The Letter

She stepped off the train, her stiletto heels clicking on the concrete platform at Union Station. Her slender fingers slid into her coat pocket to make sure the letter was still there. The letter is what brought her to Chicago in the first place.Her editor thought she was crazy when she burst into his office the day before, giving one day notice that she would be gone for two weeks. She could see the veins in his neck quickly enlarge through his dark brown skin, and his eyes narrowed as they always did when he was angry.“You can’t do this to me right now,” he said. “The story you are working on is too important.” But she had to leave for Chicago the next day. She didn’t tell him why. She just said it was a family emergency. “We’ll see if you have a job when you get back,” he said as she turned to walk out the door. All her co-workers had listened to everything, though they pretended to be working. Everyone had treated her differently since her husband died six months ago. It was as if they were afraid she would break if they talked to her. Maybe his sudden death brought mortality too close to home. She didn’t dare tell any of them about the letter for fear they would … [Read more...]

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Bugs won visually – I won produce

Even though they won the war, I won the droppings - the PRODUCE is mine! Most of my plants are producing beautiful flowers or wonderful fruit and vegetables. The chain link fence is barely visible through the morning glories, cucumbers and tomatoes. The cucumber plants grew over the top of the fence and all the way down to the driveway, where they are making their way along the retaining wall. Even the five green bean seeds I planted are producing delicious beans, though the leaves look like lace doilies. Recently, I took a large colander when I went out to harvest and it was totally inadequate. After several trips, my kitchen counter was covered with tomatoes, cucumbers, banana and jalapeno peppers, green beans, rosemary, basil, oregano and zucchini. The insects that were working on the Chinese lantern plants must be an early summer pest because the new growth looks much better. I had completely dismissed the idea of drying any of the lanterns, but as they turn orange, I have noticed many look pretty good. I dried one bouquet and have another drying hanging upside in a closet. I also have these incredible sunflowers growing next to the garage. One is as tall as I am … [Read more...]

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The war is over

Ever since the Chinese Lantern Plants started peaking out of soil the insects decided they are delectable. Hundreds of the interesting little creatures descended on the fine leaves. Normally, I co-exist well with insects, as long as they stay outside. I leave them alone and study their fascinating tiny bodies. But this year, they are destroying my plants. I declared war and started looking for ways to rid my flower bed of those pests. Leaning toward organic gardening, I decided to try an insecticide made with herb oils. Even after dousing the leaves, the lacy holes continued to appear. Next I used dish soap in water, soaking the plants, which accomplished little. By now, the insects had spread to other fine-leafed plants, like my morning glories and sweet potato vines. I had never seen such a variety of cool little creatures, but the plants were turning into stubs. The war was making my stomach sick. The idea of using an insecticide that would kill everything, even the beneficial insects, was abhorrent, but I wanted to save my plants. I would stand in front of the pesticide isle in the garden center where I work studying the different products, picking up one after … [Read more...]

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