I love lilies and daylilies!

Besides roses, my favorite, lilies (Lilium) and daylilies (Hemerocallis) are a big reason why I love gardening. If you can keep the deer away, lilies will give you beauty practically all summer long. Cervidae canter around our backyard from time to time but for the most part they don’t bother much in our garden, which is pleasing to both me and my wife.

In the Lilium family, Asiatic, Oriental, Trumpet, Orienpet, and Tiger are a few types you may want to consider for your garden. But to make things easy, I’d suggest a collection, an Oriental collection to be exact. I think that’s what we planted many years ago and we haven’t been disappointed.

Liliums flower from bulbs, a fleshy scaly thing, about the size of a golf ball, maybe a little bigger, that kind of looks like an oblong onion. It has all the ingredients “neatly packaged” within that will sustain a growing plant into maturity as a beautiful flowering lily.

Over the years we’ve amassed a nice collection of about a half dozen named varieties of both types of lilies. I traded a hosta for my ‘Texas Ranger’ daylily (Hemerocallis) and it’s been flowering now for at least 10 years. Gardeners who’re addicted to hybridizing and growing daylilies are affectionately known as “heme-heads.” It’s easy to see why growing daylilies can be so addictive when you take a look at the many gorgeous varieties!

I haven’t blogged about gardening in quite some time and it feels nice to let my mind wander back to the time when I was the gardening columnist for a local newspaper. Nowadays the gardening columnist in most newspapers is “From AP.” I’m glad to know one or two real gardening columnists, Doug Oster, and Felder Rushing are good friends of mine who first inspired me to write about this passion called gardening and I owe them both a lot of thanks and gratitude!

I’m not one to toot my own horn but if you’re interested in reading a few of my “old” gardening columns I’ve collected a few and put them in a nice little book. Through the Seasons with The Write Gardener can be purchased on Amazon and I’m sure you’ll find it an interesting and entertaining read.

Hemerocallis 'Texas Ranger'
Hemerocallis ‘Texas Ranger’

That’s fine

Is it really? I was having a discussion with my wife the other day and was trying to explain my confusion about the wedding guest list she had to prepare for my son’s upcoming wedding. I knew that she wasn’t very happy with my explanation when she replied with a “that’s fine.”

I took it as sarcasm. You can compare it to what’s often said down south when someone says “bless his/her heart” when the person it’s directed at has made an attempt at doing or saying something that doesn’t meet your standards. Or that you think is below your standards.

It’s a low-level insult, but an insult nonetheless. The one saying it might not realize he or she has uttered something offensive if he or she doesn’t pick up on certain signs from the other person. I’m not sure the signs I gave were the right ones.

The guest list my son wanted from her were the names of my wife’s close friends who were planning on attending, not the entire guest list of everyone. When my wife told me she had to get the guest list ready I thought she meant names of everyone, not just the names of her friends. When I tried explaining why I was confused she said: “that’s fine.” I don’t think my explanation lived up to her standards, bless my heart.

I should learn how to have discussions without explaining myself.

Self-marketing: BLECH!!

Whenever I research ways to improve my photography business I usually come across articles that mention self-marketing. And that’s usually when I stop reading. What is it about promoting myself that I don’t like? Everything. Personal branding is narcissistic. Some articles tell you that self-marketing “improves your image and reputation” allowing you to advance in your chosen career. That might be true for a twenty-something but I think it’s a little different for a sixty-something. My image and reputation were set many years ago, and now neither of them makes any difference. That’s just the way it is. So, what sort of self-marketing or personal branding could I do that doesn’t make me feel like I’m a narcissist?

I’ve been uploading my photographs to a website called Flickr, I think it’s probably the best way for me to self-market my photography business. I’ve also chosen to set up a Facebook page and, of course, there’s my blog, here, that serves the purpose too. None of this feels like self-marketing, but I suppose it is. Perhaps as long as I don’t have to market myself in person I’ll feel okay about it.

I guess I should explain why I’m italicizing “business.” It’s because my photography business isn’t a legitimate business. I have no tax number, no business address, no legal documentation or anything that would make TC Conner Photography a legitimate business. Yes, I have a Facebook page and yes, I sometimes do paid photo shoots for family and friends. But I don’t make enough money to warrant tax reports to the IRS. I took a stab at it once, and discovered that self-marketing and the initial investment dollars and all the other stuff you have to do to get a business up and running(?) just wasn’t for me. It could’ve, and probably should’ve been for me 50 years ago, today however this sixty-something is on the downhill slide to full retirement. Furthermore, worrying about all the “should haves” and “could haves” gets you nowhere.

What sort of self-marketing or personal branding could I do? The simple, and probably the only answer: None.

They leave

In the first Jurassic Park movie when the two kids are stranded in the electric car with that older man and the T-rex trying to get to them, the man runs out of the car and into what looks like an outhouse, and that is where the T-rex finds him. Shortly after the man runs out of the car the young girl screams “he left us, he left us, he left us!” That is what our kids do, they leave us, their parents, and from then on we’re left wondering when the T-rex will eat them alive!

