A formal affair, but not for long.

So, my whole idea with the landscape was to do a formal look of green accented with ONLY WHITE. But somehow color always sneaks its way in either by plants from friends and family or a really great price at some nursery. Early in the Spring, though, the first things to emerge are true to my original theme.


I love how the pie crust edges and appearance of separate petals gives a flowing, moving look.


Petunia alongside the ‘trinity weed’ I accidentally grew in the basement. I purposely planted these white annuals in areas that had a lot of thick greens in order to create visual interest.


Bridal Wreath shrub, closeup. One day I want to make an actual wreath with this plant.


Bloom from Snow On the Mountain.

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W00t

It’s mah birfdae.


This signature cake from Cold Stone Creamery…

If anyone is so bored and/or inclined, I accept congratulations in the form of celebratory comments and overly enthusiastic, cliche gifs made at Blingee. Kittens, tiaras, balloons – this special occasion knows no limits.

Seriously, though, I’m always kind of happy on this day. I think it’s because birthdays were something my family got right. We always celebrated, making the affair so big that you couldn’t help but be proud to be alive. Dysfunctional, maybe. Abuse, allegedly. Loved, ultimately.

The streamers, the banners, the wrapped boxes to the ceiling… I can see them. And if that means I have a proud side then so be it – because I’m not going anywhere unless I parade around, once in a while.

I still feel special on May 26th.

“What the hell are you doing, working on your birthday?” asked Kyle.
“Oh, they needed me. I have the next few days off though.”
“Well that’s good. You better celebrate.”

Just then the boys from the install bay came up to turn in their keys. I noticed them with a bottle of that iced coffee stuff flavored with sugar and chocolate. Unopened.

“Tony, it’s my birthday. Can I have this?”
“Wh-what?”
“It’s really my birthday. I love these. Please? I want it.”
“Ahum…well, okay! Happy birthday!”
To the other boy I said, “Look what Tony gave me for my birthday!”
“Oh! That…was mine. That’s okay though. Happy birthday!”

This pleased Kyle.”Atta girl! You’re on a roll, now.”


…is called Cookie Dough Delirium

Indeed.

Thank You, Disco Ball

There is a disco ball hanging

in the middle of it all

It will distract you into dancing

It will glisten

It will stall

Someone’s telling the newest recruit all about themselves when I overhear one of my pet peeves: repeating personal information like one-liners.

“I played football, but I’m really more like a teddy bear…”

Teddy bear. Dear Christ, I’ve already had to sit through this explanation during a one-on-one. He just killed all sentiment that data had.

I text the girl next to me and we make fun of how narcissistically hot this fire is between the two men.

You and me could write a bad bro-mance.

She texts back, an amazing multi-tasker in the middle of her own group conversation:

Girl u funny. Ba-ba-bad bro-mance, ba-ba-bad bro-mance.

Whenever I flip through her phone there are hordes of photo collections where she’s touching up in front of a bathroom mirror at a club or pursing her lips at a table, always surrounded by a respectively large entourage of other beautiful girls all doing the exact same thing. It makes me wonder how awfully boring this must seem compared to her typical nightlife. I wonder if she thinks my name is Girl, but not really.

I can’t shake the feeling of despair as my mind wanders from big screen to big screen and the disco ball I’ve never really noticed until tonight. If it was my choice, I would definitely be sitting on the upper level at one of those tables that looks out over us. Right there. That’s where I wish I was sitting.

“Girl, I have some dirty things in my purse right now.”

This is an invite for me to pry but I’m lacking some inner sense of excitement. Halfheartedly I snatch her bag and peer inside at the jumbled mess of shit she totes around. I spot the underwear and hold it up high enough that it should be embarrassing to her, but she doesn’t even push my hand back down.

“No, not that!”

I’m future surfing. My mind is fast forwarding through the brains of everyone there, accessing the bullet points and manila folder tabs, evaluating where this is going. I’ve already given her the purse back.

Owns home, zip code scenario, fire pit in the back yard.

I can see a bunch of us prepping drinks in plastic cups, in the kitchen on the way to the bonfire, one of the boys in mid-laughter over some thing or another…

“This!” she just has to explain, tipping her bag so I can see a pink plastic nub tethered to something silver.

As everyone keeps on talking I fall out of conversation until they’re all a murmur around me, a hum that should be comforting but isn’t.

These delicate appetizers, all half-off, now only moderately overpriced, they begin to lose their flavor. My girlfriend wants to know why my little saucer plate has the same handful of chips since the previous hour. I tell her, it just tastes different.

“Why?”

I find a simple answer.

“Maybe cuz it got cold,” I say, and we both look into the artichoke dip. It doesn’t stop her. She plunges in another bit of salty tortilla and shoves it into her mouth.

