debt and starving the programs that actually build up the country and its citizens.

The last decision legalizes discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community, an already marginalized group that has seen an increase in violence and restrictive laws in the past few years. In this case a web designer filed suit about a hypothetical request. As a christian she is opposed to same sex marriage and does not want to be compelled to create a website for a same sex couple. She feels that if she creates a website for a same sex couple it is the same as endorsing same sex marriage which is bullshit. As an artist I created work for people I didn't particularly like for a myriad of reasons but at no time did I ever think that my creativity for them meant I approved of their behavior and the way they lived their lives. But apparently, now, in this country if you are a christian (because I sincerely doubt this same tack would be allowed adherents to any of the other religions in this country especially if the people being denied were christian), all you have to do is put the words 'deeply held religious belief' in front of whatever it is you object to to be able to legally discriminate whether it means not doing the job you were hired for like refusing to issue a marriage license to same sex couples or refusing to fill medical prescriptions or refusing to create a product for people you think are icky as if making a cake or a website makes you complicit. If that were the case then every gun manufacturer is complicit in every gun death. When you carve out one exception that allows legal discrimination then other carve outs will follow. Next it will be interracial marriage they will refuse to serve. Then it will be denying women a credit card or bank account. This court of ethically deficient justices, justices who we have learned have taken enormous amounts of unreported gifts and vacations, travel and accomodations from people who have cases before the court and did not recuse themselves, has already allowed medical discrimination towards women, refusing us our bodily autonomy and access to life saving medical procedures based on a particular religious belief that the majority of Americans do not agree with.

This court is taking us backwards, imposing the far right conservative drive to undo all the progress we have made to bring equal rights to all Americans. They complain about liberal judges legislating from the bench when that is exactly what is happening here because they can't get their unpopular policies through Congress.

And while I'm up here let me just point out those hypocritical Republican politicians who voted against the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and are now taking credit for the money flowing in to fund projects in their states.

Edit: This case the SC issued a decision on, the Colorado web designer case allowing discrimination towards the other gendered, was not based on an actual wedding website business or an actual request from the public but just a hypothetical 'what if'. Think about that. It should never have made it to the Supreme Court. Lower courts had dismissed it.


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

have I mentioned how hot it is

I got up Monday morning, replenished the dry food for the dog and cat, grabbed up my pruners and went out and cut back all the purple coneflowers in the yard. They had all gone to seed and were brown or dead. Took me not quite an hour as they have colonized just about everywhere in this yard. I don't know if I would call them invasive but they do spread easily just like the orange cosmos. This was between 7:30 and 8:30 and when I came in I was dripping with sweat.

Tuesday morning, same thing only this time I set up the sprinkler and then spent a half hour or more clearing out all the dewberry vines that were taking over a section of the front flower bed that I didn't know about until I cut back the purple coneflowers and, once again, by the time I finished sweat was dripping off me. After breakfast I went out and picked up all the fallen branches while Marc mowed but earlier when I first went out there were two whistling ducks up in one of the pecan trees which I didn't notice until I heard their whistling chirpy vocalizations.

I ran out of bird seed a month ago maybe, maybe longer. I don't seem able to keep track of time these days. Anyway, I didn't run out and get more because...summer and also because...grackles. Those three little bastards just would not move on and they would get on the bird feeder and just start throwing seed out left and right looking for I don't know what. Last week I went to Tractor Supply looking for a rain gauge but I didn't like the three options they had so I got bird seed instead and so far, no grackles but you know what else I've noticed over the last few weeks? No squirrels. I have not seen a single squirrel for weeks, a month, maybe even longer. My neighbor says he hasn't seen any either. Where are the squirrels?

Well, damn, looked up a couple of hours later and there was a fucking grackle and it brought a buddy. They've both been spending a lot of time in the bird bath.

Have I mentioned how hot it is here? It's only (ha) supposed to get up to 97˚ here today but the real feel is 115˚ and there's no relief in sight. I went outside first thing this morning, which is the only time to be trying to do anything outside, and while sweat did not drip off me as I was just standing in the shade hand watering parts of the yard while the sprinkler worked elsewhere and the day's hot south wind had not started to blow yet but even so it was hot enough to be standing there thinking how fucking hot it was so early in the day. Later around 5:30 I went out on the deck and sat. Lasted about 5 minutes, like sitting in a dry sauna.

