National Girlfriends Day…

In honor of National Girlfriends Day, Oscar Insurance created this chart of important health exams for woman, catergorized by age. They are a new type of health insurance company that believes in empowering their members to be proactive about their health with their variety of health insurance plans. I love my girlfriends and want them to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Print this chart out and put it on your fridge, bathroom mirror, or wherever you are sure to see it and make the scheduled appointments. I love you and want the very best for you and your health.

National GIrlfriends Day

National GIrlfriends Day

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Touching the Soul of my Garden…

image

image

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Glorious Rain and Paint…

joy and rain

It finally rained last night!!! There had been a few times throughout the day when it tried to, even one bout of wetness that was more than just a few drops but that only lasted for a few minutes. Then, as I was about to fall asleep last night, I heard the familiar sound of droplets hitting the tarp covering the travel trailer. Yeah, I fell asleep with a smile, imagining how happy all of my plants were going to be this morning.

I, of course, walked the garden, stump area, and surveyed the 5-gallon buckets. Everything seems to be stretching itself skyward, as if to attempt to gather more rain that way. My Hydrangea plant has never looked so…tall. It has spent most of the time since I planted it kind of lying around. I had even staked up a couple of branches to get them off the ground for watering. This morning, the branches are upright and there is actually some bush-like formation to it. It’s really wonderful to see. There really is no substitute for rain in the garden, in my opinion.

The Raiders Room

The Raiders Room

I started the painting job yesterday. Mostly, I just got everything, almost everything, taped off. I had to ‘prime’ the black squares in the picture with some paint, but, since it is a paint plus primer, this should ensure that nothing shows through after I roll the walls. Everything is going a neutral color (cappuccino in the bedrooms and antique white for the bathrooms), colors I absolutely love (please hear the sarcasm in the statement). Cut and roll today. I think we will have this knocked out today. That is, only if I get myself going right now.

Have a great day, Everyone!!!

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The Promise of Rain, Painting Gig, and Garden Progress, Dilemmas, and Procrastinations…

The last couple of days, the weather has been overcast and looking a lot like rain. The frustrating part is that it hasn’t actually rained. The upside to it is that my lovely plants have been getting a much-needed break from the intense sun and sweltering heat. Still, I find myself longing for the rain. I guess I’ve been somewhat corrupted by my 25+ years of living in the Great NorthWest.

NOAA.gov is forecasting the potential for rain Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tomorrow and Saturday are only a 30% chance of rain but Sunday looks to be much more promising, with a 60% chance. My fingers are crossed, though I have to admit I do not have much faith in it actually happening. So far this Summer, forecasts of rain have been washed out by sun and high temps.

One of the major benefits that would come from it raining is having the smoke rinsed out of the air. There have been a number of large fires, lately, and the air smells a lot like smoke. It’s not that delicious camp fire smell, either. The smell of a house or other structure burning has its own distinct aroma, and one I find rather repulsive. Miles away from these fires, you see smoke lingering in the trees and hovering over empty fields long after the fires have been put out. Its sad and somewhat disturbing.

I have a paint gig this weekend. It’s not great pay but its money. Its been a really long time since I have done any painting, and part of me wonders if I remember how to hold a brush. ;-) Another part of me is somewhat excited about getting to paint, again.

Painting for other people has always been a high stress situation for me. I love to paint, especially when I get to be creative with it, but I have always carried a lot of anxiety over what others will think of the finished product. I’m not sure, exactly, why this is, but it’s there.

Ok, I do know parts of why I get so anxious. When I was painting full-time, I couldn’t walk into a painted room, anywhere, and not see every last flaw, even the ones almost no one would ever begin to notice. Another reason is due to the fact that the guy that taught me how to paint was exceedingly critical. Yeah, I have issues. This level of anxiety had a lot to do with me not painting anymore, despite how much I enjoyed painting in the first place.

I am still going to the chiropractor three times a week, along with massage therapy. My back is feeling so much better than it was when I first started going and the chiropractor seems to be pleased with my progress. For the most part, I’m not hurting very much at all. Granted, about the time I say or think that, the very next day, I’m hurting, again. I’m told this is normal and just part of the healing process. It will be interesting to see how I feel after this weekend. Thankfully, I will have an adjustment and massage scheduled for Monday.

I can’t get over how much is going on in my garden these days. The reduced temps and sun have really helped things start to grow and bloom. Even some of my Mammoth sunflowers have started to get taller, almost catching up to the Autumn Beauties, Chianti, and Velvet Queens. I honestly doubt the Mammoths will reach their true intended height, but I guess we shall see.

