Tag Archives: flowers

April Showers


I have always believed the point of April showers was to bring May flowers.  But the showers this April are merely making the flowers wet, since they are already here.

Last night was like that.  Drippy rain followed by thundershowers… quaking in safety as the world gets wet.


I worry about global warming and the possible end of life on Earth.  But flowers each spring are a hopeful sign.  The world is renewing itself after the winter of our discontent.  In fact, a couple of years ago, the daffodils came out in February and got frozen to death in the week following their bold attempt to bloom early.  It just goes to prove that daffodils are the dumbest of all flowers.  I drew a portrait of one of them.  Daffy O’Dill posed for this shortly before his fateful encounter with the weed whacker.


But pictures of the flowers in our yard are like the pictures of sunrises that I collect.  As I get older and enter the late winter months of my little life, they give me hope and consolation.  I hate to think that when my life ends the rest of humanity will soon follow.  Pessimists like me have good reason to think such things might be the case.  But there is also reason for hope.  Flowers are a sign of hope.  Flowers are a sign that life renews itself.  Flowers bloom, and the bees come, and seeds develop, and everything continues to grow.  Flowers make God smile.




So, the rain came down, and in spite of possible hail and thunderstorms, wind and possible tornadoes, there are flowers.  In fact, look at this humongous rose growing in our neighbor’s tree.  If it actually came from outer space, it may be very well looking to eat us… eat our evil dentist at the very least.  And I found a novel way to get another good post out of my flower pictures.

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Filed under flowers, goofiness, humor, Paffooney, photo paffoonies, roses

Spring is Sproinging


The flowers have begun to bloom in Texas.  The leaves are budding on all the trees who aren’t live oaks.  The live oaks are shedding their winter coats, and there-in lies my divided feelings about the end of winter.  I am allergic to tree pollen, mold spores, and the grungy green gungus that goes with re-awakening life.  This weekend I raked live oak leaves and cut the grass in the yard.  So today, I am paying the price.  I have an arthritic back-ache.  I have an allergic-reaction headache.  I hurt a lot and I can’t breathe.  But I got to see the fresh blooms of another growing season.  A little pain… and then renewal.

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Filed under autobiography, feeling sorry for myself, humor, illness, photo paffoonies

Updating Futzbatter and Foohbah Recipes


Having already written well over a thousand words today on a different writing project, I don’t really have to worry about length on this one.  But it is intended to be a scrapbook piece anyway.  Thing #1 is the completion of a mini-collection.  I now have all three of the main Minions from the new Minions movie.  From left to right are Kevin, Stuart, and Bob posing for their picture with their fully pose-able arms in the middle of Cardboard Castle.  There are still many many many Minions left to collect, but the first three are the most important bit… I think.

Galtorr Primexvx

I have now reached the climax of the plot in my Sci-fi novel Stardusters and Space Lizards.  I am at that moment in the story when characters, even the most important main characters, may die.  I know, in fact, because of the ending that already exists that some of the main characters will die.  I am not entirely certain that I know which ones yet.  The three I have portrayed here are (left to right again because I am an English speaker/reader and horribly addicted to the same-old same-old) George Jetson, Davalon, and Sizzahl the Lizard Girl.  At least one of them has to die for the plot to work out.  But which one?  I am deeply in love with all three.



My experimental flower wagon has been producing blossoms, but only one at a time.  Each one blooms, I take a picture of it, and then the hot Texas sun burns the poor thing to blazes, and I have to wait for the next one to appear.


And finally, I think I need to define the two Mock-Iowegian words in my title today.  Mock-Iowegian (as I am sure you are bright enough to already realize) is a made-up language spoken by Iowan farm folks in Mickian fiction where the object is to capture their eccentricities and mock them ferociously because I love them.  Futzbatter… noun, meaning things that are fudged or made up on the spur of the moment and mixed together into the overall plan (or impending disaster… depending on the situation).  Foohbah… noun, meaning something you tell a fool and expect him to believe, as in a honking-big-fish story, and nobody else will contradict for fear the fool the speaker is trying pull a foohbah on is the hearer, and they don’t want to let on that the foohbah-teller laying the big, fat, hairy foohbah on the group is talking about them, and they are only feebly trying to stop him.

