Sweet Annie ( Artemisia annua, or sweet wormwood) is classed as a weed that grows in profusion in positively horrid soil almost everywhere. Except my side yard. I so enjoy its lacey growth, about four feet high and three feet around in the shape of a Christmas tree. When the wind moves through the frail leaves the fragrance is a heady and almost intoxicating scent that saturates my little garden. Often through the summer I clip fronds from its rampant growth to later rub over the car seats to fill that otherwise stuffy space with what I enjoy as a fresh and luscious scent.

Every spring I get into a low squat, some people call it a duck waddle, to better see the tiny leaves atop a red stems that are infant Sweet Annies. A few years ago, there were four hardy and full plants. Another long ago years I had the joy of seven vigorous and lush Sweet Annie plants. Last year there was only one plant. That one I guarded and nurtured all summer After making potpourri and saving enough for several cups of tea I harvested a few seeds for use this growing season.

Not a one came to life! So, the vivid lime green that contrasted against black soil revealing the two and half babies that grew, made me stand upright and do a happy dance.

Then the reality of their place struck me. Right in the fence amidst the wired diamonds, on a course certain to be soaked by the ‘plant hater’ neighbor’s careless and over abundant use of weed killers!

Trowel in leather gloved hand, with hat on head I began the tedious task of separating my beloveds from the other roots of other unwanted weeds. I looked for a place of similar soil structure, light and shelter. Finding a couple, I placed the red and green jewels in little holes made by the trowel’s handle. Then I said a little prayer that their special angel, also known to me as a plant Deva, would take care of them.

All the gardening efforts I’ve made in the last few decades has been influenced by the wisdom written about in

The Magic of Findhorn by Paul Hawken, published by Harper and Row Publishers in 1975 and the website Findhorn Ecovillage.

Also, I vaguely remember watching a story about Findhorn done by 60 minutes in the late sixties or the early seventies. In that segment they talked about things like talking to your plants. So, I gave it a try. A few months later I read another book that was to be greatly influential in any relationship I have with plants: The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird published in 1973.

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It was just a minor curiosity when my  search arrow accidentally clicked on my blog’s viewership. This is done by country and shows me how many folks in other parts of the planet are perusing my words.

When France showed on my screen indicating to me that someone, nay, someones plural, showed their interest in little old ‘moi’;  my mouth dropped open!

My hope for your understanding Dear Reader, I go along my days, doing my thing and walking around my own specially created La-La-Land confident that I hide in plain sight hidden by several other billion folks!

Then the France thing……….

Now, I keep hearing words of wisdom in a song done by Doris Day: Que Sera Sera.

One of the lines is “…Whatever will be will be…’

Unusual though it may be, whatever will be will be, and it is always better than nothing.

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Many, too many, are the times I’ve recently heard the word: TOOKEN  * ! * Spoken in a casual tone of voice and used in a sentence as if it is used  correctly!

No. No. No. Tooken is not correct! There is not a place for its use in that spelling. Especially concerning is the question that asks, “Why not just use taken?”

Visually, artistic expressive folks like ‘tooken’ for its double O’s. Some people have explained that the ‘e’ should be eliminated and an apostrophe placed where the ‘e’ would have been.

Not Ok. Hearing the word tooken makes my ear lobes twitch. Typing and then seeing the word tooken makes my writing program  sprinkle little red horizontal lines about my page as if they are shivering in the writerly land of  horror or horrors.

Perhaps the joke is on me. Perhaps I’ll have people telling me I’ve tooken the word right out of their mouths.

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Knowing me is easy peasy, a reading of previous posts is quite telling. True, I’ve not posted in over a year.  However, a reading review of previous posts continues to speak to the real me.

Hence the title: Alice Horton’s Real Life.

Too, I continue to hide in plain sight. People who might want to know me, the today me that is, will not find much in the way of ‘me’ in the details, the facts or figures from decades past.

Not that anything is gone, or different; but maybe covered over with streams of additions.

A life of many raindrops makes for deep waters indeed.

Perhaps more revealing might be questions that beg for revelation of my deepest take on the subject questioned.

For example: What offends: Answer: Intelligence captured and held in the ignorance of laziness.

Or people who are so shallow as to be gossipy about a person or persons absent and not once do these gossips ask about the tidbit’s truth as they malign and ruin the life they gossip about.

Or, people who hire or sometimes are hired for a job based on their place in ‘the club’, ‘the group’, or, ‘the family’, etc. while a person who is capable, intelligent, inclined and  energetic, who has genuine need is disregarded.

Too, petty though it may seem, the people who refuse to learn how to spell  the words they use before they post them on the internet for all to see their boastful ‘whatever’ in all of its misspelled glory.

The greed of corporations who destroy communities and culture for the nothingness of profit make me nauseous. And their boastful bravado over that nothingness.

