Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Present - No Ghosts Allowed

Christmas - the fifth without my girl - is almost over and I cannot say I'm sorry to see it go.

I spent most of the day with family; we gathered at my mother's house and there was too much food and too much wine and too much television. Way too much sugar in too many forms. And I wonder if I will ever get used to feeling so alone in such a crowd. Five nieces and nephews, three of my siblings, my mother...and I did not hear one person say her name all day. That's a lot of silence amidst all that noise.

Christmas Past - ca. 1991

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11th - Again

From the moment of Britt's death, I've struggled with verb tense; past or present? Britt is or Britt was? She loved or she loves? In the early days of my grief, the past tense enraged me. In some instances it still does. I have a daughter - not had. She is my only child - not was. It may seem a small thing, but it's important to me to acknowledge in the most precise way possible her continuing presence in my life.

In other ways, the past tense is just what comes naturally; she loved animals and books and Mexican food. She was a talented writer. And then there are those moments where the rules about shifting tenses do not apply and I slip and slide among them. What is, what was, what would have been.

Today is her birthday. She loved chocolate cake. She would have been 24.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Favorite Things

Everyone's little girl has Christmas favorites. The things that make them squeal with delight when the boxes come down from the attic; things that are extra-special because they only come this time of year. Here are two of my girl's favorites.



Britt loved this book, a Night Before Christmas for the Deep South gang. No drifts of snow here, no fancy presents; just a sweet Christmas poem about family being the most important gift of all. Also, there's an elf named Jed, which always made her laugh. For the last few years, I've been looking for our copy of this book. Last night, my sister called to tell me that she'd found a box of Christmas things that belonged to me (stored in her attic during one of my many moves) and the book is now found.


Every year for her birthday (just two weeks before Christmas) one of Britt's presents was a new ornament for the tree. For four years running, nothing would do but this Hallmark set - Barbie! Dolls of the World! She loved them because "Barbie is perfect. And these are all Barbie. So, perfect can come from everywhere and look like everybody." Indeed. I gave this little collection to Miss Anna last night. Right now, she'll like them because they're Barbie. But later, we'll make sure she knows who they belonged to and what they meant to her.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gratitude Break

Well, here we are after a week of being sick and sore and are reminded - once again - that daily gratitude is harder than it sounds. It requires a certain quantity of graciousness and that can be hard to summon when you feel awful.

Of course, in retrospect, there was a lot to be grateful for in the past week. Doctors and medications and access to both. A corporate policy that allows for the accumulation of sick time and generally good health that means there are plenty of days saved up for when I really need them. A decent work ethic, which also contributes to those days being available for actual sickness. Family and friends who called or wrote with offers of care. Mojo (again) for being an excellent companion. Naps. And of course, David, who made soup and tea and fetched pills and books and blankets and rubbed my back and generally put up with a lot of not-so-gracious behavior from my sick and cranky self.

In an ideal world, I would have remembered to be grateful for all those things as I went along. Something to work towards, for sure.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Best Friends

It's always good to be reminded who your best friend ever is, and why. Tonight, I went to a concert with mine and it was wonderful. Thanks for a beautiful night, Dave.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Homecoming, Redux

Revisiting being grateful for coming home today, for different reasons. Home is good. Home is "in here" instead of "out there." Home is where everybody is always on your side. That hasn't always been the case in my life, but it is now. And that' s a whole lot for which to be grateful.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Homecomings

Today (well, everyday, really) I am grateful for my dog, Mojo, and in particular for the humongous party he throws every time I come home. No matter where I've been or how long I've been gone, my return is cause for joyous celebration.

He barks, he whines, he waggles his head back and forth. He throws his whole self into the air and spins like a top. He races around the house. He is the very essence of exuberance. The party ends only after I have hugged him and petted him and allowed both my hands to be washed. Thoroughly. He's not sure where I go each day, but he's pretty sure I'm getting my hands all icky out there. He takes his clean-up job very seriously.

It is, quite frankly, marvelous. No matter how crappy the work day or the weather, no matter how tired I am or how achy I might be, how could I not love coming home to that?

