Friday, May 29, 2009

THIS NEWS ON MY eensy-teensy orchard:

While the baby pear won the award for showiest--flaunting its exquisite, white adornment--

It's the cherry that has raced to production. That's right, my baby cherry has got baby cherries!

This project is ripening!


Thursday, May 28, 2009


DID YOU THINK I'd fallen off a cliff?

Perhaps you imagined that I'd boldly emblazoned my biceps with "Live to ride, ride to live" and tattoos of dragons and butterflies (tastefully done, of course), punched a few piercings in crazy and unexpected parts of my anatomy, and run off with a group of bikers?

Did you ponder the possibility that I'd been summoned to Washington by Obama, with the idea that I could offer him special council on maintaining the country? (After all, I've had so much experience maintaining; where do you suppose I spent all afternoon today, anyhow? Uh-huh, right over there at Fair View, lugging a pair of clippers and a trowel around the grounds; meeting the man who'll install two new replacement windows for me, as well as repair a closet door that's off it's track; showing apartment 59 to Bob, who drives a white Toyota MR2 Spyder, works second shift, and claims he likes thing quiet. )

Hmm, those scenarios never crossed your mind? Likely, then, you decided that the task occupying many of my waking hours, and keeping me too busy to blog, was an editing job--poring over sentence structure, punctuation, and plot lines on a manuscript destined for the NY Times bestseller list.

However did you know?!*

*Details, you say? You want details?! I suppose I'll have to tell you, then--it's not my book manuscript at which I've been scratching away. This is the work of a good friend, already a published author, who must have suspected that with all the reading experience I've had since learning that C-A-T spells out the word for a feline creature and "See Puff go. Go, cat, go!" has a certain exciting ring to it, I should be qualified for this job of manuscript inspection.


Thursday, May 21, 2009


THE WEATHER HERE TODAY, I'm pleased to announce, was...(get this)...perfect! You heard me. It was what I'm wont to call frabjous, though I don't wish to wear out the word. (Hmm, wearing out the word would imply a superabundance of days like today and perhaps that is a clear case of wishful thinking.) At any rate, my flower beds languishing in their neglected and drabby condition seemed to be imploring me to take good advantage of the perfect pleasantness and rescue them with a little floral magic--the kind I planned to purchase at the nearest nursery.

First, however, there was an apartment to show to Nancy. She had called two days ago and left a message on the little white business phone, speaking with exceedingly soft and deliberate diction, reading the advertisement she'd seen in the newspaper with labored care. Great! I thought, is this the call I've been waiting for--the ideal tenant who will fulfill my every meticulous expectation? As I hadn't been able to reach her in spite of numerous attempts, I'd about given up on this catch. But today she called again and we arranged to meet mid-morning. In our conversation she mentioned a boyfriend, but this did not deter me in my fantasizing. I grabbed my application forms (my whole briefcase, really--it's got the bag of keys and anything else I could possibly need), dumped some food in Sassy's bowl and headed up the road.

In spite of the abundance of buggies I had to dodge on the road as I hurried to meet the prospective tenant, I managed to arrive ahead of her. She pulled in moments later and stepped from the car. "Hello, I'm Nancy," she said, and her handshake was as listless and meek as her words. This bodes well, I thought. At least there'll be no loud and raucous parties. Everything seemed to impress me favorably about Nancy. A good job? check. A calm demeanor? check. Knowledgeable enough to ask the proper questions? check. Leaving her current rental situation for acceptable reasons? check. And her boyfriend, though he wasn't there, sounded as though he'd fit the bill as well. Alright, then! She asked about an application. And could her boyfriend come for a look? Oh, yes, I assured, eager to be done with this task of renting number seventeen, my only two-bedroom. "There's just one more thing--" Nancy spoke in a hesitating manner...


On my way back home, I gave myself a good talking-to: After all these years, when are you going to learn?! You know you'll keep wasting your time if you don't ask all the proper questions before you go running willy-nilly to show the place to every Tom, Dick or Nancy who calls. There's no excuse. You've got to know by now that just because the ad says "No Pets," it does not mean a feline-lover with three cats will not show up!

