Stepping Out of the Chaos and Into My Gardens….

This whole life review process I’ve been going through has gotten a bit intense. I think it’s a good thing, probably, but that doesn’t always mean that it is a fun thing. I guess I’m going through the whole mid-life “spiritual awakening” Brene Brown speaks of. Or, at least, I think that is what this is.

I’m finding that I am less emotionally involved with the thoughts/words of others, though their actions seem to be something that is even more annoying, sometimes. I mean, words are words…whatever…but actions, well, I think they say a whole lot about the core of the person and I am feeling a whole lot less tolerant of people’s actions than I feel I have been before, especially when I see the damaging effects they have on those around them. Good thing or bad, I’m not sure. I know I have been speaking up for myself more than I ever had, and that’s a good thing.

I’ve noticed, also, that I have become a lot less tolerant of generalizations. Just because it applies to one, does not mean it applies to another, even if the situations are extremely similar. It seems as if generalizations seem to be ruling a whole lot of the conversations about so many different current events. Oh, how the desire for that cabin in the woods away from the middle of it all has grown.

I’ve started basically ignoring anything I see that has anything to do with the presidential candidates, anything with references to this ethnicity or religious belief or that one. It all just seems like such antiquated debates about things that should have been dealt with so many years ago. Sure, the presidential canidates are the newest ones, and definitely something to be in the know about, but the arguments I see, the debates between opposing opinions, just seems so…well, juvenile, somewhere along the lines of “I know you are but what am I?”

Anyway, that’s the discontent of the day. I can’t wait until the elections are done and the whole world becomes skin color blind. Just saying.

I went to my friend’s birthday dinner last night. She has eggs hatching, again, so I stopped by her house afterward to see all the babies. Want to see something incredibly cute??

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That’s a baby quail I’m holding. It’s only a couple of days old, and so incredibly tiny it almost doesn’t seem real. You can’t really feel is in your hands, other than its little toe talons. And this little one has some spunk!! Jumped out of my hands the first time I was holding it. Thankfully, it landed alright on some of the bedding, though in the wrong bin. I reached in a grabbed it out, rather successfully. I have never been great about grabbing the babies. I’m always afraid I’m going to hurt them.

The gardens seem to just get more and more beautiful every day. I love walking out in the morning, coming around the garden shed to the radiant beauty of the garden by the hanger…breath taking. The Lily Trees have started blooming, which is so wonderful, though they aren’t the 4 feet tall I had complete faith they would become, so they are planted in the wrong place for optimal viewing. That’s ok, though. I can still see them, and have captured a few photos of them. Here’s one:

wp-1469381079522.jpgAs you can see in the photo, the catnip is blooming, as well.

This morning presented me with a gorgeous garden bonus!

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I didn’t plant any Gladiolus (Gladioli?) that were this color. It’s so beautiful and stands out from the crowd. I love it.

I officially have two pumpkins growing. I have started taking it upon myself to be the pumpkin plants’ cupid, pollinating the female flowers by hand. This can be difficult sometimes, since it seems that the male and female flowers are a little out of sync with each other. Females only bloom for a day, with the males usually blooming a day or two before them. This is how pumpkins work, so I’ve read. With mine, the males bloom all over the place, but, when I have a female bloom, its seems to be just after the males are done. I’ve been lucky enough to usually find one male with mature pollen to use to fertilize a new female. Fingers are crossed.

Well, its laundry day. I’m so not looking forward to it today, more than usual. I want nothing more than to hang out at home with my husband and our dogs, maybe nap a bit together, watch some Shannara Chronicles on Netflix, escape from adulting for the day. Oh well…onward I go. Have a great day, everyone!!

 

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ALL Lives Matter…

I’m so upset right now. I lost a friend today over a post I shared on Facebook. The post showed two dark-skinned men wearing black t-shirts with white lettering that say “White Lives Matter Too.” I admire the two men for wearing these shirts when it will most likely get them into some heated waters with others, so I shared the post.

Let me state right now that I am not a racist. I am a personist. I could care less about the shade of your skin. If you are good to me, I see the good you do in the world, for yourself and for others, and you don’t grab on to this issue or that to define the core of you in any way, then we are probably going to be great friends for many years to come. On the other hand, if you are egotistical, self-centered, judgemental, gender biased, bring in hate instead the ‘love’ you proclaim you are trying to bring into the world, then I really don’t have the desire to include you in my life.

The fact that I am no longer friends with this person that I held closely as a friend, someone I hand-picked to be in my wedding party, truly, deeply hurts me. I’m sorry, but I just don’t have room in my life anymore for anyone that is willing to tell me “Fuck you” based on my view-point being different from theirs. That’s not a friend, in my opinion. “I disagree,” “I’m feeling judged by what you are saying,” I completely disagree with your standpoint,” “I think it’s better if we don’t talk about this subject because we obviously view it differently” are all things I could imagine hearing from a friend in a similar situation. And you know what sucks the most??? The fact that I don’t necessarily disagree with what he is saying but the extremes to which he is unable to hear anything except what he is decided the only, right way.