And, really, look at that face. How could you not love that?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Considering Tomorrow

Today I am thankful for making plans. For looking ahead and choosing to believe the odds are at least even we'll be around when the time comes to go a concert, gather for the holidays, or travel to a wedding. It's hard to walk the very thin line between this moment we know for certain we have and all the moments to come that are just a promise. Every day is a balancing act between being truly present in the moment and being willing to risk hoping for those moments to come. I don't always strike that balance well and it's good to have reminders that good things just might be lurking around the corner.

Here's a reminder that Halloween will come again: Jack and Anna all dressed up in next year's Halloween costumes (because their mom is super smart and bought on sale after trick-or-treat). I'm planning on seeing these costumes hit the road.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Doing Hard Things

Living, I mean really living and not just getting through each day, might just be the hardest thing I do. Some days it's easier than others but no day is easy and remembering why I work so hard at it takes a lot of effort.

So, since it just makes sense to make things easier when you can, I'm going to spend the next sixteen days making a list of things in my life for which I am grateful. Some will be big and some not so much. In no particular order, each will be something that makes me smile, helps to center me, and keeps me moving in a generally forward direction.

Today's thing, first on my list, are my nieces and nephews; Britt's precious cousins. For those of you who don't know, I have six brothers and sisters (three of each) and among them they have twelve beautiful children. I used to dream of being an only child, but Britt did not love it. She was fortunate, though, to live close to some of her cousins and to get to visit the others. She adored her Capital C Cousin, Christopher. They were inseparable for most of their childhoods. She loved to talk about the weekend she spent at college with her cousin Amanda, and the time she went to Elizabeth City and her cousin Sean took her to coffee shop called "Muddy Waters." She went on a cruise with her cousins Bobby and Megan and her oldest cousin Susan's college graduation made her cry. Her little cousin Anna, born just a few months before her high school graduation, stole her heart. She never met her littlest cousin, Jack; he'll be two next week.

She loved her cousins with a fierceness that, not being an only child, I never quite understood. I love them, too, and am grateful for all the ways they remind me - every day - that good things continue to happen and that time, and I, must keep moving.

And, since no post is complete without at least one picture, here's one of my favorites: Britt as Bridesmaid to her cousin Amanda, in September of 2004.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Even Now, Peppers

Fall is here, not that you could tell from our recent temperatures. We had a short cold snap, during which we remembered that we forgot to have the heat turned on when we ought to have. But it passed and it's been warm, if not particularly sunny, for the last week. And since we're no where close to our first frost, the garden continues to produce. The peppers especially seem reluctant to call it quits. This is the latest harvest and there are still plenty more to come.



There were a lot of grape and roma tomatoes, too, in a pretty yellow bowl. But, a rouge squirrel invaded the house last night and, before Dave could chase him out again, he managed to knock said bowl off the counter and send the tomatoes flying. He and Dave both stepped on a few and the whole mess ended up in the trash.

I really liked that bowl. Stupid squirrel.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Found Treasures

One of the great things about gardening at an old house is the untold number of gardeners who've been there before you. Some of their handiwork is very obvious: the monstrous azaleas that flank the front steps, evergreen and tidy (with regular pruning!) that burst into hot pink glorious-ness at the first hint of spring; the deep-blue hydrangea at the corner of the front porch that blooms all summer and marks North East truer than the truest compass; the stately line of pecan trees that marches down the side yard, shading the house in summer, allowing the sun to warm us in the winter, and providing enough nuts for dozens of pies and cookies and brownies in between.


There are also the not-so-obvious things: the clumps of snowbells that randomly sprout and bloom near the front steps and in the side yard - out of zone and out of season and charming with their tiny white-with-green-polka-dots flowers; the amazing not-an-agapanthus that became three huge plants when I dug it up and moved it earlier this year (which is, by the way, something called a crinum lily and which continues to bloom at regular intervals. This picture was taken about an hour ago using the "night" setting on my camera); the confederate jasmine that has exploded in the corner where the hose-holder-with-faucet lives and which I am training to run down the railing of the back steps.

And, then, there is this:


One lone beautiful red lily that sprouted in the middle of the side yard. I've been here three summers now, and never seen that lily before. And if weeks of intermittent afternoon rains combined with these endless weeks in a sling hadn't conspired to keep us from mowing the grass, that lily wouldn't have stood a chance. I dug it up (obviously) and have every intention of replanting it in the back yard...and when I did, I also found these:


a handful of bulbs, each one waiting to be another lily! Some are now planted by the back gate and some have moved around the corner to my mama's house. All of them are a reminder that at least some of what we do in our brief time on this earth lasts, in ways we cannot possibly imagine, for years and years after we are gone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Introducing 'Like Fire'

You remember my friend Lisa, yes? Lisa and I egged each other on during May's blogathon and then practically abandoned our blogs together for the rest of the summer. Lisa - though she may not know it - is one of my role models. In all honesty, Lisa is sort of who I thought I'd grow up to be: she works at an Ivy League University in a big city; she's smart and funny and reads both widely and deeply; she's fiercely loyal. She buys used books on the street during her lunch-hour and is devoted to her four-legged friends; she's an incredibly talented artist, an inventive cook, and a master baker of cookies that are as pretty as they are delicious. She has more integrity than anyone I know and I'm not embarrassed to tell you that a rousing round of "What Would Lisa Do?" has become one of my major tools for getting through a difficult day. In short, Lisa rocks and I am a better person because I know her.

While my blog was languishing in favor of sitting on my porch and watching my garden grow, Lisa was busy putting together another blog....this one all about books and the people who read them and how those books change both the world we live in and how we look at it. Here's a link to her latest entry...check it out:

The Light Gleams an Instant, Then It's Night Once More (Like Fire)




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Friday, September 18, 2009

An Open Letter to My Friend, Caroline

Dearest Caroline,

I just read (again!) your essay in A Few Thousand Words About Love and realized I had probably never told you how much it means to me. The first time I read it was just a few months after Britt was killed. I was visiting Katharine in Connecticut and she had a copy of the book on the table by the bed in her studio/guest cottage where I was sleeping. Just a few paragraphs in, I was crying so hard I could barely see and I'm afraid that section of her book is forever wavy from my tears. In the years since then, I've read it often and, the more time passes, the more I am struck by the truth of what you said: ..."as the capacity for pain grows, so does the capacity for joy. And when you know that sadness can visit at any time, your appreciation for happiness is overpowering."

Even in those very dark early days of my grief, you helped me decide not to be one of those people who allowed my grief to steal my life. I thought of you and your widows' group experience every time I went to a Compassionate Friends meeting...and granted myself permission to flee those rooms when the relentless "you will never be happy again" drum beat so loudly I couldn't hear myself think because you had done it, too.

These days I find joy in small and simple things...seeds that sprout in my garden, the exuberance of my dog, David's smile when I come home from work each day...things I know would also have given joy to Britt and though the grief is a tangible presence in each day so is her love and the love of my friends. I am so fortunate to count you among them.

much love to you,


d

P.S. - Those of you who don't know this book definitely should.




Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why I Write

Random stumbling and clicking around the Internets (following my friend Cara, because she was following me yesterday ;) made me land on this quote from one my most favorite writers:

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.” -Joan Didion


That really does sum it up for me. It's all about getting the stuff that's inside my head out where I can see it. If I was uber-cool, I would have a picture of myself with Ms. Didion, snapped at some fancy party or a high-toned reading for this post. (If I was super uber-cool I'd know how to put an umlaut over the "u" in uber.) Alas, I am not, and so here's a picture of Cara's cool tattoo instead. Cara is so cool, she probably knows how to make an umlaut.

Continued World-Avoidance

In an effort to retain what's left of my own sanity and ignore the lack of same being displayed all around me, let's continue to tour the tiny but pleasant space I call "home."

Here's another touch recently added to the kitchen....one step closer to being well and truly done. I'm not too fond of those tab-tops in this space, but one of my sisters assures me they are easy to get rid of and that will also help to shorten the curtains and keep them out of the sink when they are closed.