So then, partly in consolation, I set out immediately for the greenhouse to buy my flowers. Once again I wondered at the buggies everywhere. Burkholder's is the closest place to get my garden plants and as I approached the place I was surprised to see the parking lot was empty. What? The place is closed? You'd think they'd be doing a bang-up business today. But sure enough, the sign said: CLOSED.

I wracked my brain: where to go now? Okay, there's that place a few miles from here; I'll have to go there. But, ten minutes later--deja vu! Here the parking lot was empty, too, and this sign too read: CLOSED.

But wait, there was another sign, explanatory:

Ah, ha! It is Ascension Day, my friends--a religious holiday for all the plain people, Amish included. Many of these local nurseries are run by members of plain sects. So that explains the buggies, too! On Ascension Day they all go to visit friends (I was told by someone in the know, Reader Dear). But how, I wonder, do they know who's staying home, and who will come for a visit?
Mercy me, I sighed, I've got to think of yet another place to go. Let's see, what are my choices? Once again, I set out for another destination.

But did I pause and think? Did I stop to reason? Did I ask myself: "Who owns the place?"

I have learnt a double lesson for the day, Dear Reader: I would do well to exercise more forethought before dashing to and fro. It would behoove me to ask questions of myself: Have I asked questions?! --including this: Have I asked ALL the proper questions?!


Saturday, May 16, 2009


WHUMP, THUMP...It's possible I've landed back on earth again. No doubt you thought I'd spiraled off into a musical obsession. Well, even if you didn't think so, I did.

Whether I'm truly back or not, I can't be the judge, but at least I'm going to straighten up and act as though I am. And there won't be any more blogs about the great L. Cohen (unless...oh, I mustn't think of it...but...well, I'll tell you if I get, no, it's not likely...but you know, if I would get to see another concert! Well, I'd have to mention it. Yes, of course I'd mention it. But that's it... I would just say the facts and move on. Like I'm going to do right now.)

So here is what I promised: a blog about Amish. Well, honestly it's just about how I got a photo of my Amish friend. Because you see, I'm not an expert on the Amish, but I do have an Amish friend who has been helping me with cleaning at Fair View for many years. Actually, Naomi cleans for me and I help her occasionally, mostly for the chance to visit with her while we work. We like to discuss politics and we are squarely on opposite sides of most issues. But it doesn't hamper the friendship in the least and that's the fun part about it...we both enjoy the debate.

About a month ago, I picked up Naomi to take her to the apartments to clean. Her yard looked like this:

Lovely, isn't it? and I told her so. "Oh," she said, "If you think this is pretty, you should see my aunt's flower garden! It's just up the road, but you don't see it when you're driving by because it's back a long driveway. Compared to hers, mine doesn't look like much."
"Well," I said, backing the car out onto the road, "I'd like to see it. Why don't we go look at it right now?" It was one of those few truly spring mornings that we had, and as we drove back the side road, of sorts, I knew we were approaching the garden she'd been talking about. The vibrant bed of flowers was spectacular, and there in the yard was her aunt, working at mulching.
Now that would be a great shot, I thought. Tentatively I suggested to Naomi that I'd love to have a picture. Did she think that her aunt would mind. Not hesitating a moment, her emphatic response was "Just do it!"
Well, okay then.

To my pleasant surprise, in no time at all Naomi and I had her aunt posing for a photo in front of her impressive work of art (click on the picture for an amazing view).
And now I have these photos to share with Naomi:

And this one, which was what I really wanted all along.

I didn't ask.


Friday, May 15, 2009


I KNOW, I KNOW. You Leonard fans, I led you on. But you can't keep coming back here for your Cohen fix. It's tough, but I've got to stop playing the supplier.
Tomorrow I'm going to blog about the Amish.

In my secret life, however,
there is the matter of my joie de vivre.
The pleasure that this music gives me--
unless a fellow fan--you can't conceive.