The whole thing got started today over a reply I had given him on his comment to my post. Part of it was along the lines of “Hey! You seem really argumentative lately. What’s going on?” He hopped on his soap box, bashing white privilege, not changing the focus back to the sniveling white privileged by supporting such a post, etc. The back and forth went from there, his side ending with a “Fuck You Very Much” to me. I responded with letting him know that I thought we had a friendship based on acceptance, not judgement, and a good-bye. I doubt he saw it, though, as I believe he had unfriended me before my reply. Oh well. I guess that reply was more for me than him, anyway. Processing that I did not want to maintain a friendship with someone who can only see his view and will be brutal with you if you don’t agree with him.

So, that brings me to this whole Black Lives Matter thing going on.

It pains me to see that there is STILL a major level of inequality in regard to skin color in this world. It’s absolutely ridiculous to me. How skin color still matters in society or the judicial system, anywhere at all, eludes me. I know that hate is a taught thing and I am appalled to know that there are still parents out there teaching to hate other people based on things such as skin color, intelligence, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, who you vote for. Its disgraceful, in my opinion, that these things are still a source of separation, judgement, violence. What is even more appalling is that some of the people who still believe that skin color, gender, sexual orientation, etc should factor in make it into positions of power over other people’s lives, such as law enforcement and the judicial system. How does that happen?!?!

Then there are the stereotypes. One must truly look at the definition of a particular stereotype, what it is truly based on, and realize that it is not something that can be randomly or broadly applied just for the sake of it. Definitely put the thought of the idea in your mind, if needed, but only to be used as another important piece of information to the whole, and not the whole itself. Another thing that should be considered is whether or not the stereotype you are looking at is even a valid one, anymore. Do the statistics hold up and support it? If not, it is time to throw that one away.

You also have to consider that some stereotypes set the bar, in a way. Sort of like, if you tell a child all its life that it will never amount to anything, the chances are they will never strive to be more. It’s really unfortunate, but studies show it to be true. The only way that doesn’t happen is if that child grows up and rebels against what they have always been told and makes a life for themselves that they are proud of, that anyone could be proud of.

In the end, I think we, as an entire species, need to take some lessons from our youngest members. Very young children do not go into a playing situation automatically excluding others based on skin color, what their parents do for work, where they live. Very young children see other young children as friends, often before they even know them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Gardens and the State of the World….

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What a busy week it has been! It’s a good thing because that means a better paycheck, but I am super tired and my hands hurt a bit. A couple of the cleans I did this last week were really bad ones. It can be a little challenging to do a clean out on a unit that was an eviction and see that it was someone who had obviously taken a wrong turn, apparently got stuck on that path, and they had a very small child. Kids always get it the worst in those situations. Its heartbreaking.

This upcoming week looks like it is going to be pretty light, but that could always change. I’m sort of hoping it doesn’t, but, then again, there is a part of me, the financial part of me, that is really hoping that Cayle sends me a week’s work of worth later on today or tomorrow. Yep, I’m definitely money motivated.

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My gardens are getting to be so darn pretty!! About the only things that I am still waiting to see bloom are my Lily Trees. The buds on one of the trees are getting pretty large and starting to turn a deep pink-ish purple, which means they will bloom soon. I can hardly wait to see them. The Lily Trees aren’t as big as was noted on their packaging, but I think that will be ok, other than they are back behind everything else. But we all know me…I will find a way to get some great photos of the lilies once they bloom.

I really over planted the area where the Lily Trees are planted. I left no room for me to get in and do some weeding. I’m having to try to contort my arm, try to make it bend in ways it is not designed to bend, in order to get to some of the weeds I can see. There really aren’t that many weeds in there but…well, I don’t really want to give them a chance to multiply. Oh well. I’ll figure it out and I’m sure it will be fine regardless of whether or not I am capable of getting to all of the weeds.

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The pumpkins have really been blooming a lot over the past week. I have a few pumpkins that look like they have been fertilized. I’ve done some fertilizing of my own, though the male and female flowers don’t seem to be blooming at the same time often enough for me to be able to step in and play garden cupid. Oh well. I guess I’ll see what happens as time goes on. It is only the middle of July, after all.

On a completely different topic, I seem to be going through life review, again. This time seems a bit more intense, though. Maybe not intense. Thorough? It’s not all bad. There are some great memories that come up, but, of course, this is mixed in with a lot of things that I am less than proud of and would rather not have them as concrete memories. One of the upsides is that most of the less than awesome memories that come up for review don’t come with the intense feelings of regret or self-loathing. It tends to be a more passive viewing, sort of like watching a movie on Netflix…lol. I don’t know how else to explain it.

I also seem to be really ‘looking’ at the things going on in the world today – how people act toward each other, some of the political stances that come up, the abuse of power by those that are supposed to protect, and the over zealous ways people are ‘protecting their rights’ through abusive stances toward law enforcement, military, etc. This world we are living in today seems to be regressing back to knuckle dragging neanderthals, in my opinion.

