Gardens and Life
Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
When we last had critters that were not kept in small glass habitats, I was pretty much either a stay-at-home mom, a student, or a substitute teacher with limited days away from home. I knew, when we were rebuilding, that I would eventually want a critter and secretly plotted to have a home that would be a good place for a dog even if both Tom and I were away from home for significant periods.
Last week, the fence went in. Today, Tom and Grant put in Wally’s door. We (I, actually) chose an “Enduraflap” door from petdoors.com. According to Tom, the door was moderately difficult to install, but with Grant’s experience in construction, and Tom’s experience with reading all sorts of schematics, they were done (start to finish) in about three hours. Thanks to our neighbor who helped with cutting the sheet metal (he has a plasma torch) for the “tunnel” that goes through the wall. As soon as we have the bottom of the fence secured by cement blocks and some sort of substrate that is not MUD, Wally will have free reign of the house when Tom and I are gone. The door looks AMAZING both inside and out. This was the last major part of the house that needed doing (other than painting which may happen this summer…). I feel MUCH better about being home now.
Pictures some day when it’s sunny again, and everything is done. I am so happy that Wally will soon have a more dog-friendly environment. We ALL need this!
I remember the first time I started really thinking in terms of DECADES. Our elder son was about ten. Off the cuff, I mentioned something that had happened about 15 years before.
It was his first true realization that there had in fact been “life” before him…
And it was my first recognition that I was “old.”
Today I am thinking in terms of decades of commitment. My darling Tom and I have officially been a couple for longer than we were not.
This particular threshold feels almost as momentous as that first “double-digit” birthday, or the realization that once high school is over, childhood is also gone.
Are we really old? Perspective suggests we would have been considered on the cusp of old age in our grandparents’ generation. Today, however, people twenty years our senior are running marathons, picking up new instruments, learning new languages, and conquering mountains.
We aren’t old yet, but I have to say I am really looking forward to growing old together.
I love you, Tom.
I was still recovering from the allergic reaction into the middle of the first week of July. Not fun. But had energy to have a nice dinner for my parents on Sunday the third, which of course wiped me out for the next couple of days.
Then, on July 7 I had a chance to meet up with a friend from New Zealand — it was a very spontaneous visit, so we didn’t have as much time as I would have liked. But … so glad we were able to finally gives in-person hugs instead of virtual!
On July 8 we had a silk painting session at my house. LOVED it. My friends are such amazing artists. Planning another session next month.
But I pushed myself a little too hard… the following weekend was unproductive, and it wasn’t until Wednesday that I started to have some energy again. Managed to get cars swapped around so one of them could have service done. Then I figured out some ideas for school and dug in on Thursday and Friday with some thinking and planning. Not a lot of organizing going on in the physical world, but a good bit happening with setting up ideas and lessons. AND I pruned a few trees and shrubs…
And I still have a reasonable five weeks of vacation to look forward to. I am glad. I will need every minute to be ready for the upcoming school year.
I have been working through this face reaction (I don’t think I have ever felt so un-lovely!) for four days now. Every morning is a bit better, and no additional symptoms, so I am going to work today on organizing some of my office (if Grant, who stayed home ill feels better in the afternoon he can help secure the last important piece for my standing desk. I am also determined to sort some boxes I brought home from school.
And, sometimes it helps me stay on track when I am able to note progress on my blog. No deadlines… it’s summer vacation — and I am still not 100%. But, sort through boxes, upholster the seat cushion for the stool that belongs in my office (the original cushion needs replacing from the fire). And do a little more lesson planning and organization of online files. I reproducing my files from this machine in my school googleapps account so that I have some flexibility when working — work directly in google for some things, but also still using Word and Excel because the functionality in googleapps isn’t quite where I need it to be.
Organizing…. it will help me make it through this next school year!
I am slowly getting a few things in place, and I have only been “at home” for about 4 days since school let out. I have now officially been playing the drums for a year and a half, and decided since I definitely enjoy it that I might as well bite the bullet and spring for better equipment. Today, Tom and I were able to put up the pegboard we bought a few weeks ago and I arranged my new drum set (also new cymbals!) and accoutrements in the corner of our bedroom.
Next steps include figuring out a way to better muffle the sounds of practicing until I am good enough that people can enjoy listening…
How did I manage to NOT post this in May 2014? It is rather badly overgrown now, but the patio is one of my favorite places to sit and read, or work, this time of year.
Grant had to shift gears mid-year about his senior project. He came up with a really great idea: fix up the front yard that got trashed this last year from neglect and construction.
He has “roped in” a couple of friends occasionally to help — Thanks Mady, Gabe, Jake and Tabitha!
Here is the progress he has made so far, pics are a little rough, but I am trying to get caught up on blogging this weekend and no time for a lot of fine-tuning.
