Let freedom…sing?

Yesterday evening, the 4th of July, found us in the car, driving home from a tiring day of kayaking under the unrelenting sun. Nick pondered why the radio wasn’t playing more festive tunes and immediately I held up my left index finger as I started searching my iTunes account. 

Me: “Hmmm. I know I have it, I’m sure of it, but it’s not coming up in my search. ”

Nick: “What?”

Me: “Proud to be an American. I know, I’ll see if it’s on YouTube and play it there.” 

I did a figurative forehead slap upon my search, for I discovered the name of the song is actually God Bless the USA. Admitting my folly aloud, I easily found the song in my iTunes Library. 

Nick: “Why didn’t you just search for ‘Lee Greenwood?'” 

I pause. Deep sigh. I hate it when he makes sense. It gets old, I tell ya. 

Me: “Your logic has no place in my life, Nicholas.” 

After God Bless the USA concluded (and we both wiped away tears because it’s just that kind of song), I searched my songs library for America because my road companion demanded patriotic anthems to carry us home. Simon and Garfunkel’s America came next. I found American Pie and American Woman…a bit of a reach there though. 

Mr Know-it-all: “Why don’t you Google ‘patriotic songs?’ Maybe you have something else that doesn’t start with the word ‘America.'” 

(That last bit sounded a little sarcastic.)

Reading through a list, I squeal upon finding a song I overlooked. I turned the volume up in time for The Boss to start singing Born in the USA. 

I return to Google, searching for This Land is Your Land in time to realize that I already own a whole album (I was searching songs-only before) by the name of American Patriot…by Lee Greenwood. 

Me: “Hmm. Maybe I should have just searched by ‘Lee Greenwood’ from the beginning.”

Nick: … 

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I concede 

In my 20s I developed, among other things, an inability to fall or stay asleep all night. Well, that’s not entirely accurate…I’ve subsisted on little sleep for a long time. (I averaged maybe four hours a night by the time I was in high school.) The sleep thing just got a lot less manageable in my 20s when I couldn’t even hit four hours. 

Of course that was a tumultuous time in general with various aches and pains coming to the surface, and I was eventually prescribed a muscle relaxer to take before bedtime under the assumption that I couldn’t sleep because I was in pain. It has probably a 90% success rate and the sleep front, so I really can’t complain.

But every now and then I do a “spot check” to see if I really need to continue taking a given medication. I have no idea why I do it because I think it’s really stupid thing to do…it’s like I become suspicious that I may be taking a drug for no reason which terrifies me. If my doctor with her muuuuuuch more expensive education thinks I should be taking a medicine, why am I so paranoid that I don’t really need it!? 

It’s the quandary of a drug that works so well that eventually you forget that you had a problem that it is actively treating. 

The long and the short of it is that it is 2:00 AM, and not only am I not sleepy, I feel wired. 

PSA (Personal Service Announcement) to future-Laura who is considering skipping her nightly muscle relaxer:

YOU STILL NEED THAT ONE. 

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Now you’re just some bunny that I used to know.

I have some weightier things on my mind that I may want to address another time when my thoughts are a bit more organized…but for now, I’d like to discuss something that makes me feel old and cranky: RABBITS.

Building a home on the edge of a conservancy, our landscape architect chose our shrubs and perennials deliberately—the builders and landscapers all witnessed the deer nonchalantly trespassing across the lawn after all. The one plant that isn’t critter resistant is a plant that has survived unscathed for two seasons. The assumption must have been that since it was so close to the house and behind some shrubs, the deer wouldn’t care to get that close (and the DEER haven’t).

It’s our clematis. Our lovely climbing purple flower that we built a trellis for and that grew so lush last year. The trellis is large, so we bought more plants this spring to make it pop. They were doing so, so well after I planted them. 

Bunnies: 1, Clematis: 0

 

One day, I noticed that one of the plants looked brownish and wilted. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the vine had been severed at about an inch above the dirt. I wasn’t sure what caused it…I assumed it was innocent though and another green shoot was already visible. A couple weeks after that, I noticed that ALL the vines on the trellis were dying…all severed in the same fashion.

Bunnies: 1, Clematis: 0 Bunnies: 1, Clematis: 0

 

Either there was a passive-aggressive monster in the neighborhood or something more sinister. (Spoiler: it was the second.)

Around that time, Nick took a Live Photo of some “cute” neighborhood residents.

Everything just CLICKED. (I realize I’m using a lot of random capitalization in this post, but I’m SO STEAMED!) I also have two flower beds for annuals, and I thought the petunias I planted in one of them were slow to get going. NOPE. They were just chewed down to the ground.

