My Backyard

Curled-up dead leaves rustle on gray branches. Black crows caw, redhawks chase each other while humming birds appear to stand still though their wings flap wildly.

 

No lizards on my backyard concrete wall today; the heat is on holiday. I feel sorry for the asphalt workers as they slurry seal our road, frustrating parents picking up kids from school. They detour the motorcycle riders rumbling by.

 

By day, the sky boasts a robin’s egg blue. The clouds are either finger painted on with acrylic white and gray or puffy with glitter glue and cotton balls.

 

But at night, constellations play connect the dots. Possums and neighbors’ cats balance themselves on our rotted out fences till they get to my wrought iron gate. They stop at thorny rose bushes when my dogs come leaping and barking.

Happy Happy Happy George Harrison’s Birthday

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGKPHFrHVVY

May you always walk on cloud nine
May the gnomes in your gardens always be grinning
May your Wellingtons never be heavy
May you always have a ukulele handy
May you always know what life is
May you always be best friends with your mate
After he just boinks your wife
When I say love one another
You don’t have to take it literally
But anyways
May your guitar never weep
May the sun always rise
And always handle each other with care

Today is George’s 71st birthday! I wish it were a national holiday. We could celebrate by sitting cross-legged while learning how to play sitar.  However, I can’t sit cross-legged due to spinal fusion surgery so I’d have to stand and play the tambourine.

There are only a few songs that make you stop whatever you are doing or thinking and experience the moment. “Here Comes the Sun” does that for me.  Of course, the majority of George’s songs does that to a fanatic like me but that song I’ve heard since the womb.  Today’s kids have heard Mozart in utero. I heard the Beatles.  So there.

A 4-legged 4th of July

Happy 4th of July from Ronald Reagan Sports Park!

Animals love to celebrate as well.

My dogs are afraid of fireworks so they have to stay home.

As you can see they are not too happy about it.

This guy loves the park. Boo, eat your heart out!

Dressed to the caNINES!

I ARE FABULOUS!

Ooh, a leopard spotting!

Yes, I know I have lovely eyes.

Ohhhhhhhh, say can you see?

You can’t tell from the pic, but these dudes are Packer fans!

Proud to be an American-ine.

Standing guard.

What, you’re serving wieners?

This schnauzer wishes you a happy 4th of July!

knotts soak city? yes, soak city!

The view of the wave pool from our cabana

our cabana where husband played with ipad

the decor looks like something out of an early 1960s surf town, ala Oceanside or Huntington Beach, while songs like “Pipeline” played over the speakers.

holding tubes while the waves come

check out my daughter in lower right corner, using proper streamline position she learned in swimming lessons. so proud!

see? he’s happy.

I must thank our gracious hosts for letting us play with them.

I must lead the creative life: my correspondence with Ray Bradbury

“Tom! Come see the play next Sat night. -Ray” Bradbury thought I was a guy named Tom which was perfectly all right with me.

Ray Bradbury died this week. and his death couldn’t have been timed more perfectly.  I had been out of the routine of writing every day because as most insecure writers feel, I did not know if what I think means anything new or important.

A quote by Bradbury flashed through my mind a few days ago.  Sometimes that happens before I learn of someone dying.  I don’t think it’s a sixth sense, it’s more kismet.  The quote is from Zen in the Art of Writing:

“Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together. Now, it’s your turn. Jump!”

His routine was to write a thousand words in the morning (the landmine) then spend the rest of the day editing (putting the pieces together).

About 3 years ago I was mesmerized by an English teacher friend who had been corresponding with Bradbury for years.  I thought I’d give it a try and send him two of my poems.  He sent them back to me with this note scrawled:

“Tom!” AI (I think) Thanks! – Ray” I guess my handwritten name might have looked liked Tom to the 89-year-old Bradbury.

He included the next item which is my favorite piece.  It’s a brochure about Fahrenheit 451 in Spanish.  You can see the ragged edges, where he cut it to fit into the envelope I included with my poems:

“Tom! Love!”

Here is the play he invited me to, Falling Upward:

Although I included an envelope, I mistakenly forgot to include a stamp.  Luckily Bradbury had a stamp of Edgar Allan Poe, whom he referred to as “Ray’s Papa.”

In a story he tells on his website about how he became a writer, he talks about meeting a magician named Mr. Electrico at a carnival:

Mr. Electrico was a fantastic creator of marvels. He sat in his electric chair every night and was electrocuted in front of all the people, young and old, of Waukegan, Illinois. When the electricity surged through his body he raised a sword and knighted all the kids sitting in the front row below his platform. I had been to see Mr. Electrico the night before. When he reached me, he pointed his sword at my head and touched my brow. The electricity rushed down the sword, inside my skull, made my hair stand up and sparks fly out of my ears. He then shouted at me, “Live forever!”

It was then, Bradbury said, that he knew he must lead the creative life.  And through that creative life, he did exactly as Mr. Electrico commanded him.

our Easter painting

easter egg prepping with white crayon

dipping them in our vinegar and food coloring concoction

letting them dry on a paper towel

adding a minecraft creeper egg to the mix

the eggs drying leave a painting behind

a hippie's tye-dyed dream

and viola! the planets collide together waiting for breakfast peeling

flat stanley in hawaii

Flat Stanley here again!  Thanks to my friend Tony I visited the beautiful islands of Hawaii.

Yay! I'm in Hawaii!

On the front lawn!

Bobby Brady? Where are you?

Check out my hula dancing, y'all!

I'm stuck in a tree!

Then I flew over here. Can you spot me?

Now for a relaxing walk on the beach.

Hey, that water is getting kinda close.

What does "Oh no, Mr. Bill" mean?

Whew! I'm okay.

I think I'll try some surfing...

Uh...maybe not.

I think it's time to come back. Thank you Tony and thank you Hawaii!