What I really like is how the zinnia patch threw up red and yellow flowers (very similar in tone to the colors in the living and dining room) and then also gave me greens and oranges to draw from. Even when this year's zinnia patch is done, I will still have all the colors of my summer flowers around me. That's a good thing.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Flower Break

I have spent the last couple of days more engaged with the world than I really like to be of late and may I just say WTF?? Of course I can. It's my blog and I can say what I want. And one of the things I want to say is this: People are crazy. I mean seriously bat-shit crazy. And since I don't have a lot of energy for foolishness (particularly of the manufactured kind) and it completely wears me out...I quit. At least for the rest of the day I just refuse to put up with crazy people.

Let's look at my beautiful zinnias instead, shall we? I grew them from seed (a first for me in the flower department) and they have been just lovely out there in the garden for months. They came up in a rainbow of colors - pink and purple and yellow and red and white and orange and cream and even green - that have helped to inspire the ongoing painting projects in the house and they show no sign of letting up. Zinnias may be my new favorite flower.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Good Medicine

Another thing I did while I wasn't posting for most of July and August was take a few days off work (really...I did!) and head to Atlanta to visit my mother in law. This was sort of huge as a) I rarely use vacation days for actual vacationing and b) Dave hates going away and so one has to drag him, kicking and fussing, into the car to get on the highway. It was a wonderful six days away.

Also, it was my favorite sort of vacation: spending time with people I love and just talking and lazing about and doing not much of anything. MIL and I went to IKEA (FUN!) and I found a cart full of things I couldn't do without and only spent $50. We visited the grounds of a Trappist monastery near her home and it was both incredibly peaceful and joyful. I spent one evening with two highschool friends I hadn't seen in years and their significant others and that was a joy as well. And, there was a puppy.

I spent the better part of six days making friends with Boots. Boots is bulldog/Jack Russel mix, only 5 months old, and well on his way to becoming a Damned Fine Dog. In the way of all puppies, he is full of energy, a little destructive, and sneaky as hell. Everything is new and exciting to a puppy and they just radiate happiness and a desire to please. I really did want to stuff him in a bag and bring him home with me (he's from the same litter we seriously considered getting another dog from and I still think Mojo needs a brother) but I also want my MIL to keep loving me...so I didn't steal her dog. I did enjoy cuddling him a lot: this shot pretty much sums up that vacation; good stuff.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Garden Lives On

One bad thing about not posting for so long is that I missed showing you some great photos of the garden during July and August. It's been pretty spectacular. With the exception of the tomatoes (it's been a bad year for tomatoes and my friend Cara, in Boston, has had the only brag-worthy crop I've heard about) everything has been gorgeous and delicious and - as Britt used to say - abundantly abundant. More cucumbers than we could eat, several rounds of eggplant that were yummy, bell peppers and banana peppers that have made Dave very happy, and - Oh! - those peas.

Those peas have been just incredible. We are still picking them (another full basket last night) and they are flowering again. (Do you think they heard me talking about pulling them up to make room for greens?) They are no longer that pretty....the rain has been constant and one has to sort of trample them to get to ones inside...but they are still producing. And, miracles do happen, I LIKE them. Me. Legume-hater me thinks these peas taste great. They are not grainy or sandy or gritty...they are just gooood. Which is just one more piece of proof that food you grow yourself Just Tastes Better.

Here's a shot of some peas in the kitchen...I've lost count of how many bags like this we've had. Yum.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The House of Many Colors (or, How Even a Good Memory Can Hurt)

Years ago, we moved to the suburbs. Britt was starting middle school (6th grade) at a time when Savannah/Chatham County's middle schools were really struggling with security issues (drugs, random acts of violence, frequent lock-downs involving police squads and locker-sniffing dogs); in short, not the sort of environment we wanted for our girl. At the urging of her elementary school teachers, we sold our cool downtown town-home and hightailed it to the next county. For me, the move was disastrous. I found myself the only working mom on a cookie cutter cul-de-sac, with a one-way, hour long commute, and a brand new prescription for Celexa.