Some things don't mind. The rangoon creeper has started blooming, 

the mexican bird of paradise is sending up more bloom stalks, the light pink plumerias are in full bloom, 

zinnias still looking good. Of course I water all that stuff every day. The orange cosmos, after an unusual flush of spring blooms are growing taller. The begonia has been blooming for weeks.

Very pink around here.

The coral butterfly ginger is sending up it's bloom cones but the white is suffering. It does not like the hot sun and it doesn't matter how much I water it (though I did erect the shade cloth in front of it so we'll see how it fares).

I'm back to staying off my leg today and icing it, even took some ibuprofen earlier and it's currently wrapped in a compression bandage. Woke up this morning after a week of no pain, though still slightly swollen, and normal activity as long as I didn't kneel directly on the knee, to more swelling and more pain than any time previous except for the initial impact. So definitely developed some bursitis (I looked it up). Don't know what I did to aggravate it but it didn't bother me at all yesterday.

All right, this is already too long. If I could just remember to post every other day like I intend.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

odds, ends, and a thug tug

Let me start out by saying if you don't follow Jeff Tiedrich on Post or Twitter (if you are still on Twitter) or his webpage, you are missing out on one astute clever dude. He makes me laugh all the time with his reports and opinions on the political scene. Here's a link to his post today, Andy Warhol's Garbage

I did my home yoga routine this morning for the first time since I injured my knee two weeks ago and boy could I tell even though I went to all three classes last week. There were only two asanas that I felt any kind of twinge in my right knee and one that I thought I wouldn't be able to do I did with no complaint. I can sit in verasana (Japanese style with my legs folded under me) but I still can't kneel directly on the knee.

The sun decided to celebrate Pride this morning (well, every morning really).

I spent yesterday putting up all the tomatoes taking up space in the fridge. I divided them up and made a smaller batch of tomato sauce and the others I skinned and cut up and stewed and it all went in vacuum sealed bags in the freezer. Before I sealed up the stewed tomatoes I drained a lot of the liquid off as they were too watery and froze that in an ice cube tray to add into soups and stews and anything else that needs a little liquid. 

I've been seeing butterflies...frittilaries, swallowtails, crescents, a satyr comma, sulfurs, skippers mostly on the zinnias though I don't know what this one is. It looks like a long tail except no long tail

It's the time of year for baby anoles to start hatching. While I was deadheading the zinnias this morning I saw this tiny one. Can't have been out of its egg for very long.

The last time I belonged to the garden club here was pre-covid so probably 2019. I'm no longer a member because I started volunteering at SHARE and the meeting falls on the same day I volunteer (there's other reasons too). Anyway, members would bring plants to share and one meeting there was a box of miscellaneous bulbs. I took about half a dozen and put them in pots. Eventually some of them bloomed and I had a jonquil and a yellow surprise lily but the bulb I knew was a crinum did not. The first arctic vortex killed off the smaller bulbs and I planted the crinum in the ground. It has grown and multiplied but not bloomed until now. The biggest bulb is sending up a bloom stalk and the flowers peeking out are pink. That makes me happy since that same arctic vortex killed off my pink ones that were in a pot. I was afraid it was going to be red (which I have and love) or white spider lily (which I also have and love).

The Mexican bird of paradise likes this heat and has started blooming.


Interesting little thug tug of war went on in Russia yesterday. Prigozhin resisted Putin demands that the Wagner Group sign a loyalty pledge to Russia Putin and join the Russian forces. Prigozhin says bite me. Putin says do it or else. Pregozhin says, OK, pay me. Putin's forces fire on Prigozhin's forces. Prigozhin takes Rostov to cheers and says, I'll see you in Moscow. Almost there and Prigozhin calls off the march to Moscow on the pretense of not wanting to spill Russian blood after coming to an agreement with Belarus' president Lukashinko. Prigoshin gets to scurry off to Belarus, Putin 'promises' amnesty for him and the soldiers who took part in the mutiny and the Wagner group fighters will sign a contract with Russia's Minister of Defense bringing them under Putin's control. I have some advice for Prigozhin...stay on the ground floor at all times and get a food taster.

