Saturday, May 29, 2010

My New Obsession

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I've been bit by the gardening bug, which incidentally also means that I'm covered in bug bites but never mind that. It started with me doing a little landscape clean up in our yard and the idea to start my first vegetable garden and has morphed into huge projects.

I started with our postal planting area, a good sized area around our mailbox which I've been tending too for nearly six years now. It was a weed pit when we first moved in but I've since added perennial plants like a mini-juniper, black-eyed susan, daylily, sedum and heather. I rotate bi-annuals like mums and tulips and every summer I paint it with colored annuals. I finally got down there to cut back the tulips and add my pansies and I created a rock border whose main purpose is to help with drainage but that looks really beautiful. It's topped with mulch and I added decorative rock. I also cleaned out seams, edged the lawn around the sidewalk, removed weeds and put down preventative weed killer. It garnered me comments from my neighbors on either side. Things like, "it's gorgeous, can you do mine?" and "looks good, I'm jealous." It does look good if I say so myself. And I'm saying so.

I've been trimming edges around trees, cutting stuff back and transplanting the sod in our backyard where we had a dirt ring created by a gigantic pool we had a couple of years back. I joked to Howie that it looks like Frankenyard back there, pieces of sod from different parts of the yard all pieced together. But the dirt pit is gone and looks pretty good, for a stitched together lawn.

I got my garden dug but there are so many stinking rocks in there I'm going to have to sift them out so my next project is to take my mini pasta strainer and scoop out all of the small rocks, leaving only a few for drainage. Then I'm going to make proper use out of a year's worth of composting and add that to the mix and I'll be all set. I'm doing lettuce, cucumber, tomato, carrots, celery, zucchini, peppers, watermelon, pumpkin and herbs. My herbs are staying in containers on my kitchen deck, for easy access. Plus, I refuse to plant my rosemary down there. I'm too stingy with it. Seriously, is there anything that smells better than rosemary? The veggies I'm going to divide up into a couple of areas. Most of it will be in the patch of garden I dug but if I need more room I'm going to plant some around our lamp post which I recently dug up in yet another project.

The only thing up in the air is how I'm going to keep critters out of my garden. I'm going to try giving them sunflower seeds in another part of the yard. I'm also going to try planting marigolds around the perimeter and maybe using a special spray that animals hate but that isn't toxic to the plants. I really want to avoid a fence because the garden is small I'd be leaning over it awkwardly to do weed work and it's definitely too small for me to walk in it. Oh well, I'll figure it out somehow.

Today I'm tackling the area around my lamp post. The thing has been leaning for the last couple of years and I had planted some stuff down around there but haven't really tended it so it's just a weedy area that we have a hard time mowing around and that looks all rocky and over-grown. We added a good 3 feet around the perimeter and I'm going to do annual plants right now and wait to put perennials in there in the fall when the plants are much cheaper. And hopefully we can straighten out that lamp post that looks like it's going to fall at any second. It just struck me that I should take pictures. I'll do that today!!

Have a wonderful, safe and fun memorial day weekend!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Long Time No See!

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Hey there! It's been a while, hasn't it? I know but sometimes life happens so fast that I can't keep up. But let me fill you in...a little bit anyway.

One of the main reasons that I wasn't blogging was that I spent a good two or three weeks deep cleaning my house. But don't go to thinking that means my house is actually clean. Because it's not. That would just be silly. But I kept very busy and therefore didn't have much time to blog.

I've since moved from indoors to outdoors. Right now I'm in the process of doing like a gazillion projects outdoors. I have edging to do, trees to cut back, mowing to keep up with, weeding, mulching and that doesn't even count the hard-core work of planing my first garden. Pardon my french but HOLY SHIT it's a lot of work. Perhaps that's because it's my first year. At least that's what I'm telling myself so that I will continue to do it. I've still got veggies (as well as flowers) to plant. Plus, I'm going to make some cushion covers for our "new" deck furniture received a-la free-cycle. I'll be sure to post pics.

I've also been doing a lot of reading and attending a bible study which really does require a good amount of time commitment. I find myself reading my bible versus writing which is a good thing, really but I need to find balance because I miss my writing. My cathartic, dirty minded, sarcastic writing :-)

On the home front things have been good. I pulled Bear out of pre-school because a little kid was using her as his scratching pad/punching bag/chew toy. Not pretty. She was crying every day and even though they were trying to keep him away from her, he still got through and I just couldn't let it keep happening. I want to point out that he's actually a sweet kid and really likes Bear. He just had a really hard time expressing himself and communicating with her and I'm sure he'll grow out of it but in the meantime I had to get all mama bear and protect my baby!

Ummmm....what else, what else...oh yes! Adoption news: stuff is happening. A lot of stuff is happening. Good stuff is happening. Big stuff is happening. But since I've learned my lesson as to being so free with the information in regards to such a roller coaster kind of process, I won't be posting about this until later. I promise!

The girls just had their recital. Bear finished her first year and Birdie finished her fifth and got her 5 year trophy. I could post pictures but I'm too lazy right now. Is it wrong that I keep postponing these posts for later? Sorry. I will say that it was quite a task to get Bear to actually go on stage. She loved her ballet outfit but the tap? Not so much. I had to bribe her, BIG TIME, to even go on stage. On recital day things went down like this:

Me: "Please put your hat on."
Bear: "NO!"
Me: "Pretty please, with whipped cream and a cherry on top?"
Bear: "I said, NO!"
Me: "Would you like a breath mint? Some popcorn? A unicorn that toots rainbow scented farts?"
Bear: "No."
Me: "Okay, hows about, if you get dressed and go on stage for 2 minutes I will then let you wear your ballet outfit for as long as you want."
Bear: "As LONG as I want?"
Me: "Yes."
Bear: "Deal."

