Communicating Online

Today’s blog prompt is: In what ways do you communicate online? I had to think about this one because except for an occasional phone call, almost all my not-in-person communication is online. (I had to check to see if texting is considered online, and it is.) I don’t participate in social networking anymore, or at least not much. I do check for personal messages on Facebook occasionally (about once every week or two), and I check Twitter every month or two, and LinkedIn every year or so, but for the most part, I eschew that sort of communication. I used to be big on all those sites, mostly to try to promote myself as an author, but the response has dwindled so much over the years and the aggravation has increased so much that it’s just not worth it.

I never did get involved in any of the other major networking sites. I tried Pinterest, and never saw the point. By the time I got a smart phone and could join Instagram, it had been bought by Facebook, and I didn’t want to increase my exposure to that company, especially since they treat me so poorly. I have no interest in video communication of any kind, not even just watching videos, so that leaves off a few more communication opportunities. For a while, I participated in Quora, answering questions about grief, but that lost its charm when they accused me of plagiarism, though it was only myself I was quoting.

[Is it even possible to plagiarize yourself? Seems silly to me. I mean, I own what I write, so I can do with it what I wish. Still, I checked online and apparently self-plagiarism is bad because you are passing off old material as new and original, which is considered academically dishonest, though if not in an academic situation, and if one is not being paid, I still don’t see anything wrong. I suppose, in spirit of honesty, I should admit that very occasionally I do copy parts of previous blogs posts or rework one I especially like that hardly anyone ever saw. After all, WordPress has a feature where one can copy a post to repost it — it’s all part of the process — so once or twice a year, I make use of that facet of the platform.]

After jumping feet first into communicating online when I first got my computer about fifteen years ago, I’ve cut way back on the ways I communicate. Now I text via phone, communicate via emails, and write this blog. All very basic for these days.

In what ways do you communicate online?

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Do You Know That for Sure?

When I was chatting with my friends this weekend during our day trip, the conversation segued into a discussion of “made in USA” products. Although I do look for that label, I also understand that just because it says “made in USA” it doesn’t mean it’s made in this country by non-sweatshop workers. In fact, there is an island not far from China that is a commonwealth of the USA, and despite its gorgeous weather and scenery, it was a horror for the workers from China and the Philippines who had been lured there with promises of higher wages (higher than mainland China, though significantly less than USA minimum wage) and living on American soil. Despite the horrendous lie and deception (not only deceiving the workers but deceiving those of us who prefer to buy products made here by people who are paid at least minimum wage) many well-known companies with well-known brands utilized those poor workers, while boasting that their designer-label clothes were made in the USA.

My companions had never heard of such a place, and one asked me, “Do you know this for sure?”

I had to admit that I didn’t. I do know for sure that I read about this island, and I do know for sure that it had been documented and well-researched because when I first heard about this travesty (long before the internet and Google) that’s all the non-fiction I was reading — books with pedigrees.

Still, what do I know? What do any of us know? Besides what we have seen or felt or experienced ourselves, we don’t know anything for sure. In my case, I have to trust my sources, and back then, it was easy — in the back of the books I read were indexes of the research involved and sources for further reading — but now, with the internet and the easy spread of . . . non-truths, let’s say . . . it’s hard to know what is or is not true.

Curious, I set about looking for this island. Not surprisingly, I couldn’t find anything on Google, but surprisingly, it was easy to find via Bing.

And yes, there is an island — Saipan — in the Northern Marianas. And yes, American garment manufacturers did utilize what amounts to slave labor. Luckily, after the scam and abuses were exposed in the early 1990s, and after millions of dollars in settlements from the apparel brands, things changed. But that’s not the end — a few years ago, the same scam was re-instigated, but this time the abused workers were construction workers.

