Me, That Damn Tree, and the Missing Purple iPod  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

I arrived back at work after my week-long Spring vacation and was promptly greeted with "Michael, you are definitely in the WRONG profession!" by one of my nurse managers. I swallowed hard, since that kinda phrase is usually followed by something I definitely didn't want to hear........only this time she followed up with, "You really ought to be a writer!". I let my breathe out, kinda surprised.

"Where are you getting all this from?". I asked her. She responded that she had been reading my blog that one of the other nurses had directed her towards, and complimented me further by insisting I'd be a great fiction writer (which in turn made me wonder if "The Chronicles" really were sounding to good to be true, thus perfect fiction material...). Then, after mentioning to the Big Boss later that I'd been complimented, she also commented that she's overheard a lot of nurses discussing my blog. I had truly mixed feelings about that, hoping like hell that I had not written anything in my blog that could get me fired, as has happened with plenty of folk, but it still made me smile inside to be thought of as talented.

I have real problems with compliments. I crave them while simultaneously rejecting them, somehow feeling unworthy of the very praise I seek. I don't imagine I am the first person to have such feelings, but it's annoying when I think about it. Being complimented on my writing many times brings to mind that Harry Chapin song "Mr. Tanner, about a baker who sang all the time while working, who was urged by his friends and customers to seek out a career in singing, only to be raked over the coals by the critics once he worked up the courage to try it. He went back to singing in private and never singing in public again. I would certainly hate to suffer the same fate by submitting a manuscript and getting viciously rejected for it. I have been to Books-a-Million and would not care to have to compete with the other 37000 other authors wanting you to buy their book. I love writing. I don't know how good I really am at it but I love doing it. Sure, I'd love to get paid to do it, but hey, if I had to pay for every blog post I read, I'd be broke in no time. I follow many a blogger who in many ways are far superior to me. Not every thing in this world of ours has to have a price on it.

While we were all at work, one of the twins, the four-legged variety, decided to slip under the wire and sample the new garden I had just planted. She did this three times in a row, making it out of her secret escape space beneath the fence of the pen and taking off the tops of another tomato plant, before I managed to get all the weak points shored back up. DAMN! The wife seems to think the damaged plants will still grow, and I hope she's right.

We have this row of trees along the Western perimeter of the Hold, and one of them has been squeezed in between two other bigger trees, the result being that it has been somewhat stunted and leaning far to much out towards the road (and the power lines that run along it). I have decided now is the time to cull it out, but unlike most of the other trees I've had to cut down, this one I can't anchor with cable in the proper direction for cutting down without falling over my fence, onto the road, taking the power lines with it. So.......the only alternative is to climb this sucker and hack it to pieces from the top down. Well, I'm a few years older since the last tree, and not quite the monkey I used to be. These limbs of mine don't seem to bend as well as they once did, so climbing this tree hasn't been the breeze it might have been ten years ago. Still, I have half of it down already and plan to go after that top section tomorrow. Only hesitation I suffer from is that my wife won't be here to watch me fall and bring me my gun if I survive the plunge. The shape I would be in if I DID survive a fall from that height would preclude me wanting to allow rescue to haul me in to the hospital so they can make a good little quadriplegic out of me to suck the life out of my wife and the system for years to come. So, I plan not to fall.

A terrible thing has happened to THE Wife since yesterday. She has lost her new purple iPod, and is absolutely distraught over it. So am I. I'm hoping she can somehow come across it again, but if not, well, that's another $150 if I want to get her another one, which being the loving husband that I am, I would.

It's been a few days since I started this post, and THE Wife has not been able to find her lost iPod, so I've given her mine. It's the previous generation, the square one, and it's not purple, but she's on the couch right now having just as much fun on it.