So, there you have it… almost 500 words in spite of myself.

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Butterflies and Blossoms

A Red Admiral butterfly...

A Red Admiral butterfly…

I am temporarily at home in Iowa, visiting the farm where my grandparents and great grandparents have owned the land and raised crops for over 100 years.  My parents live there now in retirement, and while somebody else tends the corn and rents the land, they maintain the yard and grow flowers.  Retirement is hip deep everywhere around the place.  My old retired self and my wife and my kids are all descended upon them just like the butterfly who came to sample the purple flowers on the porch trellis.  Little work gets done.  My wife and eldest son have jobs and contribute to society still, but we retired folks putter and stutter and watch the butterflies flutter.  We watch the kids and the flowers grow.

The Family Farm House

The Family Farm House

Watching stuff grow has always pretty much been what farming-family Iowegians do.  Corn and soybeans, watermelon, pumpkins. cucumbers, string beans, sweet corn, pop corn, strawberries, potatoes… at one point or another I have helped to plant, tend, harvest, and eat all of those things… well, not seed corn and field soybeans… you can’t directly eat those… but you know what I am talking about, making things grow to feed myself and my family.  There is satisfaction in working the land and making things grow… a fundamental feeling of achievement that helps us feel like we are not mere parasites, consuming and wasting and decimating… we build for the future rather than take maximum profit at the present moment.  Farmers are the good guys.


Only, not so much any more.   For our family farm, with three grandsons (of which I am one) available to do it, none of us have become farmers.  The next generation after us includes no farmers either.  So that fundamental feeling of achievement is basically a memory now.  Only a memory and nothing more.  Feeding the world has become somebody else’s problem now.  We are watching the flowers grow.



Is there value in old farmers watching the flowers grow?  Of course there is!  The land is still functioning farm land.  Iowa is still the breadbasket of America.  We still feed the world.  And we who own the land are at least providing the flowers and the nectar necessary to feed butterflies.  The beauty, as well as the meaning and the metaphor, is there for anyone who wants to see it.


Filed under autobiography, farming, humor, photo paffoonies

The Flower Wagon

My life has more-or-less become an exercise in making the best out of a bad situation.  Believe me, I know yours is probably the same and I am bemoaning the common condition of us all, but we do what we do and it doesn’t get easier just because we do it daily.  So today’s post is about the flower wagon.

20150531_193228Now, if you are truly fool enough to read a lot of my purple paisley prose in this basically boring blog, you may have seen references to the flower wagon before this.

Last year, doing yard work, I had an inordinate amount of crushed live-oak acorns from the street near where we park our cars.  Our oaks were excessively reproductive that year because, I guess they found the weather unusually sexy or something.  So I had copious amounts of crushed acorn.  In fact, before I got it all scooped up, a little bit of rain had turned it into the acorn-equivalent of peanut butter… goopy, sticky, and unpleasant to touch.  Most of it went into the compost bin, but the last little-red-wagon load got left in the little red wagon to get snowed on, frozen solid, and snowed on again.

We love that little red wagon.  When the kids were small, we used it to pull them around SeaWorld in San Antonio and AstroWorld in Houston.  It went all over the country with us on summer vacation, and was the Princess’ personal coach and four (provided she allowed the cooler full of ice for water, soda, and fruit to share the ride).

So, the neglected little red wagon turned into a rust-bucket lawn ornament this spring, and it was busy growing a bumper crop of weeds in all that acorn peanut butter… fertile stuff, acorn peanut butter.  So I decided to plant flowers.  I got some Walmart zinnias and some wildflowers, spending about a dollar fifty all told, pulled the weeds by hand, and sprinkled flower seeds all over it.  We are all sad to see the lonely little wagon deteriorating and being demoted to lawn ornament status, but it seemed like we had a possibility of new life within reach.

