Here at the Press most of us are writers. We are deeply passionate about things like gerunds, the serial comma and would never try to purposely split our infinitives. Oops! Most people are not. In fact, most people really hate it when we correct their instant-messaging grammar. Lolz. So, we've learned to keep our mouths shut. Until now.
Yesterday, while waiting for a friend to show up at Onion Creek Cafe, I started browsing The Heights Pages. It looked like a pretty standard glossy mag, with lots of ads for realtors, home furnishings and landscaping services. Pretty standard stuff. Sprinkled throughout were "columns" on realtors, home furnishings and landscaping services. After reading through some of the turgid prose — obviously written by otherwise smart people — I realized they were actually ads disguised as columns. The writing was horrible. It was pedantic, trite and of such questionable grammar that Strunk & White would probably die of heart attacks, you know, were they not already dead. But none of it rose to the point of being risible.
Then I found the crazy. I was two $2 Red Stripes deep when I met Jeff Law, a local landscaper who specializes in bamboo. You would expect a discussion of landscaping to include plants and grass, but Law brings so much more than that. In just 500 words he informs us of capitalism's secret handshakes, predicts that water will eventually be much more expensive than gas, contemplates breaking and entering and ends with a discussion of flying limbs in a hurricane. He does all this with wanton disregard to the rules of grammar. When we loaded this into MS Word there were so many squiggly lines our screen looked like Christmas at Richard Simmons's house.
After the jump, enjoy as I parse Law's grammar and am frightened by his logic. All fragments, run-ons and dangling modifiers by Jeff Law. All snide, snarky condescension by author.
Europeans today, when given the choice, prefer less work hours and less pay if they can have more time off to just ENJOY life.... Friends and family are a part of that. Home is a part of that. And for many of us so blessed in America, our yards are a part of that quotient too.
Yes, your yard is the result of dividing your house by your garage.
There is a old adage that states simply "We are human beings, not human doings." And Americans, in some enormous group shuffle of consciousness, are moving in that direction slowly, but surely.
Once, I smoked some grass and spent 30 minutes working with this little koan. "Man, I'm totally a human-getting-some-Doritos."
This is a new paradym gaining momentum in American today that is taking root despite the market "forces," Ebay, and capitalism's secret handshake about buying everything ever made.
Yes, the new "paradym" is the market forcing you — with its "forces" — to shake hands with capitalism and become a Super Seller on eBay. But don't tell anyone. It's a secret.
Nesting. And downsizing. Creating your own sanctuary in your own space. Yours. Interior and exterior. Both are reflections of what is going on inside ourselves.
It's Sentence Fragment Heaven as Law tells us, that, "Yes, that dress does make you look fat. On the inside."
You want to know what a person is all about, check out their yards if you can't get into their houses. It's nearly impossible to divorce one's self from our economy's sales force. We are deluged with being told how to be, look, act, fear, become. That extends to our domicile and if we choose to have one, our yards.
We are in creepy, stalker territory here. While checking out their yards, hide in the bushes until they come home. Rush up behind them and demand to know if they work in sales. If they do work in sales deluge them with fear. You can do this in their domicile, or, if you choose, in their yard.
It takes gumption to create a space that is yours and yours alone, acknowledging "resell" gurus or media experts, but choosing yourself. Remember, you can be a god creating your mini Eden where you live now.
We completely agree you should choose yourself over media experts. After all, you are God. So am I.
This is still a land where most new homeowners/ builders/developers and strip centers are still planting the same 33 plant types from chain store nurseries. An eco nightmare. And watering grass so that you can cut it in 3 days and then pay to have it hauled off to a landfill....hello? Who wants to spend their free time pruning, watering, mowing, fertilizing, and spraying just so that it looks like a McWalYard? We aren't born hive minded, we are made hive minded. And, what you spray on your azaleas ends up on your plate remember? If you think gas is expensive now, think about water in a few years.
We have to give him credit for McWalYard. That's clever. But what on earth is he putting on his azaleas? I didn't even know that you could eat those. When will the Water Wars start? Can we invade the Adriatic Sea? This paragraph raises more questions than it answers. For example, why do you use four dots for your ellipses?
Creating your own sanctuary in our climate could mean having a low maintenance subtropical Shangri-La instead of a Texas Peoria. We can grow more plants, trees, shrubs, vines than nearly anywhere in America. 5 ecozones meet here, and only here...and, we can be outdoors nearly all year.
There actually is a Peoria, Texas, and they don't take too kindly to your tone, mister. Sure, it's no Shangri-La, but the folks are nice. Also, when can't we be outdoors? On ozone days? Do you have any plants that grow well in smog?
So what does this have to do with creating your own sanctuary in your own space? Explore xeriscaping. Lush, flowering 12 months of blooms if you wish. Low to no watering, fertilizing, pesticides.......very little mowing, and still have grass if you want it. I've cut my zoysia grass 3 times in 1 � years at Indian Summer Lodge. I used a weed eater. I plant giant tropical bamboo instead of live oaks. I want shade and privacy now, and greenery all year. I don't want limbs coming through my house during hurricanes.
Whoa! Whoa! Why are their limbs in your backyard? Oh, you mean tree limbs? Oh, okay. And seven periods for your ellipsis this time? You had to think a while on that one, huh?
My belief is that you can take your spaces, with or without help, and re create them so that you are experiencing a mirror reflecting of who you are , a unique individual, and achieve more peace as your passion and garden grow naturally. The butterflies, hummingbirds and bees are not reserved for a bonus round. They come right away. You decide. You create. You enjoy. Go learn, explore and nest!
In this bonus round, do you need to eat mushrooms? Because I think you're running low. Look out, the hummingbirds are coming! They can't see their reflecting!
Or, call me, The plant whisperer. 713-XXX-9230 or 713-XXX-0398.
If you ever try to get inside my house I will call 911...........so don't try that.....okay...........I mean it..for real. -- Ray Hafner
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.