Monday, July 21, 2014

Check the number and dial again

There I was, paging through tiny bits and pieces of paper frantically turning them over, peering at them and discarding them as fast as my eyes could focus early in morning. 
Nothing was what it seemed, I couldn’t read my own writing, the ornate scribbles may or may not have been A or a W, or just a doodle.Butterfly on eckie pink
Frustrated by my fruitless search I wanted to toss them all up into the air. 
Bootsie sat at the bottom of the chair, next to my bare feet, plaintively meowing for breakfast.
His I’m a hungry cat voice escalating from soft as a kitten to the growl of a tiger in accordance to my anxiety levels ramping up. 
Meows didn’t help me find the password that I was searching for any faster, but they did get him fed, and that’s all he cared about.
Shuffling more papers and trying to ignore the roar of the lion under my feet, unfolding, and fluttering through pages of multiple books nearby on the computer desk but no solution was found there. 
“Shhhhhhh” I told him as a particularly noisy meow startles me from my search reverie.
I gave up, thought maybe a break would help..he chowed down happily.
I resumed my search among the pieces of paper. 
And realized I was in big trouble if I couldn’t  find this password.
Dialling for what?
Remember rotary dial phones….if you are a certain age you might remember misdialing a phone number, hearing the recorded voice telling you to “please check the number and try again.”
There was little that you could do to make a mistake other then plunk your finger into the wrong equally spaced plastic circles and dial the wrong number.
Our technological advances are supposed to make life easier, but it’s more complex now.  
Long streams of passwords are not easily memorized,  with 2-step verification, hacking, and other computer worries a far cry from the old check the number that the disembodied voice used to intone.
Butterfly on cone flower
It all started with Picasa
Since I’ve been using Google’s Picasa to bring order to the many thousands of images in my computer I’ve found it’s easier then scrolling through my other editing programs, I like the format, everything is nicely lined up and organized. 
Only problem was, Picasa wasn’t updating properly.
And neither was Google Auto Backup…
The last time photos were added was in early June, it is now late July.
Since then I had taken, oh…about a thousand more photos, which weren’t showing up, and that meant I would forget about them. We all know that the first step to blog post inspiration is finding the appropriate image to trigger something in our brain, and it all flows from there.
Yellow cone flower
It was on my 2 do list…no really it was
Problem was I needed to sign into Google again.
And the real problem was, I couldn’t remember my Google password for the life of me. Which meant I would have to change it …again.
It’s a complex phrase just like the experts tell you to use. Or how to turn something easy to remember like “My Dog Has Fleas Since He Went Into The Garden In 1970 into:
You end up with a long convoluted password that you have just created to deter nasty hackers from getting into your accounts, and it’s easy enough to remember that you won’t have to write it down.
Take the first letter of each word in your phrase, add some punctuation, throw in a numeral or two…fill out your password form, and voila…a password that they tell you will be much harder to hack.
And hard to remember, especially if you forgot to write it down, thinking, oh, of course I would remember that, who’s not going to remember “My Dog Has Fleas…”
Me, that was.
Not that my password was “My Dog Has Fleas,”  that would be akin to having 1234 as a password….which apparently is one of the most popular ones out there, next to “password.”  I can’t blame anyone for doing that, after all, if your dog had fleas, would you want to remember that every time?
Butterfly and bee
This is not your Grandma’s polka
So in comes 2 –step verification from Google, and it’s not some kind of fancy polka dance, it’s meant to make it harder for everyone, hackers or even you, to get into your account.
It requires a verification code sent to your cell phone before you can sign in.
Only problem was, it was 5 am, Bootsie was hungry because I was up early, and the other phone was using the charger.
Bootsie is a cat, we don’t have a dog, fleas or not.
My cell phone was dead.
I needed to change my password to get to my photos, because if I can’t find my photos.
I can’t write a blog post without…. 
We all know that fresh photos are what trigger new blog post ideas.
After I changed my password I could get to my photos but I also needed to change the password for Windows Live Writer to write a blog post.
Which also required 2-step verification. 
But I couldn’t get verification because my cell phone was dead.
Welcome to technology.
 I think I need a flea bath.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This isn't a summer romance, it’s July

