TIMING OUT TO ELSEWHEN

Now that home time machines are readily available, we can all start our days with a trip to another time and place, known to many of us as ELSEWHEN. It’s better than a second cup of coffee! Today started out a day like any other. Coffee. Make sure dogs get biscuits. Wash a few dishes in the sink. Just as I’m finishing up, my new machine blinks on and a vortex (also know as a wormhole) appears in the window. Time to travel!

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Setting up the machine is simple because it knows. All I have to do is focus on when, where and how long I want to be elsewhen and the machine does the rest. Radio Shack has come a long way. On the down side, if it glitches, I won’t be able to cash in on my warranty. It gives me pause.

Be aware: it’s dangerous traveling in time with a chemically muddled brain. You can wind up some weird places that are definitely not for tourists.

For those of us who are not particularly agile, you needn’t jump or climb into a vortex. Just stand close to it, then reach out mentally. Cool, huh?

If you are time traveling for the first time, here’s are some tips:

  • Don’t drink, smoke dope (even if you have a prescription!), or take any mind-altering substance before you travel elsewhen.
  • Skip the 14th century. The plague is depressing and you need vaccinations.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. A piece of hand luggage in a natural fiber (like canvas) is a sound investment.
  • Take a camera, extra memory chips and backup batteries.
  • Leave the cell phone home. A ringing cell can have unpleasant consequences.
  • Tell your family and/or friends where (and when) you are going to be away and when you will be back. If you need to be retrieved, it’s important to have backup.
  • Take a friend with you if your machine supports multiple travelers.
  •  Make sure to land on the ground in an open area. Google Earth and history books can be helpful in giving you good visualization capabilities. You don’t want to start your excursion with a broken hip or ankle.
  • Make your first trips close to now until you feel comfortable with the technology.
  • DON’T TRY TO FIX THE PAST. Very bad idea. Really terrible idea.
  • The future is scary. I avoid it and you should too. Whatever happened in the past, stays in the past (unless something went terribly awry). This is not true of the future.

Take lots of notes, pictures and have a blast. Talk to people Don’t worry about language barriers. The machine won’t send you anywhere without giving you appropriate language skills. You won’t remember them when you get home, but they will always be there when you need them.

Time machines don’t last forever, even the most expensive ones. They all have much the same life span as a cell phone … a year or two, max. Make the most of it while you can. Enjoy your travels and welcome to TIMING OUT of life!

It’s the best ride you’ll ever take.


PICK YOUR GADGET

WEEDS, BRAMBLES AND A FEW SURVIVORS

It was beautiful. Magnificent, for a while. My son hauled boulders from walls long-lost in the woods to build the retaining wall.

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This was the garden last year. It was almost as neglected last year as this, but we hadn’t had the awful winter that has caused so much damage.

It took two years to construct the garden and fill it with topsoil and plant it. We had roses, climbers and “fairy roses,” miniature hedge roses. Day lilies and hybrid Chinese lilies. Daffodils and narcissus. Daisies and Astilbe. Columbine, tulips and crocuses.

The climbing roses are gone, as are the hybrid lilies. Only three tulips made it through the winter and four daffodils.

Dead fairy roses - the worst damage of the winter. They will never bloom again.
Dead fairy roses – the worst damage of the winter. They will never bloom again.

I haven’t been able to do anything with it. Garry’s never been a gardener and my son is working so many hours, his remaining time is too fractured to give the garden what it needs — serious attention. And hours of hard work.

So the garden has been on its own. Check out Bette Stevens and her ongoing battle with the weeds and choking veins. Not to mention the thorny things that bite. We decided we should extol the virtues of weed gardens because there’s nothing in this world hardier, more dependable than weeds. Beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder.

I’m lucky some of my weeds also flower. They are in the a “bridge” group called “wildflowers.” Into this category fall this year’s two bumper crops: Solomon’s seal and day lilies. The day lilies won’t bloom for another month, but we have so many of them coming up, when they are ready to bloom it’s going to be impressive. Usually we also have spiderwort, but I don’t see any … or maybe they just aren’t up yet. Time will tell.

This is my independent garden, a garden surviving on its own. Amazingly, the columbine has done pretty well and we have two (count’em) narcissus. And, of course, the eternally hardy hosta. I think nothing can kill hosta.

