The summer is normally the time of year that slows down for me at work. In late May/early June I finished my year end report to the United Way, completed my annual funding submission to the City for our homeless program and finished the 2008 annual report, a full color booklet that ended up being 36 pages and summarized everything the agency did throughout the past year. The booklet was handed out at the annual general meeting and a few days later, after our past president had a chance to really look at it, he approached me at a staff function and told me that it was the best annual report he’s seen to date, and how very proud of me he was.
That was the same night that I first heard the news that MJ had died – a colleague at work told me the news and said it couldn’t be true then asked me if it could be. I pulled up the story from the LA Times on my phone and showed him and his face fell. I ran into him a few minutes later as I was gathering my things in my office and he asked me if I really believed it to be true or did I think maybe it was a hoax. I looked at him for a long moment and sighed at the sadness I saw in his face. He’s a few years younger then me, a young black kid familiar with the streets and that works hard and has a kid at home; a genuinely nice guy that is kind and respectful and it was then that I realized that the news of MJ’s death was going to be really big.
I could go on about it, how MJ changed the way that the world, and the way that the kids from my generation, listened to music but I’m no longer convinced that those words are being heard, and are instead falling on deaf ears as the people around me are most interested in talking about MJ and what a freak he was and a pedophile, as if they know something that the rest of the world doesn’t. I grew up believing that you don’t speak ill of the dead, that you remember the person that they were and what they contributed to the world and if they didn’t contribute anything at all, then there was nothing to be said and you moved on. I’ve kept the person that MJ was publicly seperate from the person that he was perceived to be privately and it pisses me off to no end that people can’t get past some trash story that a greedy dentist behind on his child support payments made up when he brainwashed his own child to say bad things about someone that he felt that he could exploit and make a lot of money off. Don’t get me started, either, on the number of kids that testified that they weren’t abused and the fact that the only people that came forward with stories of wrong-doing were ex-employees who, instead of going to the authorities, took their stories to the tabloids and pocketed the money.
The world is a judgemental place and god forbid if you are different in any way.
When I was much, much younger, I exchanged emails with an inmate on death row in Texas who received a life sentence for killing a couple of individuals in a botched robbery (he was also charged with assaulting and raping a woman). I didn’t write to him because I thought that he was wrongly convicted and misunderstood. He was guilty by his own admissions but claimed that the deaths were accidental, the victims were in the wrong place at the wrong time and that he didn’t deserve to be on death row. Something about his story compelled me to write and I did. Not because I was taking his side but because I wanted to understand how someone could do the things he did to another person. In retrospect, I don’t think that I ever did understand but I like to think that I at least I tried. I didn’t read about him online and what he was convicted of and quickly and easily classified him as a rapist-murderer that deserved to die. If I got anything from that experience it was how to be compassionate, and to not judge people – especially when all you have is the mass hysteria spread by the media and it’s all just speculation.
And that’s all I’m going to say about MJ.
The next morning, we packed the car and followed our friends Dave and Jackie up north to the cottage we had rented for the week, the same cottage that we had visited twice last year and our friends Chris and Amanda joined us later that afternoon. I would normally have lots to blog about, being at a cottage in the Muskokas in the early summer (I did last year) except the weather at the cottage was so bad that we packed up and left to come home on the Monday having arrived only the Friday. We had one really nice day, the Saturday, but it was lost on me because I spent the morning golfing with Tay and Chris and because we opted to walk the course instead of renting carts, it took us FIVE hours to get through the course. By the time we got back to the cottage and had some lunch, I was wiped OUT and spent perhaps a half an hour down by the lake before crawling onto a lounger on the slope that stretched down from the cottage where I promptly fell asleep, with the sound of the wind rustling in the trees above me. It rained the next day, and I slept through most of the day, curled on my bed listening to the rain in the trees outside the window and the next morning, the morning we decided to go home, the sun came out long enough for me to go for a quick kayak and an even quicker swim. And then it poured the rest of the day.
Other than that, I’ve been going to my golf lessons (I booked three private lessons with a golf pro named Paul) and he’s helped me with my swing substantially enough that when we played the 18 holes in the Muskokas I hit my first par 3, much to the admiration of Tay and Chris and didn’t care so much that the rest of my holes were 6s, 7s and 8s, because it was a damn hard course, with some of the greens running 400-500 yards. I’m now addicted to going to the driving range to hit a bucket of balls and I still get a kick out of the fact that a good percentage of balls are not only going straight but are getting a lot of air – and now they’re even getting past the 100 yard mark which I used to fall short of when I first started out. My favorite moment on the driving range had to have been the other night when I went over to hit a bucket of balls while I waited for my lesson to start. As I took my two bucket of balls in hand, the elderly man behind the counter asked if my husband would be joining me and I gave him a smile as I replied, “No, he’s at home cooking dinner.”
And finally, when I’m not golfing, or sitting at my desk at work trying to find something to do, or forcing myself to read these really truly annoying books that my book club keeps picking for us to read (with the exception of the ones that I or AL have selected), I’m out in the garden, trying to control the jungle that seems to have sprouted up in the past few weeks. I’ve been using Miracle Grow this year because it’s what Tay said his aunt used on her garden last year and according to him, her yield was much more that our yield and so I figured it wouldn’t hurt, I’d give it a try except that the garden that is growing in our backyard is completely and utterly out of control and even though I spent an entire afternoon out there last week cutting it back and restaking the plants, my work was in vain because I need to get back out there AGAIN this weekend. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
Last year, fairly late in the season. You can tell, because the tomatoes are turning red. I’d say this was late July at least.
This year, taken last weekend, so early July. The plants in the front are green beans, hidden beyond them are the peas, beyond them are the tomatoes. There’s green onions in there too, plus basil, but you can’t tell unless you look for them. To the left of the beans are the pepper plants. Cayenne, red chili and jalepeno!