Ah…summer, long languid nights and sultry seamless days spent sipping lemonade, and nibbling on cool triangles of watermelon.
Tanned bare feet hanging, nearly touching ground, in a white crocheted hammock, picturesquely hung on the outstretched boughs of a shady tree…gazing out upon a setting that would make even a English gardener proud.
Monardia pink
Bees with black thighs laden with saffron colored pollen buzz amidst the rigid fronds of lavender releasing wafts of delicate fragrance on the warm air. 
Butterflies sweep gracefully, ballerinas dressed in tulle wings crossing the emerald green grass in search of a drop of nectar from a nearby plant. 
Swirling, shifting, fluttering into view, disappearing on a air current high into the tree tops.
Light glimmering off of lime colored leaves, dappled shadows glinting on drops of water.
Miniature prisms of colored reflections.
Bird song scattered among the far away barely heard, drone of a lawnmower, mixes with the gentle moos of local cows.
Crystal clear lakes, famous for their deep calm cool turquoise waters, rimmed by ragged mountains, and sandy beaches beckon you to spend a day relaxing in retreat. 
It’s a hard choice, stay at home in paradise, or venture out to see the stunning sights that tourists flock to visit.
And then reality sets in. 
This is July.
That was June.
And we live in the Okanagan, not near the ocean.
Lavender and bees
Summer for us,is a seemingly endless cycle of swatting, sweating, spritzing, watering, weeding, wishing, and wondering when the weather is going to change.
We are in the middle of a heat wave with record breaking temperatures, and baby it’s to hot to breathe, much less to sleep. 
Isn’t nature laughing at you now you think, as you try to balance on the edge of your chair, exhausted, sleepless, sweating, hoping not to feel the sticky stuck-ness of skin bonded to chair as you attempt to stand up and it’s only mid morning.
Yellow Dahlia
Nature must be giggling over your positive proclamations that it wasn’t so bad, that you could handle it, that summer is short.  Winters may be long, and spring may have been late, but summer is here with a vengeance, and she is in one heck of a mood.
There are no languid, soft mornings dawning pink and fresh, with peaceful afternoons spent in a hammock, toe deep in green grass, perfect leaves shading.
Insects fly so thickly in the sweaty intense heat that it feels as if you are looking through a veil.  It becomes second nature to sweep off the front door off before you open it.  You swear if another fly lands on your counter you just might scream.
in the last week you have seen more large, round, naked male bellies, and unappealing toes that should have never have been seen in public, than any one person should be submitted to in a lifetime. 
It’s just starting, welcome to summer time heat, and tourist season.  Vehicles become personal saunas when parked outside, air conditioning is ineffective, and you never touch anything dark without care lest you burn your skin.
Smells linger. Clothing is wrinkled, wrung out, hair flyaway, and fierce. 
Sunflower and bees
Swatting at mosquitos who think you are their own personal banquet at any time of day despite liberal repellent. The long sleeved men’s white dress shirt that you wear to ward them off, makes going out a endurance test. 
You are desperately trying to keep your plants alive, lugging watering cans of tepid water back and forth. Begging them to hang on a little longer until the next watering day comes around.
While the bites that litter your skin make you wonder if it’s all worth the work, or if you should just get out the crayons and play “connect the dots” 
Sultry only works for Southern Belles, and romance novels…heat is real, sticky, sweating, hot, tiring, and there are times in the middle of the night that you would sell your most precious plants for a cool ocean breeze once again.
Then just when you think you can’t bear another rendition of the weather person’s fake cheery voice telling everyone to crank up the a/c it’s going to be a scorcher, you catch a break. 
The wilting sunflowers in your garden perk up at the hint of a breeze, clouds mass in the blue sky and begin filtering the heat.  Sweet peas which were temperamentally on strike give off a whiff of scent so strong it can be smelled yards away.  The sulking Dahlia bursts out of hibernation with a yellow blossom that startles the garden awake. 
There are baby cucumbers and crisp green peas, in your veggie garden. The tartness of a fresh picked raspberry tickles your tongue.
Mounds of ripening fruit turn into jewelled jars of freezer jam, almost on their own.
A hot breeze that comes over the mountain tops makes you marvel at the slightly cooler temperatures, and make jokes about bundling up.
It’s natures reprieve a moment of kindness, a summer message.
Keep watering, keep weeding, keep picking, the sweating is worth it, the garden is a summer treat that you will remember when you are slogging through snow drifts up to your knees. 
And no heat wave lasts forever.
Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Gardeners heart song

What makes a gardener’s heart quicken with joy?
Every gardener has those special things that pluck our gardener’s hearts strings.
Garden faded roses
The acquisition of a new plant from a lengthy list of “be on the look out for.”
Wandering through nurseries aimlessly, no destination in mind.
Spending time enjoying the flowers and knowing that you are not responsible for deadheading, or watering, just for sniffing, and admiring.
A impulse buys that turn out to be a treasure, giving more blossoms then you had hoped for.
A cherished plant pushing out it’s first blooms of the season. 
Summer heat bringing on the start of overflowing veggie bounty.
Tools of the trade
Gloves that fit…like a glove, as if they are made for you.
Trowels fitted to the curve of the hand, slicing through the soil.
Favourite gardening clothes…perfectly comfortable, easy to wash.
Gardening trugs, workhorses that carry weeds, soil, water, tools, and add splashes of color as they work.
Tools that make the job easier, rakes, shovels, spades in duplicates, a set in front, and a set in back. No wandering around looking for the right tool.
The dirty stuff
Soil sifted through fingers, weed free, rich in nutrients.
Finding a long slimy earthworm, knowing that it means healthy soil, where only dust and weeds grew before.
Compost, black, moist recycled gold. In with the old, out with the new.
Organic veggies, fresh from the earth, and a side order of sunny days.
No pesticides, knowing that you, the birds, and the critters, can touch, sniff, pluck, and admire chemical free.

Faded roses

Plant it and they will come
Butterflies the colourful kaleidoscopes of fragile tissue in flight.
Bird song as background music, the happy buzzing of bees, with their scatter brained antics diving into bud after bud, emerging dusted with pollen.
Insects that devour those that devour your leaves, bug karma at it’s best. 
The circle of life is in the garden…you grow, you eat, you get eaten.
Designer colors
From Mother Nature’s palette, never out of style. hot pinks, bright oranges, golden greens, shady greys, glistening whites, sunny yellows, shaggy browns.
Passionate purples, limey chartreuse, charcoal, peach, raspberry, cobalt blues, vivid violets.
From beginning gardeners, to established, along with those who garden only with their eyes, may there be many moments when you realize how beautiful a garden is, and what reward we reap when we sow our hopes into the soil.

FB Beat the heat

It’s hot here, and going to get even hotter…but I am keeping cool with infused water. 
I was out gathering [sweating in the garden] some goodies, and decided to throw a few things together to see what I could come up with. 
Use the juice of one lime, add a few cucumber slices, some fresh parsley, and a few sprigs of fresh mint.
This not only tastes great, it’s sugar free, pour over ice and enjoy. 
Stay cool!
Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams