Live! On the Air Now!
It's the Yard Yeti Radio Show!!!!
Cue the Noon Whistle! That's your subliminal signal, to pull up a chair, throw your legs over the armrest, grab something refreshing from the cooler, and tune in...to Me, your favorite Yard Yeti...and my infamous tweeting partner, my pet parakeet Pepper.
"Tick tock goes the clock...time won't stand still. But we can...let's catch up. It's Yard Yeti Time." (my trademarked opening line)
I am so excited to be broadcasting today, seated as I am on the stage of the Chautauqua Building, located in the center of the Park and Fairgrounds, smack dab in the middle of our fair city. In lieu of a weather report, I'd rather describe to you the atmosphere of the astounding event about to transpire.
The Chautauqua Building is a gathering place. A large white wooden structure, octagonal in shape, with a spire pointing to the heavens. It is an open air arena surrounded by tall screened windows welcoming to the elements, regardless of the season. The wind whistles to and fro across the interior space lined with spacious white wooden tables, seating available for the few or the many. At the front a large raised stage.
The Chautauqua Building is the centerpiece of the riverfront park. Outside, walking west, a rutted path leads to an oval track and the grandstands. A similar foot worn path lies to the east, parallel to the winding river. A small log cabin sits near the bridge, a historical reminder to this our town and its simple beginnings. A badge of honor to the farmers and the settlers, the first gardeners to till this soil, to plant their seeds and to reap the abundance of Mother Nature's bounty.
If you are very very still, you can hear the pounding hooves of the trotters racing past the grandstands. The roar of the crowd. You can hear the swish swish of long, hand-made dresses and the giggles of children running about. You can smell the tobacco from the pipes of the men lined up along the rails, dollar bills in hand.
Follow the path and peek in the screened windows. The tables are lush with homemade pies and cakes, covered dishes, jars of pickles, corn, jams and jellies. The aroma of freshly baked bread and muffins. The scraping of chairs as the families settle in for a good feed and a chance for conversation. Children dance in pairs on the stage, older boys and young girls cast fleeting glances under their eyelashes. Later, as the night air cools, a small band will take to the stage and the dancing will begin.
Or perhaps, reuniting families will gather together for a group photo. And at last, as the stars begin to twinkle, people will head outdoors into the moonlight, spread their blankets and lie quietly under the night sky. Babies lulled to sleep in their mother's arms and tuckered toddlers resting their heads on their grandparents laps as they slip into slumber. The only sound is the river splashing over the rocks below the bridge and the cicadas singing in the boughs of the trees overhead.
A gathering place. We are gathered. The Yard Yetis are gathered here in this place. How? How did this happen? This reunion. This drawing together of the most mysterious and elusive creatures on earth?
I have a big mouth.
I shot my mouth off a few weeks ago, about missing letters in the mailbox. Pen pals. Friends keeping touch over long distances. Cards and notes and messages and conversation and communication and talking and sharing...you know...my stream of consciousness ramblings. My feathered friend Pepper has the same addiction to uncontrolled and over the top commentary. Hence the Bleep button I keep very close to me while we are on the air. Not to mention the 10 second delay...just in case...of...a slip...a hiccup.
But today? Today?
Today I am almost speechless at the sight before me. A gathering of Yard Yetis. From all over the world. An unprecedented and highly unusual sighting of the most mysterious and magnificent women representing Mother Nature's gardens from tropical rain forests, to the rolling desert dunes, from high atop the mountain ranges of South America to the tundra of the Siberian Plains, as far away as Finland, from the ivy covered cottages in the Cotswolds, the ebony edges of volcanic beaches in the South Pacific, as far as Tasmania and as close as the Flint Hills of Kansas.
Eunice Everlasting, the most highly esteemed Yard Yeti Emeritus, felt sorry for me, so she sent out a signal, heard only by Yard Yetis in the wild, and the response was overwhelming. Virtually overnight, the fairgrounds filled with the beauty and wonder of bouquets of beautiful women, dressed in native garb and features framed in frilled foliage.