What goes unsaid is that I’ve helped to start something. Louie is in love with the idea of founding a weekly co-worker get-together because the energy from that makes him feel like a big shot. The only problem with this is that it’s becoming a major turn-off, the bigger it gets. I got on the guest list. Realized a situation. Information is repeating. My work is done.

I suppose it’s for the best.

“I think I’m over it,” I lean over and say into her ear. She, of course, has no idea what I’m talking about. She doesn’t have to. I’m her ride and she’ll follow me if she wants to get home.

Thank you, conglomerate of group-date mixed media scapegoats.

Thank you, disco ball.

As we were leaving early, Louie noted the empty bar stools as if the audience had gotten a little bit smaller. Then he looked up. My wave goodbye said nothing is wrong.

Don’t worry. Nothing is wrong. It’s just time to go.

I get a courtesy text less than an hour later.

Thank you for coming out tonight.

I have never, ever, gotten a thank you note from him for a text. Nor have I ever not replied, but there is a distance that must be traveled between certain stars that, far enough apart, looks like a flight into quiet darkness for a while.

Here’s to the new direction.

Holey Moley

While watering outside this morning I noticed that my hose was washing away the soil to reveal a few holes in the yard. I thought, “I’m gonna stick this hose in the ground to see if I can tell how serious this tunnel is” and after I flooded the hole, this furry thing came squirming out for air:

OMG! I ran and got a container to put Holey Moley in. He had these massive front hands, a long pink nose and a stubby tail. He was young adult size. I felt really bad for him, all confused and disoriented. So I drove out a few miles and set him free.

This means that there are probably a few more. I bet the mild winter increased the grub population, giving moles plenty of incentive to move in. We bought grub killer this afternoon and if I can’t flush out and trap any more then I’ll need to set some poison in the tunnels.

I’m hoping for this battle to be short and quick.

Over the Borderlines

Across the back of a checklist for inspecting the power lifts at work, I scribbled in black ink:

– continue maintenance of the grounds

– reassemble court

– put the king on a strict diet

Those things are so much more easily declared than carried out.

***

Faith points to the dirt on my shoes and says, “It looks like the queen is leaving at night. But why?”

“What am I doing?” I ask myself on the way home from the sports bar. How many times am I going to wave my credit in front of the waiters' face, knowing that the men will never allow me to pay?

How many more times have I got left, to act like I don’t notice that one of them has regularly taken to the stool on my left side?

“Not gonna lie,” he says before anything similar to a confession. And I think, ‘not gonna lie’. Isn’t that a bold statement.

I hate it when they break from the jokes to ask me a personal question. I hate it even more when something personal slips out.

“So like, what kind of gardening do you do?”

“How do you know I garden?”

“Uhhh, you told me last week?”

“And you actually listened? That’s incred-Wait a minute, I get it,” I catch on, and fold my hands neatly. Turning my head to the side, looking like a sappy lending ear, I say in my fake caring voice, “What do you want to talk about?”

He laughs.

 “You’ve never been there?” he asks about some place down the street or some blocks over.

“I told you, I’m not from here!”

And he always says, about the arcade, or the restaurant, or what-have-you,

“What are you doing tomorrow?”

Like there is no reason for a good time to end. And when I sit with them there, staring down the length of the steel while they tell competing tales and share the absurdities in their lives, not gonna lie, I am never entirely ready to say when.

“When is your birthday, Autumn?”

“Forget it. If it’s anything about her-“

“Wait, when is your birthday?! Isn’t it coming up? Are you gonna have a party?”

“Nice deflection,” he says to me, and looks at me again once I have successfully changed the topic. I pull on the strings to my hood as if it should never have come off.

Maybe there are no good excuses for lowering the draw bridge.

Maybe there are no knights of round tables.

Or, maybe, they now sit at one long bar.

Sometimes we talk for so long that the place closes and makes us take slow steps outside.

“I laughed so hard at this music video. If you want, we could probably hop in my truck and I could show you on my phone.”

I look across the rainy parking lot at the vehicle sitting there. The doors that close. The simple invitation from that bar stool on my left.

No matter how disconnected or uncertain life can get,

I find it makes the most sense to never forget about being Queen.

“I’ve got to get going. Thank you for letting me hang out with you guys again.”

“Have a good night.”

And later, on my phone:

I hope you made it home ok.

If I didn’t, this ghost gets text messages.

Either they have no idea that two beers are hardly worth the cost, or they know the journey I take to get back to my kingdom.

Someday, I tell myself, it will all come together. And a pen name won’t matter, what trail I leave, or what makes my heart beat. The mediums will collide, the anti-glare will turn to flesh, everyone will get along and the

Spell

Will

Be

Broken