This is privet.  It is a woody plant.  In certain situations it is an invasive weed.


Yet when planted intentionally and carefully cultivated, it is a hedge, a living wall.

The same thing can be “good” or “bad” depending on where it is, and how much of it is there.

Too much water is just as bad as too little. Too much water in the wrong place can be devastating.

A hedge can be low –


…or high.  It can keep people out…


…or let them in.


It can even be shaped into a maze, where you can let people in, but they have to find their own way out. (Hint – pick a side, left or right, and follow that exclusively.)


What would be at the center of your maze?

Would you make your privet into a wall to keep people out?

How high would you let it grow?

How long are you willing to wait for that?  It can take a decade to make an impenetrable.

Will people notice that you are growing a barrier, or will it be a surprise to them?

Will they step over it in the meantime?


(All pictures are from the internet. Used for illustrative purposes.)





I’ve always been fascinated by these tiny alleyways, but not known that they had a special name. In Britain, where they are common, they are called ginnels. They are pathways between rowhouses. According to Wikipedia it is “A narrow passageway or alley often between terraced houses.”  They are known as this especially in Yorkshire and Lancashire. A terraced house is defined as one that shares both side walls with other houses, which is “typical of Victorian and Edwardian housing in English cities”. 


To me, they look secret and mysterious. I’m not sure why I have such a fascination with empty spaces and absences. This is negative space, not positive.  It isn’t a destination, but a way to get to it.  But to me, it is intriguing as it is.

My Mom told me about playing in the one that was part of her building complex while she was growing up.  This was primarily when it rained.


They look forbidding and inviting all at the same time.  Do they lead to courtyards like this?



From an image search, I found several that aren’t enclosed on the top.  I don’t know if those are still considered ginnels, or if they are just alleys.  To me, they need to be enclosed to fit my idea of them, but then again I just learned this word.

(All photos are copyright of their respective owners and are used for educational purposes.)

Killing Time


I found these cigarette butts in the canister outside the library. I’d not heard of them, but I found the name amusing and disturbing at the same time. Time is the one thing that cigarette smokers don’t have. They smoke it away. They are literally killing time when they smoke. Worse, they are killing time in multiple ways. At first, it means not doing anything meaningful with their lives during the fifteen minutes they take to smoke. It ends with years cut off their lifespan. In the middle, their quality of life is lessened (why am I using the passive tense – they lessen it themselves, it isn’t done to them) by the diseases they get – cancer, emphysema, heart disease, etc.

When I was growing up, cigarettes were known as “coffin nails” or “cancer sticks”. Perhaps something like that would be more honest. But this is pretty good.  Maybe it will make them think about what they are doing to themselves.

These are discount cigarettes, so they most certainly have more “filler” and less tobacco in them. Thus, they are even more dangerous to smoke. It seems logical that if someone wants to save money, they’d quit smoking altogether.

The sad part is that the poor suffer even more when they smoke because of the unnatural ingredients in their cigarettes. (Again, why am I using the passive voice? Smoking is a choice. Nobody forces you to smoke.)

Sea Star

The Starfish is now called  a “Sea Star” because it is not a fish.  But it is also not a star.

Does it matter what we call something?  Does that change what it is?


What about people?  Are you a different person when you change your name – through marriage, adoption, gender reassignment, or other major life event?


Or are you simply solidifying a truth?  Perhaps by changing your name, you are making the outside match the inside.  Perhaps by asking others to call you something else, you are saying to them that you are someone else, now.


Some names are given to us.  Some are nicknames that are not so nice.  Some are names that represent a truth that we are not willing (or ready) to acknowledge. Some tell more about the giver of the name than the person they are naming.

You do not have to accept a name that you do not like.  You do not have to answer to what someone else calls you if it does not harmonize with who you truly are.


Perhaps Western culture would benefit from people being allowed to choose new names for themselves. Just like we grow into and out of styles of expression with our choice of clothing or music or books we read – we should be able to change our names without it being unusual.