I starting painting the new house (decorated in seventeen shades of pink by the previous owners) and all the walls slowly turned to taupe. After the third room, Britt became a little alarmed. "Are all the rooms going to be this color?" she asked skeptically. "Mostly" I said. I pulled out all the designer talked I learned in my years at the design firm. Taupe is an excellent neutral. Taupe is a perfect backdrop. Taupe is timeless. Taupe, truly, was how I felt on the inside and I wanted to surround myself with its numbing sameness, one room at a time. "Ick" was her reply. And then, she looked me in the eye and "One day, I am going to have my own house and every room is going to be a different color, bright and flashy, and it will drive you crazy, mama." And then she flashed me a wicked grin and I laughed and allowed as she was probably right but that I would visit anyway and try to bite my tongue. But, that was a long way off and I did let her pick a vibrant blue for her room and we moved on.

Fast forward eleven years to this funky little farm house on the edge of town. I spent the weekend of August 8th and 9th painting the kitchen a bright apple green. And, as I wandered from room to room gathering supplies and taking short breaks, I slowly realized that - unconsciously - we have created the house of Britt's long-ago dreams. I was standing on the counter (not - regardless of what some people might say - an unreasonable place to be while a painting a kitchen) lost in the memory of that conversation and thinking how much she would really love the yellow living room, the red dining room, the new apple-y kitchen...and walked right off the counter into mid-air. Gravity being a law and not a suggestion, the moments that followed were not pretty. Urgent care visit, x-rays, sling....waiting for an MRI and hoping that I wont need surgery to repair a torn tendon or muscle in order to regain the use of my arm...yada, yada. I hope they get it sorted out and fixed soon, because the guest room is next on the painting list. I'm thinking a reddish orange...Britt would like that.

Finally, because no post is complete without pictures, here are a few shots of The House of Many Colors.

The living room:


The dining room:


And a couple of views of the kitchen (which still needs new curtains, but is otherwise finished, thanks to Dave who valiantly jumped in at the end and tied up all my loose ends):

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fourth of July

Here's how the garden grows on July 4th:

This picture was actually taken last weekend-ish. But, it's a good shot of the garden and I've been a little slack about posting, so here you are.


Yesterday, in response to a unprovoked attack by a rouge avian, I added sparkly pinwheels to the back plot. Aesthetically questionable, but festive!, and so far the birds seem to be hating the glinting and random twirling and that's what counts. Also, Britt taught me to be a lover of the funky and unpredictable and I think the sparkly pinwheels would have made her laugh.

Finally, here's Mojo taking his morning siesta behind the peas. I planted those seeds just 24 days ago and am just blown away. I have no idea what comes next. Will they flower? Just start sprouting pods? It's a mystery. Buddha Frog, Mojo, and I will keep an eye on them a let you know what happens.
Later this afternoon we are having a cookout. Mostly, I think, because I posted here that we are not Cookout People...and no one could come up with a good reason why. We like to eat, we like parties, we mostly like each other. Seems odd not to gather when the occasion warrants it and grill things. So, today we will. Mom's newly remade backyard will be our backdrop and I hope everyone remembers to dress in some sort of red/white/blue combination (because the pictures will look more festive that way!). I've made baba ganoush from eggplants I harvested over the last few days...no idea if it's right...but it's garlicky and that cannot be a bad thing.

And, I'll muddle through another holiday without my girl and try to find some rightness amid all the wrongness of her being gone.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday

Saturday mornings are almost as good as Sunday mornings. There's a little more bustle from the neighbors and a little more traffic...but Mojo and I are still the only ones awake at our house (the joys of 20-year old house guests!) and have time to experience the morning hours in the garden the way we don't when I have to head to work.

For instance, 8 o'clock-ish is a good time to examine the Mexican Petunia. It's a slow waker in the morning...and it goes to bed pretty early. But at 8 AM all its flowers are open and it's quite stunning. My sister tells me that two or three of these made a massive hedge at her former Florida abode. I've no idea how big it will get here (in Clearwater they make hedges out of hibiscus and I am jealous every time I think about that) but even smallish, I think it's striking.

