It’s Actually Growing!

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Iris Garden in Front

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Patio Tomato Flowers

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Garden Tomatoes, Beans, Snap Peas, Zucchini

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Bean Rows

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Snap Peas

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Cukes in various stages of survival

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The last bleeding heart blossom

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When they grow up, they will be hollyhocks and nasturtiums and zinnias

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Patio Planter

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Herbs and birdhouse

So some things were eaten (and not by us, sad to say) and some things look a bit straggly and some things I don’t even remember what I planted, but there it is!  It’s been in the ground for almost a month and it’s working!

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The World is a Carousel of Color*

Never more so than in the month of May around these parts.  Between azaleas, rhododendrons, iris, columbine, dogwoods, and peonies, it’s a riot for the visual senses.  The green of the trees is still crisp and fresh, although we are soon headed for the wilted and tired when it hits 90 degrees here next week.  I am prepared.  I have air conditioning, hear me roar!  (Well, hear IT roar.  Or hum.  Whatever.)

I also have color all up in my senses because I went to an art store today.  The bliss.  The joy.  The almost trembling.  I may have gotten carried away, especially when I was stroking the amazing hand-made papers that were like gossamer and printed like fabrics.  The intensity of color spoke to me on a different level and I realized that I respond to color with my yarn as well.  My favorite color is green, but I couldn’t possibly isolate what kind of green; olive, moss, grass, jade, deep deep emerald….yet every car I buy is red.  I gravitate towards pinks and purples (princess much?) in some wardrobe choices.  Royal blue and periwinkle catch my eye and I linger.  Yellow and orange, not so much, but I love Autumn the most.  Perhaps that is why the art store just dazzled me.  I stood in front of the colored pencil rack and gazed appreciatively before I reached for the list I brought of pencils I wanted.

I carefully unfolded the paper, and decided to start with the blues.  “1100,” I murmured, and scanned the labels.  Frowning, I scanned them again.  And again.  Sheepishly, I turned to Older Daughter and bleated “help?”  I couldn’t read the minuscule numbers printed on each bin and wouldn’t know if I was getting 1100 or 1768.  What a great daughter she was, too, because she pretended it was hard for her to read the numbers as well and she frowned and squinted and took a moment before whipping the correct pencil out of its bin.  The numbers are printed on each pencil in a silver reflective oval which you have to hold at a certain angle to see, much like an old-fashioned mercury thermometer.  But I’ve got them, I’ve got twenty-three new colors that I will spend tomorrow playing with and making new little tags for inkytags and little labels and tiny arts.  Ironic, isn’t it, that my preferred choice of art is making miniatures?

My joy in color is probably enhanced too by recently knitting a black cardigan sweater, and while I absolutely loved the scrumptious yarn I was dying to work with color again.  I started a very colorful pair of socks (pinks and purples, see what I mean?) and I think I need to draw some flowers.  And leaves.  Lots of green.

*Anyone know the reference for the title?  It’s an oldie that I loved.

PS–wouldn’t anyone like to adopt this little family of yarn?

Or really cute dishcloths.

Or really cute dishcloths.

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The Thing Is…

I didn’t explain really about falling down the rabbit hole which I didn’t even call a rabbit hole, I called it falling down a well, so a follow-up with self-chastisement about being careful and thoughtful.  Be careful and thoughtful, me.

I’m one of those people who gets absolutely seized on a new idea, and that’s all I want to do.  I would visit somebody at their house and instead of enjoying the conversation and the friendships, I’d study the home: look at those curtains, the way they’re hung like that is absolutely brilliant and I bet I can do that, I just need a board and a heavy-duty stapler and sew some simple seams…oh, hey, look at that adorable wall of picture frames and the way dried flowers are interspersed with the photos, I have so many photos waiting to be framed and maybe I can stop at the craft store on the way home and get some flowers…what a great idea to get a pie safe to store out-of-season sweaters and that’s a great little lamp on top, I wonder why I never thought of that…

Then I’d go home and pore over magazines and go to Barnes and Noble and buy more magazines just to get ideas and I would be swept away with the desire to decorate it all RIGHT NOW.  I’m sure you’ll be completely unsurprised when I say that the magazines didn’t contribute a single thing towards redecorating except contributing to clutter and when I actually did some honest-to-goodness redecorating I didn’t consult a single magazine, just did what felt right.  (My Hubby would come out of the bathroom, bump into something and say resignedly “you rearranged the furniture again, didn’t you.”  While he was in the bathroom, people.)

