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Friday, December 26, 2014

AmyKossBlogThang: Psychic Adventure

AmyKossBlogThang: Psychic Adventure: I ’ve always wondered about those fortune teller houses decorated with moons and stars. But you can’t pay money just to satisfy curios...

Psychic Adventure

I’ve always wondered about those fortune teller houses decorated with moons and stars. But you can’t pay money just to satisfy curiosity if you're #1. A non-believer (although admittedly one who blows dandelions to make wishes) or #2. Cheap. 

So I pitched an article to the Times offering to go to a bunch of psychics around town and compare their stories, see if they come up with one common prediction, one more-than-coincidental bit of truthiness. I promised it would make a good new years piece. 

They agreed, although with less than their usual enthusiasm.

So, after a few chicken-outs, I pulled over at a place near me in Glendale and marched right up the painted stairs, rang the bell and asked the woman who answered, if I could have a reading. When she unlocked the iron security door I introduced myself and extended my hand. But she said she never shakes hands. 

I figured she meant that her hands were too packed with powerful sensitive ju-ju. But then she said, “You never know who has been in Africa.”

Hmmm. As a psychic, wasn’t she supposed to know if I’ve been in Africa? Plus if she doesn’t shake hands with people who might have been in Africa, what are the chances that she is not an idiot?  

Her looks were the worst part, though. Where were her fringed shawls and long skirts? 

She led me not through beaded curtains to a dim room with thick drapes and colorful rugs, but to a bright sunlit room. We sat facing each other across a white table sans embroidered table cloth, or crystal ball. 

She looked into my eyes and said she didn’t accept credit cards. 

Then she recited her price list. Twenty bucks for one palm reading three months into the future. $40.00 for both hands, going up to six months... 

Wrong! Wrong! Everything about this was so wrong! But I said I’d start with the cheap one-hander.

She asked to see, but not touch, my right palm. Then she mumbled several truisms of the human condition like, You are often happy but have times when you are not. 

It was completely disappointing which is not to imply that I wasn’t weeping. But when she told me I’d do well in medicine, or law, I suggested I ask specific questions.

She got defensive.

I reminded her that this was my first time and I didn’t know the rules. Then I told her I’d had a horrible year. My dad died and my mom is a mess. My career is dreck, I got fat, my car got totaled, and they’re building a mansion next door in what I’d always considered my empty lot... 

She had me put out both hands. She hovered hers above mine and said that after people die we are often sad and negative for a while.

With that wisdom ringing in my ears, I paid and left, still weeping.

After consuming many chocolate covered almonds, I goggled California Psychics. There were 306,000 results. One advertised $1.99 for the first ten minutes, although it was later revealed that those ten minutes were part of a twenty-five dollar commitment. Still, that was a bargain compared to the guy who charged $200.00 for thirty minutes.

Not that I think psychically gifted people should have to go mucking around in other peoples’ pasts or futures for free, but pay-pal seemed so... un-spiritual. 

I played for a while on a free site that shuffled tarot cards like on-line solitaire but with life predictions.
And I left petulant phone messages everywhere until I finally got an appointment at a place in Silverlake. But when I got there the woman couldn’t keep our appointment because she was expecting a refrigerator.

I drove from there to a place in Eagle Rock because it was close. The sign in the window said, OPEN! But it was a lie. 

My passion for the experiment/article was definitely fading. Had the entire psychic society of Los Angeles sensed my skepticism and decided to shun me? 

But then I tried a shop in Los Feliz that was stocked with potions, candles, magic beans, and pictures on the wall of their staff of readers. I signed on and followed a friendly young woman into a tiny, rickety room painted deep yellow. We sat close, across a table with a colorful tablecloth and three sets of cards. This was more like it. 

She took both my hands in hers and closed her eyes. Then she shuffled, I cut, and she dealt. 

She was enthusiastic, encouraging and absolutely adorable. As she flipped over one card she gasped, “Oh I’m so glad you drew that one!” Another card inspired her to sigh, “I hoped that card would show up for you!” 

It was a great fifteen therapeutic minutes and I didn’t shed a tear. Who wouldn’t want to hear that their inner child was preparing to explode out to play and have a lot more fun? Or that there was a large circle of people eagerly waiting to embrace their work?  