Friday, June 23, 2023

weird thing, tomatoes, and the continuing retaliatory clown show in the House

Here's a weird thing that happened. Tuesday night 12:30 AM I was a sleep, not dreaming, when I heard my sister softly call my name in my ear with a slightly raised tone at the end (like an inquiry as in are you there or can you hear me). What, I replied., she said. Woke me straight the fuck up. What the hell was that! I sent her a text, are you OK? No reply so I got up and went to the front of the house and watched her house for a few minutes. All was dark and quiet. I went back to bed.

I went to all three yoga classes this week very carefully staying off my knee and resisting bending it much past about 90˚. It is still a little swollen and the leg still discolored but it is improving daily. Still no results from the x-rays. Edit:  "No fracture or dislocation is seen. No radiographically apparent degenerative change is seen. There is soft tissue swelling anterior and inferior to the patella, possibly indicating bursitis. IMPRESSION: No acute abnormality". Bursitis? I whacked the hell out of it.

I'm about ready to pull up the tomato plants though there are still some small green ones which I'm not sure I feel like waiting on them. All the ones on the Big Boy plant are getting blossom end rot which is supposed to be caused by over watering which I definitely am not doing and none of the other plants are exhibiting that. I have two bags of tomatoes in the fridge that I am going to process today, maybe more tomato sauce or peel them, chop them, stew them, and put them up in the freezer. Maybe a little of both.

The republicans in the House are showing themselves to be the petty vindictive wackos they are. Since their bogus investigations are flopping wildly they decided to censure Adam Schiff for his role in the first impeachment of Trump basically saying that it was a political weaponization against a man who had done nothing wrong. Schiff's remarks were golden, “you honor me with your enmity...that I have been effective in the defense of our democracy” and when democrats applauded his remarks republicans screeched about a lack of decorum. I read elsewhere, and I don't know how true it is, that this censure was illegal because the actions did not happen in this current Congress but when has illegal ever stopped republicans. Meanwhile Marjorie Taylor Greene calls Lauren Boebert “a little bitch” to her face on the floor of the House over their ridiculous competing articles of impeachment of President Biden based on their own lies. More petty retaliatory bullshit and that's all they've got. In the two years the Democrats held the House they passed major legislation after major legislation that is benefitting the American people and the country. In the months the Republicans have held the House they have conducted bogus retaliatory investigation after bogus retaliatory investigation that, in the end, only showed them to be exactly what they were. Seemingly, House Republicans only purpose is to support Trump and deep six any and all evidence against him and to punish his detractors.

Speaking of 'deep six', I admit I have no sympathy for rich billionaires who engage in a risky adventure and end up dying. They climbed into a tin can that was controlled by a game console that had not undergone any kind of rigorous standards for deep dive vessels because who needs intrusive regulations that might slow down their ability to rake in millions from rich tourists, a machine that had already had safety concerns and into which they were bolted with no way to exit from the inside. One man that was supposed to be on it this trip was smart enough to change his mind after he did some research. I am glad though that their deaths were instantaneous and within the first couple of hours. I can't think of anything worse than basically being buried alive, whether in a small box or a small can.

The whole world was focused on the fate of five billionaires for days while hundreds of refugees drowning in the Mediterranean were barely a blip on the news cycle because, hey, they were poor and desperate. Nobody wants to hear about that.

Just so I end on a more pleasant note, on my desk is a small cardboard tray that came from a nursery or the feed store that held a six pack or two of bedding plants and I use it to keep scraps of paper for notes or info I want to keep, appointment cards from the various medical professionals, other odds and ends and I looked up to see Cat trying to sit in this little cardboard container.