BYE BYE SUPERWOMAN

Originally published last August, I thought this deserved a rerun. For all the women I know who are discovering they are human after all — this is dedicated to you.


Not long ago, I was Superwoman. I knew because so many people said I was, so it had to be true, right? Then life fell apart. I started to miss those leaps over tall buildings. I barked my shins and fell on my head. Finally what was supposed to be a single bound turned into a crash and burn.

Superwoman

Thus I learned I couldn’t do it all and shouldn’t try. Superwoman wasn’t so super any more.

The thing about having a superwoman image is, it’s flattering. Sweet having folks tell you how much they admire you. Great hearing them say they wish they had your courage. Even if you don’t believe it, it’s nice to hear, isn’t it? The words provide validation. You feel appreciated. Loved, even.

Unfortunately, flattery has strings. Having told you how great you are, your friends feel free to tap into the strength they admire. They know, by some instinct, you will help. It’s a reflex. You see need, you try to help. If you think about it, you almost never say no to anyone. It’s remarkable how popular that makes you.

Since retiring my cape, I’ve learned a few things. Strong people, especially women, attract needy people. It’s as if we have “free help” tattooed on our foreheads. Everyone can see it — except us.

It took me the better part of a lifetime to accept my limits and understand in my heart I don’t have endless reserves. If I fail to pace myself, when those closest to me need me, I have nothing left. It turns out emotional energy is like a bank account. You can’t keep making withdrawals unless you also make deposits.

I can’t fight every battle or support every cause. The first time I said no to someone who asked for help, I felt so guilty I thought I’d drown. Years later, I don’t say no easily or lightly, but I say it. Remarkably, the world keeps turning.

Superwomen are easy to manipulate. Guilt and an over-developed sense of responsibility makes us vulnerable to emotional blackmail. We do the hard things others can and should do for themselves. It’s a trap no less for them than for us. Most people are not too weak to do what they need to do. Strength is not DNA, it’s choice. Most “weak” people are lazy, fearful and don’t want to make hard choices. They don’t look for solutions. They look for help. Big difference.

The Superwoman (along with Batwoman and Superl...

Plenty of people have serious problems including me. I’ve wondered if I have pissed off a malign deity or am working off some terrible Karmic debt. I don’t really know how I’ve gotten through but I’m still here. It wasn’t valor; it was desperation.

People say when things get bad, you find out who your friends are. From the dozens of people I helped over the years, to whom I offered a place to live when they were homeless and much more, when life turned on me, fewer than a handful were anywhere to be found. All the rest went missing.

That was when I put my cape in mothballs. Now I take care of close friends and family. And for the first time, I take care of me.

Thirty-five years ago, my mother asked me a question. She asked: “If you were to list the people in your life that matter, who would be first, second, and third on the list?”

I listed my son, my husband and a close friend.

She said: “You’re wrong. The first name on that list has to be YOU, because if you don’t take care of yourself, no one will. You won’t be able to care for anyone else, either.”

I thought it a strange thing for her to say. Her own life had been taking care of others. She was dying then. I suppose it changed her point of view. She was right, of course. We are responsible for ourselves. Only when we make sure we have what we need can we take care of anyone or anything else.

God — and maybe Superwoman — will have to take care of the rest.

FROM ROCK-BOUND COAST TO DESERT HIGH

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Ground: Rocks, Sand, Dirt, Paths, Walks, Trails


 

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WHEN THE COWS COME HOME

Around the corner, there is a farm. Organic. They sell milk. Unpasteurized and not homogenized. The milk separates, with the cream rising to the top. I bought it for a while, but find I prefer homogenized. The also sell eggs and clover honey. They feed the wild turkeys too, so those ill-tempered birds are always lurking, waiting to attack my car.

on the farm

When the weather is warm, the cows spend their days in the big pasture. When it gets really hot, they will stand in the stream to cool off. They have as good a life as any farm animal could hope for. Even the chickens look happy … and chickens never look happy. They are congenitally discontented.

The farm is located right on the Blackstone River, so it isn’t only great to have the farm around the corner, but it’s lovely. Any time of year.

The pictures were taken by Garry and me. Each is signed appropriately.

When we are shooting at the same time and place — pretty much all the time these days — we may take similar pictures. Except Garry is more agile than me. He can hunker down and get interesting angles.

I can hunker … briefly … until I tip over. It turns out down is easy. It’s getting up that’s a challenge.