Opportunistic Plant Life

Sundew plant peeks out from a pitcher plant.

Sundew plant peeks out from a pitcher plant.

Thought you might enjoy this close up of a sundew plant which unexpectedly appeared a few months ago in the middle of my pitcher plant. I bought the pitcher plant from Oudean’s Willow Creek Nursery a couple years ago. They sell both kinds of plants from the same greenhouse, so I guess I am not surprised that this little bonus plant showed up. The sundew is actually better at attracting fruit flies than the pitcher plant is.


Poem from the Vault: How to Bloom

How to Bloom

The Sunflowers sway in the wind,
smiling happily in the sun,
their roots tingling with gratefulness
when the rain seeps into the soil.
Their appreciation for what
God has given them is as full as the moon.
When they die, they accept it, contentedly,
knowing that their remains
will nourish future generations
of plants and people
who will benefit from
the deeds they have planted
in this world.

Bug Vacuum to the Rescue

Photo of Uncle Milton Bug Vac

Uncle Milton Bug Vac

I recently heard about the existence of something called a bug vacuum, which enables you to gently suck up spiders, flies, moths and so forth and then release them outside. Having recently taken Buddhist refuge vows, I’m trying not to harm sentient beings, including insects. Last year you could find me chasing bugs around the house with a carnivorous plant, so I think this is a step in the right direction.

Anyway, I recently purchased the Uncle Milton Critter Catcher Bug Vac, which not only does exactly what I described above, it also has a little removable chamber with magnifying glass lid, so it basically doubles as a science toy for budding entomologists.

For just $15, this thing has already helped me rescue a fly, a moth and a mystery bug. My kid has even used it to suck bugs off the pool water (she says the water doesn’t go more than a few inches up the chute), but this thing is not listed as waterproof so I’d advise against doing that.


Poem from the Vault: Sunflower

The sunflower

bursts with fertile, coppery

lust —

his facetothesun

reflects a thousand

seeds of what will be his offspring —

and likewise

Radhi, tall as corn

stretches toward the sun, face


for the blessing of lush harvest.

He plants the seeds,

follows the patterns

of light through the swaying stalks

till wetness drips

from the heaving sky, and

watches his children

dance dizzily

drenched in sun and rain.

They practice

carving, shaping, digging, sowing,

and the flame of birthed fruits.

Like their father, they learn

to bloom.

[Originally published in Jittering Microscope #1, 1990]

Radhi is a character archetype from my pantheon of characters. He is inspired by Papa Legba (the gate-keeper voodoo loa), and Osiris. In my upcoming novels he is channeled into the characters Roddy in Pieces of Home and Perry in Haunted House Designers. These two represent my “well-meaning but foolish father” character type.

Poem from the Vault: Melting Evaporati

Melting Evaporati

Although I simmer

with waiting to be near

your body, unclothed and glowing

in the sweltering summer,

touching anything now

is like smothering, and

as unbearable

as flies that bite in itching

slow motion.

It does no good

to scratch

when my skin


with a film of sweat

and the air is too heavy

to breathe deeply or quickly.

When our skins come together,

there is a sticky slapping, instead

of melting.

So I will thrill myself

by looking

through the open door

to see

the swooning bliss of you,


in the sun.

Scotland: St. Andrews

We went to St. Andrews on Easter Sunday, 2014, and saw some marvelous sites!

St. Andrews Cathedral

St. Andrews Cathedral

East Sands

East Sands

St. Andrews Castle

St. Andrews Castle

Sedimentary rock with gulls nesting.

Sedimentary rock with gulls nesting.

St. Andrews Castle

St. Andrews Castle

Another building with a clock on it!

Another building with a clock on it!

Ears Pierced while you wait! At a church!

Ears Pierced while you wait! At a church!

Pretty building!

Pretty building!

Fart joke!

Fart joke!

More chimneys than you can shake a stick at!

More chimneys than you can shake a stick at!

A huge red building I forgot the name of.

A huge red building I forgot the name of!