Also, we have a new friend in the garden. I admit it. I have a weakness for funky animals scattered about. Also for chickens and tall skinny birds. Yesterday, my mama gave me this perfectly perfect tall, skinny chicken. His name might be Roger...but maybe not. It's early yet. Watch for him in new places, too, because I also like to rearrange things.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Daybreak

I love being out in the garden early in the morning. Everything looks its best...ready to greet the day. There's a whole lotta optimism right before the sun finishes coming up and I like to wander around and try to soak some of it up and take it with me out into the world.

The agapanthus are blooming....I just love those lily-ish flowers and I thank my friend Marta, again, for identifying them for me. They are not your every-day-run-of-the-mill agapanthus (at least not in these parts; I see a lot of a smaller variety with their tiny purple flowers that make perfect round bunches) and I wonder about the woman who planted and tended this striking speciman. I hope she'd be pleased that it's moved and divided and having a second chance at being the star in someone's garden. The plants themselves still look a little ragged from their move. Marta advised chopping the leaves to a third of their length to give them more energy to settle in. I think it paid off.


And here's a shot of the new garden plot right before it started to rain. There are flowers on all the new cherry tomatoes and the sad little bargin-bin romas are recovering nicely. (Notice the last of the marigolds are inside the garden...I finally decided my nasturtiums weren't going to sprout. Next year, I'll plant them earlier.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Growing Things

Let's just talk about the garden, shall we? I think we should.

This weekend I found some beautiful marigolds that Britt would have loved. Here they are, marching around the edge of the new plot. Notice that the peas are still crazy...and the second set have sprouted. Madness. And the zinnia's have sprouted...but I have no idea how long it will take them to flower.



There's also a Beginning Eggplant. Eggplant in training. Yum.



I also found a lovely salvia, called Black and Blue...because it is. I like it when things are called just what they are.



And, there are buds on the agapanthus I moved...and that's a good sign, yes?



Finally, I am am saddened by Ed McMahon's death. Years ago (1996/97-ish), we lived next door to his sister-in-law (sister to his current wife, Pam) and her daughter. Amanda was a member of my Brownie troop and she adored Britt in the way that all younger girls did. About two years after we moved to the burbs, Amanda's mom passed away (she'd been in serious motorcycle accident a few years before we met them and had many complications) and Amanda went to stay with Aunt Pam and Uncle Ed. Somewhere, I have a beautiful picture of Britt and Amanda and Amanda's mom, Deborah Hurn, taken at our Christmas Day Open House ca. 1997; I'm not even going to look for it, though. It's too sad. Britt and Deborah both gone and little Amanda lost to us through the passage of time. I hope she's well today, and surrounded by enough love to see her through another loss.

More Evidence of Random Chaos

I've talked a little bit before about my ever increasing surety that the Universe is governed by nothing but random chaos. Attempts to find order or reason in things that happen just make my head hurt.

For instance, this headline that was sent to my in-box from the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Sunday: Mother arrested for locking 4-month-old twins in car while shopping.

REALLY?? THIS woman gets to have not one, but TWO, children?? I don't have the words to tell you what I think about that. Seriously....WTF??

So, I am happy to report that a passerby heard the babies crying, saw them, and called the police. The babies were checked out at a local hospital and released to the their father and the so-called mother is cooling her heels in the jail house. I was nauseous for two days and am reminded, again, while I gave up watching and reading the news.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Short Tour on a Long Day

Today is Midsummer's Eve, one of Britt's favorite days. She liked to be outside for as much of the daylight as possible and on into the night. In years past she'd have a bonfire and invite her friends to hang out and dance and sing and celebrate the changing of the seasons and the coming of the longest day of the year. It's going to be a very long day in more ways than one, I think, and one that requires keeping busy.

I've mowed the grass in the back yard (what's left of it) and done a little weeding and trimming in the places the mower won't go. I've taken some pictures to document the eggplants that are forming now that they can breathe and the pepper that's growing and growing but refusing to turn red. Also the second set of peas which are beginning to sprout, right on schedule. (Still amazed by that, I am.)