This is not to say that I don’t think that everyone has the right to protect themselves. Please do. I have a very dear friend that suffered immensely due to the abuse of power of one police officer. She is still dealing with the trauma of the officer’s abuse and its been a couple of years. I know I will never get the pictures of her battered body out of my head. Such a betrayal from one we are taught to put our trust in, someone we are told to trust our very life with.

Some of the videos I’ve seen lately of police power abuse, police brutality, have left me sitting with my jaw hanging. Some of the abusive stances by civilians I’ve also seen in these videos cause my face to screw up in confusion and the bad taste it leaves in my mouth. When did we start fighting each other? Ok. I know it’s not new, it just seems like it has reached a whole new level bordering on chaos. Maybe I’m being over sensitive.

That said, I have to ask if I’m the only one that is super upset with the presidential options we have this time around? I have to admit the options, Hilary or Trump, don’t instill a whole lot of comfort. I’d rather not vote for either one, though I think Hilary might be the lesser of two evils. Would be interested in hearing what you all think.

Well, its my one day off this week so I am going to go. Have a great day Everyone!!!

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Self Sabotage, The Gardens….

I feel like I have been avoiding my laptop, writing, for a while now. Its not a conscious thought, as in “I’m just not going to write at all today,” but that doesn’t change the outcome. I haven’t been writing much, whether it be posts for this blog or my own personal writing, for months now. Of course, realizing this makes me start looking around at the other important things in my life and I’ve recognized what is going on: I have been in self sabotage mode. UGH!

Of course, once this has become obvious to me, its super hard to not see it, anymore, and all of the places it is cropping up – half-assed gardening, soul-less writing, that extra purchase here, another one there, not paying attention to which bill comes up next (though I haven’t gotten behind on them. well, ok. I’m behind one of them), grocery shopping like a single person (aka: no real food in the fridge). The list goes on and I recognize more things I’ve been neglecting as I make the list. Time to pull my head out of my butt.

I’ve been spending too much time playing games on my phone, obsessively. I’m spending way too much time with my phone in my hand all together. I absolutely love that I talk with my best friend and my daughter pretty much every day, but I need to start limiting myself, at least for now. I don’t think I’m present in my life, whatever I’m doing, if I have the phone to my  head. It hasn’t shown up as a problem, that I can see so far, but it will.

I guess that is the real issue: I’m not really being present in my life. I keep telling myself I am, but the evidence is everywhere that I have not been for a bit. That has to stop before it gets out of control and all of the hard work I’ve done to get things on the path to better will be undone, and that would just be heartbreaking.

I’m wanting to not have to adult. I want to wander around with my camera, diddle around in the garden, write a lot, read a bunch, mess around with the dogs, but all I find myself ending up doing when I have the time to do those things is napping, playing games on my phone, Netflixing like a pro. Burned out? Maybe. Probably a bit. Not an excuse to let everything fall apart, though. Time to get back up and deal with the life I’m working on creating.

Despite this complete inattention to things, my garden is getting really pretty. The area where I planted the Dahlias, Echinacea, Blazing Stars, etc is blooming all over the place. I had no idea the Blazing Stars would get as tall as they are this year, so they are kind of hiding a whole lot of the beauty behind their foliage. Its ok, though. I can see it. It makes it hard to take photos of it though, unless I’m up close. Anyway, here are some photos of how things are looking out there:

Dahlias, Blazing Stars, Echinacea, oh my

Dahlias, Blazing Stars, Echinacea, oh my

My beautiful echinacea

My beautiful Echinacea

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think in another week or so, things might balance out a bit, visually, but we shall see. I’m not unhappy with it though. It is still so incredibly beautiful to walk out to.

Things in the Stump Garden are an emotional roller coaster: things start to look good and then something comes along and eats them or things go from headed toward gorgeous and things just go wrong in a way that I haven’t been able to figure out, yet. Again, I’m not completely upset with things. It is what it is and things ARE growing in the Stump Garden, which, of course, makes me happy.

I let one of the radishes flower. I had no idea what a radish flower looked like. Sure, I could have just looked it up on the internet, but letting it do its thing in my garden, without pre-knowledge of what to expect, is so much more fun. I was thinking I was going to need to keep a close eye on the radish flowers if I was going to get any seeds for next year out of it, but I discovered the day before yesterday that that is not the case. See for yourself:

Radish seed pod

Radish seed pod

Now, I’m not sure, but I believe the seeds to grow more radishes are in these pea looking pods. I could be wrong. I need to look it up. I really don’t know that much at all about radishes. I know the seeds I planted were nowhere near as large as it looks like these ones are going to be, but…I guess I’ll find out exactly what’s going on with these. Whatever the case, I’m having fun learning new things about what’s growing in my garden.

Here is a photo of what the radish blooms look like:

radish bloom

radish bloom

Such cute, delicate little flowers. I like them. The one plant by itself does not present a mesmerizing show, but I think if I had let a bunch of them bloom…well, it may have been different. Maybe next year.

