Archive for July 2015

The Universe Provides…. and SheTakes Away.   1 comment

Way back in what was another lifetime, I was a teacher. Actually you could consider it two lifetimes. When I was fresh out of college I spent eleven years teaching in the Bronx, then after taking a nine year sabbatical I returned to the profession – this time in San Jose. While my Bronx “lifetime” was a pleasurable, rewarding one, my California career took an opposite turn. I attribute it to the fact that in the Bronx I never ventured above third grade. After my first two years I descended to first grade, and eventually snuggled into Kindergarten.

As for California, all was going well until the year I volunteered to leave  my comfort zone of, kindergarten and “move up” to fourth grade.  Little did I know I’d be teaching the Fourth Grade from Hell. Looking back I wonder if it would h ave been half as bad had not the class roster included Russell, Ruben, Alex, and Mark, known to me as The Gang of Four.  I’ll say no more about them, as they are now about 35 years old, and they may find me on Facebook!

I guess it could have been worse. I could have been teaching The Class that Drove Mr Mays Crazy. True story – one day that same year I was enduring the ten-year-old old gang wannabes, the second grade teacher went home, and never returned – not until the next year, by which time he had recovered from his nervous breakdown. The now third grade class prided themselves as being the class that drove Mr Mays crazy.

I survived the fourth grade without a breakdown, and was grateful to be able to return to a first grade class for the next two years. They would be my last two years in the profession. My students were darlings, but  the fourth grade experience had done irreparable damage.

Resigning at year’s end was in the pipe dream  stage when I came across a sentence in a New Age-y magazine.

If a woman follows her heart, the universe will provide.

My heart didn’t have a destination in mind, but it did have an escape. At the end of the school year, I followed my heart the hell out of teaching!

Speaking of provisions, wouldn’t you think the universe would be only too glad to provide in the garden? Not at The House of Mars! Not yet, anyway. She’s toying with me. My soil is home to the most amazingly large, beautiful lush squash plants – one yellow squash

DSCN1899and one zucchini.


I was so thrilled when they started putting out vibrant yellow flowers. I was crushed when they fell off a few days later.

DSCN1901This happened again and again. Flowers. No flowers. Flowers. No flowers.

I looked it up (gotta love the internet!) and found this is normal. They were all male flowers and that’s what male flowers do – mature, scatter pollen, and fall off. The article promised the female flowers would come. It sounded suspiciously like an exhortation to trust the universe to provide. I’m still trusting.

Then one day I was adding scraps to my compost pile which is nearly as far away as you can get from the squash, and still be at The House of Mars, when I saw this growing out of the pile of stones retaining it.

DSCN1898Another squash plant! The universe had provided, after all!!!!!

Later on I thought about it. The leaves and flowers looked similar but I’d discarded lots of pumpkin and melon seeds there last year. Oh well, whatever it was, Mother Universe was giving me a bonus plant, and I was grateful.

A couple of days later, I went back to check on it. The universe had provided, but she provided it to the woodchuck squatter on my property, not me.


I decided to give it a chance, and dug up the remains to transplant to the garden.


And that’s when the answer to its origins was revealed .


Posted July 29, 2015 by virginiafair in Uncategorized

How Do I File a Complaint?   2 comments

Last week was hot – almost too hot for me. And that’s saying a lot.


It was the first time in my sixteen years at The House of Mars that I had to run all three window fans at once, along with the ceiling fan in the kitchen. Normally I only use the fan in the bedroom , and only at night if I wake up and can’t get back to sleep. Most summers that only happens three, maybe four nights.

But hey! I’m not complaining. I love the heat. And I’m not one of those people who philosophizes about how it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. I say BRING IT ON. Heat and humidity are what I dreamed about all last winter.

Speaking of winter, I do have something to complain about.

Hey V bite your tongueNobody’s talking about winter. That’s a bad word in July.

(Can you hear that? That’s my inner voice speaking. )

But actually a bad word in July is exactly what I’m complaining about. Many many summers ago, come the end of July, my mother would start with the comments –

“Before you know it, school will be opening.”

“We’ll have to go look for clothes for school.”

Well, there went my summer The clock was ticking.

“Look, the stores are already advertising  Back to School sales.”

Yep, the alarm was set.

Well, it’s happening. Last week while it was still mid-July and 97 degrees in the shade, what did I hear on TV but a Staples stock up for school ad. And yesterday a famous Footwear ad  about how this school year can be the best yet if you get cool shoes.

But actually now that I’ve gotten how I despise rushing the end of summer off my chest, that’s not what I’m complaining about.

This is


Posted July 23, 2015 by virginiafair in Summer

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The Return of the Prodigal   2 comments

At first I thought my failure to blog regularly was because my work situation has changed. I am now writing freelance from home. While it was one thing to come home from a day on my computer at the office and write a  blog, it was another thing to spend all day on my laptop  up in the loft, then come down to the living room and attempt a blog post.

But that wasn’t it. I realized it was the lack of pictures. You see, normally I’d be inspired by  something in the city or at the shopping center, think I must write about that, snap a photo or two, come home and write. But then, back in January…………..

……….. I lost my camera.

I searched everywhere: in every coat, under the car seat, in my gym bag, my pocketbook, in the kitchen drawer. You name it, I looked there. I was even beginning to think about getting a new phone so I’d have a camera, when……….

……………I found my camera.

The prodigal camera had returned! It was hanging out with some t-shirts in the t-shirt drawer! If I ate meat, I’d proclaim “Prepare the fatted calf ” or whatever it was that the father said when his prodigal son returned. Instead…………..

………….. I charged the camera and started snapping shots .

Ready for an update on the house of Mars?

Marble has calmed down somewhat. He’s two years old and now that it’s summer, he’s content to sit on a little blue rug I bought at the dollar store to wipe my feet on when I come in. The cast of characters changes DSCN1877

After breakfast… with The Brothers

DSCN1884 with Marcel

DSCN1890Alone at last

Then there’s the garden. If you recall, I started  tomatoes and cucumbers from seed. Two cuke seedlings emerged, and 23 tomatoes. Not having space for that many tomatoes, I put them up for adoption and ended up with 5 for myself. Well, 2 died, and the cukes got eaten by groundhogs. The tomatoes are doing well They are the kings of the vegetable garden……

DSCN1880…….Ruling over 2 eggplants. 2 squash, 4 yellow pepper plants

I tried to rise above it, but I can’t. I have to point out, that’s not my shed.

DSCN1882Mine is pretty

So that’s what’s going on in the House of Mars. I’m enjoying this summer so much, writing on the deck is like not working at all.


So be prepared for more blogs from The House of Mars!