Because of earlier scams and deceptions, even though I look for the “made in USA” label, I am leery of it. I tend to believe manufacturing shenanigans and sleight of hand still exist, but that is merely supposition gleaned from my knowledge of the corporate race to rake in as much profit as possible. But as with so much else I think I know, there’s no way to know for sure.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Operating System Upgrade

I had an interesting experience yesterday, one I’d never had to deal with before. When I opened my computer, I found an offer for a free upgrade to Windows 11. After looking into the pros and cons, both by checking online and by querying an IT person (or at least someone who is more knowledgeable than I am), I decided to go ahead and do the upgrade. There’s less than three years left for support of Windows 10, so the upgrade would extend the life of my computer, at least the Windows part.

According to the prompt, the upgrade was supposed to take twenty minutes, but the minutes dragged on and on, and an hour later, the download and installation still weren’t finished. I’m sure part of the lag was due to my internet service. I used to have a variable speed, with mostly fast speeds that were incredibly fast, but somewhere along the line, the internet provider divided the speeds into two separate categories, and since I could never find out what the cost of the higher speed would be (it was one of those deals where you had to pretty much sign your life away before you’d get to find out the new rate), I kept what I had. For the most part, the internet is fast enough, but until yesterday, I haven’t had to download any huge files since the change.

Whatever the reason, the whole process took so long that I had plenty of knuckle-biting time.

[Weird aside. Knuckle-biter was once common slang for something that caused anxiety or suspense, but when I Googled the term, looking for a less trite way of saying the same thing, all I could find were myriad articles about dermatophagia, a condition where people compulsively eat the skin on their knuckles and fingers. The only reference I found to “knuckle-biter” meaning suspense is a “Polish knuckle biter,” which is a left-over Polish joke meaning that there is no suspense.]

But back to my upgrade. So, there I was, not literally biting my knuckles, but beginning to worry about all the things that could go wrong. I know nothing is a “piece of cake” except, perhaps, a piece of cake. And I know the answer to the blasé rhetorical question, “What could go wrong?” is that anything can go wrong and often does. The only other time I upgraded an operating system, it was done by an IT specialist who needed to install the new system so he could fix something else that was wrong with my machine, and he “forgot” to uninstall the previous operating system, which caused an enormous number of problems. (I think it was Trend Micro who, in looking for the reason why their program hogged all my CPUs, discovered the mistake and unistalled the old operating system for me.)

As more minutes ticked away, I worried about all the things that could go wrong. I didn’t care about my files so much since most are backed up, but I did worry about their messing with MS Word since I had such a difficult time getting it purchased and installed in the first place. (Not surprisingly, MS doesn’t want to sell the program — they make a whole lot more money by selling subscriptions.) Although I wasn’t worried about learning the new system — using a computer has always come easy to me — I did wonder about possible changes.

As it turned out, despite my concern, the only problem with the upgrade was the length of time it took for the new system to install itself. As far as I can see, everything I need is still in place and working well. Although there might be major differences under the hood, so to speak, for me, most of the changes seem cosmetic.

So perhaps it wasn’t such an interesting experience after all.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

I’m Doing Well

If you’re one of those who has been worried about my virtual disappearance, worry no more. I’m doing well. I haven’t disappeared in real life, just online life. I still manage to blog once or twice a week, but I don’t go through the rigmarole of posting the link on Facebook. It got to be too much, not just writing every day, but reblogging to another blog as well as posting the photo on a third blog and reblogging that to the reblogged blog just so I can bypass FB’s unfairly punitive ways to post my blog link on the site.

I feel good about not blogging every day, and I feel even better about boycotting FB, though I do feel bad about not keeping up with grief friends, both online and off. I just can’t handle secondhand grief anymore. (A friend recently died, and I dread seeing her husband, also a friend, when he returns to this country. It’s not exactly kind or generous or sensitive, but it’s the truth of me right now.)

I’ve also been doing well with my yard — the leaves from my neighbors’ trees will start falling any day (perhaps even later today because of the high winds we’re dealing with), but until it’s time to rake those leaves or to water the grass again, there’s nothing for me to do outside. What a change! Admittedly, I earned the change. I’ve been spending three or four hours every day digging up Bermuda grass, weeds, and dead annuals in preparation for winter wildflower sowing. I also spent several of those days digging up, hacking apart, and replanting the New England aster. If even half of them survive the winter, I’ll be having to deal with maybe a hundred plants next fall. But that’s not for another year.