None of the pumpkin fruits have made it, yet. I’m holding out hope, though. They bloom, have a bulbous formation below the blooms, bloom ends, green bulb stays for about a week, then starts to yellow, then rot. I think that means the flower wasn’t fertilized? Another thing I’ll have to look up.

Well, I have some home chores I really want to tackle today. It’s Lance’s birthday today, but he is out disc golfing, so I have time to do some of the things I’d like to get done, today, before he makes it home. I bought him a brand new grill for his birthday, which he has been wanting for a few years now. It’s a CharBroil 4-burner with a side burner. He loves it. (tried to add a photo of it but can’t seem to get it to show up. sorry about that. here is a link to a photo of one on the CharBroil site.

Have a great day, Everyone!!!

 

 

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The World Inside my Gardens…

It feels like it has been way longer than a week since I wrote my last post. Its been a really long, super busy week. Thankfully, I am taking the day to relax and get laundry done…a chance to recuperate a bit before running at the week, again.

The gardens are really getting going this week. There are Dahlias blooming, Echinacea blooms popping all over each of my Echinacea plants, the Blazing Stars are beginning to bloom…its just beautiful and really exciting. My garden has even provided me with a bonus surprise…my Lupine is going to bloom!!!!

My Lupine preparing blooms, this first year!!

My Lupine preparing blooms, this first year!!

I’ve always been told that Lupine doesn’t bloom its first year. After doing some research when I saw that my Lupine is going to bloom, I found out that it does, indeed, bloom its first year, though may not the next, or could bloom each year, but only last about 3 years. Other people have reported having Lupine that is 5 years old. I guess I will just have to see what mine do.

Since I wasn’t expecting the Lupine to bloom this year at all, it is a super awesome surprise. I can hardly wait to see what color they are as I can’t remember what I chose for seeds. Lupine is something that usually blooms around May, but since I planted my seeds this year, in the Spring, I will get to enjoy these beauties during the summer, while the Hollyhock they are planted in front of are still blooming. Should be quite stunning, I think.

Something is decimating my sunflower heads!! I’m not sure if it is the crows or possibly a

Shredded Autumn Beauty head

Shredded Autumn Beauty head

squirrel, but I’m really not happy about it, as one would imagine. The biggest and most beautiful of my sunflower blooms this year have been the Autumn Beauties, and, of course, these are the ones that are being attacked. Whatever it is that is getting them is going after the seeds that are not quite developed, yet. So far, only the sunflowers in the Stump Garden are being attacked.

I’m not really sure what to do to protect my sunflowers from being beheaded by whatever is getting them. Since I’m home today, I will keep an eye out to see if I can see who is doing it since that may provide me with ideas on how to take care of the situation. I’ll also do some research to see what I can find.

I’ve had a few spiders take up residence in my sunflowers over the last few months. One of them actually started out on my Yarrow – a white Goldenrod Crab Spider –  but migrated to the closest sunflower. The other spiders that I have seen the most have also been Goldenrod Crab Spiders in various sizes. They have definitely provided some really neat sites to be seen:

Goldenrod Crab Spider with a bee it captured

Goldenrod Crab Spider with a bee it captured

Not sure about the spider type, but it got one of the earwigs I've seen around the gardens

Not sure about the spider type, but it got one of the earwigs I’ve seen around the gardens

I don’t really like spiders, have an irrational fear of them, but I have to admit watching the spiders in my gardens has really been fun.

Goldenrod Crab spiders are considered a wandering spider, which means they don’t create webs but sit in wait on the flowers for something delicious to land, grabbing hold of its victim with its front legs and quickly delivering a paralyzing bite. Fairly efficient, in my opinion. I have to admit I’m not happy about the fact that it will catch bees, but the fact that it is also getting undesirable bugs makes the spider intriguing at least. One of the super neat things about this spider is the fact that it can alter its color, between white and yellow-ish, to better match the flower it is on. Super cool.

I had a problem with the Taurus this week. It threw up all of its fluid one day, and I had no idea why. I pretty much was thinking that this could be the end of the Taurus, which was a possibility. It appears that the dipstick tube wasn’t seated correctly, vibrated out of its spot, allowing the transmission fluid to leak out. Once the transmission was super hot from driving all over taking care of this and that, pretty much all of the fluid just poured out of that opening. Of course, I had no idea at the time that this was what was happening, so tried adding more transmission fluid, which most of it didn’t make it into the transmission but on to the ground.

There seemed to be a bit a cooling issue, as well. Not the engine overheating, but the transmission. I topped off the coolant in the car and that seems to have helped that, as well. The coolant hadn’t looked that low. The overflow reservoir was almost empty, but…well, that didn’t seem like a huge issue. I ended up having to add nearly an entire container of antifreeze to the car to get it to the right level. Apparently, it was much lower than I knew. Thankfully, the Taurus has taken a trip to Seattle and back, plus some other driving, and the problem has not repeated itself. Whew!