I am truly a snob about snobs. If someone is not kind they are clearly not my kind. I really do not care for cliques and clubs and groups and exclusionary ways and means of doing whatever.

What brings joy? Kindnesses done privately without bravado, gorgeous displays of natural beauty done by the Best and Divine Artist, hugs from long absent friends, and helps, and frequently witnessed courtesies shown to strangers and friends equally. Genuine art, in word or painting or photographed that is fresh and new and radiating joy.

The preceding sentences speak to the ‘real’ me in seemingly minor ways that have been my consistent thoughts and attitudes over my lifetime.




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At a favorite meeting place with other writers, my cell phone pinged and ding-a-linged and chimed. At times the conversation was intense and moving all around the room.

My phone continued its sounds for different notifications. I did nothing to stop its chatter.  I considered changing a few of the sounds to something louder and maybe more distinct.

The day before I lost the very same phone. Completely lost. Could not find in a many hours search of a small closet, a small bathroom and two twelve by fourteen feet rooms.

Five of the walls are shelved with many books and art papers and paints and assorted framing supplies. My organized chaos.  I knew where everything except my phone was supposed to be.

The area is not so much remote as it is isolated from other humans. In plain sight, a thousand or more drivers go whizzing by in their cars, usually at a rate of sixty miles per hour in a thirty mph zone. In a two-mile radius of my frantic search, I had no human to call my phone for me.

Up and down I searched. Shelf after shelf in a careful systematic search I  thoroughly looked through stacks of papers, magazines, sketchbooks and assorted junk.

I contemplated my history with the phone.

Where had I last had it?  I asked myself.

‘Somewhere near.’ I replied Hmmmm.

What an exhausting, anxiety-provoking loss it was to experience.

At last on the sill of a window, my phone’s matte black rubber case came to hand. Elation and a bit of a happy dance ensued. The cat tipped her head to the side. Her eyes questioned and seemed to doubt my well being.

After that, I went into my phone’s Settings. I installed the loudest, most distinctive sounds I could find on each and every app. I installed a few apps I did not have before. They too got noisy notification sounds. The screen lights up and stays lit for a few moments.

Since then my phone is talkative from the time I turn it on in the morning until I turn it off at night.

Now, if I could find something similar for my keys…………….


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As a Sophmore access to the school’s art program could only be achieved by submitting works that spoke to the use of line, texture, emotion, balance and movement. Then there were the verbal agreements: keep a sketchbook, sketch, sketch and sketch some more; be on time, don’t skip out of class, and I had to agree to not argue with the Art Teacher. Wow.

A petite five-foot height with eyes a perfect Cerulean blue that could shoot a selective choice of sparks or flames or dagger, she was a mix of tough like gessoed canvas and soft like fresh mounds of oil paint. Her hair a blond sparkle like strands of gossamer.

She taught. We learned. and with her hovering and threatening to nag we learned to do and do some more and do in such a way that we could continue to do throughout our lives.

“You must fully engage the brain! Draw something, anything, every day. Practice practicing.  Write words, do math. But DO something with pens or brushes or pencils. If we could see the lights of your brains they would look like the pinball machine.”

This was many years before science discovered the lights of the human brain. Or before anyone knew how to make the right and left hemispheres of the brain work together.

But she understood that and more. Maybe all art teachers and students put the brain hemispheres together with little exercises like drawing squiggles then drawing straight lines. Sometimes we had to tap left knee with the right hand while tapping right knee with the left hand. Sometimes there was a class show-off who would tap his head while making circles on his tummy.

Now, a few decades later I continue to draw lines. My hand is sure with a  confidence that comes from having done this very thing every day for those few decades. As I take a pencil in hand thoughts become visible on paper.



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Readers are people of rare presence in this global community of XYZ Billion people.

Do know, that as I write these words with no option for Text to Speech, I am awed, humbled and wide-eyed.

Researching my ancestry across decades and continents came the discovery of Scribes as consistent as males or females. The youth were educated to do both: read and write, and often illustrated with drawings. More recently my grandmother wore reading glasses she did not need for her vision, to show that she knew how to read. She carried a pen on a chain to show that she knew how to write.

Employing the assists of Google my researcher’s rabbit-like route led to rapidly declining numbers regarding the numbers of people who make decisions to read multiples of books WEEKLY.

Rarer than fine diamonds are those people.

Whether they read digital or print they are reading and doing lots of reading on many diverse topics. The lifestyle of these folks is one of quiet settling the physical self for long times to have eyes on text page after page while traveling to other worlds and being in a relationship with strangers who do not exist.

Certainly, there are people who read by listening to books on tape, but the research’s numbers drop into the realm of two percent with the people who read multiples of works every week that are text, print on paper.

Several months ago, when I first began this odyssey of insights about people who read, I might have considered myself common among ordinary everyday folks. Now, I must acknowledge the special, special, special significance of my place among the facts.