Gertrude Golden Wattle from Australia, Shannon Shamrock from Ireland. Trudy Tudor Rose from the UK. Candace Camellia from Alabama. Astrid Apple Blossom from California. Tillie Tulip from Holland. Olivia Ox-Eye Daisy from Latvia. Sadie Saguaro Cactus Blossom from Arizona. Tessa Thistle from Scotland. Rita Rosa from Ecuador. Imogene Iris from France. Lolita Lily Of the Valley from Finland. Corky Columbine from Colorado. Janey Jasmine from Paraguay. Dora Daffodil from Wales. Stella Sunflower from the Ukraine. Misty Mountain Laurel from Connecticut. Petunia Plum Blossom from China. Myrtle Maple Leaf of Canada. Cassie Camomile from Russia. Flora Flame Lily of ZImbabwe. Ophelia Orange Blossom from Florida. Just to name a few of the petal-packing treasures seated before me.
Lush, languid, loud, luminous and luscious ladies all.
Bleep! Bleep! Bleep! Ouch! Pepper rudely interrupted my reverie with a nasty reminder that I neglected to mention the birds. His flock. The birds of a feather that flocked together. His international counterparts. Because, yes, dear friends, no decent Yard Yeti is ever fully dressed without a twittering companion riding shotgun. While the air is fragrant with the scent of wildflowers, the air is replete with the song and chatter of the birds of paradise.
Petey the Perky Peregrine, the Divine Davina Dove, Mad Marty the Magpie, William Woodpecker, Esq., Thomasino the Talking Toucan, Kenneth Kiss-Me Kistrel, Ricky the Romancing Raven, Gerry the Giant Ibis, Wild Warren the Whooper Swan, Ollie the Ogling Owlet, Walter the HandWringing Wren, and Andre the Andrean Cock-Of-the-Rock.
Andre and Pepper are now engaged in a wing wrestling, beak poking frenzy over which of them is , uh, well, more physically endowed. Andre is in the gold trunks and Pepper is the one in the saggy baggy shorts with the flask tucked in the back. This may not end well.
While the testy testosterone tweeters tussle outside, let's return to the scene before me.
Tables filled with treats and tastes of chocolate. Elaborate florals and yellow wellies...everywhere. Pompous pompadours. Brilliant costumes in every color and hue. Each and every countenance punctuated by the same ...o...o...o...o...o....o...o...oh my oh my oh my...o...o...o...o..no need for translation or interpretation...the "o" as in wonder.
Yard Yeti Women speak a common language
The language of the garden. Mother Nature's tongue.
Yard Yeti Women are opulent, stately and majestic fashionistas.
The fashion of the garden. Mother Nature's palette.
Once everyone settles in, the fun begins with a duck race on the river. Each of the Yetis gets a numbered plastic yellow duck. We troop together down the rutted path to the bridge. Nellie Nasternium signals the start with the ringing of a bell and all the Yetis drop their ducks into the river at the same time. Pandemonium ensues as the women race along the riverbank headed toward the finish line. A flash of yellow as Fifi- Forget-Me-Not holds the winning duck high over her head. And the winner is...
Ida Impatiens. Who else?
Immature. Impertinent. Impudent. Impulsive. Indignant. In-A-Hurry-Toe-Tapping-Tsk-Tsk-Tsk-Tsking Terror. C'mon. C'mon. C'mon. Ida.
All the Yard Yetis smile as one. Forgiving. A state of grace. These women of every age and every nation know the importance of acceptance and the practice of patience.
Once the race is won and the dinner din dies down, the sun starts to sink into the horizon. The Yetis gather their blankets and wander out into the park. A satellite photo of their bodies, head to head and toe to toe, boots on the ground, would appear as a crazy quilt. A patchwork of color. A seamless breathtaking landscape.
We practiced for this moment.
In the pool learning the Yard Yeti Synchronized Swim Team routines.
In the garden, Yard Yetis whispering sweet nothings to reluctant bloomers.
In the Yard Yeti University Extension Office studying manuals and attending seminars on how to identify pests and critters as friend or foe. (Note: There is still a bit of controversy in this area...but the general philosophy is live and let live..we tend to argue about the cowardly no-see-ums. )
I am lying here ,while Pepper, sipping on an after dinner cocktail, is perched on my shoulder, and I whisper into the microphone.
How...how do I describe what is happening here? How do I impart to you the significance of this festival, the sea of eager, expectant, itching, yearning, ardent faces facing skyward?
The ringing of bells.
The sound only Yard Yetis perceive.
A beckoning call.
An away-with-the-fairies assortment of the women of the garden. Under the night sky, where no matter our geographical coordinates, by simply raising our eyes to the sky, opening our hearts, we are as now, holding each others hands.
Hands rough and calloused from Yard Yeti work. The work of tending to, taking care, mending, feeding, healing, building, sowing, reaping, supporting, meeting, greeting and letting go.
The women who teach. The women who do. The women who have no time for snark and divisiveness. These are women with a job to do. A garden that needs tending.
The ones who champion the right to vote and use it.
The ones who march for freedom not just for the exercise, but all the way to the finish line.
The women who want a simple life, in a world where nothing is simple.
The women with the courage to get up each day despite the floods, the famine or drought, because they know that together, there will be a harvest.
The Yard Yetis are women who help each other up, rather than putting others down.
In the Yard Yeti Garden, everyone is welcome. The initiation fee is good behavior. The motto: Practice before you preach.
The time has come when we must say our good-byes. One by one, a Yard Yeti rises from her blanket, puckers her mouth into a tiny o...focuses on a star...and slips right through...to the other side...and beyond.
You see, stars are imposters.
They are not twinkling objects, or reflected light.
...Each Yeti has her own star. Her own infinitesimal entrance into the universe. A celestial gateway to the true light, the light behind the stars. You may think you see a falling star, but truly, that is just a novice Yard Yeti, making her first run, and missing the target. What you don't see, are the older, seasoned and reasoned Yetis, lining up into a constellation, one dot of light after another, pointing the way...
The Chautauqua Building is closed for the night.
Time for me to lean into the microphone and say...
You may think this is just an old wives tale.
Just a grass roots movement.
A story for the birds.
Me leading you down the garden path.
Well...when all those magnificent Yard Yetis vanished into thin air...
Or maybe he just passed out.
Are you a Yard Yeti yet?
The Yard Yeti Radio Show Archives...from the beginning...
Thursday, September 20, 2012
The...person...walking down the aisle...and the one waiting at the altar...
That's where it starts and that's exactly where you need to go, holding hands, on each and every anniversary.
From the moment promises were made...
...to this moment when promises are kept.
Day after day.
Not really...but we all know that...so we begin our lives together with hope and a roll of scotch tape.
The truth is that we stay together not because life is easy, but because it is hard, and at the end of the day, to have someone to have and to hold is a precious commodity.
Commitment to a shared dream.
No. More like a seesaw. One seated close to the ground, the other, legs dangling in the air. Push off and rarely do you hit the center of gravity in exactly the same place and at the same time.
The goal is not to achieve balance, but rather to seek it.
Watching football season after season munching popcorn together, followed by season tickets to the theater. You fall asleep on the sofa in the first quarter, he snores in his sleep during the first act.
He can't cook, but is a grill master.
You lose your way between mutual funds and bond performance, but run the household budget and stretch dollars until they scream.
You like lines in the carpet when you vacuum.
He leaves the lid up.
The secret to a successful marriage is very very simple.
It is the set of arms that reach for you, pull you in and hold you close, when you haven't said a word, nor shed a tear. Just the look on your face, the way you walk, a change in your rhythm, and hands reach out and gather you in. It's the talk before sleep, the whispers in the dark, the cup of coffee after the middle of the night phone call that changes everything.
It's the passage of time, moving a little closer to the head of the line, losing friends and family, and the unspoken prayer...
...please not us, please, not yet...
It's the panicky shopping frenzy before the new baby arrives, because you'll never have any money again...ever.
It's the moment you lock eyes over the tiny head of your first child and think life is so sweet it hurts.
The secret to a successful marriage lies in the telling.
To My Wife
You could have a man who captures your spirit in stunning prose.
That is not me.
You could have a man who never forgets an anniversary or a birthday.
That is not me.
You could have a man who asks for directions when he is lost.
That man is not me.
What you have is a man who not only believes for better or worse,
in sickness and in health, but also lives it.
What you have is a man who shows up, stays close,
who will honor and defend you.
My words may seem feeble or few,
but my love for you is fierce.