This spring, with the monsoon rains Texas apparently borrowed from Asia and the Philippines, I did not even have to bother myself with watering.  If anything, there was too much water… flash-flood-warning-daily sort of too much water.  So I have been patient… watching and weeding.  And then…



20150626_084717The first blossom bloomed and turned color yesterday while we were picking up number one son from the airport.  Old things can produce new things.  Decay and age lead to blossoming new life.  There has to be a balance between happy and sad.  I am trying like heck to be a humorist, but I have learned the lesson that you can’t be laughing all the time.  But here is proof that after the rains come the flowers.  And I am laughing now.


Filed under autobiography, humor, photo paffoonies

Project Updates

Being a divergent thinker and guilty of trying to waltz down seven different paths at the same time, I have various projects going all at once.  I can’t always keep track.  So, I am going to take time out of planning to haunt people when I’m a ghost to take inventory of a few of the things I am juggling while trying to blog and write novels and draw pictures.  You may remember from posts related to playing with dolls that I am a collector with hoarding disorder and a room full of action figures and dolls.  You may even remember that I finished a year-long collection of My Little Pony dolls (the twelve-inch Equestria Girls, because the ponies themselves are not within the rules).  I took up a bigger collection after that.  The prices of some of these are coming down on the bargain shelf, and they are somewhat intriguing in concept for girls’ toys.  They are the Monster High dolls.

Monster Babes

These are twelve-inch dolls for under $20, and so they qualify, even though they are totally deformed with Chibi-like big heads.  They are supposedly the teenage children of the Universal Movie Monsters.  Starting on the left, Howleen Wolf is the daughter of the Wolfman.  Then I have two Cleo de Niles, the daughter of the Mummy.  One is the Black Carpet movie-maker version, apparently being played by a very young Gloria Swanson.  (The one on the left.)  The other version is wearing the family mummy-wraps.  Then I have Howleen’s sister, Clawdeen.  Unfortunately, the bargain shelf at Walmart is often ravaged by little-kid pilferers.  I am short a pair of golden shoes and a couple of undetermined accessories that were pulled out of the bottom of the box.  I am grateful to the thieves, because although there are no mint-in-boxes here, I was able to get the dolls at a reduced-for-damage price.  Now, you probably realize that this collection is not finished.  I have reason to believe there are other movie-monster children in the series.  Dracula has a daughter.  The creature from the Black Lagoon does too.  So does Frankenstein’s monster.  I believe there may even be a daughter of the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors.  How can someone with my mental diseases and disorders possibly resist that?

Flower Wagon 1The next project to check on is the flower wagon.  Last year, while cleaning rain gutters and raking up acorns, I managed to leave the kids’ little red wagon full of the stuff.  The unnaturally wet spring we had led to a bumper crop of weeds in the organic mess that I left there over-long.  Not willing to look a gift horse in the mouth for fear it may be filled with tiny, angry Greeks, I decided to pull out the weeds by hand, and plant flowers.  I got zinnias from Walmart  (Yes, I know what kind of poopy people the Walmart owners and pharaohs are, but I can’t really afford to shop anywhere else.  They didn’t leave anybody else in business.)  I planted carefully.  I let God do the watering.  (And prayed he wouldn’t drown them,)  And then I waited.  The last time I checked on the wagon, the flowers had made it this far;

Flower Wagon 2

I can’t wait to see if anything dares to bloom.  I want to post the happy little flower faces on my next update.  And I promise to get back to plotting future hauntings.   I have already chosen as my target the worst principal I ever had (a hard choice to make from a rogues gallery that puts Batman’s to shame).


Filed under humor, new projects, photo paffoonies

Writer’s Block

20150417_083955I have always maintained that I do not experience writer’s block.  I mean, the words always flow.  Sure, it may be garbage and word-sludge, but I can always get something down.  Yet, the past three days have been a struggle.

You see, I have been working on a sci-fi comedy novel called Stardusters and Space Lizards.  On Monday one of the main characters, a green-skinned alien girl named Brekka was swallowed by a man-eating plant.  In another scene the explorers Farbick and Starbright, both green-skinned Tellerons like Brekka, were surrounded by hungry lizard children from the planet Galtorr Prime.  And those lizard children were armed with weapons of war.  Mortal danger all around for characters I have grown fond of… and this story is supposed to be humor… not grisly-death-sort-of horror sci-fi.  So, my simple and somewhat stupid brain had to come up with two different salvation solutions at once.  I think I may have broken something in the area of the creative mental spigot.