The Autumn Beauties and Velvet Queens that have had ‘satellite’ buds around the main flower are really quite interesting to watch. The main flowers on these have bloomed beautifully then started having their petals start to fall off rather quickly. When the satellites bloom, they are lasting much longer. The downside to the satellite blooms is that their stems are not very big and the flower weighs more than the stem can rightly support. This leaves the blooms facing downward, though it hasn’t broken any of the stems. I haven’t exactly figured out how to support these ones, yet. Shepard’s hook? Lattice that I deform to put the supports in the right spot? Home made giant ‘tomato’ cage? I’m guessing this is going to be a trial and error type of thing. Learn as I go.

My Wild Bergamot is looking very healthy and full, but no blooms, yet. Not even any buds, yet. I’m anxious to see these flower, and not just because it’s the first time I’ve grown them. Sure, that’s a lot of it, but I think more of it has to do with my love for fresh blossoms on all of my plants.

I have found myself missing having at least one butterfly bush in my yard. I finally tested the soil near the fenceline by the road the other day. Butterfly bushes prefer a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0, which is slightly acidic. The soil tested out at about a 6.0.

I’ve done a price comparison on Butterfly bushes at local nurseries and places like Home Depot and McClendon’s. I think I am just going to have to put supplies for cuttings in the Jeep so I can take some along my routes. I haven’t taken any cuttings, yet, mostly because I have always felt that I was too far away from home to have the cutting survive, especially with this intense heat/sun we have been having. If I had the supplies to take care of them immediately, I think I would be more inclined to stop. Since we are traveling up north for the paint job, I think I will put the supplies in the Jeep and make myself stop.

I pass one butterfly bush, every now and again, that is white. I have never had a white one and have contemplated stopping to ask the owner if I can take some cuttings. I always feel like I don’t have the time to stop when I am passing this one, despite it being relatively close to home. Maybe I’m just procrastinating. Maybe I am worried that I won’t end up with any survivors due to how wonderfully attempting cuttings of other things has gone for me this year. Whatever the reason, I need to get over myself and move forward, stop making excuses.

Well, I had better go get ready for work. I’m starting late. Have a great day, everyone!!

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Pictures from the Wedding…

I’ve gotten the thumbs up on sharing photos from the wedding. I really enjoyed the ceremony and the setting couldn’t have been better, in my opinion. I hope you all enjoy!!

(the photos are a bit staggered on here. I’m not sure, but I think the theme I have picked for my blog makes this happen. Anyway, here it is!!)

Their story was told...

Their story was told…

Smiles were everywhere, and giggles were had

Smiles were everywhere, and giggles were had

This is what joy looks like

This is what joy looks like

happiness

happiness

Gorgeous bouquet

Gorgeous bouquet

The Happy, Happy Bride sneaking a peak at me

The Happy, Happy Bride sneaking a peak at me

The gorgeous bride

The gorgeous bride

the kiss

the kiss

Amanda, Jen's daughter, sang at the wedding. She is a beautiful singer!!

Amanda, Jen’s daughter, sang “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz at wedding. She is a beautiful singer!! (Jen’s Mom in the background)

The garden really was quite amazing

The garden really was quite amazing

The pond had these huge Koi

The pond had these huge Koi

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Blooming Beauties…

So, the last couple of days have been in the 90’s, again. Yesterday reached 95 degrees!! I knew it was going to be a really hot one yesterday, and, after having so many of my plants look completely like they are giving up the game from the heat, I moved all of the plants in the 5-gallon buckets to different locations that would reduce the amount of direct sunlight they would have to experience, either directly or by reducing the amount of time in it. I was rewarded with some blooms I have been waiting for!!

Mexican Sunflower

Mexican Sunflower

Ok. This guy was beginning his bloom in the morning, before I moved him. It had just opened a little bit so when I came home and saw this, the smile couldn’t contain itself. I had thought these ones were an orange-ish color, but, apparently, I had mis-remembered. Not complaining, though, When the Tithonia that are planted with him finally bloom, the yellow and orange will look quite nice together, I think.

