The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Oh Max Oh Max

The first time we saw Max, he was a gold and white bundle peering fearfully through the openings of the carrier our daughter was holding, an early Christmas present and who turned out to be the best Christmas present we had ever been given.  Of course nothing was easy at first. Max had two years of history we would never know, our daughter having found him at a local animal shelter. Just before coming to us, Max had been neutered, given shots and other indignities, all by strangers. And here we were, more strangers. It took us a full two weeks to decide, Max and us, whether we wanted to live together. But somewhere during that time, we managed to say or do the right things and Max decided we were tolerable, and we began what became a long loving friendship.  Eventually there were three people in Max's home, and all others were shunned, in that if the doorbell rang or he saw a stranger come outside with us, he would hide and he had his sanctuaries planned in the house or in the garden.

Somehow when we know and love these creatures who share our lives, we think they will go on forever. We shared such fun with him. He disdained toys but would find a twig on the patio and lie on his back and toss it from paw to paw. When he wanted our attention, he would sit and look at us intensely and raise and wave his right paw. We learned that when we were giving him food, we could ask, "where's the paw?", and he would raise that right paw. As he got more praise and attention for raising his paw, that paw got higher and higher. Outside, he could show off by turning somersaults on the lawn or running fast across the lawn and turning and running back, or climbing up the redbud tree to survey his domain.

And then, and then, after being in our home and our hearts, one morning he had a seizure.  We took him to the vet immediately, they kept him for a couple of hours of observation, then called us to pick him up, along with a prescription.  The prescription was ready later, but in the meantime, the seizures kept occurring.  That evening the guys had an appointment and I stayed with Max, just holding him.  When he had a seizure, I would put him down, then afterwards pick him up again and put him on my shoulder.  I held him for hours.  When the guys got home, we elected to take him to an all-night vet, and came home and thought and thought.  All the seizures had the effect of changing his eyes somehow, and he was so frightened.  The next morning we called the vet, found he had continued having seizures, and we all three went to the vet, each of us held him, and then he went gently into the long sleep.

That was August of last year, and we are still mourning.  But we know that the way we can most honor Max is by finding another cat who needs a home.  Knowing Max taught us so much about what we need to do to make a kitty welcome.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Today is a new day

This time of year, when we have had enough cloudy, cozy days, especially without any rain to better the gardening situation, the gardener looks for whatever signs may be seen.  Today is the day that the first jonquils bloomed, in one area a Campernelle jonquil, in another area a jonquilla simplex, what we call 'Sweeties'.  And they are so welcome.  We know we are fortunate to have escaped the severe weather problems in so many places, but there is also a type of 'winter of the soul', when so many overwhelming events happen, some to us personally and some to what seems like everywhere.  

Which makes these first jonquils so very special and welcome.  When you stop to think of it, most early spring flowers, especially in the jonquil/daffodil family, are yellow.  Yellow shows up so brightly.  We have pots of yellow pansies by the front door.  

The rest of our back garden is a mess, full of plants that need deadheading, winter weeds that need pulling, dead oak leaves that cover more than is needful.  We will get to all of those things, eventually.  But today, we have jonquils!

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Everyone all over the world knows that we have a new president who, among other targets, has a running battle with just about all the news sources in our society.  This is not the forum to discuss our personal attitudes toward this new president, but it is obvious, from all the ‘tweets’ he posts, that he believes, or at least says he believes, that ALL the news is fake and that ALL the news presenters are ‘enemies of the people.”

Well, the following statement is by Thomas Jefferson, yes, that president, and what he wrote in 1787 is very, very, very true today:

“The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro’ the channel of the public papers, & to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them.”

Thank you, Mr. Jefferson.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


In this part of the world, we are very fortunate to have four seasons.  The interesting thing is when we can experience all four within the same week.  Our weather reports look like a roller-coaster:  one day it is cloudy and chilly, a stiff breeze makes feel even colder and we are all wearing sweaters or coats; the next day the sun is out, the temp will be about 70 degrees, and everything, including us and the plants, is dazed.

Yesterday we raked leaves and wore long-sleeved shirts and started out wearing light jackets too.  Today we raked leaves in short sleeves and my mate needed a sweat band, and we both had on sunglasses and hats against the sun’s rays.

Of course it isn’t spring yet, and we are mindful that there could still be a ‘polar vortex’ from Canada bringing a sleet storm or even late-season snow.  Yet we are going to prune our one rose, Martha Gonzalez, a wonderful species rose with single petals, no fragrance, and the tendency to bloom all the time.  The one peony that I have found that tolerates the heat here, so far, Krinkle White, is showing its emerging buds, once I cut back last year’s dead foliage.  And everywhere, jonquils and daffodils and hyacinths and Spanish bluebells and daylilies are sending up leaves.  One early jonquil, Minor Monarque, is blooming away, as is our white species iris.  An irrepressible trailing white lantana has had the audacity to send up white blooms through the leaves that we left to insulate during the very hard freezes we had this winter.  And did I mention our flowering quince?

Sometimes I ask myself, as every gardener probably does from time to time, why we go to all the bother, the planting, tending, watering, trimming, mulching, protecting.  But I am always answered, as probably every gardener is, when I walk around and see the relentless determination and courage of plant life.  We humans share not only the earth with plant life, but also some of the same tendencies and challenges.