Well, I had better get going or laundry is never going to happen. I will end up just laying on the bed with my dogs, watching some Netflix, and napping a bit. I’m exhausted from my week and staying home just sounds like heaven right now, but I know when I go to grab clothes for work tomorrow and come up empty, it will not be a great thing, so off to the laundromat I go. Have a great day, Everyone!!

 

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Beautiful Dahlia Blooming and Speak Up Already…

My very first Dahlia bloom is happening!! I’m so excited, but, then again, I’m always super excited whenever anything I am growing for the first time starts its show. I can hardly wait to see them all in bloom. Its going to be so beautiful!!

I’m so grateful for the beauty my gardens bring me, especially when my heart is so heavy I am finding it hard to find the beauty in most things. The beauty in my gardens is a undisputable fact…you can argue it if you want, and if flowers and things like that aren’t your thing, then I suppose you would completely disagree with me. That’s ok. I can see the beauty there that goes unnoticed by you.

Ok. That sounds really argumentative to me. I don’t mean it that way. As I said, my heart is heavy and I’m having to force myself past the beauty-muting blinders so I am not just stuck in the muck, stuck with the view of all that is less than beautiful, unable to see a reason to smile. It’s where I’m at and I’m doing my best to make it through it.

It is times like this that I begin to wonder what the world has to offer me outside of my own little, created world. Is there anything out there worth leaving the comfort and protection of my gypsy camp for? Or will venturing out into the world, into society, just bring me more heartache, more reasons to limit even further the amount of interaction with the outside world, more reasons to love my dogs more than the human population?

Human interaction is a need, I’ve read somewhere. I don’t always agree with that. In fact, the more time I spend on this Earth, the more I think human interaction is highly over rated. It involves too much opportunity for heart crunching experiences…the stray dog that someone discarded for whatever reason, the judgements of others usually based on very little data, kids being expected to act like little adults, and epic communication failures, just to name a few. More times than not, I leave home and return wishing I could just delete all that my mind, heart, and soul has experienced during that day, to wash the ick off.

One thing that is really bothering me a lot, lately – something that has always bothered me, left me confused and usually hurt – is the epic communication failures. I think I have two modes: over communication and no communication what-so-ever. I believe that if someone does something you like, love, or something that you don’t like, that hurts you, upsets you, you should tell them. Not brutally bash them over the head with it, but speak up. For instance, “I really love it when you do that,” or “Thank you.” Simple. Then there is the other stuff, the ones that aren’t so great: “I’m really upset by…,” “You know, when you did/said, didn’t do/didn’t say ____, it really hurt my feelings/made me mad/made me wonder if I had you all wrong (or whatever).” Maybe its just the people I know or deal with in my own little world of life, but it seems to be a growing trend that people just don’t talk about it anymore. They would rather be hurt, upset, angry, sad, lost, confused, whatever than confront the other person. Why is that?

I know there are times when I keep my mouth shut in those situations, mostly because saying anything would have been pointless or created more drama, or because sometimes its easier to just keep the peace. Sometimes I have to wait before opening my mouth to make sure that what comes out of it is what I really want to say, or I’m still figuring out what it is I’m feeling, but it comes out eventually. I just can’t let riffs in a relationship – friendship, intimate, or otherwise – just lie there in wait, festering until it becomes something different from what it was: resentment and discontentment. If you’re my friend, we should be able to talk to each other about these things instead of just ignoring each other. If we can’t, I’m not sure how good of friends we truly are.

I haven’t always been this way. I used to be too afraid to speak my mind because it meant I might lose what I felt was a much needed friend. I’ve come to realize that if telling someone about what I’m feeling is going to lose me a friend, then they probably weren’t my friend in the first place. This doesn’t make it hurt any less, but, sometimes, this knowledge helps me not make it personal in my head.

There have been times in my marriage when I have kept my mouth shut. Not because I felt that my husband would leave me or anything like that, but because opening my mouth would not have made things better. Everything ends up being talked about with time, and we either work it out, make as much progress as we can, if we can, and move forward from there. Sure, some things are difficult and we don’t always reach a point of agreement, unless you want to say that agreeing to disagree is truly an agreement worth making with intense situations, but neither of us is left in the dark about where the other person is standing. And maybe that is the most important part of it, for me.

I have this really great, sometimes super horrible, imagination. Pair that with the fact that I have damages (heck, who doesn’t), and leaving things in my imagination is one of the worst things you can do. I can twist the most innocent of things into a Armageddon-type monster if I don’t have all of the pieces of the puzzle. My kids have been told their entire lives that I would rather know what they are up to than have my imagination make it up, and, for the most part, they have honored that,  mostly because I think their imaginations are similar to mine.

Ok. I think I’ve killed this topic in an attempt to explain what it is going on in my head and heart. Yeah, I’m complaining, somewhat, but I’m also getting it out of my head, exposing it to light, so it possibly might lose its ability to grow into that Armageddon-sized monster I mentioned.

