Beheading Birds of Paradise

Survivors. Birds of Paradise who made the cut … or didn’t.

THIS SUNDAY MORNING, I awoke and thought of Sundays of Long Ago, specifically when I was married to my second wife and living in Houston.

We had a routine. I’d retrieve the fat Houston Chronicle from the lawn, pour coffee for the two of us — maybe we ate something too, can’t recall — and back to bed we went for an hour or more, reading the newspaper. It was fun.

I wonder if the Houston Chronicle still publishes a print edition. The world has changed so much in the past two decades. Another former employer, The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, does not. It’s only online.

Just like me.

But this morning, here at the Hacienda, a far cry from Houston and New Orleans in all aspects, after coffee and bagels and cream cheese (lite), I went out the veranda door to do a bit of yardwork.

Madeleine Peyroux was still singing on the music machine.

I deadheaded a few Birds of Paradise. I whacked back one of the small bougainvilleas. I picked up rotting golden datura blooms from the ground in the Willy-Nilly Zone. And I cut stalks of defunct aloe vera flowers.

The weather was wonderful, and it appears the rainy season, which long overstayed its welcome this year, may have retired till June. I pray so.

We have plenty of work planned around here,* and it awaits the genuine end of the rainy season because it’s outdoor work. Not work I will do, of course. Work that people I employ will do, guys who do cement and stone.

And colonial tile.

Potted plants sitting on a scruffy surface. But you just wait!

There are three arches in the veranda, as you can see in the photo. There are potted plants resting on the three ledges below. They sit on a dingy brick surface. In about a week, a guy will come and lay beautiful colonial tile. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this 15 years ago or even last year.

It will be a huge — Yuge! — improvement. I’ll post photos.

In the meantime, I wonder if my second ex-wife still reads the Sunday newspaper in bed. I almost emailed her this morning to inquire. But I didn’t.

* * * *

* More work than has been done by far since the Hacienda’s construction. Roofs will be razed. Stairs will be moved. Floors will be ripped up. The Jesus Patio will be destroyed. Fruit trees will fall. More on all that when it happens.

16 thoughts on “Beheading Birds of Paradise

  1. Just chopped my pink angel trumpet down to stubs. Had an infestation of huge green worms. Sounds like you are going to do a “yuge redo.”


    1. Peggy: I have just one CD of hers. It’s titled “Half the Perfect World,” and I bought it over a decade ago in Houston, based just on the cover photo. I brought it home, played it once or twice, and did not care for it at all. Into the pile it went … and sat. About two months ago, I pulled it out and played it, and I like it a lot. I turn it on every morning when I walk into the living room. It plays the whole thing and then turns itself off. Great way to start the day.


  2. I miss the newspaper. In fact, I miss journalism. My grandfather always said that reading the paper was the mark of an educated man. He drove a bread truck for a living, so that made an impression on me that lasted until they were gone.

    Our newspaper of record was the The Birmingham News. It has been replaced, which publishes rot like “See what Alabama fans wore to Saturday’s game” and “Ten best places to get a hamburger in Alabama.” They leave this “news” up for as much as a week.

    Not much there for an educated man.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ray: Well, that’s depressing. I look on occasion at the websites of the Houston Chronicle and The Times-Picayune. I see similar stuff. Even worse for me, a complete non-sports fan, is they appear to think that ballgames are front page news every day. The New Orleans website is the worst of the two, but that ain’t saying much. When I lived in Houston, I subscribed to the Wall Street Journal, which I did like. I wonder if that’s gone downhill. I’d read it online here, but it’s very pricey, so I don’t.


  3. After 22 years of having a yuge garden spanning several acres I relish not having one now. It’s all work. When you sit around trying to enjoy it your discriminating eye always seems to find something that needs doing. Nope. Don’t miss it at all. The city where we live is one big garden and the city staff keep it looking nice.

    As for newspapers I buy one on occasion and instantly regret it. Everything is online now and much more than can be contained in a single (biased) publication. Just found this blog this morning which sounds promising. Haven’t delved into it yet.


  4. Frankly, I’m delighted that print editions are mostly dead and gone. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, I used to subscribe to papers, but they piled up so horribly that it was a real nuisance to get rid of them again. Now, reading the news on my laptop (for free!) is a MUCH better experience.

    Now only if so-called “journalists” would return to actual news reporting versus the editorial crap they try to pawn off as “news.”


    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where mom still gets a paper, complete with two-day-old news printed on it.


    1. Kim: I enjoyed print newspapers way back when. I only received two, and I had already read one of those two the previous night when I was part of putting it together. I like online news too. It is easier, and often free but not always.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Can’t wait to see the photos when it is done, to me it looks pretty now. Much better than the gray walls I look at all day long.


    1. M&C: The workman come on Monday, and I’ll be posting before and after shots.

      As for your gray walls, get outta there! Move down into Mexico where it’s far nicer. And prettier.


  6. The Houston Chronicle is not what it used to be in your days. Still stuffed with ads in the Sunday edition but not worth the effort to read anymore. Gone are the days, and what is a challenging is the total liberal concept. I have numerous friends who order the newspaper strictly for the coupons.


    1. Pat: So it’s still alive and breathing. As for its “liberal” (I prefer the word leftist) bent, about eight months ago I resurrected my Facebook account mostly to reconnect with some of my former coworkers on the newspaper, see what they were doing. I was really surprised to see they were almost 100 percent a bunch of angry collectivists who could not get over that Trump was president. It was almost nonstop ranting against the president. It was not long before I canceled the FB account again.


Comments are closed.