In this country, as well as in the rest of the world, we are being tested by erratic climate changes and those who deny them.  We are also being tested as a nation, and as citizens of the world, by troubling political behaviors.  And just as the gardener must find remedies for problems in the garden, the citizens must find remedies for problems that must be resolved.  With plants, as with each other, kindness and caring and persistence help so very much.

Friday, February 3, 2017


This is a guest post from a friend of mine, Luke Adams, and is so well-written I wanted to share it out to those who might appreciate it as I have:

"I am tired of Trump's followers acting as if my opposition to their leader is simply based on either a hatred of Donald Trump, political sour grapes, or my being upset that "my team lost". It is not about hating a man named Donald Trump. It is not about him being on the opposing political "team". Politics is not a game. Politics is the means by which we determine the course of our nation and of the world. 

My opposition to Donald Trump is based on the fact that on moral, philosophical, and intellectual grounds I oppose practically everything that Donald Trump claims to support and is attempting to enact into law. Although his actions and statements are deplorable to me, I personally view him, much like Nixon, as a tragic figure, one who is consumed by narcissism, fear, bigotry, and a nagging need to be adored and worshiped, and hatred of anyone who does not fulfill that need. He is a man who let his ego drive him to pursue a job that he was not qualified for, and is now troubled by the realization that that decision will probably destroy the reputation of the Trump brand that has always been the most important thing in his life.

I do not want Donald Trump harmed. I simply want him to return to selling Trump steaks, Trump vodka, and gaudy hotel rooms. I want him to go back to his TV show, his fake University, and his get rich quick seminars. I want this carnival barker to go back to his life of trying to separate gullible people from their money. I want Donald Trump as far away from the United States Government as possible unless it is defending himself against representatives of our Government in a court of law.

I am not simply angry that our country has fallen for this grifter. I am also ashamed that the country I love has fallen so far away from its principals that they could allow someone like him to become our President. He has capitalized on the fears, the hatreds, and the economic insecurities of Americans, and like any good con-man, has found a way to benefit from them.

In all of this, there is one good thing that Donald Trump has been able to do. He has brought rational people from all over the political spectrum together in their opposition to this unstable, unqualified reality show star being our President. I truly believe that he will be impeached and that it will be the Republicans who impeach him in an effort to save their party from being associated with him in the history books. Even if honorable Republicans are not able to put their love of country above their love of party, maybe their love of party will push them to finally separate themselves from the malignancy of the Donald Trump presidency. America can only hope."

Thank you, Luke!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

FROM AMERICA, by John Pavlovitz






Sunday, January 15, 2017



I have no credentials.  I'm not known.  I don't trend.  All that I am is a human being on a very small planet with a bunch of other human beings.

So read no further if you wish.
The other day an acquaintance of mine spoke up about how angry she was that our President-Elect wasn't getting the respect he rightfully deserves.  After all, he was to be President in a few short weeks, and whatever people thought of him, he would be speaking for us as a country.  So he was entitled to our respect and admiration.  

So I looked up the definition of the word "respect" to reacquaint myself with the actual meaning, because it seems to me that lately in social media people have been using words without understanding their real meanings, so I wanted to get this one right.

respect - A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements.


Without going further and explaining the definitions of "abilities", "qualities", and "achievements", it has come to my attention that the aforementioned definition, with few exceptions, has never applied to anything that the President-Elect has done.  Remotely.

I can, however, come up with a word that the President-Elect would apply to the American people - disdain.  Disdain for being mentally and/or physically challenged, another race, another gender - you name it.

But what I really think it boils down to is that he has disdain for us simply because we are not him.

For he can do no wrong, never lies, and has absolutely no accountability for his actions.  In his eyes, if we were all him, the world would be a better place.

A world where anyone could say anything, regardless of it making sense or not, or even if it hurt anyone.  And any actions would only be a boon, not a burden.  Because after all, life is all about doing what's best for yourself.  Other people are just collateral.

But the President-Elect lucked out, actually.  No, he wasn't born into a world full of himself, but into a world where some people desperately want to be him.  They want him to succeed, because they believe that his success will be their success.

And that's where the disdain comes in, because to quote Ferris Bueller - "you can't respect someone who kisses your ass."

So the President-Elect will become President in a few short days, after an election that may or may not have been rigged by Russians, may or may not have been influenced by hate groups such as the alt-right, and may or may not have been just decided by a bunch of people who desperately wanted the world to be full of him.

So let's take a moment and take a peek into his head - so to speak - and you might discover his definition of "respect":

Why shouldn't you admire me?

I have an ability.  I have an ability to persuade people who are normally in their right minds to accept things that just aren't true, regardless of the evidence which suggests it.  Who are you gonna believe, them or me?

I have a quality.  You don't get to where I am without having something that appeals to a certain group of people.  And of course, that certain group of people's money.

I have achievements.  I have a lot of achievements.  I have the best achievements.  Just read my Twitter feed. 

So okay.  I'll go along with my acquaintance.  I have decided that, on Inauguration Day, I will respect him just as he has respected me:

1)  Expected me to believe things that aren't true because he doesn't believe I have the capacity to figure things out on my own, like truth.

2)  Promised to benefit the wealthy over me because hey, it's my fault I never made millions, right?

3)  Taken credit for things he either had nothing to do with, or even worse, did.     

So I will respect the President-Elect just as he has respected me, and for that matter, the American people.

Which is to say, not at all.