So I'll go on ringing the bells that still can ring
and I'll go on listening to Leonard sing.
I just won't be sharing everything.

(Don't worry, fellow fans, it'll be okay...CDs are much better anyway
For one thing, you get to hear a whole song!)

Thursday, May 14, 2009




Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I WANT TO WAX POETIC. I want to slip on the wax and fall into the tea and oranges that come all the way from China, and say hallelujah and was there ever a musician more graceful and gracious and gifted than Leonard Cohen. Ah, the man must have read my sentiments and determined to give a concert in my proximity, supposing that this woman would invest a sizeable sum and would bring her family and a friend and fellow fan and travel through rush-hour traffic for two hours and sit in her seat at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia and think she had died and become the landlord at his tower of song.

And thus did he, last night (give the concert, that is, though he certainly knew nothing of my forty-two-year love affair with his poetic music), and thus did I .

And I thought how happily, were I the landlord, I would write up a lifetime lease.

Everybody knows (I'm sure it shows) for me this far excelled a box of chocolates and a rose.

Right to the very last notes of the benedictory farewell, the man made me feel as though without a doubt I'd fallen on the side of luck.


Friday, May 8, 2009


IT'S LIKE SOMEONE SHOUTED "Swine flu!" in a crowded tenants at Fairview are scrambling for the exits. With only slight exaggeration I can say that I seem to be getting a phone call every other hour or so from a tenant giving notice (giving notice being landlord jargon for calling off the contract--movin' on, telling me they are quitting the place and when can they expect their security deposit returned to them?)

"There goes your job!" is closer to what a few of my tenants heard shouted at them. ( Well, perhaps it wasn't shouted, but I'll bet it clanged pretty loudly in their heads.) Yesterday I picked up my little white business phone and heard this actual word-for-word message: "I just wanted to call and let you know that I have been laid of today. Effective, I believe, May 16. So I don't know at this present moment what I'm going to do. I know that my lease with you is not up until October, however......I don't have a job (nervous laugh). So I thought you should know as soon as possible. This happened this morning."

Then there's Sandra, who lost her long-held job with a non-profit organization a few months ago. She'd been hanging on with a part-time evening job at a bookstore. "It's tough," she told me, when she reluctantly called to say her funds were running out and she would have to leave. "When you're over fifty no one wants to hire you, even with a good resume. I'm beating the bushes now for almost anything."

There's another door through which some of my more fortunate tenants are headed, however. It's the one where they exit to their own little idyllic home. They've gladdened the hearts of the realtors and the bankers and the furniture store salesmen and bought a house! Oh, yes, I may not be happy about it, but they've delighted lots of people...the appliance salesmen, the floor covering salesmen, the lawn mower salesmen, the snowblower salesmen, the replacement window salesmen, the fuel oil companies, the roofers, the painters, the plumbers, the electricians, the carpet cleaning companies, the tax collectors, the insurance salesmen, the landscape nurseries, the furnace repairmen, the appliance repairmen, the lawn mower repairmen ... ahhh much greener the grass will be at their new home! (After their trip to the gardening store, of course.)

Oops, my little white phone is ringing. This time it's sure to be a fortyish professional, inquiring about vacancies, who's been at her high-paying job in the medical service industry for five or ten years and is single, a bit of a neat freak, doesn't have any pets and wouldn't think of smoking. She's soft-spoken and...lo and behold, she's looking to rent in the very area of Fairview Apartments! Yes, sure to be. ( why is it I don't want to pick up the phone?)


Wednesday, May 6, 2009


and I've got lots of pretty things bloomin':

But what I really wish to see bloomin'...large and warm and lovely up over my that bloomin' sun!

If there were only my dim recollections to go on, I'd say
that this is the grayest, coolest, wettest spring in recorded history,
with just a couple of polka dots of intense heat and sunshine
tossed in. Can't say I'm wild about this pattern.


Sunday, May 3, 2009


And some humans, as well.

(which has now ended)

is too much like eating chocolate.
No matter the spot,
stopping is something I'd rather not.