Tag Archives: lifes too short

Why Can’t I Keep my Mouth Shut?

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops a bad-ass flower, a zinnia, as she wonders, Why can't I keep my mouth shut?We’re all better off if I say nothing this week. Because these days, too many of my truest feelings and worst thoughts keep slipping out of my mouth. No, they tumble out of my mouth and flatten everyone within earshot. My most bold opinions come spewing out of me like semi-automatic gunfire. And people don’t usually react well to this.

I don’t know if this crankiness and loss of control is because of all the rain, the heat, my advanced age, the current political turmoil, or possibly just boredom from my new diet of chard and fish—but lately I seem to have zero ability to hold my tongue. At unexpected times I feel compelled to speak what’s in my mind. And I’m a stick of dynamite with a short fuse, a walking time bomb that could explode if you say the wrong thing.

Why can’t I keep my mouth shut? In the past, I was always the wishy-washy one, the one who wouldn’t take a stand, couldn’t make a decision. Teachers and friends used to beg me to speak up and be more assertive. And now, I have no patience for others’ cruelty, stupidity, or anything that does not comply with what I perceive as the truth. At the first inkling of discomfort, I’m likely to spout out,

Hey, life’s too short, and Hey, I don’t have to swallow any nonsense anymore. I’m one tough bitch with a dead daughter. So don’t mess with my head.

Photographing flowers calms me down, helps me to see sense. But there was nothing quiet about this brazen-faced zinnia. In a week-old bouquet, it still blazed brilliant among the shriveled-up blooms surrounding it. Another bad-ass flower. Sassy. Like the daughter I’m missing. Yow, back in her times I would be crushed to the pulp whenever she unloaded what she had to say.


What gets your goat? Or gets you to verbally attack the ones you love most?


Losing the Garden to Ransacking Raccoons

Robin Botie of ithaca, New York, photoshops her new container garden being attacked by a raccoon mother with babies.Barking, yipping, screaming, the dog and I defended the new vegetable garden against a ransacking raccoon, for as long as we could. I banged and kicked the sliding glass door mightily as the little dog went ballistic by my feet, and the ‘coon retreated to its place under the deck, but not for long. It popped out every so often, eyeing the garden, and then I’d storm outside, stomping, roaring, waving my arms frantically, leaving the dog to carry on hollering inside. This continued for most of the holiday weekend. Which is why I didn’t finish writing my blog about healing with fresh lettuce.

It was my first vegetable garden. A container garden. My friend had planted a galvanized steel bucket and two horse-sized water troughs full to their brims with kale, six different types of lettuces, spinach, basil, various herbs, and one tomato plant that’s supposed to yield a hundred cherry tomatoes. We built it on my deck, to be close and easy to manage.

It turns out the area under and around my deck is prime real estate for woodchucks, fox, raccoons, skunks, and muskrats. They take turns each year fighting for their nesting spots. They usually avoid the shallow boardwalk, lined with large windows and doors, that cantilevers over the pond. The perfect place for my salad garden, I thought. Until the first day. Right off, one of the resident woodchucks devoured most of the single cilantro seedling. I should have realized then this would be like inviting a whole kingdom of wild creatures for a free smorgasbord.

If my son were home he’d shoot every critter. Friends offered to help trap the offending beasts and carry them off far away. But I’m convinced the raccoon is a mother with babies. After all I’ve been through, how could I shoot or separate a mother with babies?

So I’m camping out by the garden. A lot. With camera, my book (Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale), pacifying mugs of hot mocha with Kahlua, and a water-hose. The dog, now sleeping exhausted on the other side of the sliding door, takes turns with me (from inside) guarding our healing herbs and lettuces. But we are ready to quit. Life’s too short to be picky over who gets to pick the vegetables. And we’re learning to pick our battles. Time to go hiking instead.


What did you lose over the long weekend? What do you favor – baby lettuce or baby raccoons?