I made it almost to the top of that tree where the height and strong breezes conspired to activate my usually controlled fear of heights. I did manage to saw halfway through one of the upper trunks but the possibility of it falling in a manner which would bring me down with it put pause to cutting all the way through, and I tied a cable to it in hopes of pulling it the rest of the way off from the safety of the ground. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and Michael's.........damn thing would NOT budge. So, I spent all day staring at that mess of tree top wondering just how in the hell am I going to detach those upper sections in a manner which precludes my accompanying them (screaming) to the ground. This is going to take some study, or rather, truth be told, working up the courage to just get the hell up there and do it. Without a very large vehicle with a winch to pull it in the direction opposite from which it's leaning, there's no way I can safely topple it from the base. I wonder if controlled detonations...........hmmmmmm............naw, better not............

We finally got some rain today, which I am sure all the newly sprouting plants and veggies are much happier with than the sulfurous well water we normally have to water them with. There's something about rain water that just brings out the best in everything......even people.

Well, it's back to work tomorrow, so I'll finish this post up and upload it into the World Wide Web where I hope it will be enjoyed before some nasty virus comes along and gobbles it all up. Yes, it's a dangerous world out there amongst the copper wires, silicon chips, and humming servers of the Virtual Universe. But you're safe with me.............

Purple iPods and Gardens-in-a-Bag  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

OK, this is Sunday, the last day of my Ostara/Wife's Birthday vacation. What do I do now? Post? Sure, why not? Got anything to post? Sure, we ALWAYS have SOMETHING to post here at Pendragon Hold! The caveat is having something to post that people want to READ. Well, here goes..........

THE Wife was awarded her prize for surviving another year, a purple iPod Nano, as well as various cards that sarcastically made fun of her station in life. The Non-Resident Daughter sent her a homemade electronic music card that was hilarious, having to do with Twisted Sister. Please try and remember the generation from which we spring. We ROCKED! Anyway, the very woman who always found fault with my love for gadgetry (as in iPods) has now fallen under the spell of the personal music player and is having a ball with her new toy. She even asked for and received a music video of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" downloaded and installed on her new play-toy, which has been stuck in her ear for most of this last week. Guys, I think you can appreciate the small victory I have scored in this regard......

We had a pleasant circle last night for Ostara (yes, it was a day late but we WE'RE trying to accommodate guests who work weekdays) and managed to keep MOST of our candles and lanterns lit despite a very windy evening. THE wife, also the High Priestess of Pendragon Hold, performed magic which involved hard-boiled eggs and wishes of health, prosperity, and other such desires. She worked hard on this ceremony and I think it worked out well.

The garden, both terrace and veggie, is now established, and I have photographic proof of the crime. I am sitting here wondering why now, of all times all year long, one of the twins (goats) found an escape route out of the pen and ate the tops off three of my new tomato plants. I will probably have to replace each one, and I hope that the reinforcement of the fence containing these creatures has solved the problem. If she had made it into the terrace garden and munched out on THE Wife's herbs, we would probably be having roast goat tonight.

We have neighbors down the lane here who have been noisily zipping up and down our dirt road on those four wheeled conveyances prized by rednecks and hunters known as the ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) This would not bother me, even the noise, if it were not for the TODDLERS that this family has been hauling around on these deathtraps-waiting-to-happen at speeds up to 60 MPH, with, of course, no helmets or anything other than their tiny little arms holding on for dear life, keeping them from being flung off to their to very possible deaths. I am so tempted to call the Sheriff's Department (which I think has been done once already, apparently having only a temporary effect) for no other reason than protecting these very young kids from a blatantly unsafe and illegal practice, but then I think of how this is the kind of thing that natural selection depends on to limit the propagation of those genes which lends itself to species suicide-by-stupidity. Yes, I know it sounds cruel, but maybe if we allowed these people to pursue their self-limiting behaviors, instead of protecting them from their own deadly behaviors, we could once and for all weed out these genes which make people expose their own offspring to such hazards. We've already screwed the gene pool by allowing survival of the least fit amongst us, compassion aside.