So I went and found her a proper box and set it on the big work table next to me. She investigated it immediately and then proceeded to settle in. It's her favorite place. She spends the major part of her day sleeping in that box.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

the knee (still), the heat (still), the pests (still)

the tall pink phlox that Ms Moon sent me

I typed up a description of my fall and the injury I was experiencing, the lack of pain and weakness but tenderness, a lump, and the weird bruising and how I had been treating it and sent it off to my PC doctor with pictures of my leg and knee through the online patient portal site about 12:30 Monday and three hours later I got a phone call from the office that my regular doctor was completely booked but an associate in the office could see me Tuesday at 11 and she recommended I come in. So in I went. The doctor felt around my left knee, then my right injured knee, then the left again, then the right. Told me to stay off it and ice it and take tylenol for pain (basically what I've been doing) and recommended an x-ray just to be on the safe side. Asked her how long I should ice it, two weeks from the date of the injury which is about 3 or 4 more days. Then I walked over to the other building and got my knee x-rayed. Should get the results in a day or two.

The twins returned from their birthday trip to Costa Rica on Sunday. They had a fabulous time of course. They were still here yesterday and Jade was remote working and needed to deal with getting her old car fixed so Autumn came over and we spent the day together. She went to yoga with me Monday night (I was very conservative and careful not to put any pressure on my knee but I really needed to stretch). The twins have been doing yoga since their teens and Autumn was so pretty doing the asanas being lithe and young as she is, really beautiful form.

Once again I'm whining about the heat but it really is horrible and everything outside is suffering. It's even worse in Mexico where it's even hotter than here and people are dying. ERCOT, responsible for our power grid, was issuing statements that the grid is holding and there's no danger of blackouts and in the next breath asking people to turn up their thermostats and don't use any appliances between 4 and 8 PM. I went out around 8 this morning to water some things by hand, make sure the three birdbaths have adequate water, and set up the sprinkler elsewhere and before I came in sweat was literally dripping off me. Today is the summer equinox and now the days will start to get shorter and it would be nice if that meant the days would also start to get cooler but no, no, none of that. It only gets hotter from here even without this heatwave.

I think I've finally found and sealed all the current cracks where the ants were getting in. So far so good but I'd seen evidence of another pest in a couple of my kitchen drawers, mouse poop, and meant to set up a trap before I went to bed last night and forgot. This morning I found that Cat had taken care of it for me, dead mouse next to my desk chair. Good Cat!

The white bridal bouquet plumeria is sending up bloom stalks but the light pink and dark pink plumerias are already blooming.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

the knee, the ants, and the soul crushing heat

Knee report: still a little swollen, still yellowish green from knee to ankle, still tender to the touch, still have a lump where there shouldn't be one, still does not pain me to walk or bend though it burns a little below the kneecap in the mornings. So later I will go to the online patient portal and send a message to my PC doc explaining with pictures and asking if I need an x-ray.

It has been so hot this past week, mid to high 90˚s with a hot dry wind from the south and getting worse. The next seven days 98˚ – 103˚, mid August temps and it's still just June. Rain is predicted for those same seven days so fingers crossed we'll actually get some because I've been spending my days moving the sprinkler around and it's nearly impossible to keep the things in pots from going into heavy droop every day.

So, with the knee and the heat we've been watching more TV in the afternoons. Currently we're streaming the Last Man On Earth on Hulu, a post-apocalyptic comedy about a virus that killed off the entire human population except him and he drives around the US with a loud speaker putting up signs that say 'alive in Tucson'. Two years later a woman shows up, a week later so does another one. We're only 4 episodes into the first season and there are four seasons. The other show we're watching is The Flight Attendant on Max, a murder thriller about an alcoholic flight attendant who wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, next to a dead man and has no idea what happened. We're 3 episodes into the first of 2 seasons.

The double orange daylilies are done, well, all but a few of the daylilies are done, the elephant garlic allium has gone to seed so I cut them down, the clasping leaved coneflower had also gone to seed so I pulled it out. The zinnias are still blooming. I've been collecting the gone by flowers for next years seeds and omg, I've already got far more than I collected all of last summer.