I am the man who not only says he loves you,
but does, day after precious day.
I pray that this enough for you to love me too.
To My Husband
Do you know I listen to you sleep?
For your slow even breaths. In and out.
Do you know I listen for your car pulling into the driveway?
Do you know I listen to you answer the phone call from one of the kids, and when you say "Hi honey" the way you do, I ache?
Do you know I listen to you playing your music, with your head down and off in a place I cannot go?
And am not jealous, because I know the truth,
that you are playing for me.
Do you know that I listen even when you are not talking to me?
That I am missing you too?
Do you know that I listen when you speak my name?
When you see me just as I am.
Do you know how easy it is to love me?
As simple as a kiss on the neck.
And your hands on my face when you whisper I love you.
The secret to a successful marriage should be shared.
On the night before our son and daughter-in-law were to be wed...
I did my part.
September 20, 2008
I should be afraid
The wind in my hair
Sun in my eyes
I should stop
Put out my hand
To break my fall
I should panic
Flap my arms
Try to fly
I see the ground
Rising to punish me
Up too high to be heard
Then I quit
Open my eyes
And see you
Holding me steady
"It will be a great ride."
I let go of me
And take hold of you
With each other.
Happy Anniversary from two folks you know, who despite the bumps and bruises, the ups and downs, through the shear power of forgiveness, and the gift of grace, find themselves...
"I Know That You Do Not Belong To Me,
But Could I Borrow You For the Rest Of Our Lives?"
Thursday, September 13, 2012
I vaguely remember a TV show from bygone days that ended with a line.."Letters...we've got letters". When I walk back from the mailbox these days, sadly, that's not the case. Not letters, cards or notes. Bills, ads, catalogs, sifted through looking for an envelope with my name written on it, in longhand, and an address of a friend in a distant city, a parent, a relative, someone, anyone, coming in for a visit over coffee while sitting at the kitchen table.
Long hand. Penmanship. I remember practicing for hours making my loops and swirls, page after page, because good penmanship was a rite of passage in our home. Both of my parents learned the Palmer Method by rote, and their handwriting was exquisite. My father's especially. My mother was a stenographer during the war, and she tried to teach me the Gregg system. I thought it was cool, a short hand code for everything you needed to say. It reminds me, now, of the short hand code used today in texting and email. Similar to tweeting, a 140 character or less message, short, concise and to the point.
Which leads me to the conversation I had with my son the other day. He was talking about texting and email. How he sometimes misunderstood what the writer was communicating because it lacked feeling. So he would read it and think, well maybe they're mad at me...then a few hours later, read it again and think, no, it's no big deal. But still, just a tad bit unsure. The messages with emoticons helped clear things up a bit, but still...what was the intent of the message?
I grew up in a somewhat different environment. We communicated by mail. Calls home or to family were Long Distance and reserved for special events, holidays, birthdays or serious business. Instead we wrote letters. Notes. Cards.
It was serious business for me. My Mom bought me a box of stationery for my birthday. Baby blue onion skin paper with matching envelopes and a fountain pen with replaceable ink cartridges that leaked onto your fingers when you switched them out. The paper was semi-opaque, so that if you held it up to the light the words seemed to flicker with importance.
Letters.Like the letters I wrote from my first away-from-home camp in Wisconsin, begging and pleading for intercession, for release from my captor, the inimitable Lila Pugh, camp counselor from hell. Miss Pugh demanded that we eat everything on our plates at dinner or we could not swim the next day. I was a picky picky eater and had survived up till this time on a diet of oranges and bacon. I also had a well developed gag reflex. I learned a trick of how to pretend to eat, then shovel the food into a napkin on my lap. It worked well the first few times. The night with the lapful of peas, a disintegrating napkin and the plop plop plop of escapees rolling across the floor and landing on Miss Pugh's left foot, ended my days in the lake. I was confined to the cabin. So I wrote. Long, pleading letters of misery. My mother, my father and my brothers wrote me back, with words off encouragement and a secret stash of homemade brownies. When the bus pulled into the parking lot, scores of tan, hale and hearty campers rushed into loving arms. I looked pale and wan as though I had spent the week under a rock. But in my bag, a pile of notes and cards, from the people I loved most, and there was no question in my mind of their intent. They were my safe place to land.
