Letters to Holly

Tuesday, March 27

A Stern Fern Talking To

After receiving no return call from the suspected plant pilferers, I called them back yesterday as soon as I walked in the door from work. They were home. I asked to talk to the husband, and when he heard "something's missing from the yard," he got his wife on the phone. I explained politely that we discovered a hole in the yard, and she immediately blamed moles. When asked how big the hole was, I said it's exactly as big as the plant that's no longer there.

Then I just said it: we've been told by more than one person that you take plants from this yard you used to own. She shouted it was a lie but then offered a rationale. She said she got permission from the second homeowners' gardeners to take what she wished. I said we are not those people, and we want the plants that we still have. She asked if she could buy saplings from one of the trees, and I said it was a decision Your Sister needed to make. I said we'd call her back to say yea or nay. She said she'd come over, and I repeated, no, we'll call you back first.

I think my point was made, and I think we all knew what happened. The husband wanted clarification from his wife as to who gave permission, so I suspect he didn't know she had not asked us. She did try to use the "we paid for all those plants" card, but I reminded her that they subsequently sold them all when they put the house on the market.

I don't think this will continue to be a problem. I hope not. Your Sis said she would indeed call and work out an arrangement. She doesn't mind splitting offshoots of any of the plants, and she's willing to divvy up the batches of flowers. But we don't want unsolicited pruning. We have plans for the yard, and they don't include arrogant, elderly plucking.

Your Sis has to create a small presentation for a local technology committee about her classroom equipment. She doesn't have to present it to them but instead at a display at the library that the public will be encouraged to browse. She's been given one of those science-fair triptychs to decorate for the project and an absurdly short deadline. So, like the parents of a lazy fourth-grader, we'll slap together a design this weekend. We have some ideas, but the lack of a Kinko's in the area means we have to rely on our desktop printer. I told her I can help as much as possible so long as we finish before 6:30 on Sunday in order to prepare for the PPV party.

I did some small exercises after the phone call, and I intend to run a little tonight. I have a wedding to attend in July, and I'd like to tone up before then. I have plenty of time.

Picture of the Day
From a Russian LiveJournal:

In the News
The Fifth Amendment is a good thing and a necessity at the time the Bill of Rights were created. But today, really, if you plead the fifth, you're admitting guilt by escaping accountability. And a Gonzales aide says she'll do this if called to testify in front of Congress, and then she declared she was taking an indefinite leave of absence. Now that's quality stonewalling. Monica Goodling is the the Justice Department’s White House liaison. Her office is the conduit that makes this scandal noteworthy. A lot of left-wing folks are comparing this scandal to Watergate and even Al Capone's arrest on tax evasion. It's much too early in this new scandal to start saying that, but we are seeing something possibly more offensive than lying to a committee: a steadfast refusal to drop pretense when documents expose a lie. Not that this is solely a Republican tactic, mind you.

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Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, has learned his colon cancer has returned. Hopefully, he'll again defeat it with chemo and return to his job. Although, if he had to resign to fight this, no one would blame him. He's looked a bit haggard lately, and I was among those who assumed the rigors of the job were getting to him. Looks like, instead, his health was declining.

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This blurb was on my favorite sports writer's blog today:
"I wanted to write you without my name or anything, just as a student of UNC. Our loss last night was tough -- some might say heartbreaking. But what's worse is that it may overshadow the death of a true Tar Heel. Jason Ray, our mascot, died this morning. He was the very first person I met at UNC. He was helping freshmen move into the dorms as a part of Intervarsity (a Christian ministry on campus). The elevators were all jammed up, so he helped me cart a refrigerator, futon, and all my other stuff (and girls have a lot of stuff) up NINE floors in the 100-degree heat. And he did it happily. We became friends and I spent a lot of time around him. He let me wear the ram head one time because I thought it'd be funny (even though I'm sure he wasn't supposed to). You've probably gotten a lot of e-mails about yesterday's game, but could you maybe mention Jason in your article, if only for a second. The world deserves to know who this person was. I don't just want him to be a 'UNC mascot dies' blurb on ESPN.com. He was such a good person. A true friend. What every Tar Heel should aspire to be."
I heard about the injury Friday night. He was hit by a car near his hotel in New Jersey. This was a few hours before the game.

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