Here it is the middle of June and I have not so much as gone over to the studio and tidied up after completing and shipping out the last piece I have made of pate de verre cast glass last September and I currently have no desire to go over there and do that or think about new work. Part of that is because I still don't have water over there from last winter's deep freeze that cracked the outside pipe (even though it was wrapped) that brings water into the shop. My first attempt to seal it with FlexSeal paste didn't do the job. I had thought I would apply more but haven't and right now it's heat stroke hot out there (real feel 107˚), hot enough that I will let it be instead of asking Rocky to attend to it. And without water over there there isn't much I can do. I could do some model making but no functioning toilet because no water so I'd either have to pee behind the shop (which I have done many times), run to my sister's house or run home. So once again I wonder if I am completely done with making sculpture out of glass. It doesn't help that my cold working equipment is old and failing and expensive to replace.

Here's the other thing I've been doing...trying to find and seal up where the ants are getting in. Sealed up the pantry and three days later ants were in the dry dog food bowl. Thought they were coming in from under the metal threshold in the doorway between the kitchen and dining area so I pried that up, caulked every crack that even maybe looked like ants could somehow get in from, nailed the threshold strip back down and was good...for two days. This morning they were not only back in the dog food but back in the kitchen cabinet where we keep the oils, vinegars, spices, and baking stuff (I've sealed cracks in there about three other times). So I think I've identified where they are getting into the cabinet this time, way back in the far very hard to reach corner. I can only surmise that ants are teeming inside the walls of this house.

So, yeah, I'm going to caulk the cabinet and then settle down for more streaming.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

I can only sit for so long

I've spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday on the recliner icing my knee and I am BORED. I go out in the mornings and evenings to check the tomatoes and water and the rest of the time I'm playing games on my phone or reading a book I'm just not interested in. I've already notified Jan that I probably won't be at SHARE tomorrow either. She says stay home and stay off it.

I don't know if you can tell from this picture how sickly yellow my knee and leg has bruised and the purple is behind my knee. Weird, right? The color starts above my knee and goes about two thirds of the way to my ankle. Still swollen but not as much and there's a lump between my knee cap and the front of the tibia, an area full of ligaments and meniscus. I spent part of the day Wednesday reading about knee and ligament and meniscus injuries and treatment. I didn't hear a pop, indicative of a torn ligament, no weakness in the knee, no wobbliness in the knee, no pain when I walk or bend it though I haven't tried bending it past about 90 degrees. Past that it feels like it's being stretched. So I don't have a clue what the exact injury is, a sprain maybe. 

I imagine the conversation at my next annual since they have started asking me if I've fallen lately. What do you mean by 'fall'? Do you mean fall if I tripped over something anyone no matter their age would have fallen after tripping over it? Or getting dizzy and falling or just plain losing my balance while puttering around the house or yard or because a knee or ankle gave way unexpectedly? Because I don't think falling after tripping over a mostly hidden pipe in the grass really counts.

No one could have caught themselves and I had landed on my knee before I even realized I was falling though I was quick enough to save my face.

Wednesday night I woke up at some point and realized I was laying in the fetal position with my knee fully bent and no pain. Well, that's good thinks I. So I decided to go to SHARE after all and as soon as I walked in everyone was all, what are you doing here, you're supposed to be home taking care of your knee to which I replied that after three days of sitting on my ass I was bored stupid. Fortunately it wasn't very busy, about half of what we did last week and one of the other volunteers assigned herself to me to help and I would sit in between food orders. So all is well, still a little swollen and tender to the touch though.

As mentioned we are having a heat wave with highs in the high 90s and the 'feels like' in triple digits. That in itself is bad enough but it has been so far accompanied with a dry south wind. I'll water something and the next day it's droopy. These crinum blooms usually last a couple of days but this wind is drying them out overnight.

Welcome to global warming.


Tuesday, June 13, 2023

fall down, go boom

I didn't go to yoga last night because I was nursing a sore and swollen knee. Saturday, walking the dog who insisted on going before the sun was low enough to cast shadows on the street from the trees, I was walking in the grass on the easement or in the ditch or even on the yard side of the ditch to keep in shade as much as I could and about two thirds of the way down the street I tripped on a pipe sticking up from the ground about 3” and landed hard on my right knee and then my forearms. Boom! Like a tree being felled. Stunned, I stood up, made a quick assessment, didn't feel like anything was seriously damaged, walked across the street to my neighbor's porch and sat chatting with him until it stopped hurting enough to walk home. Sunday it was sore and tender, a little swollen, but no sharp pains, could walk fine and so I was on my feet all day watering different parts of the yard and making the tomato sauce but by the end of the day it was achy, took some ibuprofen and went to bed. Monday morning it was very swollen, even my calf, so I spent the day on the recliner icing my knee. This morning, the swelling was much diminished and the bruise was starting to come up surprisingly not on my knee but on the front of my leg below my knee which is still tender to the touch and the lump below my kneecap is becoming apparent and burns a little bit. Today will also be spent with my leg up and ice on my knee. I'm just glad I was in the grass unlike my neighbor who tripped over her dog and did a faceplant on the gravelly road surface.