Crafting.  Knitting.  Sewing.  Cake decorating.  Scrapbooking.  Card making.  Writing a book.  (Ssssh.  It’s still there, I even went back to it and re-read it and I didn’t vomit.)  Why don’t I get seized by something beneficial?  Like exercising?

(Excuse me, I have to laugh my butt off.)

ANWAY, there is a point to this.  I have fallen down the rabbit hole on two particular blogs for which I am reading archives and savoring every bite.  One is the blog of Susan Branch at www.susanbranch.com who is an artist I fell in love with a long time ago and was so happy to find her blogging.  The other is the blog of Alicia Paulson at www.posiegetscozy.com and I find her aesthetic so soothing and inspiring at the same time.  They make me want to be more of what I am.  So I have been spending my days happily immersed in these blogs and their archives and soaking up what I love and trying to define what it is that appeals to me and energizes me into doing something.  I want a happy home filled with warmth and good things, and I don’t want to hang onto things that are not working in that area.  My first beginning step was to try and re-home some yarn that is pretty but I just will not knit with it.

Now you know why I have yesterday’s title, why I’m giving away yarn, and a little bit more about me.

Hopefully we’ll get some comments from folks who love yarn and then I’ll send out a happy little package.  In the meantime, if you’re so inclined, I put some different tags up on my etsy site as well as some larger pieces.

Bless!

What he said.

What he said.

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Falling Down the Well

I’m neither here nor there.  I’m drawing, but not putting things up on Etsy.  I’m knitting, but not blocking when I finish.  I’m taking pictures, but not sharing them.  I’m thinking, but not…..doing?

This lot, you lot.

This lot, you lot.

So instead, I’m giving away some yarn.  There are two skeins of Universal Yarn (70% acrylic, 30% wool) in the Spanish moss colorway; one skein of Cascade 220 in Bluestone; two balls of green-tan-white striped Sugar n’ Cream, one of cream, and one of Daisy Ombre.  No gimmicks, no weird stuff, I don’t need your first-born, but maybe passing on yarn that I had hopes and dreams for to someone who can create something might spark me into…..doing.

So that’s it.  Leave a comment.

Free shipping to US, and I’ll try to work something out if you’re in a farther (further?) mailing zone.

Have a moment of reflection for Memorial Day if you’re American, or a moment of reflection for someone you care about while you consume whatever food it is that makes your weekend work.  I hope to be something more entertaining sometime soon.

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Inch by Inch, Row by Row…

The birds are going absolutely nuts this morning! Me, too, because after a few days of “hello, I guess we’re moving directly into July!” weather, it is a crisp morning with dazzlingly crystal blue skies. I’ve been out to water the vegetables and the flowers and I planted my Mother’s Day pink azalea bush, and now it’s second cup of tea time.

Our flowering plum tree.  No plums, just flowers and purple leaves.

Our flowering plum tree. No plums, just flowers and purple leaves.

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Close up of said flowers. And an artistic branch.

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Also purple flowers. On the ground. I like them, but Hubby thinks they’re a weed.

My thoughts are much lighter these days, and it’s true that time is the best friend of a broken heart. I had to go through my period of grief and mourning, anger, sadness, and acceptance, and now that I am on the other side I feel as if I’m moving forward. I was teaching in a toxic situation and now that I’m far removed I can honestly wonder how I lasted as long as I did; it’s certainly a shame that it ended the way it did (nervous breakdowns are scary, yo) but it IS ended and after two years I am no longer chasing those negative squirrels in my brain. I am making plans for travel and volunteering and making art and knitting more complicated things and reading more biographies (they’re like potato chips to me, can’t get enough) and being more in the moment.

Perhaps that’s why I felt determined to go back to a vegetable garden this year. For the last three years we’d been half-heartedly saying “so, about a garden…” and then pointedly ignoring the passing of time until it was too late. This year I even ordered plants and seeds in time instead of running to the big home store to desperately grab what they had left, planned out a raised bed that Wonderful Hubby built, and loaded it up with sugar snap peas, beans, tomatoes (because it’s against the law in New Jersey NOT to put tomatoes in your garden), cucumbers, zucchini, basil, chives, parsley, oregano and thyme. The new flower bed will have zinnias and nasturtiums (the first flowers my mother ever planted with me) and two other kinds I’ve already forgotten and hollyhocks. I still have to sow the marigolds around the tomatoes and plant the butternut squash and the pumpkins.