I suppose I could have gone on to meet more psychics as I’d proposed, but I felt satisfied and done. And ultimately, my adventure in the occult led me to accept as my fate that I’ll just have to let the future unfold as it will.   

So, the piece will never appear in the paper but it’s here, for you.  Happy New Year, my friends. 

2015 will be what it will be, but we can hope for fabulous!


Friday, December 19, 2014

AmyKossBlogThang: Praise!

AmyKossBlogThang: Praise!: Tis  the season to procrastinate all  useful   endeavors  to reflect on the joys of holidays past and the shimmery ghosts of holidays fu...


Tis the season to procrastinate all useful endeavors to reflect on the joys of holidays past and the shimmery ghosts of holidays future. But I'm not in the mood. Instead I shall tell you this little story: 
At a recent party a young father, having learned that I was in the kid-biz, explained to me that he was not a great dancer, writer, singer, poet, (memory fails) because his (evil / negligent) parents failed to encourage him as a wee lad. He however as a father himself, makes a point of telling his own kid how amazingly fabulous she is at absolutely everything all the time.

The young dad rocked back on his heels to await my praise, so I shoved another handful of chips into my face and replied, "Hmm," (because I am always polite in my stories, and do not tell people they are full of shit unless it is absolutely necessary.)

But here and now in these private pages, just between you, dear reader, and me, I'd like to say these things:
1. It's what you do, not what you say.
2. I don't believe encouragement does squat for the kid who knows you're lying.
and 3. Although it is kinder to be kind than unkind, kindness alone is not necessarily kind. If you're (kindly) heaping false encouragement and phony praise on your kid, you're just adding to the already deafening noise-pollution of childhood. 

When I was a kid, my dad -- who was perfect in every way except for having died this year -- never told me my art was good. To say a poem was good would imply that it was possible to write a poem that was not good. That it could be bad, that it could fail and disappoint and be wrong. That art was to be judged like math homework and spelling tests. 

My dad, who was superior to that smug young father in every way, didn't tell me it was important to read or to make art or play music. These were obviously the things that gave life joy and meaning because they were what he chose to spend his own time on Earth doing. He patterned behavior like a mama duck, although I'm pretty sure it was by accident and it never occurred to him that I was watching.

Wait. I was making some pithy point about something here. But I guess it's really just that I miss my dad.

xo Amy 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

AmyKossBlogThang: What was, was.

AmyKossBlogThang: What was, was.: T his Thanksgiving was my mom's first wedding anniversary without my dad. People say the year of firsts is especially hard, altho...

What was, was.

This Thanksgiving was my mom's first wedding anniversary without my dad. People say the year of firsts is especially hard, although I suspect the second, third, and fourth, will also suck.

The week leading up to and away from it was like any other at her place. Activities in the atrium, movies after dinner in the club room... 

But Momba wants to sleep til it's time to go down to breakfast, have a nap til lunch, followed by a little snooze before dinner, then turn in early, like a cat. 

The original brisk, no nonsense version of her would have had no patience for this new vague, drifty one. I know she'd bully her up and out and keep her marching from one inane but harmless activity to the next. 

So when I'm in town, I do it for her. 

Downstairs for exercises. 
But Momba's blind and can't see the leader leading. Also, she doesn't give a shit. And even if she could hear or see the movies, she can't see the point of staying awake for them. 

At meals, my mom who once had a world of friends and who entertained often, effortlessly, with charm and aplomb, barely turns her head to speak to the women at her table. 

Thanksgiving dinner: A scoop each of mashed potatoes, green-bean-sludge, sweet potato "souffle'," stuffing and turkey with gravy vomited over all.  
Momba plows through and doesn't even bitch.

Bingo! We could rake in some serious cash here! 
Ok, I admit, even the old Momba wouldn't rejoice over bingo.

But Karaoke in the club room? Oldies and show tunes including songs from shows she was once in?  
I'm kicking some serious ass on Moon River... Momba, nothing.

Later, a guy pounds out  Yiddish folk songs on the piano. My mom's foot is not tapping. She's not even mouthing the words.

Me: (whiny, petulant) But Momba, you were in Yiddish choirs! You loved this crap!

Her: (sigh) What was, was.

Ah! I remember that song. She taught it to me long ago, in Yiddish and English. 'What was, was, and is no more."
Here it is.