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Processing the Feelings and Listening to Anne Lamott…

So, the depression has moved in heavier than the rain clouds that are covering the area. I knew it would, I just didn’t know it would be this severe. All part of processing all that has gone on over the last few months and the ending results. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, especially since the depression is peppered with bouts of self-loathing. Ugh.

I hate feeling this way – I feel so stuck in it. The depression is so intense that it brings up every last thing I have ever done in my life that I either have shame over or regrets. Many of these things are things I have looked closely at before and made whatever peace I can make with them – these things are in the past and nothing I have the ability to do anything about to change them in today. They are what they are, things to learn from, reminders to help keep me from making the same mistakes, again, because I already know how it would turn out. Being this depressed brings them back under the microscope to re-examine every last, screwed up detail –  about as much fun as a snow face wash.

I’ve been running through a number of the audiobooks I’ve already listened to, hoping to find that kernel, or row of kernels, that helps me to start to undo the grip the depression has on me, at the moment. A lot of the audiobooks I have started to listen to, again, have revealed that they are not what it is I am needing to hear, they have no kernels for me, right now. So, I move on to the next.

One book that has helped some is Anne Lamott’s ‘Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.’ It really is a great book, or at least I think so. Anne Lamott says things in such a way that I can hear them, almost as if she has looked into the deepest, darkest recesses in my mind and recognized what she saw there, without judgement. I think that is the effect that she has on most of those who read her books.

“Bird by Bird” is, of course, about writing and, as the title says, about life. Anne makes the two seem completely intertwined with each other, and I guess she isn’t really wrong about that. Life effects how and what one writes, and writing is almost surely always about life in one form or another – or, at least, brought on by life. I happen to find the book therapeutic. Ok. I have found each of her books that I have read/listened to therapeutic in one way or another. “Bird by Bird” just happens to be some medicine I am needing right now.

There is one point in the book when Anne is talking about writing and finding your own voice. She says something along the lines of needing to write like your parents are dead, that anyone that would critique or discourage what it is you want to write is dead. Your writing has to be you and not anyone in your life that may have unintentionally, or intentionally, put roadblocks in the way of saying what’s on your mind. If you write something and you hear a voice in your head saying “oh! Your shouldn’t/can’t say that,” it is probably one of those people and they need to go. You need to put them away someplace where they can’t be heard so that they are no longer capable of editing you. Those aren’t her exact words, but they basic jist of them, as I ‘heard’ it.

I have come to realize that not all of those voices belong to other people. Sometimes, the voice that I am hearing is my own, and the criticisms and/or admonishments come from the experiences of failure or mistakes, and the desire to not repeat them, the fear of repeating them. I hate that. I really don’t want to self edit. I don’t think it is being true to myself because, most of the time – ok, a lot of the time – I’m not saying what it is that I truly want to say or am having to figure out how to say what it is I want to say in the most widely acceptable way. I think so much usually gets lost in the translation.

But, can I really just write down what it is that comes into my head as it does, without editing it? Or are the internal editors just so good that they edit on autopilot? Well, unless you add intense emotions and a little adrenaline to the mix and then I think my mouth disconnects from my brain because there a times like that when what comes out of my mouth leaves me wide-eyed with surprise, waiting for the repercussions, wondering where the heck that came from.

At any rate, let’s just say that Anne Lamott has, once again, given me something to think about, something I may want to improve on in myself. She is good at that. At least, I think so, so much so that, since my Audible membership just renewed yesterday, I downloaded another Anne Lamott book, “Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace.” I’m going to have to listen to that one, again, before I can really comment on it, other than to say “I think there’s gold in them there hills.”

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No More Prius, The New Vehicle, and Temper Tantrum Desires…

So, the Prius went back on Wednesday. I’m a bit heart-broken over it but…well, the return was super easy and quick. My son’s girlfriend followed me down there so I wasn’t stuck in Auburn, which I greatly appreciate. The upside is that I found a car the day before the Prius went back to the dealership.

my 2002 Ford Taurus

my 2002 Ford Taurus

This is my 2002 Ford Taurus. She has 165,000 miles on her, but seems to drive pretty well. I think it may have lost a weight on one of its front tires so I am going to take it to a tire store and have them balance it. She drives straight as an arrow, no hands on the steering wheel, and has some pep to her. I will definitely need to do an oil change and flush and refill the cooling system, but, other than that, I think we will be good to go for a bit. I have decided to call her Dahlia.

My best friend’s son is getting married tomorrow. The wedding isn’t until evening time and it is supposed to rain tomorrow, pretty steadily. I have to be honest and say that I really don’t feel like going. I love her son very much – we have always had our own bond, and his fiancée seems nice enough. My not wanting to go has nothing to do with them. I’m in a little bit of a funk over the whole car thing and don’t really want to stand outside in the rain. He would never forgive me if I didn’t go and I would feel horrible for not going, so go I will. I had planned on wearing a nice Summer dress, but, with the rain, I am going to have to rethink what I am going to wear.