We, readers, are visitors by our readership with authors from centuries past sometimes. This is 2018 and I am reading written works right now from the eighteen hundreds. I think about that and I am mind boggled. We readers walk imaginary paths in realms not yet discovered. We learn to use items of technology not yet invented or manufactured.

We, readers, get comfortable with complex concepts and abilities by reading of them before we undertake to do them. The works of Leonardo Da Vince speak across time to my sight and considerations right now today on this Monday morning.

Might I suggest, the very next time someone tells you, dear reader, that you are special: believe it.







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Fifty-two words guide my week. Much like the Word of the Week some schools post on their outdoor signs.

My words are neutral but wise reminders: Diligence, Responsibility, Patience, Compassion are but a few.

I print out a page of these words, cut them up into singles, put them in a basket and then draw one out for a part of my morning meditations and contemplations.

Sometimes I include the sheet of these words with a card or a letter to a beloved. It is a simple thing. When I first sent it with a Get Well Card, and a note about why I sent it I got a special response to how important and meaningful it was to the recipient.

Many of my life lessons have shown me this life truth: Thoughts are like seeds on barren ground-rattling around in nothingness. Until we nourish their possibility with our breath and we stir the soil to action with the vibration of our voice.



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People! People! People!

What creatures of manipulating other people-creatures into states of anxiety, stress. frustration and sometimes generalized angst.  And that is phrasing it mildly.

People who drive their vehicles on  a twenty-five mile per hour street at sixty and sometimes eighty miles per hour, (its math, simple math: when the driver covers a specific number of yards in specific seconds, I know their speed.), with their face down, hand and/ or hands on a phone or tablet, with glow of phone or tablet  coloring their face, for tenths, as in plural tenths, sometimes several tenths of a mile, I find my condition is stressed, anxiety, and occasionally terror, sheer terror.

The terror takes over when I see a child with the neglectful driver. Or an animal in the back of their pick-up or being towed in a horse trailer. Eeek.

That they never see me is another alarm.

Then there are the people who insist on interjecting themselves into my world. Pushing, pushing, pushing.  “I want to see you, now.” or, “I want us to do XY and Z now.” They say.

They say words and words and words about them, what they want, what they got, how much they weigh or don’t weigh. what they or doing or not doing and why they are doing or not doing it. Sometimes their words make them sound like they are quite shallow of personality.

Of no interest or concern to them is how I might feel.  Maybe, I want to be a hermit for a small segment of time. Or what I want. Or when or if I might want it or this or that or XY and Z.

Also of no interest to them,  is me, really, me. Do they know my favourite colour this month? Or my favourite Holiday? Do they know the story behind the real me this last six months or so? Do they know my goals or aspirations? Or my deepest reasoning of complex subjects?

Do they know my ‘non-them’ relationships and my interests or concerns there? Do they know the whats or whys or hows, I contemplate?

Do they sometimes, too frequently, sound like a petulant, pouting, whining, self-absorbed person? Yes to each and all of those.

But. There is that Corinthian admonition: Love never fails. I try to remember that.

Even though all of these people, the ones who text and drive, speed carelessly and dangerously, are the same as the self-absorbed, shallow people who are all about themselves.




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The mighty ant brigade almost escaped my attention. Small, like sprinkles of black pepper, the ants moved in a tight serpentine line across my porch. I took one giant step over them and continued my pursuit of one of my top ten favourite things to do: harvesting seeds.

This is a relaxing activity. Walking around in idyllic sixty-degree temperatures, peering deeply into foliage for pods of seed, to collect into a opened, empty, clean milk carton and dream of next year’s flowers is a process of hope and peace.  I walked among Marigolds, Cleome, Four O’clocks, and Morning Glories.

Then I saw Moonflower seed pods. What a gasp I took. Opening at night to take their light from the moon, their presence surprised me happy.  These pods look a lot like brown patent leather plums, which was another pleasant surprise. Some species of Moonflower have prickly spines over all the seed pod. Their harvest requires leather gloves. But thankfully, not this species.

In my eager examination of the Moonflower seedpods, I stepped into what must have been the ants’ nest. A stinging at my toes made me look to see my shoes and feet blackened with ants. I brushed. I stamped. I hopped. I brushed some more.

Later, five tiny red specks appeared on my foot where the toes meet the foot.

But the itching and the burning were fierce. An almost overwhelming mental battle began as I determined not to scratch, not even a little. I am extra cautious to care for my feet and I refused to spread the ants’ poison. Treat and ignore were my rules. For two weeks, now, going on three, the bite places have changed for the better, but the sensations have not. Now in week three, the bites are fading and I am hopeful to be victorious and not spread their poison and irritation. I’ve thought often about the mental fortitude needed to fight such a constant battle, while awake or asleep.

The temperatures are cooler now and the ants are not to be seen. I see seeds almost everywhere I look in my flower beds. I am diligent and careful to cover myself in Skin So Soft moisturizing oil for insect reppellant.


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