Monday, November 10, 2014

AmyKossBlogThang: My Van

AmyKossBlogThang: My Van: I know there are worse things going on but I just called the guy at the garage to find out when I was getting my van back. It was rear-en...

My Van

I know there are worse things  but I just called the guy at the garage to find out when I was getting my van back. It was rear-ended on the freeway the other day and the car that hit mine kinda wedged its nose up my van's butt. My van  looked uncomfortable but the other car looked way worse than mine, face crunched, air bags out and glass everywhere. 

I'd just been worried that I'd have to lose my three bumper stickers. One was my son's band, Fool Gator. The second was a Save the Los Angeles Library sticker from the protest over funding for library hours and staff. The third was from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, (SCBWI) that said, Peace Love and Children's books.

But it turns out that not only am I losing the bumper stickers and the bumper, I'm losing the whole entire van.

The garage guy (very casually) said my van is "totalled out!" 
But it was just a bump! A flesh wound!
"No," he said, "when they are over fourteen it doesn't take much."

Now like in any sad love story, it's time for the photo montage of romantic, sweet things my van and I did together over the years. Shots of the back seats full of my kids and their little friends. My dearly departed dog Sweetie as a puppy, chewing up  the seat belts at $100.00 a pop. Driving my daughter to Children's Hospital fresh from her cancer diagnosis. Bringing her home cured, in triumph. 

Sitting in the driveway to listen to This American Life without interruption. 

Heading home after dropping the last kid at college when the van thoughtfully died in the middle of the desert as the perfect distraction from saddness.

When Obama instituted Cash for Clunkers and everyone suggested I trade in my rattly old gas-guzzler, I thought, NO! It's my van! Does loyalty mean nothing? 

Never mind that it doesn't have a visor on the passenger side and everyone gets blinded driving with me. 
Never mind the enormous dents along the sides from those pesky yellow poles that are always jumping out at a person.
Never mind the tire thumping loose in the back since that drunk tow-truck guy took off with the jack that held my spare in place.
Never mind the mysterious smell.
It was my van for fourteen years, and now it is gone, and that is that.

xo amy 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

AmyKossBlogThang: Grub Season!!!

AmyKossBlogThang: Grub Season!!!: I was just digging in the dirt, as one does when one has just showered and has work to do, when I discovered that it is once again GRUB S...

Grub Season!!!

I was just digging in the dirt, as one does when one has just showered and has work to do, when I discovered that it is once again GRUB SEASON! 

I sat peacefully sifting out the grubs and flicking them into a bucket, losing count after 43, when these things occurred to me: 

  1. I must be a grown up to be able to do this without even wearing garden gloves. As a kid I would have run SCREAMING from the sight, and needed twenty two showers minimum. 
  2. I’m a hypocrite, blithely tossing the live & wiggly grubs into the garden trimmings/recycle bucket so the city, not me, will be ultimately responsible for killing them, or for spreading my grub infestation through city compost. And I am a hypocrite as an animal lover who feels morally superior for not eating mammals or wearing leather, yet assigning innocent grubs to trauma, homelessness and their likely death.
                                           Why was I ok with this hypocrisy?  
                               The answer seemed to be: GRUBS ARE NOT CUTE.

Grubs are little, which usually makes things cute. And they curl up like baby humans and kitties. It’s not just their lack of fur or feathers because little turtles and lizards are cute... We even think animals who could rip us to bits are cute: bears, lions. 

A few weeks ago my sister-in-law, normally a macho and reasonable person, completely lost it over an earwig in her house. She insisted that it was NOT the kind of bug you move outside, it was the kind you SQUASH!

I laughed at her at the time, but having just spent 45 minutes sending innocent beings to their death, I get it!

It's not because they're ugly. It is because they are the ones who'll win. They are the ones who will have the last word and their smirking, underworld smugness creeps us out. They are the death-bugs who will eat our eyes and enter our orifices when we can no longer defend ourselves. Unlike bears and lions, we will have no fighting chance against the grubs.

No, wait. These grubs have been devouring the roots of everything I plant. They must be vegetarians, like me. Hmm. Maybe this is about garden revenge. Or maybe I'm just a gigantic bully.

xo Amy

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Run Away Rant!

They say we can't run away from our problems, and that's true if our problems are intestinal parasites that travel inside us, or psychotic delusions which do the same. 