It's been three days. She's still wearing it. And this morning when I suggested she put on some shorts she quickly reminded me, "AS LONG AS I WANT, MOM!" And that was that.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sisyphus

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My house is finally clean, mostly. I've spent the last two weeks spring cleaning. I've washed walls and baseboards, shampooed carpets, vacuumed furniture and beds and lamp shades. I've washed windows and organized closets and drawers and pantries. I've cleaned inside appliances and even power washed the house.

Like I said, while a lot is clean, I'm still not done. Because nothing actually STAYS clean. And there are a few odds and ends that need tied up. Plus I want to paint our play room because the walls in that room are a hopeless mess. They defy being cleaned with any chemical and or cleaning material known to mankind. Like, I scrubbed stains off walls and they would disappear. Then a few minutes later, I would turn from scrubbing the rest of the room and notice that the stain was back! Reappearing only to mock me. It's like that scene in "Independence Day" where they are trying to annihilate the alien enemy and they've exhausted all weapons except for the nuclear kind which seem like powerful stuff so they set off the bombs and everything looks destroyed and everyone cheers and high fives. Then the dust settles and they realize that the enemy is still there; strong, un-harmed, indestructible. Same thing. My nuclear arsenal of cleaning material was completely ineffective on these walls. Lord knows what kind of mutated concoction the kids smeared up there.

So, it's not completely done and I suppose I should be grateful that there will always be something for me to do. I should (in theory) never be bored and while that should make me feel grateful, it's kind of sad in a way. Do you remember Sisyphus? Think all the way back to your Greek mythology, which incidentally was my all time favorite subject in high school :-) He was condemned to repeating the same meaningless task forever. In his case, he had to roll a huge rock up a hill, only to get it to the top and see it roll down again. He was forced to repeat this over and over again...forever. I'm like Sisyphus you see, performing the meaningless task of house cleaning, struggling every day to get it done only to see it reverse itself and have to start over again. From a certain perspective, it seems depressing, doing something over and over again and not making progress but really, there is purpose. Albert Camus concluded that while the task is meaningless, "The struggle itself...is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus as happy." So I'm going to choose to embrace that philosophy and say that my daily struggles of motherhood, while mundane, are definitely enough to fill my heart. And I'm happy :-) Because yes, it is a struggle and every day I fight against the forces of gravity. It's exhausting to try and keep everything moving and there are certainly days where it feels futile. But I do have purpose, as insignificant as it may seem, and it does give me reason to get up every morning :-)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

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Year one felt like I had just been ripped to shreds. I felt mangled, bloodied and the pain was nearly unbearable. I remember simply going to that place where all you can do is try to contain the pain. That place where you do nothing but muster all of your strength and try not to wail. I make the comparison to a wound because it's just the same. When you get hurt, you bleed and it hurts. When my mom died, it felt like I had been wounded and that first Mother's Day, there were times when I felt like the bleeding might never stop, that I might simply bleed to death. Maybe that's what dying of a broken heart really is. Your heart aches and bleeds so much that finally, you are left without any blood and that which carries your life is all gone. I worried that it might not get any better. Because when you're in that much pain, a second feels like ten years of anguish. Every hug I got made me miss her hugs. Every flower I saw made me miss her, every card I read made me think of her. Everything around me was like pouring salt into my wound.

The second year felt a little different. In terms of healing it was like the day after you are ripped to shreds and while you aren't any where near being healed, there isn't immediate bleeding. The pain? Well, it still lingers and everything is very sore and achy. That second year started off okay. I felt better...sore, but better. Then, the emotions of the day rubbed against me in such away where my flimsy scab ripped off and the bleeding started all over again. I went to church and I was fine until half-way through the service and then I started crying and IT WOULD NOT STOP. I cried for nearly 7 hours, locked in my closet and clutching the leather bag where I keep all of her things. I think I spent at least an hour staring at her picture. This because I hadn't allowed myself to mourn all year but Mother's Day broke me in half. I was better but still not healed. I had made the mistake of letting things fester and instead of healing, there was infection. I had to dig deep and find a way to face the pain so that I might be able to get better.

Today is year three and I woke up happy but by the time I had taken a shower, the grief had punched it's way through my chest and taken a firm grip on my heart and started squeezing. I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast and the wonderful home-made gifts from my family. I'm enjoying the hugs and the kisses and the "I love yous" and I haven't cried. It feels like my scab is much more healed, like things are better, yet it still hurts. I feel like I have to tread lightly and not allow myself to think too much about her because it would be the equivalent of picking at my scab until it breaks loose and I start bleeding again. You see, I think of my mom often but I don't allow myself to linger on it for too long. I don't think it's healthy. But Mother's Day always makes me think of her. I want to sit and take a warm bath in all of her memories. There is a lot of good to remember and I owe it to her to keep those memories alive. But like I said, I'm just not ready because it would be like picking at my scab, making it hurt and swell and bleed and ache.

It's been three Mother's Days without her and it still hurts like crazy. It is better but damn, it hurts. I'm looking forward to the day that the scab is healed over and there is nothing but a scar. A scar to remind me that I was once wounded but that I recovered, that my faith healed me. Then I will be able to stroke it and ponder upon it without fear of tearing it open again. At least now I am able to enjoy the hugs and kisses without falling apart. The sappy commercials do not make me melt down and I can eat this Ghirardelli without sobbing. Well, at least for now. It's still early in the day so there is still plenty of time to find myself in a puddle of tears.