I am actually going to post these in a gallery, with no commentary to save myself time and actually get this up (started it yesterday, here 24 hours later sitting down to finish…).
I didn’t finish the post then, either. And now I cannot find where the pictures are that I took… so this will have to be enough for now.
is hard work.
It is better than the alternative?
The answer is: Yes, when you are there.
That curious moment in the day when the gray skies pick up the bright green of new life and suffuse creation with an immortal glow.
Success! The fledgling
finds his wings
and starts to fly.
What is better than a happy third grader?
TWENTY happy third graders!
It was a very good day for learning.
or world-dumb, I suppose.
disclaimer: What follows is purely my opinion, based on personal experience and reflection, but hey! it seems to work for me and mine.
I would finish this post today as a call for renewed commitment to service, to understanding, to doing what is necessary to improve the world; to reject the calls for secularism, for isolationism; to protect the most vulnerable among us including children, isolated elders, people with disabling conditions that require extra support; and so on.
Rather than give in to fear (and there is a lot going on in the world that is out of our control!), we can instead remember the lessons of our past, and pull ourselves together. We need to stand together in opposition to those forces that would divide us. We need to be stronger and braver than the pundits who proclaim immigrants as enemies and other religions as subversive.
I cannot solve the problems of the world, but I am just enough of an optimist to think that we can solve the problems of our nation. We can solve them through understanding, optimism, and the same spirit of ingenuity that is a hallmark of “Americans.” True patriotism will not turn its back on the proud heritage of inclusiveness. True patriotism will admit that past actions that deprived individuals of their rights in the absence of criminal activity on their part was not just wrong, it was unconstitutional and should not be repeated. True patriotism in our country recognizes that together we are stronger, braver, smarter, and better than when we isolate and cut off those who are different in selfish and cowardly attempts to protect ourselves from imagined threats. We grow when we take risks, we diminish when we don’t. Pretty simple.
Today is the 21st anniversary of the day our older son became a big brother.
He was so proud of his little brother!
Here is a pic of the birthday boy and his big brother the day after he was born…
When he was about 3 or 4, he LOVED that Snowman toy!
When they were about 6…
I am so proud of my sons.
And today, I am beyond-proud to be the parent of two full-fledged (in the eyes of the law) adults!
And one more, of a proud mama and her son, probably taken in 2002.
Happy Birthday, Grant.
I have been “silent” for many months, working very hard at school and just trying to keep ahead of the work. I love my students, and spend most of my energy on them during the school year. It’s hard to keep that “work-life” balance sometimes. But as things calm down and become more predictable I find small moments when I have both time and energy again.
Here is a musing from quite a while back:
When the house is clean
And the kitchen is tidied
The outside beckons
Too late the weeding
Too late the gentle breeze
before the storm
The children are gone
from my arms
from my time
We built and built again
I work quietly
Wait for a reason
To put joy
on the walls
in the halls
[originally written 23 June 2014, mid-afternoon]
I stopped writing the poem at that point — what did I have in mind? We had only moved “home” about three weeks earlier. I was again temporarily jobless and simultaneously trying to find the “must have” items from the boxes that had come from the apartment, the “cleaners” and the storage locker; while sorting out the items that I wished I could keep but were no longer worth keeping even for sentimental value. I was trying to find and reestablish the garden again after more than a year “away” — so much doesn’t get done when you don’t live on site! I was trying to make some decorating decisions which I quickly gave up — no money even if I had the heart. Tom was working full-time, Grant was working full-time, Matthew lived elsewhere. I was ALL ALONE. No companions of any kind except my grief and longing.
I still deal with the feelings of loss, I still am absolutely, devastatedly, achingly lonely when I am at home with no one around, no one to care for. I have a precious few hours with Tom each week, usually on the weekends; fewer with Grant who very much wants to earn enough and save up enough to leave home. The rest of the time, if I am home, I am alone.
And this loss — the loss of security and home, the loss of heritage in the artifacts that perished outright or turned out too badly damaged to keep — this loss is relatively small compared to the losses we witness daily around the world.
It’s part of the human condition, it hurts, and it does not abate. Yes, there is still joy, and yes, I look forward to each new day and the seasons that are changing. But like many types of grief, this one is now an enduring, permanent feature of my life. I treasure moments with the people I love more now, I think, than I used to — always with a sense of longing as I remember that these moments do not last.
As I finish this post on February 15, 2016, the little waq’waq’ is singing by the fish pond. A casserole is in the oven, Tom’s pumpkin pie is cooling on the counter, his bread in other oven perfuming the air. Grant will be home in a few hours and will sit with us and watch a little TV before I give in to my sleep schedule and leave the two “menfolk” to hang out for a little while longer. Life IS good. There is much to look forward to.
Hanging on to each precious moment with the people I love.