Monday, July 30, 2012

Life on Mar - The Ghosts of Family Past

I've been thinking about my family a lot lately. Mostly the family that has left this mortal coil. I recently lost a cousin to cancer. Fortunately he didn't suffer long. Unfortunately, I didn't get to spend much time with him his last few months.

Thinking about my cousin, and things we did together, reminds me of my other family, the older ones, most of who have already moved past this life on Earth. Today, for instance is either my Grandmother's or my Aunt's birthday. I never remembered which, because one is the 30th and the other is the 31st. So I kind of have to wish them both a Happy Birthday at midnight on the 30th. Works!

I've been thinking about my cousin, and his mother, who have passed. I loved his mother, a very young great aunt, and both of her sons dearly. I will miss him as I miss her. His brother, is my closest and dearest relative, as is his wife. Oh yeah, I guess I love my kids too. But I was thinking of the relatives on the other side of my birth. There are really only a few of those left now.

I've been thinking about my mother and father too. Both are gone now. My favorite uncle and his sister (the one born today or tomorrow) another favorite.

I wonder sometimes if that is why we finally let go. Is it just that there is a certain balance of friends and family that go to the other side and we feel awkward without them here. I know my cousin who passed, was talking about his work reunions, and how there were less and less people, because the all moved on. So many of his friends and family were gone too. I think he liked his reunions. I hope he's having a big wonderful one now.

It's funny how we get so sad when we loose family. If you have faith, most religions have us believe that there is a wonderful glorious reward waiting for us. We should be extremely happy for our loved ones. But we are mostly extremely sad for ourselves. My cousin who just past was pure joy. He was nothing but fun to be around. I'm sure he had bad moments, but I never saw them. He never even expressed suffering while he was obviously weak and dying. I will miss him and all those others too.

I'm not big on the thought of Heaven, Spending eternity with family and friends. I guess I'm not a person who likes to think in terms of anything forever. I'd rather reincarnate as an ant than be in the same place with the same people forever. But that's theology and not the subject of this post.

I only know that the ghosts of family past have been visiting me lately. The good and the bad. And I'm missing my friends and family.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Life on Mars - Small House

The house is so darn small that even the cats are moving out. Last year we had 5 cats and this year, we're down to three. The mother of our adopted cats moved next door when her boys got big and were no longer needing her. They eventually took her to a good, no kill shelter.

We lost one of our gray twins and found him about a block away this week. Apparently he didn't like it when I yelled at him to stop stealing butter off the counter and whatever we were cooking on the stove. Must have found better pickings down the street. Or maybe it was just the overcrowded house.

Speaking of good pickings, we went to the farm produce for low income families this week. We don't like taking food when we have money, but the guidelines are twice our income for as many people as we have, and the place by us get so much produce, that they give it to the local pantries and it doesn't last, so some of it gets thrown out.

We took a case of zucchini, which I will pickle, freeze and make casseroles with. Lots of cabbage for slaw and I might try some chow chow too. Lots of cucumbers, some are already made into my refrigerator pickles and the corn is boiled and in the freezer. We also got melons, potatoes, lettuce and the local grocery donated tons of bread product. Awesome bread product, baguettes, ciabatta, and chocolate coissants.

Farms donate extra produce and they have this July through October here, once a month. We don't need to go to the food pantry anymore, but this we will take. Now I just have to find a place for all the filled jars.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Good Plastics - Bad Plastics

Mr. McGuire: "I want to say one word to you. Just one word." Benjamin: "Yes, sir." Mr. McGuire: "Are you listening?" Benjamin: "Yes, I am." Mr. McGuire: "Plastics." Benjamin: "Exactly how do you mean?" Mr. McGuire: "There's a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?" 

I was 16 year old. My friend and I put on a lot of make-up, skirts, stockings and had our long straight hair piled in buns on our head. You had to be 18 to see the adorable young Dustin Hoffman in the hottest movie of the year, The Graduate. 

Plastics. Ever since a friend posted about My Plastic Free Life I've been torturing myself, thinking about a life without harmful plastics, and are my flowers, made of recycled plastics good or bad for the environment? Should we really stop using all plastics.

I guess what it really comes down to, is using plastics responsibly. Or rather choosing to use plastics responsibly. After all. I'd be hard pressed to find a wooden cased computer or cellphone. I'm sure they are out there, but I'm sure someone threw away the original plastic casing to make it.   

I also would not necessarily want to go back to a health care system without plastics. Disposable syringes have halted the spread of a lot of diseases, and if I needed a transfusion? Well blood is collected in plastic bags and transfused through plastic tubes. And if I had to have a limb amputated, I'm sure the plastic prosthetic would be much better than wood or metal. These are plastics I don't want to live without.

I'm looking through my house and my friends lives, and making a list of things we can do without. 

Disposable Diapers
Little Red Cups
Deodorant in throw away plastic
Disposable Cameras
Plastic utensils
Plastic shopping bags
2 liter soda bottles

What Plastics can you live without?

Here are some rules to follow when using plastics.

If it saves your life GOOD

If you use it for less than a year BAD

If you use it for less than a day VERY BAD

If you use if for a few minutes SHAME ON YOU

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Life on Mars - Gardening Bliss

Even though the climate was like that of the Angry Red Planet this week (in more ways than one) I'm just so thrilled at the outcome of my garden this week that I can forgive all.

I've been quiet this past week. I lost a loved one and am adjusting. Things in my home are a bit unstable and I'm adjusting. I've taken to walking to calm myself when I'm frustrated and I think I should have done that years ago. When I feel like I'm about to boil over, I just take a walk. Why didn't I think of that before. I have quite a temper, I would have been really fit.

Back in the garden....this week I was able to pick several handfuls of beans. I didn't plant a lot, so I didn't expect much and did get more than I hoped for. They are still producing. I picked through the turnips and found one great 2 1/2" diameter one. I hope the rest grow that big. The leaves are getting a bit lacy from the leaf eating critters though.

I love that the  bugs don't eat tomato plants, and I rotate the tomatoes so the tomato worms don't find them. Did you know that's how to keep them away? Never plant your tomatoes in the same place from year to year. Also, beans add nitrogen to the soil, so they beef up the soil for other plants.

Native Americans planted corn, pumpkin and beans together, to make a sort of symbiotic plant system. The pumpkins shield the ground (cooling and keeping weed free). The corn makes a pole for the beans to climb, and the beans add nutrients to the soil. Brilliant.

I really wanted to talk about my flowers today. Some of my favorites and my inspiration for my jewelry. Last year the yard was pretty bare so we got a few clearance rose bushes and I borrowed some Shasta Daisy roots from the lake.

I also dug up some Day Lilies that were behind the house in the shade and brought them into the light. The soil was so good that they all flourished far better than I expected.

And then there is the roses. There are three bushes, all doing well, but the biggest surprise was the climbing bush. The flowers looked pale pink at first and not attractive, but since planting have turned into a vibrant deep magenta. I'm really liking them now.

My own flowers are not so literal. They are just impressions of these beauties that I love so much. You can find all of my flowers at or on Artfire at

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