But if our problems exist outside of our bodies, such as shit-ball husbands, or sadistic bosses, or a creep sitting next to us on the bus, or a hostile editor, or a crabby-appelton girlfriend, we can absolutely RUN AWAY!  

Yes, the jilted husband may trail us with a messy divorce and staggering legal expenses, and running away from the lousy job could leave us broke and terrified. But there's a lot to be said for escape. 

It changes the picture, knocks the needle into the next groove, cracks the future open.

Town is haunted by painful memories? We don't have to buck-up, or come to terms, or make our peace... We can RUN!

(You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.)

Roommate annoying and petty? Landlord aggressively evil? MOVE! 

Soul-sucking, dead-end career? Nasty relatives? We  don't have to work it out, or suck it up, or bite our tongue, or compromise. We can RUN! 

Working on a miserable project that grinds joylessly along? QUIT!

Have people in your life who you wish weren't? BREAK UP! DUMP THEM!

True, I'm an unemployed drop-out who has been quitting and running from things since I could walk, but still, so many of us are making do, making the best of lousy situations, biding our time, denying our own happiness, postponing joy. Forgoing that piece of pie a la mode. 

But having spent the last few months among the elderly and infirm, I'm here to say: There is no time to lose! We should be having as much fun as possible while we can! 

Let's leave no room for regrets!

xo Amy 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Take Care!

Just because it was in the newspaper first, doesn't mean it can't be a blog, right?
xo Amy
(Writing from Michigan where the colors are in full end-of-season-glory.)

From the bedside to the nurses' station, dutiful daughters of the world, take care

When friends heard I was in Michigan to help my elderly, macular-degenerated, moderately demented mother who had fractured her hip and been moved to a rehab facility, they told me not to forget to take care of myself. I've given other caregivers the identical advice. But now, after several weeks here, I wonder what it even means. How does it translate into reality?

I'm taking my calcium and eating my greens, but addressing my emotional needs would require taking time away from my mom's bedside.
I picture myself meeting a friend for lunch, while back in rehab my mom lies shivering on the bathroom floor as her call button goes unanswered. Could I linger over coffee, in the name of self-care, knowing that were I at my mom's bedside, her caregivers would be more … careful?

My mom and I have been at the rehab joint long enough for the overworked, underpaid care staff to have sorted itself into individual people and positions, some kind, some not. One aide sends a hunk of her $8 an hour home to Jamaica to pay for her own mother's care. An Albanian aide says she hasn't seen her mom in 11 years. They often work back-to-back 14-hour shifts.
I'm now familiar with some of the patients too, especially the screamers and fall risks, the troublemakers whose wheelchairs are parked at the nurses' station so the staff can keep an eye on them. There's the Russian woman whose hand flutters up as she apologizes to everyone who passes. I originally hoped she was saying "I'm soaring," but it was just her accent. Next to her is the man who chews bloody sores on his arm and then cries out in pain.

I've gotten to know my mom's nonspeaking roommate, or at least I've learned which TV shows she likes to have on at full volume while she sleeps. I hear that she was a nurse before her stroke.

The regular visitors, a coven of dutiful daughters who arrive daily bearing fuzzy slippers, favorite snacks, photos, have become my commiserators. I see them spooning food into their fathers or combing their mothers' hair. When we find ourselves in the empty hall simultaneously seeking the elusive aide, we remind one another not to forget to take care of ourselves.
To that end, I don't eat the leftovers off my mother's tray. This doesn't require much self-control, however, since even the cake looks nasty.

My mom has an hour of physical therapy daily, except when they are understaffed and sessions are canceled. This happens frequently, as if the administrators are caught off-guard by their rehab patients actually requiring rehab.

On the occasion when someone from therapy does appear, I burst out of the building as soon as they wheel my mom away, thrilled to have a precious, guilt-free hour. Giddy, I drive with the windows down, gulping the fresh breeze. I admire my fellow drivers and the beauty of the day, wondering what would be the most taking-care-of-myself option for my 60, now 52 minutes of freedom.
Loath to squander the moment, I pull into the closest parking lot.
The shelves of the CVS are wonderful! Colorful and bright! The staff cheerful and ambulatory! I buy a light-up Hello Kitty toothbrush that will remind me to brush a full minute each, top teeth and bottom. Now that's taking care of myself.