I’ve also been doing well with cleaning house — everything is as spotless as I can get it, so there’s no inside chore niggling at me, either.

So, with nothing to do today except read and relax and fix a couple of meals, I’m doing really well!

And speaking of “well,” Here’s a well of a different sort. It’s funny, but I wished for a wishing well, and look! I got my wish! I had to fix the roof that was falling apart, and I shingled it with leftover shingles, and now — oh, what a beauty!

I threw wishes into the well for your wellbeing, so I hope it works and that you’re doing well, too.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Big Sibling

Detectives and other operatives in current mysteries and thrillers look to the internet and the sites where people hang out for clues, so much so that when an author fails to mention those social sites, the absence is glaring. Just as when they don’t mention cell phones. Because cell phones make our lives so much easier and make it harder to be out of touch, the cliché is that the character forgot to charge the phone or is out of range or some such excuse to put the character further into jeopardy.

Which reminds me of Judge Judy and how when defendants talk about a text conversation, and Judy wants to see the message, the defendants always say that it was on a different phone that got broken, and now they have a new one. It happens so often that it’s rather a running joke. But as amusing (or not) as that may be, this post isn’t about cell phones but the social sites.

Have you ever noticed I cannot bring myself to call it “social media”? The closest I come is “social networking sites,” which is what they were known as when I first got online. The “media” part, I suppose, is to make us think these sites have some sort of credence, which they don’t. Not only is the news (on any side of any matter) suspect, so are the lives people portray. As if they are better — or badder — than they are in real life.

In fiction, the lives portrayed online are counted as evidence, especially if someone tells a detective they hadn’t seen the victim in several months, and an online photo shows them together. Or if they say they have never been to a certain place, and a post says otherwise.

Since this happens in real life too, I have never been so naïve as to think that anything I post online is private. I have assumed from the first day that “Big Sibling” is watching me. (Trying to be gender neutral here.) To that end, I have never posted anything I wanted to keep private. In fact, I want people to see my posts and to get to know me in the hope that they will buy my books. Still, I do wonder what I am inadvertently giving away. Anyone can do a bit of detective work and find out where I live, but any official would already know that. Anyone can put the clues together and come up with my age. A few people know when I was born, but generally online I use a pseudonymous birthday. And anyway, that information is available in any official data bank, and especially is available to anyone who has access to my driver’s license, so it’s not much of a secret.

Those officials could comb Facebook for my friends, but then, they would probably already know who they were. And Twitter and LinkedIn? I have no idea who most of my connections are, and I have no interaction with them. In fact, my profiles on both sites are more or less moribund, though the link to my daily blog is posted on both sites. Or at least it’s supposed to be. I haven’t checked recently to see if that is currently the case.

I don’t post photos directly to Facebook, though I suppose they are stored on their servers anyway because of the link to the link to my blog that I post on the site. But that’s okay. Lately all I’ve been posting are images of flowers, not me and whatever victim I might be accused of victimizing. (Though my life is so boring, I’m sure if any official were to check with my neighbors, all they would have to say about me is, “Yes, I know her. Yes, I saw her. I don’t remember what day, but it doesn’t matter. I see her out in her yard every day.)

I am so used to telling the details of my small life that if I did have a secret, I probably wouldn’t have one. I would have blabbed it here, and a blabbed secret is no longer a secret. Though come to think of it, it’s possible they would think that anyone so bland would have to be hiding something (something other than blandness, that is).

Too bad. It would be fun to have a secret. Or maybe not, if fiction is anything to go by. People with secrets are often victims. Since that brings us back to the beginning of this post about officials who come to social sites looking for clues as to who might have wanted to erase the secret by erasing the victim, I’ve apparently come to the end of what I wanted to say.

I hope you have a very nice (and very private) day.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Real Reality

I’ve been reading a book about cyber technology running amok, or perhaps people running amok using advanced cyber technology (so advanced, it hasn’t yet been created, though obviously it has been postulated by someone, even if only the author). To be honest, I’m not really sure what the story is about because unlike most books that I read at a single sitting or two or three (at most), the pages on this book aren’t advancing at all. I tend to think my slow progress has to do with my falling asleep while reading. (Well, no. I don’t “tend to think” that napping is the reason for the slow progress — I know it is.)

