Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Water-Saving Garden: How to Grow a Gorgeous Garden with a Lot Less Water by Pam Penick

A guide to growing beautiful gardens in drought-prone areas utilizing minimal water for maximum results.
With climate change, water rationing, and drought on the rise, conserving water is more important than ever—but that doesn’t mean your gardening options are limited to cacti and rocks. The Water-Saving Garden provides gardeners and homeowners with a diverse array of techniques and plentiful inspiration for creating outdoor spaces that are so beautiful and inviting, it’s hard to believe they are water-thrifty. Including a directory of 100 plants appropriate for a variety of drought-prone regions of the country, this accessible and contemporary guide is full of must-know information on popular gardening topics like native and drought-tolerant plants, rainwater harvesting, greywater systems, permeable paving, and more.

Review:  When I saw this book available on Blogging for Books, I knew I had to check it out. The main reason is because I live in southern California where we've been experiencing a drought now for the past 5 years. I am not a native Californian, we moved here just 5 years ago as well, so we definitely were in for a water usage shock and lots of beige and yellowed grass everywhere. Each year, I have seen the water restrictions become even more tighter and currently, we have been told to reduce outdoor watering by 70%! There are lots of homes here with lawns (including ours) and we are in the process of evaluating whether or not to keep it or replace it with material and plants that don't require much water at all.

This book is very informative, from suggesting how to lay out the landscape and what types of alternative materials to use such as decomposed granite, pea gravel, stepping stones, etc, water irrigation systems that save money and water usage, and offers a variety of plants and trees that can be planted that don't require as much water either. There are also plenty of beautiful photos in the book to give the reader ideas on how different landscapes can look. I was never a fan of the dry, desert garden landscape, especially cactus, but this book shows you several other alternatives with native plants that are stunning and still vibrant and colorful. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in creating a water saving garden, whether they live in a drought region or not. I was provided a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Goodbye Harry Calhoun

~ This morning I received sad news from a close friend of poet Harry Calhoun, who I've published many chapbooks for under Flutter Press and also on my various poetry journals. She told me that Harry passed away on October 31st, 2015. I am completely shocked and stunned to hear of his passing. I spoke to him last Fall, he was working on a new chapbook and was excited about it and planned to send it to me this month. Now I know why I never received it from him. I was going to email him, just to inquire about his progress. Harry was a unique individual, he was kind, funny, and always upbeat. I enjoyed his poetry, it wasn't all fluffy and pretentious but simple and understated, and always honest and heartfelt. He will be missed, that's for certain. I just can't believe it. Life is so very fragile.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Breathless and The Pale

Early morning,
the sound of sirens wailing
like banshees on the moors;
a common occurrence
in this sleepy inland town.

As we stop at the intersection
to depart the suburbs,
an ambulance turns toward us,
passes by in haste, red lights flashing;
a beacon for those on the edge.

Early evening,
more sirens in the distance
to ease the suffering
of the breathless and the pale;
a mother, a father, a brother, a sister,
or a lost loved one,
ever struggling to survive
inside the carcass 
of a half-eaten life.

23 January 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Scenes from a Forgotten City

Blue Couch 


driving along familiar streets
of San Jacinto, 
towards charter schools,
a sapphire blue couch
squatted in an empty parking lot.
It appeared disheveled
but otherwise in good condition.
Not much further down,
near an abandoned railroad track
a single, grungy sneaker
tossed aside like garbage.
Yet another loose thread
in the tattered fabric
of this forgotten town.

Brown Sofa

Three sturdy bison

grazed on a patch of greenery
in otherwise yellow fields;
the distance between us
a chain-link fence
and a busy roadway.
A year ago, 
I thought I saw
an oversized, furry brown sofa.
The lone bison didn't move,
it just lay there,
watching the world go by.
I thought of the homeless
who frequent Weston Park,
sleeping beneath the arbor
but always alone.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Orchard Grove by Vincent Zandri

Sometimes fences make for nice neighbors. Other times they hide the evil within. From New York Times best-selling author Vincent Zandri comes a riveting novel of lies, deceit, and murder right next door. Orchard Grove is a town like any other, with quiet neighborhoods and apple groves . . . though Ethan, the depressed screenplay writer, and his secretive wife, Susan, would tell you differently. So would the seductive serial killer living next door. The apple trees are fertilized with evil, and the backyard fences aren’t enough to stop the manipulative mind games and dangerous lies. The lines between good and evil are blurred, and then erased, as Ethan does what it takes to survive.

Review:  I won this book though the Goodreads Book Giveaway, it was the first time that I've won a book from Goodreads so I didn't want to just read the book and give a rating without writing some sort of review. When I read the synopsis of the book, I thought it seemed interesting and mysterious. However, the story just seemed so out there that I wasn't sure what to think about it.

A Hollywood script writer named Ethan, becomes obsessed with his next-door neighbor, Lana. So much so, that he spies on her daily while she lays out sunbathing on her back deck. Ethan is also married but due to financial troubles, the marriage has been on the rocks for a while. He pays a visit to Lana's house one morning and the next thing you know, they are making out. And this is how the book seems to carry on, with many scenes that seem so outlandish and unreal. I could imagine this book as a B-movie because it was so unbelievable. Lots of erotic sex scenes and Ethan going on about his lust for Lana, it gets to be tiring. Then, murder comes into play and the book is full on action after that which helped speed along the reading.

I don't think the writing was terrible, it was actually pretty good. The main character, Ethan, was hard to like, he seemed so pathetic that it was painful to read at times. I did like the backstory of Orchard Grove when it used to be an apple orchard where several dead bodies appeared during a span of 5 years. I won't say who the serial killer was but it added some dark interest to the story. I feel this book is tailored more for a guy, not so much a woman's book, at least in my case. It was an average read for me, the story was bizarre and just didn't strike a chord with me in the end.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Goodbye David Bowie

~ Last night I found out that David Bowie died. I was completely shocked by this news. Then I learned that he had been battling cancer for 18 months, I didn't even know he had cancer. Even though he was a bit before my time, I grew up listening to Bowie and absolutely loved his music. My favorite songs of his will always be Fame, Let's Dance, Modern Love, China Girl, Major Tom, Ashes to Ashes, and many others. He was a unique soul and will definitely be missed. Rest in Peace.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Early Morning Earthquake

~ Experienced a 4.5 magnitude earthquake this morning around 6:43 am. Nothing like a longer than normal quake to shake things up and get the day rocking....literally. Yesterday, it rained for quite some time, especially in the afternoon. It's what this place needs because of the severe drought but wonder if it made a dent at all. There were areas of flash flooding on the roads but thankfully, I didn't witness any accidents.