Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ear Plugs and Aspirin

So there I was last week at my favorite concert venue, the spectacular outdoor Mountain Winery amphitheater, to see Texas rockers, ZZ Top. Yeah, that's right. Had me pegged as a Huey Lewis and The News kind of gal, didn't you?

Well, ha! Take that.

Except the truth is, I'm not into ZZ Top. I could name three of their songs, maybe four, and probably only because I wasn't in a position to switch radio stations. Not that I think ZZ Top is bad, just not my taste.

But I love going to anything at Mountain Winery. I'll often do so more for the intimate ambiance than the actual performers themselves. With a good friend to enjoy a tasty dinner and a glass of wine, nestled under the stars on a balmy summer night, with close seats enhanced by the spectacular twinkling backdrop of Silicon Valley, I can enjoy just about any kind of music.

Or so I thought.

Which explains how this mild-mannered 50-something woman came to be in the 7th row at Mountain Winery, listening to the opening act: a charming little quartet named Nashville Pussy. I use "listening" in the vaguest sense of the word since I'm sure the blood gushing from my ears cushioned the full impact of the piercing screams that were emitting from the stage. The tattooed, big-haired, bad-permed band of two men and two women made heavy metal screechers AC/DC sound like the angelic Vienna Boys Choir.

Nashville Pussy made my head hurt. And judging from the sea of empty seats around us, this was a shared reaction. Others were distancing themselves from the explosive caterwauling onstage by seeking refuge in nearby bars. I had to admit, another Mountain Winery $14 four-ounce glass of house wine seemed like an excellent idea right about now.

But I had to question whose not-so-excellent idea it had been to bring the elderly man sitting three rows in front of me. At least I think it was a man, an older fella with rounded shoulders and a flock of disheveled white hair brushing his weathered, wrinkled neck. He was wearing a yarmulke. A man of faith, no less, maybe even a rabbi. Good God. I wondered what the poor soul was thinking of the oh, so genteel Nashville Pussy. I watched him, curious to see how long he would last.

Ah, there it was. Motion. He was twitching in his seat. Preparing to either plug his ears or bolt from his chair. But I was wrong. He was nodding his head. Gently, at first, then faster, faster, faster, until he went full throttle, up and down, up down, up down, up down, up down, with pumping shoulders keeping beat.

What we had here, folks, was an honest-to-goodness, full-fledged senior metal head.

Well, okey doke then. As for me, I'm sure I'll have a better time at my next Mountain Winery concert this Friday. I just hope my ears stop ringing by then.

I hear bad boy Huey Lewis puts on a hell of a show.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tammy and the Scrub Jay

I've never been much of a gardener. I plant it. I water it. I kill it. End of story.

That's why, when Deborah arrived at our book club meeting bearing a tray of teeny weeny tomato plants in biodegradable pots, I didn't hold out much hope for mine. I knew the poor thing's fate.

But to my surprise, my plant not only survived, but thrived. It started growing exponentially, first in inches and then in feet. I started getting into this whole gardening business, creating a tomato paradise for my girl (yes, I've determined my tomato plant is a "she"). I moved her to my upstairs balcony that gets full sun and scorching heat. I repotted her in specialized vegetable soil and fertilized her, taking care to water her daily and talk to her often.

"You go, Tammy!" I encouraged my blooming beauty.

And go she did. Tammy rewarded me with tomatoes, first just a few and then a lot, big, fat,bursting juicy ones. When I compared notes with my book club peeps, I learned that my plant was producing more than any others; at last count, I had 45 while Deborah had 19.

Go, Tammy, go!

Except now there's trouble in paradise. A scrub jay has discovered my plant and is hanging around, eyeing my ripening beauties with an interest I find disturbing. John, a gardener friend, told me that the winged intruder won't go after green tomatoes, but the minute he sees red, my tomato is dead.

Oh, hell no. Game on, baby. It's me against the scrub jay.

For starters, John told me to dangle tin can lids from the metal support tower since the flickering shine will frighten the bird. And it appears to be working because for the past few days I've seen my nemesis hopping on a nearby fence, staring at Tammy while squawking with obvious displeasure. Seems I've spoiled his dinner plans.

But only for now. Something tells me I haven't heard the last of this scrub jay yet.
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