It is essential for me to accomplish writing in a timely fashion.  I waited through the duration of my entire teaching career to become a published author.  Thirty one years’ worth of stories collected, stories plotted out, and stories percolated in my brain with nothing but a future hope of getting written down to endure upon.  I started writing books when I lost my teaching job with the Wicked Witch of Creek Valley.  I began trying to get published, and I took up regular composition on a daily basis for the last seven years of my teaching career as an ESL teacher in a large Garland High School.  But my teaching time was limited by my six incurable diseases.  (Don’t ask me what they are, since my writing time is precious and I have already wasted too much thinking time on disease and disaster elsewhere in this goofy blog… You can look it up.)  Spring of 2014 saw me retiring as a public school teacher.  I have a pension… enough to keep myself and my children alive, but the couple dozen novel-length stories in my head still have to be told, if not for money, then to keep my goofy old head from swelling up with them and exploding.  So I seriously got down to the business of writing.  Catch a Falling Star, a novel about the alien Tellerons invading my home town in Iowa was published in 2012.  I entered a writing contest that same year with the manuscript of Snow Babies, which made it to the final round before finishing out of the prizes.  I found a publisher willing to publish it without making me pay for the publication and signed a contract for the novel.  I entered Magical Miss Morgan in the same Young Adult novel contest this month.  I also have Superchicken and The Bicycle-Wheel Genius finished as manuscripts and I am looking to get them published as well.  I am making progress.  But here’s the big butt… er, I mean the big but… I don’t know how much longer God will give me to work on these silly symphonies of wonderful words in wacky packages.  I need to finish and market as much as I can in as short a time as I can.

20150305_173534That is what makes writer’s block so unthinkable.  I do not have the time to be out of ideas.

But I am not out of ideas.   Brekka was spit out because her species of alien left a bad taste in the mouth of the man-eating plant.  And Farbick figured out how to make synthetic meat with a material synthesizer, feeding all the lizard children until they were too full to eat his girlfriend Starbright.  I just had to take the time to figure out the solutions.  And one can’t actually say I have writer’s block because I wrote longer than usual posts in this blog on each of those empty-headed days I was searching through mental filing cabinets.  So, I guess I don’t have writer’s block.  Well… never mind.


For those of you wondering what’s with all the goofy flower-photos… here’s a picture of Brekka and Menolly dancing… so you don’t ask that.

My Art

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Filed under humor, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney

Apple Blossom Time

When you get to be old and burdened with deteriorating health like I am, you appreciate the renewal of spring with a new intensity.  This year has been like that.  Cold weather and dehydrating cold were worse this winter than I can remember… especially since I feel it in the marrow of my bones now more than ever before.  But the inevitable rebirth did eventually come.  The apple tree my wife planted in the hope that Texas heat would not destroy it is putting out more blossoms than ever before.


The first flowers to put out their winter-weary heads this year were relatively stupid daffodils.  They came out in February only a day before an ice storm came along to slay them for their daffy dunderheadedness.   I didn’t take their demise very well.  I suffered a lot this winter and was looking for the sun with desperation.


But then, in March, dandelions poked out their bright, dandy heads and decided to stay.


And, though we have had plenty of wet weather and rain, the flowers apparently all had a big meeting and decided the time had come to make their yearly assault and wrench the world out of the hands of Jack Frost and his icy minions.


Wisteria began climbing the back corner of the house.  They like to spread their purple majesty out over the area by the cracked and derelict swimming pool.  It is moist and shaded out there, somewhat protected from our cruel Texas sun.

My wife’s bed of roses, both red and yellow marched out into the open air and began to dance gently in the wind like grand ladies decked out in their Easter best , showing off their color and their sass for all the world to see.

I am coming back now too… less seriously depressed.  I completed a doll collection last week.  The educational problems my children were facing are now seemingly straightening out.  It is a time of rebirth… happiness… and flowers.  My smile has returned.

