no bull

going quickly through an old box of photos, i found this one! me at 5.  and my memory is not too far off. this did actually happen! see forethoughts… 

i’m confusing a couple of memories. no cowboy hat. and I am the rider, not Cindy, although she probably has one of these around somewhere, too. my parents were very into keeping things equal between the two of us.


Bull on beach

yes, i do remember this. when i thought about it, i couldn’t believe that it actually was true and not a dream. but it wasn’t. I am thinking of a photo of Cindy, wearing a plaid shirt and a cowboy hat. and it was Daytona; she was 4 or 5 years old, and she was sitting on, from what i remember, a brown and white cow, on the beach in Daytona. So maybe there was a cow too?

last piece

of mulberry pie. The tree is finished for this year.

How to make a mulberry pie: You need a lot of mulberries — about three cups, I guess. 2/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, pinch of salt, sprinkle of cinnamon, juice from a half a lemmon. dot with butter. cook in preheated oven 400 degrees for 15 minutes. turn down to 350 degrees and cook for at least 30 minutes.

from edible florida:

Earlier in the spring I took several photos of the dwarf weeping mulberry. What surprised me was that while mulberries are deciduous, in my 9b garden, just barely. Before they had lost all the old growth they were covered with new leaves and ripening fruit. I was still picking last year’s fruit when the new spring growth spurt began.

The blacker the dwarf weeping mulberry, the sweeter. At this stage they still have some tartness and taste like blackberries. Often I pick a handful that includes mulberries in varying stage of blackness. Eaten together I enjoy a nice variation of sweetness.

While the dwarf weeping mulberry produces the greatest abundance of fruit in the spring, it continues to fruit year round in this climate.

In earlier times in Florida most everybody had the large mulberry tree in their yard. This meant a reliable tree to produce tasty fruit. But as the convenience of store-bought fruit increased the mulberry fell out of favor because the dark fruit stains driveways, and pretty much anything else. Plant nurseries responded to this annoyance with mulberry trees that did not fruit, yet still provided a carefree shade tree.

The problem with the mulberry as a shade tree is that it sends up so many new plants from the roots that if the homeowner is not careful, the entire yard is soon overtaken by mulberry trees. Longtime Floridians have probably seen this a time or two at a house that has been left empty with yard neglected.

The dwarf weeping mulberry becomes a good solution, which can be grown in a large planter or a small-space garden.

One caution: I notice that mine wants to product very vigorous fruitless limbs from the base. I’m only guessing but it appears that the dwarf plant is grafted onto a more vigorous fruitless rootstock. Simply remove any stems from the base that do not produce fruit. I have a feeling they could overtake the plant if left alone. They grow faster and stronger than the fruit-laden stems.

If concerned about size, the dwarf weeping mulberry seems to be perfectly happy in a large planter.

Sure, birds take their share of fruit, but you should still have plenty. In general birds are such good helpers at removing insects from the garden, I see no reason to deny them a share of the harvest.

Do not use pesticides. There is no need and you would only be adding unnecessary chemicals to your food. As seen in the photo the old growth does begin to look, well, old. That’s not a problem as it is only trying to go through its normal deciduous cycle.

I do not have the dwarf variety. my tree is huge. and the fruit is a fairly good size, too. the larger ones are about the size of a cap for a pen.


it’s weird, but I think they are cute.

this turtle is from this site -

I don’t get it, really. But I guess I think their armor is jewel-like. maybe on the same plane as a scarab?

I don’t know how I ended up with a pet turtle when I was a kid, but I did. Someone, I don’t think it was me, bought him from Woolworth’s. I named him Freddy the Freeloader, and I somehow became in charge of him. He ate turtle food, of course, but he also ate flies, lettuce and he loved tadpoles. So weird. So gross, but, I didn’t mind…

I had him for about a year and when we went away for the summer, I left him with my grandmother, and he didn’t do well. When I came back, his shell was all soft. I thought maybe he was molting or something like that. Anyway, he died, and we buried him in a shoebox, I think, and went out and bought Freddie II, who lived a while, but not nearly as long as Freddie I.

(Thanks to the Internet, I just learned that he had soft shell syndrome, from lack of calcium or insufficient sunlight.)

Anyway, that’s the sad story of the Freddies.

God only knows why people find scarabs interesting…

But you can see that the image was used in art, and as jewelry, too

I don’t have a clue.

But just look at how pretty and the esteem we bestow on this little creature who rises from the… well, you know.

This ritual box can be bought here:

And no. I don’t get a commission. And no. I don’t want it or a new turtle.

Can I borrow a baby, please?

My world has a lot to do with sounds, and the lack of them. My favorite dreams are music dreams — just pure music. no images. I think, if there is a heaven, it will be full of music like that.

Sleep Sheep by Cloud B
Sleep Sheep by Cloud B

There will be some light in heaven, too. Sparkly points of light. So, here’s some of that, too.

Twilight Turtle Cloud B
Twilight Turtle Cloud B

I’m all set for my next baby gift.


So, what does the MOB have to be thankful for? Plenty! For one thing, I am really thankful that I don’t mind being a MOB.

Turkey Day, Another Time
Turkey Day, Another Time

It took plenty of time to get to this point, and there are some advantages.

1. The kids are grown and they actually are entertaining and nice (yes, for those of you with little ones, the day will come!)