Years later, my Mom would write to my children, for no reason at all, except to say I love you, but always with a lesson. A sneaky life lesson. Sometimes she would tape pennies, nickels or dimes to the inside of the card, and tell the boys to count them out, as they put them in their piggy banks. It was her way of helping them to count from one to ten, then by 5's and by 10's. And it was her way to teach them to save their pennies for a rainy day.
When I left home and married, we lived far away from family. Letters kept us close. Pages and pages of letters, with silly stories, news, newspaper clippings, once a week. Letters that didn't hit the trash, but sat on my desk, for a quick read and then a longer linger at the end of the day.
My Mom was the champion letter writer. She could convince anyone of anything, and make an end run when needed, just by whatever she enclosed. Once, when her check bounced, not at all uncommon with three kids in college and every dollar stretched to the limit, she sent a warm and sincere apology to the Dean of Administration, plus a colorful new tie. I was chagrined, as the tie cost as much as the amount on the rubber check, but that was the way her heart worked. Her message? Stick with me please, we're trying really really hard to make this all work. The Dean found me a small part-time job to cover some of my expenses. The day he called me into his office, he was wearing his new tie.
I would like to tell you that I have piles of love letters from my husband, full of passion and deep sentiment. He is the exception to the rule. His motto, if he had one, would be, it is not how many words we speak, but the words we choose, that matter. Therefore, after we got engaged, he sent me a thank you note and signed it ..Your Friend. I smile, even now, at that memory, because he was telegraphing to me the trueness of his heart. I already knew that he loved me, but more importantly, we would always be exactly how we started...friends. Best friends.
When the children moved away to school and beyond, letters evolved into phone calls and email. I wondered whether all the silly notes and cards meant anything to them, or if they were an embarrassment, until I walked into my son's apartment and there on top of the refrigerator, a gallery of cards...his home away from home.
In my basement, where the family museum is housed, I have several stacks of letters. Letters from my Mom to me and mine to her that she saved. Letters from my father, during the war, from his post in Iceland, to my mother, his special girl waiting at home. Letters in crayon and cards covered with glitter from my children.
No question that they were meant for someone special.
No question that they were received in kind.
Do it today.
Take out your favorite pen.
Pull out a sheet of paper.
Or a card.
And in 140 characters or more, tell someone, somewhere...
Jot down a line, make your point and make their day.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
On the Air
It's the Yard Yeti Radio Show...
"Tick tock goes the clock...time won't stand still.
But we can...let's catch up. "( My signature opening line.)
It's Yard Yeti Time!
Cue the Noon Whistle!
Greetings friends and neighbors from across the globe. It's me, your favorite Yard Yeti, welcoming you from my studio upstairs above Ace Plumbing with my window on Main Street, where I can see the world from Coast-To-Coast and as far as the Flickering Flame can flicker.
I had to move my sound effects machine and my stack of soundtrack CD's to the floor beside me, as my formica tabletop is covered in fan mail.
It seems that my co-host, resident sound engineer and faithful sidekick, my pet parakeet Pepper, has developed quite a following. A little bird told me this was bound to happen, but frankly I am stunned.
Stunned at the requests.
Advice for the lovelorn.
How To Manuals?
Helpful Housekeeping Tips?
Okay. You asked for it. And looking at today's Hospital Report...maybe...just maybe...
So many knee aches, sore hips, busted shoulders, loss of range of motion, itches and ouches, searing shooting pains.
Formerly flexible folks suffering from inflexibilities.
Oh, and dear me, glancing out the window for the Traffic Report, I see a few friends and neighbors, shuffling when they used to stride, hobbling a bit, needing a crutch or an arm to steady.
We, the Yetis, are needed.
We can help.
Doctor Pepper is in and will see you now!
Puffed up in his starched white coat, a stethoscope draped around his puny neck, clipboard in beak, Pepper is ready to take your temperature, to analyze your ills and to write you a prescription for whatever ails you. (No Pepper, nobody is getting naked while you check their vital signs.)
What you need...what Doctor Pepper suggests...is a ...
Membership in the Yard Yeti Synchronized Swim Team
Everyone in the pool!
While Pepper is busy practicing CPR on his favorite hand puppet, Miss Myna, I, your HOST, will carry on in his absence.