I overstay a bit, and when I return, I see my mom's call light on in the hall. How long has it been lighted? I hide in a doorway to spy, check my watch and begin to fume. When an aide finally appears, I creep closer and watch her grab my mom's wheelchair from behind without a word.
If I'd been there, the aide would have asked my mom what she needed. She might even have called her "honey."

When my mom sees me, she inflates. She'd been worried that I might not come today.
I remind her that I was with her all morning, until her PT. No matter. Now that I'm here, she's happy, she feels safe and protected.

I drag myself back to her apartment at night, longing for a hot bath, but weighing it against equal time spent sleeping. Which one qualifies as taking care of oneself? I decide to allow myself a glass of wine. As I open the bottle, I imagine my mom as I left her, sleeping calm and cozy, dreaming of better times. But then the phone rings. It is the head nurse. My mother is not hurt but she is confused and agitated. She's trying to stand and walk. She's anxious and uncooperative. "Perhaps it would help if you come back?"

I no longer find my fellow drivers delightful, nor do I enjoy the breeze. I seethe with resentment toward the world of people not sharing my misery. I'm sure that everyone but me is taking care of herself.

I find my mom at the nurses' station parked beside the I'm Sorry Lady. Mom looks small and shaky. She doesn't know where she is or why she is being punished. She does not know what she did wrong or why these strangers are mad at her. But the second she recognizes me, she relaxes.

I marvel at my power to bring peace. But as any superhero can attest, powers come at a price. If my presence can soothe and comfort her, then how can I withhold it? Who am I to take myself away? And that is when I understand that I can't take care of both myself and her. It's one or the other, one at a time.
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

Friday, October 10, 2014

AmyKossBlogThang: Eye Eye

AmyKossBlogThang: Eye Eye: Dears, My eye hurt. I figured some air-born bit of garden must have blown in there and would get itself out.  But it didn't.  So, ...

Eye I Aye


My eye hurt. I figured some air-born bit of garden must have blown in there and would get itself out. But it didn't. So, I made an appointment with the eye guy. 

On the way to his office I realized that I might soon be able to definitively answer the age old question of what was and what was not better than a sharp stick in the eye!

This would be a new line of demarcation, like the ever-popular childbirth line. 
The only thing I've heard fall on the other side of the pain of childbirth is the pain of passing a kidney stone, but I remain unconvinced.

As proof, someone should do a graph showing the size of a kidney stone relative to the size of the average pee hole, to compare to one illustrating the size of a baby-head compared to a vagina. 
Perhaps the roughness of the stone should be factored in, pain-wise, vs the smoothness of the baby-head. Although obviously some consideration has to be given to the baby's nose.

As I inched through traffic pondering this, it occurred to me that I may actually have eye cancer, and that these exhaust scented miles might stand as my last moments of pre-eye-cancer-innocence.  

My beloved nephew-dog Jacob recently succumbed to eye cancer, but not before he had his eye removed and took to oozing a smell a lot like raw hamburger gone bad. 

I figured that unlike Jacob, I'd wear perfume and a patch. Not a white gauze and tape  medical looking patch, but a classic pirate style in black. 

I knew I would not look sexy and mysterious, though. It seems that women of my age and texture can do absolutely nothing to look mysterious and very little to look sexy. 
Practically any fat old guy in a patch could pull off swashbuckely however, which further pointed up the unfairness of everything, including whatever that was in my eye that made it hurt to blink. 

Pre-pissed, and looking for a fight, I drew my pirate sword and soon learned that 
the owie thing
in my left eye, 
was just a sty!  

XO Amy 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

AmyKossBlogThang: Judgement Day

AmyKossBlogThang: Judgement Day: Dears,  I just finished slogging through the synopsis and first ten pages of a couple dozen YA book manuscripts, and I am here to say ...

AmyKossBlogThang: Judgement Day

AmyKossBlogThang: Judgement Day: Dears,  I just finished slogging through the synopsis and first ten pages of a couple dozen YA book manuscripts, and I am here to say ...

AmyKossBlogThang: AmyKossBlogThang: Third Floor

AmyKossBlogThang: AmyKossBlogThang: Third Floor: AmyKossBlogThang: Third Floor : Dears,  My mom fell and broke her hip so while she's in rehab I've been staying in her apartment in ...