We had some wild daisies growing in our yard. When Lance mowed, he mowed around them because I asked him to. The evening before last, the neighbor, the hanger right next to us, rode his mower out over to them and mowed them down. To be completely honest, I wanted to go over, punch him in the face, and ask him if he was going to mow the rest of my lawn, too. A plethora of cruel comments and names raced through my mind. I still haven’t quite let it go, yet, either.

When I got home from my clean, yesterday, I walked out to where the daisies were and took a look at the flower carnage. Part of me, most of me, wants to go plant a few of my sunflowers over there and surround them with cinder blocks. Placing a sign on one of them, with not nice things on written on it, crossed my mind, as well.

I know I should let it go, but I just can’t seem to do that, right now. It’s a little thing, in the overall scheme of things. I know this, but I can’t seem to be in that mind frame. I think the fact that it is just one of those small things is part of what makes it so damn aggravating for me. My yard, a little extra bit of pretty provided by nature, not in the air strip part of the yard, not obstructing the vision of any pilot flying in or out of here. It was just a malicious act of no design other than just to be a jerk.

Part of my mind is planning all out warfare – plant 100, tall, flowering plants in his yard, each plant surrounded by its own cinder block barrier, cemented with rebar into the ground. No, I’m not going to do that but a whole lot of me wants to put everything else, all of my responsibilities, on hold in order to make that happen. It’s not rational, I know, but that doesn’t change the way it feels. Maybe it just feels like the one thing that I’m not happy about going on in my life that I could possibly do something about that represents my displeasure about it – something I really don’t have to just left foot, right foot through. Yes, I want to put down adulting for a moment and have a full on temper tantrum. It’s where I’m at.

The HOA at the condo complex that I clean the common areas has hired a new property management company, and the HOA wants the new property management company to start soliciting bids from other cleaning companies to take over the common areas. We aren’t out, yet. My employer has been talking with the new property management company, establishing who we are, what we do, how long we have been cleaning the common areas, etc. Thankfully, the person of contact at the property management company loves my employer already, so is trying to work things just to keep us on. This means I have to be a bit extra detailed in the clean, doing a few extras just to keep us looking good, but it will be worth it if we keep that account. The contact also recognizes that the buildings are aging, showing signs of wear, and more than likely has more to do with any dissatisfaction the HOA members may be having than a lack of me doing my job. If this account goes away, so does my income that I can count on. One more thing to add to the stress pile that seems to be growing rapidly, lately.

Well, that said, I have some buildings to clean. Have a great day, Everyone!!

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Garden Bliss…

Oh! My garden is starting to get pretty!! Sure, I’m still battling bugs and whatever, but the blooms are happening and the smiles it is starting to provide me in the mornings is the reason I garden, I think. I’m loving it!

Mr. Brucie Bruce walks the gardens with me in the mornings, consistently enough that it is becoming part of the routine. Twice a day, I take a walk with the cat and he is always waiting when I come out with my coffee in the mornings and in the evenings when I head out to see what the gardens have done during the day. He is such a cutie about it all, too, as he talks to me and flops himself down for pets near whatever plants I am looking at, at the moment. I love that cat.

It keeps feeling like Summer is most of the way over, to me. I don’t know why that is. Perhaps it is because I was able to get started in the gardens so early this year. Maybe it’s because the weather has been so consistently inconsistent – sunny and in the 80’s or low 90’s for a few days to a week, followed by rain and temps in the 60’s for a week or so. Whatever the reason it feels the way it feels.

Sunflowers in the Stump garden!

Sunflowers in the Stump garden!

Anyway, my sunflowers are starting to bloom all over the yard and gardens. A lot of them are nowhere near the height they are supposed to get to, but I think I am ok with that. Like the ones I’ve planted between the tree and stump in the Stump Garden. They are anywhere from just under 2 feet to about 2 and a half feet tall. These are supposed to get anywhere from 4 to 6 or 12 feet tall, depending on variety. I’m just grateful that they are growing and producing blooms, even if they are super tiny, at this point.

my first pumpkin bloom of the season!!

my first pumpkin bloom of the season!!

My pumpkin plants have been a bit back and forth – looking really good and healthy to looking like they have been touched by death and are struggling to survive anyway. I still have a few in little pots, and, wouldn’t you know it, it is one of these that has decided to put out the first pumpkin bloom…and it didn’t mess around about it, either. The bloom is nice and large, healthy looking. Go figure. I’m going to need to transplant it into a larger planter, hopefully not disturbing its root system too much.

One of my Echinacea plants has a couple of blooms on it. They are nestled deep within the plant, but I still managed to get a photo of one:

Echinacea!

Echinacea!

I planted some Achillea (Yarrow) last year and it really didn’t do much other than get some foliage going. When I planted it, I really believed it was an annual. I don’t know why, but I did. Anyway, as things started to get going this year, I saw that it was greening up, adding more foliage, and I got my hopes up of actually getting to see it bloom this year.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have been having some horrible bug issues in the gardens this year. When I first noticed the flower buds were forming on the Yarrow, I got really excited, wondering what color they would be since I couldn’t remember what color the seed packet had shown. I also couldn’t remember exactly what the flowers looked like other than they were a cluster set.

