A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

09 April 2010

Ah...the Sweet Smell of Spring...on Venus!

In keeping with my monthly suggestion of a Montgomery Advertiser online theme (last month was "...Nature's Little...") - I read Liberty4USA's blog and she suggested others post their Spring memories...so I decided to go for it and do a Spring blog myself.

While Liberty let slide she's a closet pyromaniac...and heaven knows I've done my fair share of "setting things on fire for the 'sake' of science"...I won't divulge what horrors befell the unlucky specimens who got the hot end of the deal. Plus...I really don't want PETA putting my childhood photo on signs with a circle and red line through it. So, I'll just confess she's not the only one who found out that you can indeed set things on fire with a magnifying glass...altho I'll admit my infatuation with it stopped LONG ago. ;)

But...back to Spring.

Spring always conjures up imagery in my head of getting a brand spanking new matching pastel outfit to wear to church on Easter Sunday. This included "the works": hat, dress, a flimsy coat, and "shiny as a just minted penny" shoes. Photos were obligatory; gloves were optional...but as I grew up in the 1960s, they were still in vogue and I had to have them. I don't remember ever wearing the outfit more than once...but it was always an event - and fond memories are made of such events.

Spring, growing up in New Jersey...was a transitional thing. My son even remarked to me the other day, upon seeing the outside temperature while in the climate controlled atmosphere of my car, that Spring lasted about one day...and what was up with it going from freezing cold to blazing hot literally overnight.

It is true...I remember in Jersey how the flowers would herald the changing seasons. First the crocus would poke its clever blooms up and out thru the snow...then the narcissus and daffodils...giving way to the luxurious scent of lilac. If you've never smelled a real live, honest-to-goodness lilac bush...you really don't know what you're missing. Forget those Glade air fresheners...even Yankee Candle can't come close. A real Yankee knows lilacs don't reek of things like patchouli and cotton...or whatever combo they use to try to recreate the "lilac" experience. Real lilac hangs on the air as delicately as those lace-like structures etched on a dragonfly's wings...and darts off in the wind as effortlessly and quickly as well. It's there for a moment...and when you think you can hone in on it...it eludes you yet again.

Grabbing handfuls of the lovely blossoms and deeply burying my nose in them...ah...the thing that Spring memories again are made of - but are probably only as sweet as the remembrances of youth. I'm sure the flowers don't emit the same odour they once had. Time has a way of altering the senses and perceptions...and turning the most lovely memories into the mundane when you stray down that road again in another time. Some things are best left to memories...so perhaps it's a good thing I've never seen a lilac bush here in Alabama...and those waxy "effigies" the companies make - well, can't hold a candle to them.

But I'm waxing nostalgic (yes, that clearly was intentional)...

Spring in Alabama - what does it mean to me now?

Mosquitoes? Yeah, okay but they seem to find me year-round...so not that "Spring-like" really. Think, think, think...what do I remember most about this place in the Spring?

I know!

Primordial soup.

We have a swimming pool...or as they call it here in the South, a "cement pond". (Oh, c'mon...that was a joke.) Each year, instead of letting it run (via the pump)...we just let nature run its course...and then just drain it in the Spring, clean out the sludge which accumulated...and fill it back up again. Voila! Yankee ingenuity at its best. (Again...I'm jesting.)

But...in between the time we stop swimming and the time we start swimming...there is this interim period...a "Spring" of sorts if you will...which happens, coincidentally, between Winter and Summer. And in that time period - all kinds of things take up residence in my pool.

There are bugs...water bugs. I don't know how they find my pool...but they do. It's not like there's a little river which leads into my pool...but the water bugs find it anyway. Then the frogs and toads come. This is about the same time that the algae decides to go into hyperdrive. It begins to look like the scum on top of a soup...the stuff that you scoop off when it's simmering. Seriously...this stuff looks like it's just about to boil. There's some anaerobic activity going on I'm certain. Then...that's when "it" happens. Out of this bubbling cold cauldron - "things" begin to grow in this massive soup mixture.

Primordial things.

Primordial things begin to grow...and grow and grow. It's like a full-scale science experiment - my own little planet of life brewing...right in my backyard. We had these one-celled creatures you could SEE with the naked eye. You aren't supposed to SEE one-celled creatures like amoebas. But these were giant amoebas! I kid you not. I had giant microbial mutant life in my pool...and I will probably have it again. The abject lack of a transitional Springtime is probably to blame...certainly not due in any part with our lackadaisical approach to proper pool maintenance.

So while SETI and NASA are out there with their mass spectrometers, telescopes and space stations...searching the far distant skies for extraterrestrial life on other planets, I have intraterrestrial life in my pool each year. Life that I let slip down some drain.

On some grand cosmic scale this is probably terribly sad or terribly ironic...which it is I'm not really sure.

But it sure wouldn't be Spring in Alabama to me...without it.


  1. Mental note: do not swim in Mariann's cement pond.

  2. "Real lilac hangs on the air as delicately as those lace-like structures etched on a dragonfly's wings...and darts off in the wind as effortlessly and quickly as well."

    Nice work, Marianne. Love that phrasing.

    Anyway, I think you're very lucky to get frogs and toads in your cement pond. I've only seen one frog here in the last 12 years--after a deluge that took off our roof and left our cars full of dents. But the frog was spectacular. We believe it was hibernating underground, waiting for the arrival of water, and hatched after the storm. I thought it was a hopeful sign. Of what, I'm not sure. But I felt happy seeing it.

    As for your primordial soup, well, that's not nearly as appealing. But it is very interesting. I wonder what the hell it is, and if it can be used for good?

  3. Kitty - You can swim in it - just don't swallow any of the water. ;)

    Mike - Thanks for coming to read my blog without coercion. :) And also for the nice words.

    Do you live in the city where you don't get frogs? After a rainfall here - they are all over the place. Driving - you smoosh quite a few as they are all over the roads.

  4. To me, spring will always be about the start of baseball season. But yeah, I do remember Jersey in the springtime. A bit of a chill, but time to put away the winter coats.

  5. Chris - That's just the thing - you put away your winter coat - but I remember having things called "windbreakers" - you'd wear your windbreaker - sweater under it some days...some days not. Here it goes from having the heater on one day to putting the a/c on the next.

    Weird. It's just not - normal here. Spring isn't supposed to last just two days.

  6. Awww. I always got a new outfit every Easter too! What was that about anyway??

    Ug, and I've swallowed many a disgusting gulp of pool water. Pool with the pee. What's worst is swallowing ocean water. Yeah, that's good stuff right there.

  7. Spring comes pretty similarly here in New England. Cold cold cold HOT. I can smell those lilacs you describe . . .

  8. LOL-great blog as usual....Be careful the "things" in yr pool don't grow to ginoumous size...if they do, we can make a new horror film..."They came from the cement pond"

  9. MikeWJ beat me to it... I love the "Real Lilac" sentence. Gorgeous imagery there, very descriptive and very beautiful.

    Your pool sounds neat. Unlike Antkitty, I do wanna go swimming in it, I like froggies and the sludge sounds fascinating. I'd feel like Jeff Corwin or Terry Irwin or something. :D jk, mostly.

  10. Well, you are all welcome to come swim in my pool. And no hurry - by the time my "eventually-to-be-ex-husband" gets around to drain/clean/refill it - it will probably be September. :(