The B-Roll

Baby

It’s about to happen. The first brood of bluebirds nesting in my garden will fledge any day now. Unlike April the Giraffe, this mama’s accomplishment probably won’t go viral.

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Bird watcher watching the bird watcher

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Don’t make me come in there!

No matter, it has been my pleasure to hear chirps of delight with each delivery of some tender morsel that managed to escape, one of what is sure to be countless, pesticide applications in our community this year. Homeowners and city officials alike seem to have little regard for the damage being done to beneficial insect populations in the name of vigilance against West Nile.

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Chemical dependent f King species

Just like abstinence only education, constant spraying does not prevent mosquito hook ups from happening whenever the mood strikes. I digress.

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Be sure to get my good side.

Birds, bees, and blooms are putting on quite a show for us. We even had a surprise visit by a bobcat on Easter Sunday. Similar to the war on mosquitos, over-development has all but eliminated the wildlife habitat in North Texas. There I go again.

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B_Roll

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Still, spring is a magical time filled with bullfrog serenades in the evenings and butterflies beginning to find their way back to the Texas natives seeded on the Wild West side of the garden, which I was surprised to learn almost got me fined by our HOA.

Oh, the perils of civilization!

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Intent v Effect: The Case To End All Cases

Copyright Madison Woods
Copyright Madison Woods

“The law is the ruin of civilization,” said one man. “It corrupts all it feeds and shelters. Hung in its loopholes and shot down by its enforcers, even the innocent fall victim to its blind spots.”

“Point of order,” shouted another man. “Civilization as we know it would cease to exist without the law. Matters of life and death require obedience to it! Durable peace is impossible in its absence. The sacred and the secular prove its worth.”

Arguments raged until one man decided to shoot the moon.

“There are two types of law: just and unjust,” he said boldly.

*****

Thanks for Reading

*****

I am suspended in some sort of wacky writing limbo as I try to finish yet another paper. I’m struggling to fit my assessment of a controversial public policy onto three pages, no easy task for someone with ginormous opinions. My son says my academic writing is hyperbolic. My husband says my fiction writing is treading in the deep end. All I can say is that I was over the moon about the Friday Fictioneer prompt, courtesy of Madison Woods, but could not get 100 words in order until today. It’s late, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway.

Off The Cuff On The Fly

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Now that the spring semester is over, my days begin and end in the garden. Those magical moments of blossom and birdsong are priceless.

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However, for every other minute of the day there is math, more specifically, statistics. That’s right, magic turns to madness after breakfast as I, armed with the TI-84 calculator I borrowed from my son and my trusty kamekaze can do attitude, leave the serenity of my garden to complete an entire semester’s worth of coursework in a ten day Maymester.

This is the definition of insanity!

Day one was encouraging. The professor, with a robust Nigerian accent, seemed ready to help us tackle the daunting task ahead. Day two, a power outage on campus meant class was cancelled. Day three, things weren’t looking so good when the professor discovered that Memorial Day is a big deal here in the good ol’ U.S.A. and the campus will be closed for the holiday right smack in the middle of the course. Today, day four of ten, I went on a quest with two other students after class to look for a vending machine that sells scantrons. Yes, test one is tomorrow and we must supply our own fill-in-the-bubble sheets.

All of the vending machines are out of order!

Tonight I will dream of standard deviation and frequency distribution. Not sexy. Tomorrow morning I will sit in the garden with my coffee and watch the sun come up. Who knows what will happen next. Will a scantron shortage cause test one to be postponed? Will the class discover that the professor decided to chuck it all and hop a flight to Fiji? Will I ace test one and pass the course with flying colors? The probability that any of those things will happen isn’t high. I don’t even need a calculator to figure that out!

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My New Love/Hate Relationships

I love discovering a new idea or a fresh way of looking at an old idea. If scientists were to scan my brain while I am exploring a subject about which I am passionate, they would observe synapses lit up like a Christmas tree.

Mastering a skill is thrilling. Anyone who has learned to tie his shoes knows this is true. We are at our natural best when we accomplish a goal which initially seemed impossible. Humans, every single one of us, when we have risen to a challenge and stand victorious at the finish line, we experience exhilaration that makes us want to shout out YEAH, BABY!

Teach a man to fish, and all that jazz. There is something to the whole self-reliance thing, and what better place to grab hold of knowledge that helps us to reach that all-important independent state of being than school, right? WRONG!

Conformity, mediocrity, and soul-sucking monotony are the hallmarks of the scholastic experience beyond kindergarten. This is especially disappointing at the college level. The process of signing up for the classes you need, on the day you need, at the time you need, with a professor who isn’t a complete horse’s ass, or worse, biding time until retirement or death, takes the joy right out of learning before you ever step foot in a college classroom.

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In case you are wondering, I’ve been up since 2A.M. The insomnia has officially set in and my brain is working overtime for no reason at all. In this moment, I am listening to rain pouring onto the already saturated ground in my garden. My new discoveries at the Texas Native Plant Society’s plant sale last weekend are getting a good soaking. Springtime rains are much appreciated here in North Texas. So, I am not complaining about the rain. It’s just that I planted drought tolerant plants. I hope they don’t drown before the scorching heat of summer gets a chance to beat the life out of them.

Which brings me back to my momentary disdain for academia. It seems the learning process is designed to beat the life out of us. The theory of natural selection makes much more sense to me now that it ever did. Survival of the fittest wins out in a world where those who can, do and those who can’t, invent ways to beat the life out of those who dare to think they can. (Not talking about dedicated educators here.) Please don’t get all butt hurt because your mother is a hard-working, underpaid school teacher.

Of course, this feeling is magnified by my being on the verge of spontaneous combustion at any moment. I know that in a few weeks, the pressure will subside and all will be right with the world. That is, until the summer session begins.

I love being a student. I hate the college experience.

I love being a woman. I hate menopause.

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