I've been waiting on this one

I’ve been waiting on this one

This one >>>

I have been waiting on this one for a while. It has had the flower bud on top looking like it was ready for quite some time. This sunflower plant really has some character to it, too. Every branch on it has a flower bud, and there are quite a few branches. Part of me wonders if I am going to have to build some sort of pseudo trellis or “tomato cage” type thing to hold up its blossoms when they happen. It was really exciting to see this bloom when I got home. Never ending rounds of smiles as I kept surveying my plants.

Lavender

Lavender

First feverfew blooms

First feverfew blooms

This little lavender is one I planted in front of the borage around the stump. I wasn’t sure it would do much, which makes this bloom even more beautiful to see. Yes, its tiny, but you have to love its determination. I’ll be making sure to cover this one before winter so I can see what it is going to do next year.

My first feverfew blooms arrived yesterday, as well! About half of the feverfew plants have buds on them but I’ve been watching this one for a while. I just knew it was going to bloom first. Since this is my first time growing feverfew, I’m especially happy to see these blooms. Means I must have done it right :-)

My Beautiful Black (Eggplant) Calla Lilies

My Beautiful Black (Eggplant) Calla Lilies

All of my calla lilies have bloomed. The black is more of an eggplant color but I love it. They are so velvety looking, yet crisp at the same time. Next year, they should be even bigger and it should be interesting to see if the blooms are more of a black color the second year.

One of my coneflowers has a bud on it. I think I mentioned it before, but I’m really impatient this year. I can’t wait for the blooms to come, I check everyday with hope, and, I have to admit, find myself a bit disappointed when I find no new blooms. Starving for color, I guess.

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Beautiful, Garden Wedding, Time to Learn How to Rain Dance…

Part of the Garden

Part of the Garden

The wedding this morning was so beautiful. It was held in a local garden in Orting and I think I could have spent the day there with my camera, breathing in the beauty. And the bride? There are not words enough. I would so love to post one of the photos I took of her and her husband, but I haven’t asked her about it and am most definitely not going to bug her right now. ;-) If she gives me the go ahead, I’ll post it later.

Ok. I think it might be time for a rain dance. Its 90 today, and, for some reason, it feels so much more overbearing. I know I complained about the rain all Spring, but enough is enough. I’m not saying I don’t want it to get hot, again, just wash things down a bit and help out the plants, wildlife, people a little.

My Mexican Sunflowers looking like they are giving up

My Mexican Sunflowers looking like they are giving up

We are on a well system and, though we have been very conservative with our water usage, I worry a little. Does it stop me from watering the garden? No. Not at all. I just water more efficiently and only water the ground.

At night, I do a very light watering and give the plants a little sprinkle rinse off. The plants are absolutely hating the intense sun, even the sunflowers. I’ve had to stake quite a few things to keep them upright.

So, tomorrow, after the clean I have scheduled, I think I will hop on the World Wide Web and find me some rain dances to learn. Who’s with me?

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The Times, They are a Changing (within me)…

I’ve been really horrible about writing, lately. It seems like I just don’t have the time but I think that is more me than reality because I’m seeing some similar stuff showing up in other areas. I don’t really want to go anywhere, I’m less aggressive about work…I guess I am finding myself less interested in the parts that keep this family afloat and more interested in the things I like to do, like my garden, taking photos, playing with the dogs.

The weird part of all of this is that I am feeling really secure in myself these days. I’m not panicked about finances, for the most part. I’m really ok with saying no to work I really don’t want to do or that I feel will leave me barely able to move the next day. Part of me is a bit worried about this since its not like I’m financially secure and can just blow off money coming in. I have to admit that that is the feeling I’m having, though.

I’m obviously going through something. I’m not sure what it is, but I can see it. In my true fashion, and as part of my way of deciphering what it is that is going on with me, I have started looking back to see if I can tell what kicked this off. I believe it may be connected with the accident with the moving truck.

Lance and I were talking, recently, about stuffs…how we are getting along, things I am not pleased with in our life and between us, things I feel I’m not getting out of the relationship that I feel I need, how I’m feeling about work and the future. I talked with him about what it is that I’m going through. While we were talking, I heard myself say something along the lines of “I think the accident sparked some of this. It’s like it was just one thing too much.” I am kind of stuck on this one.

I keep going back over things, what was going on before the accident, how things have gone since the accident, to see if I can pinpoint the impetus for the change in me. I keep coming back to the point immediately after the accident…the intense, uncontrollable shaking, the confusion. The thing is, I don’t know what to do about it, if I need to do anything about it, or whether or not it is such a bad thing I am going through, now.