20150411_130025 20150411_130043


Filed under happiness, humor, photo paffoonies

Ugly Flowers (a short short science fiction story)

Mai Ling was swiftly learning the ninja skills that Master Aero taught the students in his dojo.  Unlike the majority of the Mutant Ninja Space Babies, Mai was completely in tune with the skills of movement, attack, and defense she was learning at the dojo because her psionic mutant power was telekinesis, the ability to remotely move things with the mind.  Her mental ability complemented her ninja attack skills in that she could alter the course of projectiles in flight.  If she threw a ten-pointed shuriken at someone, it would not miss.  The picture in her inner eye, the secret of psionic control, was always the flower-like shuriken rotating through the air at the target, even if it needed to make a ninety degree turn to hit the precise spot she aimed at.

Shu Kwai, Master Aero’s lead student, had worked with her hundreds of times, helping her to see the power to control movement of objects as part of a wondrous dance.  He was also a telekinetic and could also do the dance.  It was a dance that could protect others from harm, or if the need arose, destroy them.

At twelve years old, Mai was already developing into a shapely young lady. 

“You can’t be ashamed of your body when you are doing the dance,” reminded Shu.  “We wear hardly any clothes not because we are immodest, but because we do not wish to impede the dance in any way.”

Mai frowned at him.  Shu could be such a prig at times.  He stood there wearing only a white loincloth.  Except for that, his light orange-yellow body was functionally nude.  Boys could get away with that, especially scrawny teenage boys with practically nothing to show off anyway.  Shu and Mai were both natives to the planet Gaijin where Master Aero’s dojo was located.  That meant that they were descended half from the Japanese humans of Earth, and half from the nearly human Sylvani of deep space.  Mai herself had bare feet, bare legs, and a bare midriff.  She was not about to leave breasts exposed, or even her arms.  She wore a computerized ring-sleeve on her left arm, which helped give gauss-magnetic acceleration to objects she threw.  And the magnetic arm bands on her right arm gave her a magnetic shield she could shape and manipulate with telekinesis.

“I am not going out into the jungle without any clothes on,” she stated firmly to Shu.  “You don’t know if these strange aliens will attack.  Besides, I fight better with clothes on.  I’m not a pervert like you.”

At fourteen, Shu was definitely vulnerable to insults like “pervert”.  He cast his eyes downward to scan the ground and blushed furiously.  It was entirely possible, Mai thought, that Shu had a secret crush on her.  With the red flower in her hair, she was definitely beautiful, at least, in her opinion.

“Okay, but you better obey orders while we are on this weird planet.”  Shu sniffed imperiously for added emphasis.  That was okay.  Mai accepted the fact that he outranked her.

Cornucopia was probably the strangest planet Mai had ever visited.  Master Aero had discovered and named the planet.  Little Gyro the Nebulon inventor and one of Master Aero’s favorite students had discovered that all the intelligent creatures were plants and had a special scent language unlike anything in the known galaxy.  The first alien they had been able to communicate with was a strange, onion-like creature that Gyro’s computer translator named, “Luigi the Onion-Guy.”  Why the plant-man had an Italian first name was a complete mystery, but there was a clue in the fact that Gyro’s computer also dubbed the language of the Cornucopians “Stink-Talk.”  Nebulons were known for weird senses of humor.

“Are you sure we can’t take any weapons?” Mai asked.  Luigi the Onion-Guy had pleaded with Master Aero to come to Cornucopia to help battle evil fascist creatures that he called “Throckpods.”  Actually it was Gyro’s translator that called them that, but that was quibbling with the facts.

“Master Aero doesn’t want us to anger or frighten any of the flower-people of this planet.”

“Flower people?  They look like walking thistles and weeds to me.”

“Still, Master Aero only wants us to locate a Throckpod and convince him to come back with us so our group can study it.”

“So it’s a spy mission.”

“Intelligence gathering.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s very different.”

The jungle was different than any other jungle Mai had ever been in.  Instead of trees and vines and shrubs, it was made up of salt pillars, living crystals, and mold.  Mai’s ring sleeve indicated that large parts of it were toxic and deadly.  The two young ninjas proceeded cautiously.

