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Monday, August 28, 2017

Thoughts & Pictures

This is a picture of my daughter with frosting on her hand at her 25th birthday this week. I love this one because it captures the joy she got from the cake. My friend works at one of our local supermarkets as a cake decorator, and she made a truly beautiful cake for Hillary. We don't often get pictures of Hillary smiling or excited, those shows of emotion are fleeting and it's tough to capture them.
This is the cake my friend made. So beautiful! It was yellow cake with chocolate pudding filling and it was delicious!

This is a picture of my eldest brother's wife, Allison, who left us so young a year ago as of August 27. This picture was taken at her bridal shower. Her life was not easy, as she battled a painful and debilitating bone disease, yet I remember her smile, sense of humor, and pride in her children, her husband, her nursing degree and the time she spent practicing the profession she loved, as well as her love for my children and my brother. 
This is another picture from Allison's bridal shower which shows how she loved my girls, who were around 5 and 2 at the time. To me it shows family love.

I visited our town park one day toward the end of August to walk and take some pictures. This one stands out to me because it shows what a gorgeous day it was, how beautiful our park is, and part of the all veterans war memorial there. This is the memorial to service animals who gave their lives in service to our country. There is also a 9/11 memorial, flags from every branch of the service, names of local service people who gave their lives throughout the years, and a special seating area for Gold Star families. I like that these memorials are at the front of our park where all who come here to use the playing fields, playground, splash pad in summer, dog park and walking trails see it.

This is a picture of the retention pond which is across from the memorial area at the park. I've seen ducks, geese, and a blue heron there at different times over the years.

These are pictures from daily life, and it's moments like these that, when strung together over the course of years, make up our lives. If happy, pleasant moments are pearls on a necklace, the less pleasant ones are knots between them, keeping the beautiful ones in place.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Going Fast!

How can August be halfway through?
I still have so much summer to do!

The sun is out,
It's heating up,
Humidity is high,
August's steamy,
Sultry ways,
Will soon go
Bye, bye, bye.

The summer months always seem to fly by. I feel like it was just the middle of June yesterday and here we are in the middle of August already! Every year when the school year ends, I hang up my lunch lady hat and apron for the summer and make plans for things I want to do during my time off. I have a stack of books, writing goals, closets I want to clean out, storage boxes I want to sort through, and people I want to catch up with over lunch.  So far this year I've only read a couple of books, made one trip to drop off donations at the Salvation Army store, and gone to lunch twice. My writing goals are faring a but better, but are not close to being realized. I don't know where the time has gone! Maybe I've spent more time admiring the flowers we planted in pots, like the pink begonias our neighbor gave us in exchange for a couple tomato plants. Perhaps I've spent more time watching clouds float by and gazing at the colors of sunsets, or musing over the bees gathering pollen from flowers. Whatever it is that I've been doing instead of what I planned, it's been pleasant. The point of time off work is to relax and refresh, so I guess I've done that but would enjoy having more time to do it!

These are pink begonias our neighbor gave us. They've done well and are so pretty!

My husband trimmed the Wisteria so it is no longer eating the deck. Yay!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

When Things Grow

I think my wisteria is eating my deck,
The heat and the rain made it grow,
I didn't get out there to trim it quite yet,
But I just did it not too long ago!

This summer has been really great for growing plants!  Our flowers are beautiful, tomato plants producing tomatoes (they're still green, but should be ripening up in the next week or so), and on the down side there's a bumper crop of weeds where I don't want them.  I can't seem to keep up with the growth of things and most notably the Wisteria.  I planted this Wisteria the year after my mother passed away, as a reminder to me of all the flowers she planted around her yard and in flower beds.  On the side of the house between us and the next door neighbor she had Rose of Sharon, Peony, Forsythia, Mock Orange, and Wisteria. I spent many summer afternoons there laying on a beach towel listening to music and reading trashy novels and teen magazines.  It was a nice private spot with a  pleasant mixture of shade and sun. Her Wisteria had beautiful lavender colored flowers on it.  Mine has never flowered, but grows well and gives a little bit of shade to part of the back yard in the late afternoon when the sun is at its hottest in July and August. When it was first planted we had only the deck, the  paver patio and ramp to the back yard were added later when I needed a way to get Hillary down into the yard without the wheelchair wheels sinking into the soft ground in the spring.  As she grew and became heavier it has become more challenging for me to push her on soft surfaces, in fact now I can't push her across the grass by myself.  I need help getting her back up the  ramp from the yard, so I usually only take her on the patio or onto the deck.  But now, since we've had lots of heat and afternoon/evening thunderstorms with copious amounts of rain, the Wisteria has taken over and I need to trim it.  I don't think about it when I actually have time to do it, only when I'm on my way out or have just returned home and I see it when I'm in the van.  At least it's the back deck that's blocked and not the front.  However, there is the potential for a plant to take over the front deck. That would be the clematis which earlier in the summer was loaded with blooms, as the picture below shows. I had the joy of seeing that show of color every time I walked out my front door, but what you can't see in the picture is that it spilled over the top of the hand rail and sent out tendrils trying to attach to the other side.  I didn't have the heart to trim it so it's been a running thing to gently bend the feelers back over the deck rail to intertwine with the rest of the plant on the other side.  I think it will bloom again once the days are a little shorter .  Sometimes, if we have a mild Autumn, there will still be a flower or two near the bottom on Thanksgiving.  It always seems like such a treat when there is still a colorful blossom or two just when we're hearing about coming snow, it almost feels like a miracle.  It just goes to show that things that want to grow, will grow even when conditions don't favor them.  I think we are like that, we humans, if we want to grow we will.  We may be facing harsh conditions, or just things that don't favor growth but we can do it and we do, do it.  Sometimes we go into a bit of a dormancy period, but we are always looking for that chance to get better than we were yesterday, send out a new shoot, and maybe even put forth a blossom or two. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Too Many Things!