I would walk out the next morning to see if anything had progressed with these flower buds and find that something had eaten the side of the stem, about an inch or so below the buds, enough to cause the flower head to fall over. It was always just one stem, but it was happening at a rate that felt like one every morning. It wasn’t quite that much, since I still have bud clusters, but it was killing my hope in ever seeing these bloom. I started to ignore them. The disappointment was too much.

Success!! Achillea (Yarrow) flowers!!!

Success!! Achillea (Yarrow) flowers!!!

I kept dealing with the bugs, the soil deficiencies, feeding, vitamins, epsom salt foliage spray, plucking bug eaten leaves. What else could I do. I had other plants to rescue and I was at a complete loss with what to do for the Achillea. Then, one morning, I walked out with my coffee to start the rounds, glanced over at the Yarrow, and saw a red-ish tinge to one or two of the bud clusters. I leaned over to get a closer look, seeing that this was indeed the start of Yarrow flowers. My hope was on reserve but the little girl in me could not contain her excitement. I started paying attention to the Yarrow, again.

Lance has been harvesting some raspberries. Usually only a couple here, a few there. Last night, he had about 10 of them he picked and ate, sharing a few with me. They are quite tasty. Once Summer gets going, I’m thinking we may end up with enough raspberries to possibly make a little bit of jam. That is, if I can keep Lance from eating them all as they become ripe.

The happiness gardening gives me, it is no wonder that I want to be able to do this all year round. Perhaps I wouldn’t appreciate it as much, but I don’t think so. I absolutely love seeing things grow, bloom, and watch the bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and dragonflies come in and investigate the flowers. What’s not to love?

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A Wonderful Day…

A couple of days ago, it was my birthday. I mention this because it was probably one of the best birthdays I have had in a while. No, no super amazing presents that top all the rest, ever, no party with friends and family, no brand new car that is all mine in the driveway.😉

Monday morning, the day of my birthday, I slowly walked into the morning, as I usually do, no real plan. I was looking around at different things on the internet, Facebook, etc., when I remembered this one post on Facebook, an article on the top 5 or so beaches in Washington State to help ease the Summer. I had looked up the beaches a few days earlier, just sort of pre-planning some activities to do over the Summer, time permitting, to help me feel like I’m not just a worker bee. Besides, there are so many places and things that I haven’t seen in Washington State, even after living here for 26 years.

Anyway, I pulled up the article, again, and reviewed the listed beaches. One of them stuck out: Dungeness Spit in Sequim. I immediately decided that I was going to make going to Sequim my birthday celebration.

But I have responsibilities: I had common areas to clean at two complexes. One of the complexes, I only clean over other month on the first Monday of the month. Its super easy and quick; no big deal. The other is my normal, every week common area clean. I tend to stretch this one out over a couple of days during the week, shuffling it in around other things. After telling Lance my plans and asking him if he would like to go with me, we decided that we would go clean the every other month common area then head out toward Sequim. We took the Prius.

It was a gorgeous day – sunny, warm – and we drove with the windows down the entire 112 miles and I absolutely loved it. I missed a lot of really great photos along the way since I was driving. Sure, I could have just pulled over, gotten out, and taken the photos, but I was feeling a little pressed for time since we had headed out a little later than would have been optimal for this trip.

One photo I really wish I had gotten was as you turn off of HWY 3 onto the Hood Canal Bridge (HWY 104). The second you make it past the shore trees, onto the bridge, and look to your left, the view is enough to take your breath away. The shoulder on the bridge is

Port Townsend selfie!!

Port Townsend selfie!!

adequate to pull over into, but just barely and I didn’t feel like taking the risk of trying to get out of the car there, especially since I was on the driver’s side/traffic side of the car. I’m thinking I am going to have to go back up and brave it, though, since I can’t get the image out of my head and the feelings of disappointment at not capturing it is lingering with me.

The one detour we did take was to Port Townsend. We were only 13 miles away from it at one point and, since our last name is Townsend, it seemed like we just had to stop.When we reached Port Townsend, we got out, took a selfie with the town sign, then continued on to Sequim. I’ll tour Port Townsend another day.

Toes in the water at Dungeness Spit

Toes in the water at Dungeness Spit

The temp at Dungeness Spit was about 15 degrees cooler than everywhere else, and windy. Lance does really bad in cool winds. He was out of the car for only a few minutes before heading back to its safety. I had to at least get my feet in the water. I wasn’t that cold and could have done some walking up the beach but…well, I didn’t.

After the beach, we headed into Sequim proper to find some food. Other than fast food, everything else seemed too expensive. I had seem a little cafe, the Snug Harbor Cafe, on our way, not too far from Sequim, so we headed that way. The food was ok. We both had halibut and chips, which was pretty good.

The drive home was relaxing, and beautiful, of course. We got home around 6, which was perfect, in my mind. Time to call it a day, no responsibilities left in the day other than feeding the dogs. We watched a little tv and called it a day.

So, yeah, it was a pretty perfect day.

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