As far as national politics is concerned; it appears we have a president who is fully capable of legislating, governing, AND dashing about the country, communicating with US, the people, the ones who elected him, to share his thoughts about what he's doing AND getting OUR feedback about what he's doing, and the Republicans just CANNOT FUCKING STAND IT! The best that THEY had to offer that last eight years couldn't even TALK and THINK at the same time, much less multi-task the way that Barack Obamma has been doing. I think that what is going on now is proof-positive that our ability to have a non-partisan approach to governance is beyond us now and we might as well change our system to a winner-take-all system where you elect one person, and those who lose just shut the fuck up for the next four years, because it is plain as day that the Republican Party is totally incapable of co-operative thinking that strays outside their very narrow outlook concerning politics. For more than three hundred years we have survived as a nation by the art of compromise and the love of our constitution, but now we have a conservative party that knows it's time has long past and can't accept it, and is now intent on bringing the country down rather than allow a philosophy of caring for one's fellow man. So sad, so sad, so very, very sad.

OK, that's the outlook from the Hold. May you all somehow survive the storm, and be able to laugh about it one day in the future when laughing is once again in vogue. Blessed Be!

These Are the Voyages.......  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

I stumbled across a YouTube video of the last episode of "Star Trek - Enterprise", and it ended with all three of the Captains of the successive ships of that name reciting "These are the voyages......"

Ever have that heavy hand grasp your heart and squeeze? Like those times remembering when you lost someone, or you tried to stem the tide of tears some sad scene in a movie had unleashed?

It was such a beautiful scene, such a wonderful imagining, and to know that it is extremely unlikely we will ever, ever "reach up and touch the hand of God....."

No, we will never "boldly go where no man has ever.........."

We will all die here of our own hands.

For that, suppressed deep within me, I cry.

Happy Birthday Baby............  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Well, it's official, at least according to Mother Nature (Otherwise known within Wiccan circles as The Goddess, or sometimes Gaia). That fresh, bright, alive shade of green is popping up everywhere with that assurance that we will not see another freeze, an assumption I'm sure the Holly King will mess with first chance. This last week has seen daytime temperatures as high as the 90's., and Pendragon Hold is already drawing juice from the grid to feed the cooling monsters. Another sign of Spring is the sunburn the wife suffered for working outside in this gorgeous weather in a brief top and no hat. Me, I'm now a literal redneck (no hat either).

While she was out raking leaves while I shredded them, the wife seems to have pulled or otherwise hurt a muscle in her shoulder/back and had to call in sick in order to see the doctor, who happily shot her up with steroid/painkillers/magic potions, which are helping for now, but she's back to work tomorrow, and it's my weekend to work as well. I personally have had a very stiff and sore neck for at least two weeks and it's taking forever for it to get over whatever I did to it. Damn body parts, always crying out for attention. Never USED to be that way....sheesh!

We moseyed over to the Ace Hardware that has an extensive nursery and picked up the first of this years herbs to plant in the terrace garden. Next week I will get the veggies to plant out in the main garden, and I am sorely tempted to try out a novel new way to grow tomatoes.......get this.........UPSIDE DOWN! Yep, you hang a bucket from something at least five feet up and grow a tomato plant out of a hole in the bottom, watering and fertilizing the plant from the top of the bucket. There are some real advantages to this approach, the best one I can think of being that you are really posing a challenge to those damn bugs getting onto the plant. You don't have to stake the plant, and it is otherwise pretty similar to growing your tomatoes in pots, cause, well, you are. I think I'll try maybe two to start with and see how they do, and plant the rest in the bags of soil I'll be laying out this year.

It just occurred to me that the Republican party did a somewhat hilarious thing in response to the first other-than-white person being elected president. They made Michael Steele, a BLACK guy, the "leader" of the Republican party. Only thing is, that title seems to already have been assigned to Rush Limbaugh, who hasn't even been elected to any office. And THEN, to add insult to irony, Steele keeps saying things surprisingly democratic, but of course, in able to keep his job, he reverses himself as soon as Limbaugh complains. "Man of Steele", indeed! If Michael Steele honestly thinks that his position is anything other than token window dressing, he really needs a clue. I think even Colin Powell eventually caught on to the fact that he had joined a club that would not have tolerated him if it didn't have to.