Perhaps some of you can recall my own personal medical history of frozen shoulders and busted knees. After many long months of poking and prodding, scanning and imaging and reading Highlights magazine once too often while waiting in a waiting room, I decided to take my life back.
Back to a place where I felt light as air.
Where I met the Team.
The Yard Yeti Synchronized Swimming Team.
The Women Of the Pool.
It was a scary moment. Pulling on my swim cap, donning my goggles, and stepping slowly down the stairs into the warm water, hanging onto the railing for moral support and so very sure that at any second my knee would give way, my shoulder would freeze up and I would need to be rescued by a beefy lifeguard. Well, the beefy lifeguard idea was purely a fantasy, but I needed all the fairy tales I could muster just to take that first step. I walked from one end to the other, very slowly. Step after step, all the while, aware of the other swimmers in the lap pool across the way, gliding back and forth and back and forth with ease.
Until I felt a presence of someone beside me. Walking slowly. Step by step. And another. Some hanging onto the wall, some simply stepping up and down on the steps, up and down and up and down. I pushed off from the wall and took my first stroke.
Some things in life can't be explained.
Like riding a bike, once you swim, you never forget how. One smooth stroke after another until your fingers touch the wall. I pulled off my goggles and the first thing I saw was another underwater ballerina grinning back at me, with her fist pumped in the air.
You did it!
The Women Of the Pool taught me everything I know.
They showed me how to put the pieces back together. The elements of the routine. Women healing from hip or knee replacements. Cancer survivors. Women with sore backs, artificial joints, arthritic knees and elbows. Not all seniors, either. Young Un's too.
We swam together. Back layouts. Ballet legs. Side fishtails. Sculling. Treading water. Day after day. A little more elaborate. Tadpoles evolving into mermaids. Mermaids with custom swimsuits. Nose plugs. Elaborate headpieces and painted toenails. Swimming together in a choreographed routine, with ballet legs and lifts and sweeping hand gestures. Flamingo kicks and eggbeater beats.
And Pepper, in his zebra striped Speedo, feathers swept into a mohawk, squawking into his megaphone ...and a 1...2...3...4...to the pounding beat of "Climb Every Mountain".
They call me the "Minnow" in the pool.
A little fish with a tiny wish.
Which brings me to our guest this week. Elspeth Edelweiss, Yard Yeti Extraodinaire...the elusive reclusive star of the Sound Of Music. She, unlike all of those Hollywood types with their stunt doubles, she, Elspeth Edelweiss climbed the Alps.
Elspeth is an endearing elfin of a gal. Eloquent and the epitome of quiet courage. She overcomes whatever crosses her path and continues to grow and flourish, even when the air is thin, the path is rocky and the faint of heart fall back. A tiny bit eccentric and often elusive, Elspeth finds her way to the top. Seeks the higher ground and when she arrives, echoes into the night an enchanting melody for others to follow.
Until they find their dream.
Meanwhile, after a long day at the pool, Pepper and I are lounging in our pajamas on a floral chaise lounge in the corner of the studio, near the open windows. I am wearing my Nemo fuzzy fish slippers while Pepper reclines in his monogrammed bathrobe and leather Birkenstocks. Pepper is trying out a skin soothing facial mask from one of our new sponsors, Compost Cosmetics, a true innovator in the beauty industry. Waste not want not, why not? The mask is made from ground corn husks, birch tree bark, lawn clippings. dried geranium petals and assorted garden detritus slowly aged in a compost heap with a few taco shells and salsa for a touch of spice. Twenty minutes on, a quick rinse and your face is refreshingly recycled.
Please, listeners, remember it is always important to read the fine print, to follow directions exactly, to be precise and to proceed with caution. If I had, I would have read the disclaimer warning in Big Bold Letters on the back of the jar...Not For Use On Broken Skin... OR...
SKIN COVERED WITH FEATHERS
Another show comes to a close as I lean in and whisper my trademarked Yard Yeti Sign Off...
...Your secrets are safe with me, except the ones I posted on the Internet...
You can find me on your dial at GVWM...
...Garden Variety Wisdom Media, Inc...with the Yellow Wellies Logo...
...is there a Doctor in the House?