What name would you pick for yourself if you could do so?  What name (s) have been given to you by others that you would rather forget?  What is the name you call yourself when no one else is around?

Who do you follow?

I like that the word on Facebook when you don’t want to read everything that someone is saying is “unfollow”, rather than something else like “hide” or “block”. Not following some people is a good idea.

I don’t want to follow the people who continually refuse to take care of themselves and then complain about it. I don’t want to follow the people who, through every fault of their own, are obese or have cancer or in miserable relationships or jobs. Facebook is not the place to continuously complain about migraines or insomnia or sinus headaches. If they are happening that often, go to the doctor.

I don’t want to follow people who feel it necessary to share their fear about the government, the environment, or the future. Their need to “educate” me about their pet fear of the week is disturbing. I don’t read the news for a reason. The news is full of bad news with no way out. The news and these people show only the sickness and don’t offer the cure.

I don’t want to follow people whose every post is a passive aggressive rant about the world. Where they start off everything with “Dear (fill in the blank)” – someone that they are not friends with – such as “Dear person who pulled out in front of me at the Walmart shopping mall” or “Dear postman who lost my important parcel”. They complain about how that person did something wrong that adversely affected them. They’re addressing their anger to people who don’t deserve it. The people who are reading it are not the people who harmed them – they are their friends. I’m tired of listening to their craziness and having them pour their anger upon me – someone who doesn’t deserve it.

I won’t follow these people because I’m afraid I’m going to become like them. I’m afraid that I am going to drink the Kool-Aid along with them and become just as miserable as they are. They are addicted to their own pain and they want to share it. But mostly I don’t want to follow them because I’m afraid of where they’ll lead me.

Age limits?

Our society is doomed.  We either are raising children who are too stupid to have common sense, or we are overly litigious.  Both indicate the failure of people to take personal responsibility for their lives and think ahead before they do anything.

Check this out.


This is for a credit-card sized magnifier with a light.  Seems simple enough, right?  Yet it is “Not recommended for children under 12.”  What is so dangerous about it that it can’t be used by a child who is 10? Or 6?

And this, discovered on the same day.  age2age3


It is a scarf (emblazoned with the Marauder’s Map from Harry Potter) that is for ages 14 and up.

What world have we found ourselves in (or created) that 13 year old  people can’t wear a scarf safely?  Or 12? Or even 8?   Sure, I can see a very young child might get tied up in it and choke himself. But only for 14 and up?

Perhaps you recall seeing these?


Why would anyone think it would be a good idea to put their child in an enclosed plastic tub?  If you anyone is that dumb, doesn’t the Darwin award come into effect?

And if humans are so inept that we can drown in a few inches of water in a bucket, then why are we even still around?  Baby animals can take care of themselves far better than humans can very soon after being born.  Kittens can live independently at 6 weeks of age.  Meanwhile, humans can’t be left alone until they are at least 12, and that is only for a few hours.  Some can’t even support themselves at 50 and still live in their parent’s basements.

There are other warning labels around, to advise against hurting yourself. Here’s some great ones about fingers and hands.


Here are ones that are sarcastic.




There is something magical about this picture.  I found it online, and I don’t yet know where this photo was taken.  Where is this garden?  When I find out, I’ll change this post to reflect that.

Keys from a computer keyboard, and they look like gravestones.

This reminds me of the scene in “Iris” when the aging writer Iris Murdoch is on a beach in England with far more stones than sand.


She wants to write, but she can’t remember the words anymore. Or perhaps she can’t remember the letters.  So she takes pages from her notebook and puts them on the rocks, holding them down with other rocks.  She points joyfully to them and says that is her writing.  Her caregiver is distraught at how lost she is.

Yet she wasn’t lost.  I understand this completely.  This is writing.  Trying to hold down thoughts.  Trying to capture the uncapture-able.  Pinning down butterflies kills them, after all.  They are no longer butterflies when you try to define them, to draw them.  Ideas are the same.

This image above speaks to that.  What is writing, but memorializing what was?  The thought has changed now, evolved.