Speaking of making tomato sauce, this is how the tomatoes looked after slow roasting at 250˚ for 3 1/2 hours

and after running them through the blender

and after putting in jars for the freezer.

We are currently having a heat wave with temps in the high 90s that is predicted to last for the next 10 days at least with probably no rain. The weather guy on the TV last night was saying he knows we all want to know how long this heat wave will last and I'm thinking...dumb question, the answer is the rest of our fucking lives.

The only other thing of note is I've been watching the bird feeder in the mornings while I sit and read or write and the last two days there has been a male house finch with two of his juveniles hanging out on the bird feeder. Dad is eating while the two youngsters chirp their 'feed me' chirp and shiver their feathers while dad ignores them. Hey, I brought you right to the food source, feed yourself!

Oh, and the crinums have finally sent up their bloom stalks.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

busy days, EarthLab, spending spree

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were very busy days so I've been missing hereabouts. Thursday, of course, is my volunteer day at SHARE and man were we busy. It was a food delivery day from the food bank in Victoria, we were down several volunteers back in the food area, we had 33 requests for food with 8 or 9 of them being the largest families when usually it's one or two or none, and an equal amount of the next largest families. We gave away a lot of food. Including two huge cartons of watermelons.

Friday I wrote my last post and then was greeted with ants in the pantry for the second time in several days. The pantry is an add on, built against the wall in the kitchen.

The trim on the outside is tight so I have no idea how the ants were getting in there but inside there was about a 1/8 to 1/4 inch gap between the side boards and the wall with other smaller gaps wherever two pieces of wood met. First time I threw out all the food they had infiltrated, crackers mostly, and sprayed orange oil to kill the little bastards but two days later they were back, infiltrated more crackers. So I emptied the entire pantry, cleaned it thoroughly and then set about to caulk up every damn gap and crack in it floor to ceiling.

before and after

Yesterday was the Farmer's Market and this month's EarthLab at Hesed House. I thought the program on hibiscus started at 10 AM as all but one of them has and so I pulled into the nearly empty parking lot and my heart just sank. No one is coming. I was walking up just as Stephanie came out to let me know the program didn't start til 11. So I went to the market to get my honey, tamales for Marc, and another of the blue daze plants while I waited. As it turned out, it was one of the most attended programs with an enthusiastic audience with lots of questions and lasted nearly two hours as opposed to the one hour they usually last. And look what they brought with them!

They let us take home the ones we wanted if we wanted to. Other people selected some first but these are the ones I brought home.

In other news, we've been spending money like drunken sailors. Marc bought a new riding lawn mower yay!

and I bought an air purifier for my bedroom like the one in Marc's, two extra filters, a six pack of rice milk, and three jugs of Palmolive dishwasher soap through Amazon. The last two items I have not been able to get at either of the two stores that sell groceries here for months.

Today, I finally accumulated enough tomatoes for making tomato sauce so after breakfast I did all the prep and they are now in the oven slow roasting. All four of my plants are represented...beefsteak, old german, big boy, and black krim.

Still have some for eating and more coming along on the plants.

Friday, June 9, 2023

fuck around and find out

Jack Smith was not fucking around

OMG! They did it! The grand jury indicted Trump on 7 counts including espionage and obstruction of justice and, as Jeff Tiedrich so succinctly puts it, the entire wingnut outrage-industrial complex, as if on cue, melted straight the fuck down”. All the hardcore Trump supporters...Hawley, Boebert, McCarthy, Cruz, Stefanick, etc...are all accusing Biden of weaponizing the justice department against his “enemy” Trump because the walls are closing in on Biden's own criminality. It's a travesty of justice they scream while beating their chests. Except there isn't any Biden criminality no matter how much they scream about it and try to make it real, all they have are meritless accusations and projections.