It's several days later since I started this post and nothing has changed to increase the entertainment or informational value of this edition of the Chronicles. What a pity. Isn't it sad that you come here expecting something epic and end up with something septic? That was supposed to be funny. My bad. Today was the first day of my week off from work. Why did I take an entire week off? Well, the 18th is THE Wife's birthday, and the 20th is Ostara, otherwise known to you barbarians out there as the Spring Equinox. That's a fancy word for one of two days in the year when the day is divided equally between daylight and dark. Having two such epic events to deal with, I honestly HAD to remove myself from the workaday world in order to deal with them, that, and the possibility that a very good Blogger friend of mine might pay us a visit during this most August of weeks. In March, that is. Never mind.

One of the symptoms of my ever increasingly aged body is this damn neck pain I have been having lately. Usually with a pulled muscle, some muscle relaxers, some massage therapy, some heat and cold, and I'm over it in no time. Yea, the time increases each time, but that's another story. Yea, I'm doing everything I can sans the physical therapy, which costs money and involves large men with german accents, but you'd think there would be SOME improvement by now. No dice. My regular doc seems to think it's only going to take some time. I hate this time thing, especially when it takes so much of it. Where's the Devil when you are damn happy to sign that contract of his? Whatever, I don't believe the bastard exists anyway...........

I just saw the commercial for the new Honda INSIGHT, their answer to Toyota's Prius. I didn't see the mileage specifications, but it sure looks sharp! It kinda looks like an F-22 Raptor versus the old F-15 Eagle........if you can wrap your head around THAT comparison.....guys, help me out here..........

Oh, and today, while THE Wife was toiling away at work, I was toiling away on the second tier of the terrace garden, double spading it in preparation to plant the herbs we bought this weekend. It took all day and I feel like it took a week! Thankfully, the weather was just perfect, with cool breezes that cooled me down as I worked up a sweat with my iPod in my ears and a shovel in my hands. I love ibuprofen.

THE Resident Daughter treated THE wife to a new hairdo, including highlights that turned out beautifully golden. Said Daughter also treated herself to a new tattoo. It seems the females in my life have become canvasses for an age-old form of artistic expression, one that has had an upsurge in societal acceptance. You may have noticed the increasing incidence of the so-called "tramp-stamp" across the backsides of young (and even older) women that is shown off in concert with bikinis and low-rider jeans. I have only one warning to issue to the younger ladies.....tattoos do not age well. Me, personally, I might try out a handsome Green Man on my upper arm, that is, when they invent the pain-free tattoo. Did I mention I'm extremely allergic to pain?

Well, there's plenty enough to bitch about in the news, such as the bonus scandal with AIG, but I have to get this long-overdue edition posted. I know that some of you, my fellow bloggers, are starting to feel real impacts from this economic meltdown. I share your fears and have my fingers crossed, for I am no more immune to this lurking monster than any of you. Be assured that all of you, your health and welfare, are on my mind and at every circle we cast I ask the Gods and Goddesses to be kind to you. You all have been kind to me with your attention to this cry in the wilderness, The Chronicles. Blessed be you all.

The Great Outdoors  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Welcome to another edition of The Chronicles of Pendragon Hold, in which I, THE Michael, AKA Alex Pendragon, will enthrall you with tales of rural/suburban angst, joy, boredom, and transcendental pontification. No poets or Republicans shall be harmed in the elucidation of this episode.

There are certain landmarks on the ever-evolving continuum of time that we eagerly await, yet most often lament, for wondering what all the fuss was about once it's all over. This, hopefully, will not be the case of two events which will be occurring very close together, sort of like an alignment of the planets, which are THE Wife's birthday, which one I am not at liberty to disclose, and the Spring Equinox, or as we Wiccans refer to as Ostara. Personally, I am also looking forward to the days off of work I am taking in celebration of these two happenings. Don't be hatin' me now....

This weekend we tackled the shade garden (tidying it up for the upcoming circle) and the terrace garden, in which we have started preparing now that perhaps there won't be any more freezes. THE Wife dug up the upper tier and planted various beans, herbs, and sunflowers. I watered same said tier. We'll plant the other veggies out at the main garden, which will consist of bags of garden soil split open. I think I shredded enough leaves this weekend to bury Canada an inch deep in leaf liter. We use it to mulch the shade garden.