Judgment Day


I just finished slogging through the synopsis and first ten pages of a couple dozen YA book manuscripts, and I am here to say that plot is overrated.
As the (anonymous) judge for this manuscript competition, I was left with a big pile of "Feh" a medium pile of "Not Entirely Terrible" and nothing at all in my pile of "Wow!" And this overwhelming underwhelmingness has paralyzed me before. 

Because the characters were a snore. 
Many of them had the survival of the world, (the sector, the village, the family, the tribe, the universe) in their hands. Many had unique powers which they reluctantly came to accept, but NO ONE was anyone in particular. 

I'm not one of those readers who needs to like or be able to recognize herself in the characters, but I do need them to be more than just bland victims of fate. 

Clearly, many of these writers worked very hard and put lots of time into these stories. But does effort count?

Perhaps I should quit the judgment biz and leave it to those who take delight in intricate plots with predictable outcomes, and generic characters, but even if I decline the next request, what do I do about this one? 

It is a conundrum for a curmudgeon

Meanwhile, here is a picture of my dogs, who never disappoint.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

AmyKossBlogThang: Third Floor

AmyKossBlogThang: Third Floor: Dears,  My mom fell and broke her hip so while she's in rehab I've been staying in her apartment in assisted living. It has bee...

Friday, September 19, 2014

AmyKossBlogThang: Third Floor

AmyKossBlogThang: Third Floor: Dears,  My mom fell and broke her hip so while she's in rehab I've been staying in her apartment in assisted living. It has bee...

Third Floor


My mom fell and broke her hip so while she's in rehab I've been staying in her apartment in assisted living. It has been a few weeks now, and odd as this existence may be, I've gotten used to checking my e-mail on the public computer in the library, used to having no neighbors under the age of eighty, used to taking the elevator crammed with chairs and walkers, used to living in an apartment with a pa system, and no kitchen, one that workers can access with their own keys whenever they wish.

But I was not prepared to be awakened by a woman's voice calling "HELP ME! HELP ME!" last night.

My first thought was to go help as requested, But then I realized the calls were coming from the floor above me, the third floor, the memory unit. 
Then I knew it wasn't me she was calling, and knew that whatever help I could offer would be insufficient.

Right or wrong, I stayed where I was and listened as she called and called and called and called and called.

No one seemed to come. Or, if they came, the help they offered was not what she wanted, or she didn't know they'd come... Anything was possible on the third floor.

Remember he story of Kitty Genovese from the 70s? Screaming and screaming as she was being murdered and although many people heard her screams, no one did jack shit? No one came or responded.

Was I all those reprehensible people who didn't want to get involved?

Truth is, the relentless calls were getting really annoying. It was 3:something am when she woke me and she was still going strong at 4:45. Didn't that degree of untiring dedication speak of madness? I closed the balcony doors to dull the sound, but it came through the ceiling, or the sprinklers, or the hall.

I couldn't blame the third floor nurses for ignoring her, or giving up on her or wanting to smother her with her pillow. You could tell from her tone she was a pain-in-the ass, the kind of patient everyone loathed. The kind you could only pity AFTER she stopped screaming.

I never knew this about myself, and would've gotten really pissed at anyone who suggested I could be so callus, but
I covered my ears and eventually slept.

And ashamed or not, if she pulls that crap again tonight, I'm sure I'll have no more compassion than I did last night. Perhaps less.

File this under getting to know myself?
xo amy

Monday, August 25, 2014

AmyKossBlogThang: Looky-loo

AmyKossBlogThang: Looky-loo: W hen my plants put out new flowers I know it's not with me in mind.  It's like how scantily clad teenage girls are not scantil...


When my plants put out new flowers I know it's not with me in mind. 

It's like how scantily clad teenage girls are not scantily clad for the rapey pleasure of the strangers and old-farts driving by.

But even though I'm not the species the plants are aiming to woo, I believe I'm entitled to enjoy their blooms -- as long as I don't interfere with them. 

No cutting their heads off, for instance. No dragging them inside to lie in-state in a vase. 

Surely it doesn't offend them if I just take note of their loveliness and admire their perseverance in the face of our awful drought. 

Their success all the more impressive considering my grand-dog's determined dedication to deforestation. 

So, whether or not it is my place to do so, I hereby share the current (quiet) botanical triumphs occurring in my back yard -- for your ogling enjoyment.

xo Amy