Biden, who has prudently stayed out of the whole thing, refusing any comment from the White House on any of the investigations and indictments, and the DOJ did not indict Trump. A grand jury of ordinary Americans who heard all the testimony, saw all the evidence, decided that Trump did indeed break the law and issued the indictment. But his cult, and those who are depending on Trump getting elected again to save their own hides and implement their white nationalist agenda like those mentioned above, are having none of it accusing this administration of doing exactly what Trump has said he will do once he is back in office and what the House republicans are currently doing with their bogus investigations into Biden and his family and the FBI and the DOJ for actually doing their jobs, jobs which Trump prevented them from doing when he was in office. To that end, Trump is currently trying to find out the names of the FBI agents who conducted the search at Mar A Lago so that he can target them for retaliation if he gets reelected.

Hours after the indictment, two of Trump's lawyers resigned so he is now, once again, looking for lawyers in Florida who are willing to throw their careers away to ridicule and probably without being paid.

Predictions are, of course, that this indictment will just boost his ratings like the NY indictment and the E. Jean Carroll trial initially did, and Trump and Stefanick immediately started to fundraise on it, but hold onto your hats folks because Jack Smith is not through with Trump. He's still investigating J6 and Fani Willis is still working on an indictment for his attempt to change the votes in Georgia in the 2020 election. Meanwhile most of the republicans in office haven't had much to say, neither condemning nor supporting the indictment, their silence mostly an attempt to keep their distance while not alienating Trump voters.

The wheels of justice turn slow but maybe they are finally beginning to grind.


Whoa! Smith just unsealed the indictment, encouraging everyone to read it for themselves, and it's not 7 counts but 37, these being:

31 — Willful Retention of National Defense Information

1 — Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice

1 — Withholding a Document or Record

1 — Corruptly Concealing a Document or Record

1 — Concealing a Document in a Federal Investigation

1 — Scheme to Conceal

2 — False Statements and Representations

They also indicted Walt Nauta, Trump's personal assistant, seen on video moving the boxes of documents, as his co-conspirator.

Well, as they say, innocent until proven guilty, but the 49 page indictment is pretty damning detailing what the documents contained, their importance to our national security and that of our allies, and the lengths to which he went to conceal them from the authorities while showing them off to whoever he wanted to impress.


More good news, the House Ethics Committee has reopened the investigation into Matt Gaetz concerning the allegations that he had sexual relations with a minor and paid her to travel with him, also investigating possible illicit drug use as well as violations of House rules.


Tuesday, June 6, 2023

a (not so) hidden danger, a task completed, and being lazy

Cat is hiding in the yellow butterfly ginger next to the bird feeder this morning while the chickadees, a wren, and a cardinal issue their warning calls. 

I had just filled the bird feeder and set out the cracked corn and peanuts. She's been going out with the dog and me first thing in the morning, the dog to do her rounds and take care of business, me checking for stink bugs on the tomatoes, and Cat poking around the flowers and when Minnie and I head back into the house she follows and comes in with us. This morning though it's foggy and wet and I did not go out with the dog and so Cat is hanging out under the ginger having followed me out when I was setting out the bird and squirrel food. The birds have given up. They'll come back after Cat comes in.

Another storm came through yesterday afternoon though we barely got any rain out of it while it poured on the other side of town at my daughter's house. I checked with Abby and then checked the radar and there was a big storm over El Campo so I didn't go to yoga last night. Which is well because grandgirls Jade and Robin came over and y'all will be glad to know that the roof is finally clear of leaves, downed branches, and overhanging limbs from the trees and I did not have to get up there and do it. Jade said she would and so she did. 

She not only shoved all the debris off, she swept it clean and pruned off all the branches from the crepe myrtle, magnolia, 

and chinese fringe flower that were brushing the roof or nearly.

Jade was here and Autumn was in route because they are leaving today for a week or so in Costa Rica to celebrate their birthday on Thursday when they turn 25! Some of you have been reading about these girls from the Granny Camp days and now they are going to be 25.