Ever since I constructed the arbor which welcomes all to our shade garden/sacred circle, I have been trying to come up with the perfect welcome to put on the cross member. I found it at the hospital gift shop where I work. You tell me, is this NOT the perfect welcome to our circle? (click on the pic to get an enlarged view and see what the plaque in the middle says.)

As I continue to watch the continuing meltdown of our economy, it's only natural that my personal anxiety level has steadily risen, because I do not consider myself immune to the horrors of job loss and all that entails. However, the Big Boss of our particular facility came out with a statement that not only did not mention any staff cutbacks, but assured us that nurses (and ancillary personnel such as Moi'" would be getting at least a minimal wage increase. Upper management, however, will NOT be getting any raises. Wow. Maybe I can breathe now.

Today we had to "spring forward" thanks to that biyearly aggravation we call "daylight savings time". I never figured out how losing an hour of sleep is supposed to save anyone any time, but I'm sure that somewhere around the dawn of civilization when 90% of us lived on farms, saving daylight must have meant something. I wonder how many blue collar workers these days need their daylight saved? Could we PLEASE just put the clock somewhere and LEAVE it there?!

Oh, and there was a price to pay for the two days THE Wife and I worked outside, after a Winter's long hiatus from physical labor. First off, our bodies are sore in places we didn't even know we had. Second, we have acquired this really odd RED color on our necks, face, and shoulders. We got BURNT, folks, I ain't kidding you!

Anyway, I want any of my fans who stumble across this post to be sure and visit Anne, of "The Gods are Bored" fame. Believe me, you WILL enjoy her latest post!

This is THE Michael, signing out...........may your treasure remain buried where you put it, and may the pirates of capitalism run amok pass you by. Blessed be!

We Love You To, Rush Limbaugh!  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

That's right, folks, he said it; Conservatives (including Rush, apparently) LOVE people, which I assume includes us, those "other" Americans. They want us to SUCCEED, at ALL costs, and want to remove any and all impediments from doing so. That includes those onerous regulations they oppress businesses with, like health and safety laws that protect workers, or the right to organize for better benefits and pay, or requirements that the goods and/or services your company produce don't kill people or the people producing/providing them. Yep, they love us all so much they don't want you to pay any taxes, especially if you attain the American Dream of making ALOT more than that $250,000 that President Obama is using as a measure of exceptional economic success. They want you to fly your own personal jets to and from work, or to grillings by congressmen who only want to embarrass you for making so damn much money you need to beg the government for even more of it (because apparently it costs money to lay people off). Yep, if Rush had his way, we would all be able to do anything we wanted, because, God bless us all, we are AMERICANS, and we are damn well ENTITLED to as much excess of everything we can get our greedy little hands on, no matter WHAT the cost to the environment or people without the type A personalities it takes to screw ordinary, hard working people of everything they worked for. So, don't be hatin', turn your retirement income over to the stock market, INCLUDING your Social Security retirement funds, so they can spread that love around to all those bankers and investors who know exactly what to do with it. Oh, and rush, I wonder what Ronald Reagan would think about our landscape now littered by an ever increasing number of homeless children? I know that the man who helped coin the phrase "Homeless" never meant for it to refer to ordinary families and children, just bums. Yes, indeed, Rush, you LOVE people; you just love them to death.........

Rush, you are God, and any party other than your own is evil, hellbent on destroying America, because we all know that liberals sacrifice their babies to the devil, and want criminals to run rampant in the streets raping our grandmothers. Based on the last eight years, we know how much you and your kind love this country, and it must have been some sort of communist conspiracy that made everything turn out the way it did. It is so refreshing to know that you are diligently working to return this country to the days when Haliburton and Dick Cheney was looking out for us, by torturing those terrorists, and telling the rest of the world to go to hell.

God bless you, Rush Limbaugh. I love you too...........