It’s no wonder the story isn’t keeping my interest. It’s hard for me to care about people —real or otherwise — who wrap themselves in the latest technology. I understand some body/computer interfaces could have (or for all I know, all ready do have) lifesaving capabilities, but I’ve passed my time of keeping up with current cyberlife. I use only a fraction of my computer’s potential, sticking with such basics as blogging, researching, shopping a bit, playing a game (though my interest in the hidden object game I was once fascinated with has been steadily waning). I certainly have no interest in the internet of things, a potential combined internet of things and persons, the metaverse, or virtual reality of any kind. I prefer to stick with real reality (or rather what passes for real reality since there is no real consensus on what reality is).

It is ironic, though, that despite my decreased use of social networking sites (I write my blog and spend about two minutes on Facebook going through the whole rigamarole FB has forced me into to post my blog on the site, but that’s it) I don’t feel as if I’m alone, though I actually do spend most of my time alone. It made more sense to feel as if I were with people back in the days where I was in fairly consistent contact with people, especially on the now-defunct writing site that was the best social networking site for authors, but now it’s more of a sense of being in contact rather than actually being in contact.

And then, of course, there are all those characters in the books I read that people my life.

I keep saying that one of these days I’ll start writing again, and I tend to think that day is coming soon. I was showing friends my zinnias yesterday, and it suddenly struck me that Zinnia would be a great name for a character. Later in the conversation, as we talked about lilies, it seemed that Lily and Billy would be great names for twins. Once an author has names, can a story be far behind?

I’m still “researching” the story. (By research, I mean I’m just living, but if I call my everyday life “research” then I can pretend I’m actually working as a writer.) Unfortunately, I still have no idea what story I want to write. It would be fun to write another “Pat” story, sort of a sequel to Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare. One visitor told me I have a ghost, so I’m considering a ghost story. One friend has told me a few of her experiences that makes me wonder if I want to write some sort of alternate reality tale. For example, a wildfire burned all around her house, and the people who used to own the place (who were still emotionally invested in the house) watched four tanker trucks circling her property, spraying the house and trees to keep the fire away. The firefighters working that day said they only had one tanker truck, and they needed it to keep them safe from the fast-moving fire. Even worse, they saw embers landing on her roof, and later told her they felt bad they couldn’t save her house. They were astounded when she told them the house hadn’t been touched.

It’s certainly interesting to speculate which reality was real — the former owner’s, the firefighters, or my friend’s. They couldn’t all be real, could they?

Someday, I am sure, a story — either this one or another — will gather enough strength that will compel me to write, and when that time comes, I sure hope the book won’t put people to sleep.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

Grumply Day

Everything to do with the internet is getting ridiculously expensive. If you don’t pay with cash, you’re paying with the annoyance of multiple ads. It used to be that WordPress, where I have my blog, only showed ads occasionally, and never to someone who had an account. Now, they show ads to everyone, sometimes even in a few places on the same blog. I just checked one of my blog sites, and the ads were more prominent than the post!

If you don’t see ads here, you’re welcome. I pay to make sure no ads show up, but I can’t do that for all my sites. Because of the whole mess with FB, I have to reblog this article onto another blog, then upload the photo to yet a third blog or else I can’t post both the blog and the photo on FB. I could upload the photo directly to FB, but I don’t want them to add my photos to their database. Chances are, I’m fooling myself, but at least, this way, the photo is at one remove. All of this blog sleight-of-hand wouldn’t be necessary if FB hadn’t blocked this blog. For a while, I returned the favor, but too many people said they missed seeing my posts (even though I’m sure most people don’t see them anyway since FB wants me to pay to show my posts to my friends).

I should have persisted with my boycott, especially since I have come to hate the site with a passion. They are continually doing things to make even my few minutes on the site an inhospitable experience.