Suddenly I became the crotchety woman who can’t stand dem der varmints! At a loss what to do, I tried liquid fence products, homemade repellent recipes, and ultrasonic devices. I had a few small sunflower bird feeders that I used as cages over the stumps of the clematis that remained. The little jerks dug out the roots on the two plants on either end of the trellis and feasted on all that remained of the plant. For whatever reason, they did not dig out the root on the center plant.

I was venting about these happenings in the car on the way home from work when Nick told me something like, “I think you’re missing the bright side of all this.” To my confused silence he continued, “We’re raising a family of well-fed bunnies!” Believe it or not, he’s still breathing.

Because the center plant had such a little-engine-that-could-ness about it, it was starting to shoot out of the makeshift cage. I knew I had to remove the cage soon or I wouldn’t be able to untangle the shoots without damaging the plant.

Out of options (because I refuse to border my house with decoy owls as the interwebs suggested), Nick and I set out to buy some materials to fence off the base of the trellis. I remember stomping through Home Depot with him, steam practically coming out of my ears on a day with a heat index in triple digits. He asked cautiously, “Do you know what you’re looking to buy here?”

“Yup,” I clipped out. “I’m gonna build a wall, and I’m gonna make the bunnies pay for it.” I can’t be sure, but I think he may have rolled his eyes…but man I was FRUSTRATED!

We arrived home…hottest day of the year, so hottest evening of the year, and we began to dig a trench to bury chicken wire around the trellis. As reinforcements, we surrounded the fence with rocks to make digging even less attractive to our family of well-fed bunnies.

Flower Power

 

The surviving clematis is growing steadily, but so small for this time of year. I peek at her regularly to offer words of encouragement…clearly she is the chosen one.

One last thing…when I stepped near to take that last photograph, an itty bitty bunny scampered away from under the shrubs. I was torn. I wanted to be so angry that they had not vacated yet…but holy moly, they ARE pretty adorable.

Cuteness will get you off every time, it’s true. *sigh*

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Hear Me

I’ve been having a lot of imaginary conversations lately. I’ve given the shower walls a good talking to several times in the past week…I think it knows its place now.

I’m a characteristic introvert you see, replaying scenes in my head, imagining things I think I wish I would have said. I am in control of the image I portray…living is the role of a lifetime, after all.

I don’t know if it helps me or hurts me that my most heavily-weighted MI component is intrapersonal (followed closely by interpersonal), but it certainly factors into my performance on this stage. I strive to be moderate in the face of conflict, but every now and then I imagine the feeling of euphoria one must feel in saying exactly what your temper wants you to say in the heat of the moment.

Unfortunately, I know myself well enough to know that self-loathing would soon follow. Words have power, and like gunfire, the damage cannot be undone once the ammunition hits its mark. Are you prepared to live with that gaping hole on your conscience? Are you?

I’m not.

It’s frustrating that I know I’m not, yet I have these fantasies of what it must feel like to not care about other people’s feelings after you’ve thrown your dagger, to not feel remorse.

I don’t plan on changing my modus operandi; I know I’m protecting my long-term sense of self. It’s that instant gratification center in my brain that is getting tired of my “make love not war” BS.

I have listened to many people in my age group claim that they are done playing “Captain Please-Everyone” or trying to be someone who they are not. Maybe this is the source of my unrest. I’m still working on that contentious voice inside. While I haven’t found an answer yet, I think I have to stop rehashing in the shower if I want to maintain any sort of healthy relationship with it.

I haven’t given the closet a piece of my mind yet though.

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22 for a Moment

Nick found some old photos of Mom last weekend, and one of them has flit about my thoughts throughout the week…my mother at 22 years old:


 

I first saw this photo when sorting through albums to create photo boards for the visitation after she died in January 2006. The actual day she passed away, I was lost in my grief…but after that I put on my “outside face” and buried it all because there was work to do. Then I remember coming to that picture and feeling lost all over again.

I’ve had plenty of time to analyze and understand my reaction. I’m having trouble finding the right words, but I am guessing that anyone who has cared for a loved one with a terminal disease will understand my stuttering attempt. I was able to keep a grasp on my sorrow on the promise in my heart that she wasn’t suffering anymore. It was a relief to have her agony be over. There was peace in that.

That photo showed me a part of her that I had forgotten during the last two years of her life…the vibrant, funny, silly, willfully carefree side of her that took a piece of me with her when she got sick. No strain in her eyes, no shadows of fatigue or sallow skin. Youth really is wasted on the young…you don’t appreciate the simplicity of expecting to reach an old age until you’re slapped with mortality decades too soon.

My more recent reaction to the photo was a similar taste of bittersweet, but the bitter died the longer I looked. Time is both a thief and salve.

Because it’s fun to compare (and since apparently Nick was a photo archeologist last weekend), here is a digital image he also uncovered from an old external hard drive where I used to store photos. Me at 22…life was a little lighter then for me too.


 
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