Monday, May 29, 2023

After 17 Years of Gardening ~our Property Remains a Moonscape in Progress


To look at this view of our property, one would think we had created an oasis on the rocky ridge in rural Frederick County, Virginia. That assumption would be woefully incorrect. Despite 17 years of toil; pouring thousands of dollars and hours of sweat equity into attempts to cultivate the landscape;  the shrubs, flowers, trees and countless seedlings planted with great optimism only to find withered, shriveled, leafless, blighted remains by the end of a season; we have adjusted our expectations. Now, we focus just on the areas we can view from our deck. 

There have been successes: Japanese maple trees, bearded Iris, peonies, weigela, and hostas close to the house.

Lessons learned: wisteria was a very bad idea. It destroyed the porch railings…even the American plants. Mint must stay in a pot. Deer LOVE day lilies. Roses hate our environment. We want vinca to spread like an invasive bamboo. 

Tomatoes……I keep trying. This year: cylindrical grow bags placed in the sun amidst the moonscape. They are always the most expensive tomatoes we eat each year😆 

But, I find gardening and landscaping therapeutic. My regular job is stressful. Any position in corporate America is stressful thanks to COVID, post COVID return to office policies that make recruiting challenging, DEI, continuing to do more with less, the unfathomable jury verdicts, declining ethics of plaintiff attorneys and politicians and mental exhaustion. 

So….scratching out a spot for planting seeds, spreading bags of mulch, digging in the dirt, stalling the potted flowers on the deck, and gazing at the tiny slice of an oasis in the midst of our desert brings peace, serenity and a feeling of accomplishment…even if some of the efforts are less than desired.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Americans Need a Candidate to Vote FOR Instead of AGAINST

 Political pundits and media outlets forget that Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election because he was NOT Hillary Clinton. Joe Biden was elected in 2020 because he was NOT Donald Trump. For 2024 I do not want to have to choose between the lesser of two awful candidates. It is time to marginalize these unfit candidates, stop pandering to the extremism on the right and left, and choose two candidates that actually have the welfare of the American people at the forefront, do not offend 50% of the voters because of obnoxious self interest or lack of cognitive dissonance or cognitive function. 

The American political arena has always been divisive. That was actually the intent of the founders of the Republic. The only President elected without dissent was George Washington. Think about it! Even the Continental Congress fought over the Articles of Confederation followed by the Constitution. It was nearly impossible to find agreement among the representatives of 13 colonies much less 50 states.

But we deserve better than what the primary system has produced in recent history. The primary elections and caucuses pander to the hard core right or left. But, elections are won or lost based upon the tolerance of those of us in the center, who loathe extremes, who believe in the rights of the people to live freely without onerous regulation, who agree that contribute to the common good through reasonable taxation is acceptable, who dislike being forced to pay for  projects or appropriations that do not benefit the entire nation, who truly agree that all persons have a right to live their lives without oppression, but do not believe that ideology should trump common sense. It is time to replace the septuagenarians and activists with a new generation of ideas. It is time to reflect on our similarities instead of differences. 

Republicans and  Democrats, please give us a choice that doesn’t force independent voters to hold their noses, close their eyes, cringe and pick the least awful candidate and hope for a not terrible outcome. 

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”― Nelson Mandela