When I first signed up, it was at a time when hordes of authors were signing up, and no one had a clue what to do. So I started various groups (or took over a stagnant group or two) to give authors a place to talk about writing and to get to know other authors and readers. My plan worked for a while, but over the years there have been numerous changes to the groups so now they are worthless. And yet the changes still keep coming. The latest is that any entity can join any group and post anything (can you say “spam?”). I could, of course, delete the groups, but that would mean deleting each of the thousand members individually, and that takes almost forever. (I know because I did that with another couple of groups.)

What a mess! If I ever decide to leave FB permanently, I will spend the time to remove all of my tracks. And when I do, I won’t have to worry about the ads on my other WP sites because I’ll never need to use them.

If I sound grumply (a typo, but I like the made-up word — it expresses how I feel — so I’m leaving it), it’s no wonder. I am grumply! Not only is it hot, but a strip of my lawn along the fence is dying. I think it accidentally got spritzed with Roundup (not my doing). The grass has been steadily dying the past couple of weeks since the spritzing, no matter how much I water. (If the grass hadn’t been killed, it would have started to green up by now.) To have to deal with internet shenanigans on top of all that is too dang much.

There are a couple of solutions for the rest of the day — turn the air-conditioning down a bit, turn off my computer, and grab a book. And if it is the roundup that killed the grass rather than the July heat, I’ll wait four months until the poison has dissipated and then reseed the areas.

I hope your day isn’t as grumply as mine.

But wait, I forgot! there is one great thing about today: a blooming lily!

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Weird Times

This seems to be a time of weirdness for me, though if things come in threes as the saying goes, then by tomorrow, my life should be back to normal. Assuming, of course, there is a normal anymore.

First, there was the issue with someone trying to change my Facebook password. By itself, it’s not that weird, but at the same time, I was unable to get into the email associated with my website, and two concurrent anomalies do make for weirdness.

Second, there was the issue with Flagstar Bank and their security breach. Again, by itself, it’s not that weird, but their having my identity information is inexplicable. And yet, as someone pointed out, I will get two years of free credit and identity monitoring out of it, though it does seem a bit much since I have no credit to ruin.

Third, well, this third thing isn’t at all in the same category as the first two, but weird nevertheless. I purchased a plant starter at the local hardware store. The planting instructions mention that the plant will grow so densely that in two or three years, it will need to be divided. The instructions also included the caveat that propagation is strictly prohibited. In other words, I will have to propagate the plant by dividing it, but I am not allowed to do so.

That falls more in the category of irony, I think, than true weirdness, but it’s noteworthy all the same. Not that anything will happen to me if I do propagate the plant since here are no propagation police wandering around with magnifying glasses checking out people’s gardens to look for propagation violations. The warning is more for those who sell plants commercially, which, of course, I don’t do. I’m on the other end of the commercial spectrum where I shell out money for plants rather than raking it in.

And anyway, I should be so lucky as to have to propagate the plant. So far, the only plant that’s done well enough to need to be divided are my New England asters. Last fall I divided my single clump of asters and ended up with seven or eight clumps. Each of those clumps look as if they will yield another four or five plants, so I will have to figure out what I want to do with all of them. Right now, the asters are edging part of the swath of grass that sweeps from the side of my house to the back yard, and I’m thinking of continuing to edge the grass with the asters. Luckily, I have several months to decide what to do — I certainly wouldn’t want to jinx the poor plants by counting on their doing well right now when the weird times are in full swing.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Complications

I’m having a hard time adjusting to the new season, or maybe just to the cooler, damper weather. Whichever, I’m tired and cranky and not much interested in dealing with complications, but that’s life, right? Dealing with complications, I mean.

As wonderful as the internet is — a place to bank, blog, play games, learn, research, hang out with friends — it can also be . . . well, complicated.

Yesterday I had to deal with someone trying to change my Facebook password. I also had to deal with non-connecting issues concerning my website email.

Today I have another complication to deal with. I received a letter (an actual, physical, delivered-to-me-at-my-house communication) from Flagstar Bank telling me that they had experienced a cyber incident that involved unauthorized access to their network, and that one or more of the impacted files contained my social security number, account number, loan number, name, address, phone number, date of birth, or driver’s license number, and my financial institution’s name.