I’ve decided that this may not be the best time to be making really important decisions about much of anything. I’m not sure if I have me feet under me or not. I can’t say I’m unnerved by this whatever I’m going through, just paying more attention, and trying to stay open to the possibilities.

One of my very dear, amazing friends is getting married tomorrow to a very dear and amazing man. I’m so excited about it! I love them both so much and to see them get married is just a source of complete joy for me. They truly are incredible people.

My new do

My new do

I haven’t done anything, really, with my hair for quite some time. I had decided to not color it until all of the remaining color had grown out and then go from there. I haven’t been pleased with how my hair has been looking but I wasn’t motivated to do anything about it. Sure, I’ve been having it trimmed but that was it.

In honor of my friends’ wedding, I had my hair done yesterday. It really looks great! I was just going to have a cut and color, but decided, since it is summer, I would add some highlights (something I have never had done before). I’m so grateful for the job the hairstylist did. I’m really happy with my hair, now, and have plans of keeping it up like this.

Getting my hair done yesterday has really made me see just how much I haven’t been taking care of myself. It has also given me some motivation to change that. I think I haven’t been really doing the whole left foot, right foot thing but something more like crawling every inch forward, and its way past time to get back up on my feet.

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Cute Little Bug, Sunflower Lost, PH Levels, Me…

Lady bug-type bug on my catnip

Lady bug-type bug on my catnip

I saw this bug on my catnip the other day as I was walking around checking out what I have growing. It’s very lady bug like, a little bit bigger, and a swirled, chocolately, mocha color. I’ve never seen one before so I took a photo of it. I plan on seeing if I can find it with an image search on Google. If anyone knows what it is, please do let me know.

More of the Gladiolus have started to push up their flower stalks. Only three more, but I’m loving it. My husband is even starting to see the picture I had in my head of what it would all look like. It won’t be quite the same, though, since the sunflowers are growing all wonky. My Mammoth sunflowers are one of the smaller sunflowers I have growing, despite supposing to be the tallest. The flowers are turning fairly quickly, too. Oh well. It’s still really pretty and is getting prettier all the time.

I bought one of those little soil testers with the vials and capsules, yesterday. I know this is something one should do before planting things, but…well, I knew one area was going to work for some things and that the stump area is really acidic. It turns out that the garden area, where I have my sunflowers, coneflowers, calla lilies, etc, is PH neutral (7.0) and that around the stump isn’t quite as bad as I had thought, with a PH of 6.0 (5.0 being very acidic). The garden is also high in nitrogen, medium phosphorus, and low to very low in potash. I didn’t check the NPK for around the stump.

The Struggling Hollyhock has finally bloomed!!!

The Struggling Hollyhock has finally bloomed!!!

My little, always been struggling Hollyhock has finally bloomed!! I was surprised to see the color. I started both of my Hollyhocks from seed last year, which means they came out of the same packet. I am loving the pink on this struggler, possibly more so since it was completely unexpected. More smiles for me!

I’m needing to buy some more 5-gallon buckets. I have catnip to get out of small seed pots, and some other things, that most definitely will not fit in the garden and will probably die if I try to plant them around the stump. Of course, this also means more dirt. I’ve definitely had to get creative with my gardening this year.

R.I.P Amazingly Resilient Sunflower

R.I.P. Amazingly Resilient Sunflower

Remember the sunflower that I rescued when I came home and found it falling out of its 5-gallon bucket? I had it place on a stable shelf, out of the sun since it had decided it no longer liked direct sunlight. The other day, I came home and it had committed plant suicide. It either fell or threw itself off the shelf and broke itself into 3 different pieces. It had also almost taken one of my borage that I have planted in the top of my strawberry pot. I had to stake the borage to save it and it seems to be doing just fine, thank goodness.

I have to admit that the loss of this sunflower is a bit more depressing than if I had lost one of my other sunflowers. I was invested in this one in a different way. That’s not to say that there aren’t others of my plants that would cause me the same disappointment, but…this one was special. I have a soft spot for rescues, obviously.

Things are still the same with the post accident therapy (chiropractor, massage). I have to admit that I am not please at all with the massage therapist I have been assigned to. It could be that she may be new to it or something but she is not good. Two times I have left feeling bruised and tender, which lasted until my next appointment. The chiropractor says things are starting to get lined back up, which is great news. I just wish a day or two of long work days didn’t leave me feeling like I got hit by a truck. I never felt that way before the accident. I guess we shall see how it goes. Fingers crossed!!

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