When everything happens at once,
And you feel just like you're being punk'd,
Tip your head back,
Have a good laugh,
'Cause you know you could not make this up!

This is a picture of a picture that hung in my parents' room when I was growing up.  I have had it hanging in my house in a spot where I see it every day, and I find the caption "Life is just one damn thing after another" to be as true now as it was whenever this was printed, framed, and hung up in my parents' house.  I like the motion in the picture, with everyone running, the dog after the cat, the woman from the man in the foreground, and the man from the woman in the background.  It's a bit whimsical with the Victorian era clothing and the expressions on the people's faces.

These past few weeks have been filled with "one thing" after "one more thing" to the point that I wrote the poem that began this post.  Truly, sometimes you do just have to laugh because if your life was a movie or a book, nobody would believe all of those things could happen in such rapid succession.  I assure you that no one is hurt, and with some creative adjustments to schedules everyone was able to get where they needed to go. When you have 3 adults driving 3 different vehicles and they all need servicing in the same week, it just feels like you've got some bad luck going for you! I think we all have those times in our lives that we are dealing with multiple stressful events that just seem to keep coming at us and yet are unrelated to each other. The weird thing is that I think I was given a kind of warning about one of the recent events a few weeks ago but was hoping it was just happenstance when some papers fell out of a cabinet for no reason.  How odd that the papers involved things from the past that are similar in nature to the present!  I'm told that spirits are trying to speak to me, and I'm on the fence as to whether that might be true but those papers falling on me do get me leaning toward belief. Why else would documents from a years ago fender bender randomly fall on me?  It's a little unsettling to think about, but those papers had been on that shelf for years untouched then there they are landing right in front of me on the counter when I opened the cabinet. Spooky!

Any how it does seem that there are times when so many things happen in such rapid succession that you can barely catch your breath after one before the next comes along.  This leaves you with two choices: laugh or cry.  It can be hard to laugh, I know, but once you get some perspective you have to laugh at the timing of the universe.  As if it's saying, "oh, you looked bored, so here are some things to handle", and there you are buried in stress and trying to keep your footing.  Once you get through it all, you can sit back and laugh at how absurd it is that you can go months without much happening that's out of the ordinary then in the space of one or two weeks you've got almost more than you can deal with.

Two of our vehicles are fixed and the third one is getting there.  It's all working out, just as things usually do.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Summer Gloom & the Sunny Side

Even in the rain and gloom,
I love how still the flowers bloom,
They stored up sun from other days,
To continue sharing in their own way,
The hummingbirds still flit and sip,
The nectar there as around they flit,
Let us then be flower-like,
Presenting, still, our sunny side.

I know this is hard to do, keeping things positive when it feels like life is drenching you in rain, and all seems gloomy.  Maybe you feel doomed, like you just can't win no matter what you do.  I've been there, many times.  It's a place we all visit, I think; the trick is not moving in.  Just as eventually the rain will end and the sun come out again, so will whatever is bringing you down.  At some point, things will change for the better.  When you are feeling that way, try to connect with someone who is at a point where they are feeling positive and soak in all that positive energy.  It can help you feel less victimized by your situation and more empowered to push through it.  Rarely is there only one way to solve a problem or handle a situation. Sometimes we need help seeing that, and weighing our options.  We may already be doing the best thing for us in the situation but sometimes just knowing there is another way to get through it makes it seem, somehow, less dark and dreary.  If you can't present your sunny side at the moment, find someone who can present theirs for you to draw from, even if it is a favorite author who inspires you, or a webinar or video with a positive message.  It helps me when I am having a rainy day.

We have hydrangea surrounded by hosta in the front yard and they are beautiful this year!

As I sat on the front deck I watched a bee collecting pollen from the new guinea impatiens.