I had to read that several times, not just because of my seasonal adjustment issues, but because it made no sense. I have no idea what Flagstar Bank is, have never had an account there, and as far as I’ve been able to establish, neither of the banks I’ve dealt with in the past thirty years have any connection to Flagstar. (I’ve only had two banks in all that time, and both were privately and locally owned.)

I checked with a financial expert, who said that banks do exchange information. (So much for the banks much vaunted guarantee that financial information is secure!) They also suggested I follow with Flagstar’s offer of a two-year account with an identity monitoring service. So I did. I only had three opportunities to give the service the correct information proving I am who I said I was, which was a bit nerve-wracking. One of the questions listed several banks and asked which bank carried my home equity loan, which was confusing because they seemed to think I had such a loan, and I don’t. Another question listed several phone numbers and asked which, if any, of them was a previous phone number. How am I supposed to know that? I’ve had the same phone number now for fifteen years, and haven’t a clue what any previous phone number was, or even how to find it. Another question was where I applied for my social security card, and that at least I knew.

Luckily, I passed the identity portion of the sign-up process on the first try, but then I had to fill in all sorts of information such as social security number, phone number, address, etc. It seemed weird that to protect myself from a breach, I have to give up the very information that was breached in the first place, but I did it, and now I am (sort of) protected, even though I don’t have any credit to breach!

See? Complications.

On a much less complicated note . . . the first daylily of the season bloomed!

***

Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

Happy Summer

The first day of summer? Really? It feels as if summer has been here for the past couple of months, with temperatures into the nineties and hundreds. Today, oddly, is a cool, misty day, with fallen leaves sprinkled about. Maybe someone is playing a joke on us, and it’s really the beginning of fall.

More probably, the joke is that we still have three months of heat ahead of us, and today was just a bad connection, where the weather couldn’t log in to the proper season.

I’m just being silly about the incorrect log in — and grateful for the cool day. What made me think of the bad connection analogy was that I couldn’t log into my website email, the one I opted to pay for. (Too many people and businesses and sites have that address for me, and it was too complicated to change. The good news is I don’t have to deal with any ads.)

I called my website provider, and after going through a series of verifications, a real person answered. A real American-English speaking person. It was such a delight talking to someone who understood what I was saying, and moreover, one who had patience with my inability to think of simple words. (Like address bar. Why would that have slipped from my brain?) They didn’t really do anything except take up enough time that the problem fixed itself, but at least the issue is on record, and if there is ever another instance of the same thing happening, I know where to send the screenshot of the very, very, very, very long 500 error code that basically said there was a problem connecting to the server but no one knew what it was.

I’m always leery when two weird computer-related things happen around the same time. I had just received an email from Facebook telling me that someone tried to change my FB password, and if it wasn’t me, to click on the link, which I did. (The link took me to a message that basically just said the problem was reported.) It seemed legitimate, a real Facebook notification, but since my website email address is my backup email for FB, I wondered if whoever had tried to change my FB password had somehow done something to my website email. The real person said the two weirdnesses weren’t related. They also looked up the email address on the FB email, and said that, as I had surmised, it was legitimate. So, whew!

But that’s not what this post was supposed to be about. I’d intended to talk about having summer before it was summer. I’ve spent the past couple of days cleaning up spent larkspur (because of the heat, the plants gone through their cycle and were finished for the year) and planting seeds in the cleared garden areas. When this happens later in the summer, I just let it go, but it seemed a shame to spend the entire summer with an empty garden patch, especially since summer just started today.

And oh! It’s not my imagination — my brown grass is greening up. I think it helped that the lightbulb finally went on, and I sprinkled the dead areas with mulched grass clippings to keep the heat and wind off the grass. (I’ve been moving the mulch around a bit so that the clippings don’t mat down and block air flow to the grass.) And it seems to have helped. Since this appears to be a problem area, I will continue with this light mulching until the cooler weather. If I had any doubts, I now know this is a cool season grass that does not like our summer heat, so I’m sure the grass is enjoying this lovely cool day as much as I am.

Happy summer!

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.