Each time they encountered a carrot-guy or a potato-guy or a corn-stalk-guy, they were told to take a different trail through the toxic jungle.   Fortunately, Mai’s ring sleeve was programmed not only to interpret the plant people’s Stink-Talk, but could make a map of their progress as well.  Otherwise, Mai and Shu would be hopelessly lost.

Finally, a radish-guy with a puffy red and purple face pointed to a large stand of weeds.

“In that spot you will pinpoint a Throckpod.”  The ring sleeve translated the smells and spoke the message aloud in a voice that sounded like Mickey Mouse.  Darn that Gyro!

Shu looked at Mai and nodded.  They walked over to the stand of weeds.

“One of you is a Throckpod?” asked Shu.  The translator device made the word “Throckpod” smell suspiciously skunk-like.

“Who is asking?” said one of the flower-headed weeds.  “You appear to be skoog monkeys.”

Skoog monkey was an insult on most planets, at least, when used to describe a humanoid.  They were vicious little primates from the planet Misko Skoogalia.  Human beings were much more like the little poop-throwers than any human was comfortable admitting.

“We are students of Master Ged Aero,” said Shu.  “We think you may have heard of him, because other Cornucopians came to our world to seek him out.”

“We have heard of your head monkey, yes.  But we do not recognize his authority.”

“All we want is for a Throckpod to come and meet with him.  We wish to learn more about your planet.”

Everything went silent and smell free.  Mai wondered if they knew that the translator device in her ring sleeve would pick up and translate any smells they used to talk about the situation.  Maybe, however, they used telepathy or something.  Mai wished Sarah the telepath was with her at that moment.

One exceptionally large weed came over to Mai and bent down over her head.  Mai realized that it was examining her red flower with little seed-like eyes.

“You have killed a seedling!” said the possible Throckpod.  “You must be killed in return.”

Mai’s heart leaped.  Shu was obviously surprised too.  They had no weapons, but both of them could pick up and throw rocks, pebbles, and crystal shards with only a thought.  Mai could propel one like a bullet with her ring sleeve.

The rest of the weeds gathered around them too.

“It’s a flower from my own world,” said Mai, lamely.  How could she make these plant people understand that, not only was the flower not intelligent like them, it was an artificial hair decoration and made from silk?

“A flower is a flower,” said the Throckpod, “and a monkey is a monkey.”

“Pick up a score of pebbles and rocks, Mai,” said Shu.  “It’s time we gave them the old lawnmower treatment!”

“Lawnmower?” asked the Throckpod.

“A machine for cutting grass,” said Shu.  “It cuts plants down close to the roots.”

If a weed could turn pale, then these Throckpods were suddenly gray.  They knew about human technology apparently, and were completely unsure of what Mai and Shu were capable of.  It was at that very moment that Mai had a bright idea.

“Why do you assume the flower is dead?” asked Mai, looking into the seed-eyes of the weed standing over her.

“Because it doesn’t move.”

Mai smiled.  She used her telekinetic ability to make the petals of the silk flower move.  In fact, she made the delicate little thing do a spinning dance just above her brow.  “This flower is alive and it is my good friend and companion.”

“Have it say so,” the Throckpod replied menacingly.

“It is a tiny flower,” said Mai, thinking quickly, “and tiny flowers on my planet have not learned to speak.  Can you not see that it is alive?”

“Accept her word, brother,” said one of the other weeds.  “We don’t want to risk this lawnmowing thing.”

The plant-man relented.  “Very well.  I will go with you to see this master monkey of yours.  You will remember that Throckpods are the natural rulers of this planet, and we are to be treated as king-things.”

“King-things?” asked Mai.

“Royalty,” suggested Shu.

“Oh,” said Mai.  It was Gyro’s crazy translator program again. 

So, finally, Mai’s Cornucopia adventure was ending as she trudged back to the Mutant Ninja Space Baby camp.  She had found and mastered a walking weed known as a Throckpod, and she left with the melancholy realization that it would be nice to have a talking flower to put in her hair, but that wish could never come true.Image

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