Of course, when I start whining in July that everything is overgrown and weedy and the cucumbers are the size of boats and it’s all fried to a crisp, you’ll be kind and not remind me how determined I was on this lovely May day, won’t you? Please?

Why, yes.  Yes, it is special.

Why, yes. Yes, it is special.

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A Note of Gratitude

(Sorry, Lisa, no sarcasm today.)

I am always aware of how blessed I am, and how I have no rights really to complain about anything.  Being of reasonable good health, in a lovely home with the most remarkably patient and loving husband, and mother of two daughters who continue to delight me with their ways of living life, I truly have it all.

Perhaps I don’t have it all by other folks’ definitions because I don’t own designer duds, I don’t go for regular mani-pedis,  I don’t own a vacation home or a time-share in Vegas (is that even a thing?).  I don’t have food shipped to me in a cute box, I don’t belong to a gym, and my car is ten years old.

But I do have it all by the standards of folk who are afraid to walk down the street in the daytime; who don’t have constant access to clean water and a billionty supermarkets; who live with laws allowing them to be executed if they learn to read or drive; who are greeted with suspicion every where they go based on something they have no control over; and who cannot find their own voice and have nobody to speak for them.

The only thing I wish for?  To never forget just how lucky I am.

And dear friends who will pose in pajamas with me.

And dear friends who will pose in pajamas with me.

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Listing To and Fro, Yo

When I was little, I would see my mother making lists and would demand to know what was up.  I wanted to know what plan she was planning, what adventure would soon be taking place, what role I would have in said adventure, and so on.  I would be a little less enchanted when the list contained the order in which she would attack cleaning the den, or what steps she would be taking in painting the kitchen.  I also wasn’t too crazy about the lists she made of all the plants she was going to buy and where she would plant them because that usually meant they’d want me to help weed.  (I hate weeding.  Weeding is unrewarding work because even though you get a neater garden bed out of it, you are still left with dirty hands, a sweaty back, and a pile of weeds that you have to dispose of.  Not very entertaining.)

The lists I was interested in contained things to buy or things to cook or things to read.  Think about it: you make a list of things to buy and you now have all the makings of a treasure map, searching in the vast acreage of supermarketus gigantis and who knows if it can be found or if substitutions must be made?  What other treasures might be stumbled upon and seized with a cry of “I MUST try this!” and a triumphant placement in the front part of the shopping cart.  And finding a coupon?  Payday, baby!  Now I can afford that stick of gum!

I make lists now as a grownup (and part of me must still be a little kid if I’m still using the word grownup) and the shopping lists are still my favorite.  I’ve tried a few apps for list-making and arranging it by aisle or product or something else, but it just isn’t as satisfying as an old envelope with coupons stuffed inside, or one of those impractical memo pads that stay on your fridge and have season-identifying pictures (mine is currently a poinsettia, thank you very much) that I fold in half and slip the coupons inside, using an eensy-weensy paper clip.  If I’m really ambitious, I write down the sale price, “C” for coupon, and quantity.  I draw the line, though, at color-coordination.  It would be too distracting for me.

I also make packing lists.  But I don’t make the lists like “hmmmm, should I bring this?”  I think about them for a long while before I actually write down the list, and then it’s usually bam bam bam, everything written in order and no objects crossed out.  (I know, it’s a sickness.  Bear with.)  If I was a smarter grownup, I’d keep the list with the clothes I packed to make sure I didn’t forget anything on the other end, but apparently I like to wing it.  So far, so good.

My latest list is one I shared with Hubby.  I wrote down all the major projects I wanted us to tackle around the house and what furniture would need replacing or relocating, and what sort of outside changes needed to be made before we could think about entertaining.  Incredibly, we’ve had two items on that list already accomplished and I didn’t even have to push too hard.  Granted, there have been some dust-ups about how the particular projects should be carried out, but I really try to keep an open mind and not be argumentative.  My way is better.  Why?  Because before I made the list I clearly thought everything out and know exactly how I want it to be, so it’s just a matter of following my vision. Damn, my Hubby is a lucky man.  (I don’t have an eye-rolling picture, but if I did it would be right here.)

I’ve made mental lists, too, mostly about the particular people or stores or shows I’m going to avoid being near so that my blood pressure doesn’t soar, and mental lists about old-fashioned letters I want to write to people, and lists of places I want take a peek at and movies I want to see …..

Thanks, Mom.

Look what happened while HE was making lists!

Look what happened while HE was making lists!

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