Moms and dads can only hope and pray that what they’ve done as parents will be good enough to help protect their offspring from the tyrannosauruses they’ll surely encounter during their stay on this little Blue Dot. We can’t expect that they won’t get nipped by one a time or two, and if we’ve accomplished our jobs as moms and dads when they do get bit they’ll be able to bandage themselves without too much help from us.

I have four that are out there now building their defenses against Tyrannosauruses. So far they’ve not had to endure too many nips and bites. Yes, all four probably have a scar or two that I don’t know about, and I think that’s okay because scars tell us that we heal, eventually. Knowing that our kids have the necessary adulting skills to heal themselves when we can’t quite be there to help should give us comfort. I’m also extremely proud of my children, and if your kids are anything like mine, you should be proud of yours too.

I didn’t have the upbringing that I gave my kids, due to alcoholism my father lost touch with what it meant to be a good dad. We left home and dealt with tyrannosauruses at an age when we should’ve been dealing with first dates and high school proms. It wasn’t until after all 7 of his children left that I think my father finally came to realize how devastating his disease had become.

We leave our parents to encounter many things in life. Some of those encounters leave us enriched and excited to be out on our own. With a little luck, good bearings, and a steady course, our kids can take a left hook from T-rex and counter it with a right cross! That may leave them with a black eye but it will heal, eventually.

This blog post is dedicated to Benjamin Conner, Whitney Conner, Andrew Conner, and Meghan Conner. May they continue punching and turning away tyrannosauruses!

Working musician

I am the lead/rhythm guitarist in two popular local bands. I enjoy playing in both very much, and as we move into the summer months both bands are playing quite often, one of the bands will sometimes have two gigs every weekend. Up until recently, I was quite satisfied with how everything was going. But then something happened that changed the dynamics.

I can’t go into very much detail yet as I am still waiting for the change to present itself (I can’t be certain that it will until it actually happens). And because I’m not the harbinger of that change I can’t do anything but wait.

If this transformation should take place there is very little I can do to alter its course and even if I could steer it in another direction I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t. But I will certainly continue doing what I love no matter what the outcome.

It’s said that change is the only thing that stays the same, I find that to be quite accurate and have never really wanted to see it any other way.

Two Guys in Gettysburg

I let them go

I very rarely shed a tear, but I hear that a good cry every now and then is healthy for the soul. I’m not sure I know what a “good” cry is as opposed to a bad one. Is there a difference? If so, how can I tell that the cry I’m feeling will be a good one or a bad one? It must be based on the emotion that brought on the feeling to cry. Sadness is most often associated with crying, I think. But I know there’re joyful occasions of crying too.

When the feeling to cry presents itself it usually arrives with a song I’m listening to. Sometimes the feeling to cry is instagated by a melody I strike up on my guitar, no words, just a melody. I have several of them saved on my iPhone, waiting for words. Melodies always show up for me first, and most often with the cry feeling attached. I wish words would come as easy, but alas, they don’t.

I listen to a lot of folk and Americana music and sometimes the words I hear with the melodies cause a feeling to cry. But I don’t cry, or maybe I can’t for some reason. Perhaps the cry area of my brain doesn’t function normally. Whatever the reason, tears rarely form, but I know they are there, hiding, I can feel them burning the back of my eyes. And there’s that odd feeling in my throat, like tears are trying to come out from there too.

Death is surely one of the top reasons folks cry. But even at that, my tears stay hidden. I remember my maternal grandmother’s funeral, lots of crying, not me. When my dear mother and father passed, my eyes weren’t wet with tears like those of my siblings. Sad stories of friends and family members passing don’t stir me to tears. I feel sad yes, but I don’t cry. I wish I had a normal cry function. I worry though, that if I started crying, I wouldn’t stop. Perhaps oceans of tears are stored somewhere in me, and they’re waiting, waiting for the perfect moment in time when flood gates are no longer needed. Only then will I let them go.

Why?

Sometimes I don’t even know why I try. You’d think after 28 years some things wouldn’t be so hard to do. But, alas, they are and continue to be. It’s a lesson I’ll never learn. What am I talking about you ask? Part of the answer might be found in my last blog post, answering it fully will take a few more words here.

It usually starts out as a casual discussion, until I try to get my point across. I’ll try to give you an example of what I mean. A recent discussion went something like this:

Me: I think it would be harder for a single person to maintain (i.e. do all the chores) a two bedroom home with a full basement, two car garage, and big yard to mow than it would be if that same person had to maintain a one bedroom apartment, with no garage or basement or yard to mow.

Her: No it wouldn’t.

Is my point that I think it might be harder valid or not? According to her, it’s not. Nothing I say or do ever resolves such dilemmas; I try to state my point of view and her reasoning is basically that she doesn’t care to see my point, and (oddly I think), she doesn’t care if I see her point either. What’s the use of discussion if neither party cares to hear the reasoning of the other?

The big downside of this is I get angry when she refuses to see my point. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t fully understand why. I guess I’m just flawed, or possibly full of it. My anger may or may not be justified, but until I discover the best way to control it, discussions like the one above should be avoided at all costs. If you have any suggestions as to how that can be accomplished please leave them in a comment.

Why?