2. I’m not going broke (well, maybe I am, but it’s so slow, I don’t notice).

3. I have a roof over my head (It’s old. the original tin. And it doesn’t need to be repaired. I love it! The insurance adjuster gave it a 90 percent, and said old tin roofs are the best! and the plumbing and wiring aren’t bad, either I have been told).

4. My body is holding up for the time being, and I haven’t paid it a bit of attention (I file my nails while driving).

5. I have lovely friends and a darling family.

6. And even though the economy sucks, I think I might be getting a toe hold.

So, thank you, God, Goddess, turkey, my lucky stars, blue sky, terra firma…


Giving up the day job meant giving up that sense of security. Thinking about doing without, I recalled my sister’s security blanket, the one she couldn’t do without, an ugly old thing with holes.

Finally, she had to be five or so, my grandfather bought it from her. For five bucks, I think. In no time at all, she was so miserable, she wanted to buy it back.

My son went through a similar thing with his. I can’t remember how he finally gave it up.

That’s when I realized how strange that thing called security is. That old ratty security blanket, it couldn’t even keep you warm at night…

Quick. Think about just one really nice thing from your childhood

Grandmom and Brynne
Grandmom and Brynne, 15 years later, and 39 years ago

Right away I see my grandmother. I am six and I am sitting across the table from her at the farm. I am feeling sad, because my sister got to sit next to her.

Grandmother is leaving for the winter. I already miss her.

“Don’t be sad,” she said. “I’m sitting right across from you. See? who-o-o, who-o-o. You can just wave at me and say, ‘who-o-o, who-o-o.’”

Somehow that worked and I perked up. I didn’t have to sit next to her to be close. I could just look at her and wave and say, “who-o-o, who-o-o” (Look at me! Here I am! I’m close by! I love you!).

Old Furnace, Singed Eyebrows, Don’t Remember

My car mutters, sighs, hums, creaks. It’s been speaking to me for years, but I haven’t been paying attention. Maybe I should – we are both getting old.

I forget that machinery is alive.

Years ago, I was afraid to go to the basement. The old iron clothes press lurked there for one thing, and god knows, it looked sinister sitting in the shadows.

The spooky old furnace in the bowels of my Michigan farmhouse, with arms reaching in all directions, was laid to rest when I renovated, along with its radiators. I dream of it still, although for some reason, my subconscious elevates it to the attic.

Not so with the old fellow in my California 1930s bungalow, a house I couldn’t bear to renovate. That old furnace resided in an enclosed dugout pit, which served as a basement, typical of Marin County homes built on the hillside in that era.

This old guy was cantankerous — the last of his kind in the county — an old oil boiler that only one repairman was willing to take on. The repairman came with the house (luckily for me), I guess.

In California, heaters weren’t important in the 1930s. To begin with, it doesn’t get that cold in the winters, and, anyway, Marin was a summer resort for San Francisco city dwellers. That was before the Golden Gate Bridge was built, when people used to ferry across.

My little old place was darling — with redwood wainscoting, a window seat, a large covered porch, a stone fireplace, and absolutely no conveniences. The bathroom was a green and black beauty that heralded back to a 1950s remodel. Appliances in the kitchen were ugly old stand-alones and counter space and cabinets were the bare minimum. Am I remembering correctly that the refrigerator was actually on the side porch along with the washer and dryer?

With two bedrooms and one bathroom, four of us were fairly well scrunched in, but it didn’t matter much, as this was the year that the Family Bed was published, and the kids  slept on the floor in our room. That was also the year of the drought, when we all four shared the same bathwater, then used it to flush the toilet.

Anyway, back to the furnace. It was cantankerous, as I said, and the least little problem caused it to go on strike. Then, I had to schedule the repairman. Mid-day, on one such outage, I went to find out how he (the repairman) was getting along down there, and there he was, calmly sitting by the furnace eating his lunch.

Companionable. That’s what it felt like.

Now, even though people of the 1930s didn’t mind the chill, I was born in Miami, and, in my opinion, it does get chilly in Marin, and I used to turn the heat up on some winter mornings.

And of course, on the coldest of these days, that old furnace wouldn’t put out.


I looked at the thermostat needle pointing all the way to the left, and turned the switch on. The machine did not roar into action. It did not.

It was Saturday, of course. No repairman until Monday at the earliest.


I sat down, quieted myself, and breathed deeply. Let’s see if I could talk it out of its funk, I thought, closing my eyes.

Images. Memories. I was remembering the time my little sister wandered away. She was only one or two and was returned to the neighbors. I “saw” it again. Her curls, her big eyes, her chubby little arms. She was so cute.

My mother was crying in relief (I think), or did she even realize my sister had disappeared?

I “saw” it that day years later in California in my redwood house with the broken furnace.

My, I wondered, did I open the door allowing my little sister to wander away? I had a dreadful feeling that perhaps I had.

Maybe I had fallen asleep. I don’t know. But when I “came back” and opened my eyes, I heard the deep hum of the heater, which had somehow returned to life.

I still haven’t figured that one out.

Years later, in Florida, I spoke to my cousin, an Annapolis grad and Navy career man, about that house. He and his family had visited during a cold spell.

I remember that house, he said. I remember your furnace.

You do? I said, totally surprised.

Yes, he said, it wasn’t working when we arrived, and I told you not to worry. Boilers like that are on ships, and I knew how to get them lighted.

Really, I said, not remembering at all.

Yes, he said. You and I found some long matches and we went down to the basement. I flipped the switch and lit the match and it blew us across the room. Singed our eyebrows. Don’t you remember? he asked.

No, I answered.

How could I have forgotten something like that?