All these storms blowing through have made our mornings nice and cool though the days are humid and warm up fast. Apparently we're going to have a wet summer this year, far different from the long hot dry one last year when it was already getting into the 90s in February. I'm starting to see little baby pecans falling off the trees which is good I guess, just as long as plenty stick and grow, as my neighbor Gary says if they all developed they would be too heavy and break branches.

We've been watching The White Lotus on HBOMax (which is now just called Max) and watched the last episode of season two last night. The White Lotus is a hotel and the season follows certain of the guests and hotel employees during their week's stay. It's really good but if nudity, including full frontal male nudity, sex, gay sex, offends you then you might not watch it. There's a lot of sex and nudity and early in the first episode of the first season is a close up of a guy holding his penis up jostling his balls because he thinks he has cancer and wants his wife to tell him if they're swollen. The first season is set in Maui, second season (different hotel, same name) is set in Sicily. I know I've emphasized the nudity and sex but it's not really about that. It's mainly about the people with really good character development, their relationships, familial and otherwise, contentious and otherwise, power struggles among themselves and between the haves and the have nots. One character carries over into the second season but both seasons have surprising endings. It's been renewed for a third season which won't be out until the end of the year at the earliest. There's a couple of trailers on youtube if you want to check it out.

And that's about all I know. I went to the Farmer's Market on Saturday and bought some okra, a cantaloupe, a flowering plant with sky blue flowers, 

and a small bag of cookies. Sunday I did some housekeeping, vacuuming the house and cleaning the little bathroom. If I did anything yesterday, I don't remember. I'm in limbo right now, needing to shift my mental energy from outside work to inside work and by that I don't mean housework but some sort of creative work.


Friday, June 2, 2023

dead stuff, low on food stuff, blooming stuff, and other stuff

The mosquitoes aren't nearly as bad as they've been so I guess my mosquito suppression tactics coupled with the county spraying a couple of times in the evening have had an effect. Or it could be that it's just because it hasn't rained in a couple of weeks. Whatever the reason, it was mostly cloudy Wednesday morning, humidity at 54%, which may seem high to some of you but is somewhat tolerable down here, until it gets hotter anyway, so I got out the chainsaw to take down those two dead shrubs which I did.

I'm not really sure what this shrub was before it started dying but this is about a third of how big it was before the first arctic blast when it lost a third, and another third after the second arctic blast and now this last third.

The other dead shrub was a very old white with red throat althea that would bloom profusely which I suppose was nearing the end of it's lifetime anyway and the deep freezes killed it all the way off. 

Then thought as long as I had the chainsaw out I cut a big limb off one of the yew trees and then turned my attention to the four photinias across the front of the house and cut some branches and limbs off those that had to be ducked under or were crowding other stuff. Ordinarily I would cut it all up into smaller sections and pile them up on the side of the street and then bring the truck around and load it all up but the battery in the truck is currently dead so I had to carry it all to the truck in the driveway. About two hours of activity and sweaty when I came in. Late afternoon it was really hot out there with our summer sky full of puffy clouds.


We are running low on food at SHARE. The food pantry from which we order once a month in Victoria is having a hard time getting provisions and so it trickles down to us, the HEB and Walmart from which we buy food also hasn't been able to completely fill our orders, and the day old stuff from Walmart has shrunk from about 300 pounds a week to less than 100 the last couple of weeks. I did a complete inventory yesterday of all the food in my section and we are perilously low of some and completely out of other things and running out of meat and other shelf staple items in the other section. If it wasn't for the dollar store donating their 'sell by' milk and lunch meat every week it would be even worse. People are not getting as much as we've been able to give in the past.


On to happier things. All the pink plumerias are sending up bloom stalks.

The zinnias, black eyed susans, and the double or triple orange daylilies are the stars of the yard these days as it gets hotter and hotter out there.

And my pecan trees have baby pecans! You might recall I haven't gotten any for the last three years, not even baby ones so I hope plenty of them stick.

A few other random pics.

My little Minnie dog cleverly disguised as the evil Emperor Palpatine.