Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adventures in Craziness, Part 1: Landscaping Woes

Normally I think my self-awareness is pretty accurate.  But every so often I’ll do something, or fail to do something, or mention that I did something, and one of my best friends will give me this look like, “I can’t believe—what?  What is wrong with you?  Who does that?”

And then I think, “Yikes.  Am I that crazy lady after all?”

Case in point:

I have these plants in my front yard that look like massive ferns.  They have taken over the original landscaping with a vengeance and have grown to near Seymour-esque proportions, to the point that they block clear passage to the front door.  I was away for much of the summer, so I didn’t notice how bad the situation had gotten until a week after I returned home, when I realized that the habit I’d developed of absently pushing the eager plant aside like the swinging front gate of a leafy picket fence wasn’t normal and that every day must be like a new episode of “Postman Pat and the Man-Eating Plant” for my poor small-town mail carrier.

So I just cut the plants down, right?


Here’s the thing.  I learned *just* enough about invasive species in college to have developed the general sense that the way they propagate is by aggressive regeneration in the face of any challenge to their existence.  So in my head, this has translated to the following: the SECOND I attempt to cut down even the smallest piece of this massive fern, I will experience the organic equivalent of touching one of the treasures in Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault: the plant will begin to reproduce uncontrollably and instead of one inconvenient branch to push aside, I will have a jungle of rabid ferns in the place of my slightly shabby but reasonably manicured little lawn.

This is obviously not ideal.  Nor, I doubt, is it realistic—at least to the degree of hyperbole that exists in my imagination.  However, as I appear to have only retained the overexaggerated information about the dramatic consequences of invasive species control without any of the useful facts about appropriate means of combating these tendencies, I’m not sure where the fable ends and reality begins.

As a stop-gap measure, one innovative friend suggested that I simply tie the offending branches back until I could find a more suitable solution.  This struck me as the perfect answer to my landscaping troubles, and I came up with a neat solution to what to use as an article of restraint: I used the red plastic wrappers from the unwanted town newspapers that are delivered weekly to my house to keep the branches in line.  So ingenious!  Environmentally friendly too!  And what it lacks in aesthetic value it more than makes up for in its minimal requirements for hard physical labor during my precious weekend hours!

So this “temporary” solution has been working fine for me for about a month now, and although I don’t know about Postman Pat, I’m pretty sure that I could have gone on blithely skirting the plant as it slowly re-encroached upon the path despite its festive red plastic ties for the forseeable future if it hadn’t been for another one of the aforementioned best friends who, after having listened to my long-winded, descriptions of the potentially apocalyptic consequences of taking actual steps to remove the ferns on several occasions, finally lost her patience last night.  Laden with bags, she swatted irritably at the branch as it bobbed gently across the path and exclaimed,

“Hydra head or not, this thing has to go!”

So…anyone know of a green-thumbed Hercules near Stars Hollow?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Song Infatuation

Rock music was a revelation to me when I was in high school.  I’d spent my formative years as a child listening to oldies and Broadway musicals (a fact to which my natural songwriting inclinations and many of my conversational quirks attest to this day), and I was enraptured by this new, exciting music. 

Every year at our spring high school choir concert,the seniors in the choral program would arrange a pop or rock song to be sung a cappella to commemorate their graduation.  My freshman year, the seniors did Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” and I was blown away—from the DOW-DOW bass line to the beatboxing to the syncopated soprano “wing”s after every “Don’t you...forget about me (WING!  WING!)”  I fell in love instantly and for keeps.

But the thing about falling in love with songs when I was in high school was that there was no easy way to figure out what they were or to obtain them once I had done that.  Napster didn’t roll around until the summer after my junior year.   Internet was still dial-up.  So although now I can type whatever lyrics I can remember (the odder, the better) into a search engine or go to a site like midomi or use the SoundHound or Shazaam! app on my iPhone, when I was in high school, if I heard a song I loved and I didn’t know what it was called, I went into a low-level panic.  I was instantly hooked and I had to hear it again and I had no way of finding out how to do that.  I certainly couldn’t just ASK the seniors; they were like minor deities in my eyes.  I was not worthy.

And the other thing is, even if I'd managed to work up the gumption to ask what the song was, iTunes and youtube didn't exist yet, so in order to listen to a song again, I’d have to buy a whole CD which usually contained eleven tracks I did not want to listen to and only one I did.  Nevertheless, my mom was incredibly kind about going out of her way to take me to Tower Records on those occasions when I got a musical bug in my bonnet.  It was probably the desperation in my half-crazed eyes that sealed the deal—her sweet little music freak of a daughter just might combust without that new song.

And in the interest of full disclosure, this was still not Coltrane or U2 or [insert name of actual cool band here, since I still don’t listen to much of what the mainstream defines that way].  This was the soundtrack to A Very Brady Sequel or The Blues Brothers 2000.

But hey, man…whatever makes you happy, right?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

And so it begins...

A dear friend asked me why I want to start a blog, and I told her that it was because I had this creative impulse—this itch that needed to be scratched in my head and my heart, and I didn’t know exactly what form it was going to take, but I needed to do it.

And that was true, but what I thought of later that’s also true is that people whose blogs I read make me feel better about being myself.  I read some really amazing, wonderful blogs, where ideas are shared that do everything from brightening my day to changing my life.  And knowing that there are people out there that feel the same way I do and put those feelings into words so beautifully can really save my day sometimes.  So I guess part of what I want to do with this blog is to give a little of that back.  Because what's the point of all being here together if we can't help each other out?