Also, for those of you who are far away - which I think might be everyone except my mama - (Hi, Mommy!) here's a short video tour of the backyard. It's not fancy, but it's home and I love it.


video

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Victories and Disappointments

First, lets talk about disappointments. Sometimes, as I know all too well, things don't work out as planned. Sometimes it's big important things and sometimes it's just squash. The squash are, as Britt would say, no more. They are former squash. I'd like to blame their demise on the copious amounts of rain that fell in May (20+ inches!) or the aphids or, you know, anything but me. But, since honesty is the rule here, I am compelled to tell you that I simply planted the original garden plot too thickly. I choked the squash out...and today, in an effort to keep the eggplants alive and to save the peppers which were being threatened by the leaning eggplants, I was forced to rip out both the zuchinni and the crooknecks. They were never going to bear and they were taking up entirely too much room. It was a little nauseous-making and I am trying to take comfort in the knowledge that they would soon have rotted where they sat. Let's all hope the eggplant will be happier, shall we?

In better news, the peas are off to a most amazing start. Pictures really are the best way to get the full effect, so here you are:

Friday, as the seeds begin to break ground:


Saturday morning, before I left for the beach (10 AM-ish); you could watch the seeds popping out of the ground:


Saturday afternoon, when I got home from the beach (2 PM-ish), there were leaves...in 4 hours !! This picture was taken early Sunday morning.


Moday:



And, finally, this morning before work:




You'll notice I managed to get the permanent edging around the new plot (thanks, Dave!) and bought a few solar lights to test them out in the garden. Also, the Buddha Frog has migrated again. He's a mover, that guy. The peas are in need of thinning and I'm still waiting to see progress of any meaningful sort from the other seeds. They are starting to come up, but nowhere near as hurriedly as those peas. Those peas are a little crazy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dirt...Plus Some Stuff

So, the new garden is coming along. Definitely a work in progress, but we have tomato starts and seeds are in the ground. The paths are dug and waiting for mulch. The boards are a temporary boundary until suitable fencing can be found. The Buddha Frog has migrated. A storm came through last night, which accounts for the leaves and debris...but soon I hope to see all sort of green things sprouting.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Just Dirt


Right now, it's just a big patch of dirt. Roughly 17' square and a little wobbly around its edges. But soon, it will be an actual kitchen garden. It will have tomatoes and lettuce and white acre peas. Also some flowers, just because they are pretty. There will paths to walk on and - eventually - some sort of fence around it. Hide and watch.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Time Passes

...and carries us along with it. Indeed.

Then (4/25):



Now (6/5):


Also, there are cucumbers. Well, there were. We ate them.


tempus fugit

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fits of Unreasonableness

Do you remember being young enough to say 'it's not fair!' and really believe - while you were saying it - that fairness mattered? I truly don't. Being one of the youngest of seven children I don't remember fairness having much to do with anything. Being older and bigger counted for a lot. Being the littlest counted sometimes. I wasn't either of those and I remember realizing at a pretty young age that sometimes you win or get or have, and sometimes you don't and that's the way life worked. I do remember Britt's struggles with fairness, though, and I think of them on days like today when I'm searching for some small measure of balance in a tilted universe.

Most days, I find the balance, usually only in my head and usually only after giving myself a stern talking to along the lines of 'life's not fair, Deb' or 'no one ever promised it was going to be easy.' Some days, though, I just don't feel like lecturing myself and I allow myself to wonder out loud if perhaps the universe doesn't think it's heaped enough huge piles of crap on my head...it has to also do things like make parking near the bookstore impossible while it's storming (I've seriously considered asking my doctor for a handicap tag for my car but I don't think emotional handicaps count) or infest my garden with aphids (really? What's next? Locusts? Hmm?). In the interest of fairness and balance shouldn't I - just occasionally - get a pass? Shouldn't I be able to ask the world in general "Are you KIDDING me?"

Well, of course not. And I know that. If things worked that way, well, life would would be a whole lot different for all of us. So, I don't give in to fits of unreasonableness often, or for long, but I do occasionally have them. I figure I'm owed that much.