Potting Bench

Thursday, April 30, 2009

My heart has been wanting a potting bench for an eternity. A place to store the garden tools, fertilizer and odds and ends. I am not in the position to spend a lot of money on luxuries of this sort. Besides, I love the thrill of a thrifted find. 

I have been scouting thrift stores for something that looks like a potting bench, but only costs $5. I found a thrift store that has a kind of scary back part. This is where they keep large furniture and stuff with damage. I found a large window frame yesterday for $2. I nailed it onto a raised bed so the tomatoes can climb up the frame.

I was feeling lucky, so I hit the thrift store again. I found two metal card tables and six pieces of pre-cut wood for $1 each. I also found a large wooden tool box for a steep $10. The last thing was a little pricey, but I knew I would use it. A nice gentleman loaded it into my car. Before I went home, I thought I would stop at the fabric store to see if they had any cute oilcloth by the yard. Well, they called something oilcloth, but IT WAS NOT oilcloth. I roamed about a bit more in the clearance section and found a small piece of outdoor fabric that had been marked down from $9 a yard to $3 a yard.

I brought everything home and became inspired. I tied the fabric onto one of the tables with a bit of hemp twine. Then I nailed the six boards onto the tool box, forming shelves. I hammered nails into the boards and some leftover hooks from my picture hanging. I painted a little decoration on it and proceeded to hang up tools, baskets, etc.

The final price: $24

I still want some oilcloth, the fabric is pretty and rugged, but not so practical. Until I find it, I will water everything elsewhere.

I love repurposing. It makes me happy. It lights a fire in me. 

Public Service Announcement

I have a few readers out there who stop by and leave a few words of encouragement now and again. It really lifts my spirits! It has come to my attention that there are other lurkers reading this simple blog. Their intentions are not so pure. This public service announcement is for them.

To clear a few things up:

I am from Hawaii.

This is where the majority of my family lives. I go and visit them sometimes. They are dear to me and help me when I am in a crisis. I could be from Scranton, or Boise, or Lincoln. However, I am not. It is my good fortune to hail from an island paradise. Sorry. I think this would be a non-issue for my ill-intentioned lurkers if I were from someplace less exotic. Again, I apologize for my good fortune.

All of my grandparents are buried somewhere on the island of Oahu.

In April, my family celebrates Bai-San. This is a Chinese Ceremony celebrated by my family since before I was born. I have missed the last few, due to my back injury and other single-mother commitments.

The festival involves visiting ALL of our ancestors graves, bringing their favorite food, drink and money wrapped in red paper. This lets our loved ones know that we are thinking of them and wish them well on the other side.

There are two reasons I took this pilgrimage to Oahu. One being this very important religious ceremony, the other being that I was desperate to see my family. It has been a trying year, the injury, the uncooperative insurance company, the surgery, and the mind and body-numbing black hole of depression, I have been swimming in since this quagmire began to name a few. These are the reasons. 

I did not go to sunbathe or frolic in the ocean. I was able to swim in the ocean once. Why? Because it rained night and day nearly every day I was there. One can check the weather report for Kailua, HI. Rain, rain, rain. There were three sunny days my entire stay.

 As one of my posts indicated, mainly I spent time with my family, read books, sewed with my Aunty and did yoga. My doctor has prescribed yoga for me and insists I go as much as I am able. To be candid, I only take the gentle classes as my fused spine has many limitations and I must be very careful.

The day I was stung by the Man O war, I was not swimming. I was watching my ten year old nephew  play in the canal that feeds into Kailua Bay. It was a windy day, with some light showers. The Man O War ride onto shore in the wind and get buried in the sand.  As I stood watching my young cousin catching minnows in the canal, I stepped on a jelly fish that had come in with the high tide. Yep, just stepped right on that sucker.

The wound was okay the first day, I put crushed papaya leaves on the wound to draw out the poison, but I was too late. 

I awoke the next day, my foot had swelled up to the size of a melon and was blistering. I went to an urgent care facility, the doctor prescribed steroids to shrink the swelling. She also advised me that I needed to extend my flight another four or five days. According to the doctor's orders, I extended my flight by four days. 

She was afraid that due to the permanent nerve damage in my right leg and foot from my back injury and the severe swelling, that I was at risk of a blood clot should I fly.

Was I disappointed about having to stay with my family for four more days? Well, not really. I love my family and Hawaii is a long way away. I do not see them often enough.

I also spent the time trying to get my life in order. I have been bogged down by depression, the loss of my career, loss of friends, and a general feeling of BAD as I contemplate my next steps. I have not been able to get a grasp of this at home, surrounded by the reminders of all this injury has taken away from me.

This made my trip a total of 13 days. NOT three weeks, as rumored by my lurkers.

I spent time looking forward and trying to figure out my future. My reputation has been ruined, my life uprooted. I went to my island home to re-group. That is all. I know for some, Hawaii is an exotic getaway. It is a time for para-sailing and kayaking, lounging on the beach and swimming in the ocean. For me, it is going home, to visit the people who know me, who help me clear my head, who support me and carry me gently in their hearts.

I hope this clears things up for my lurkers. I know you are there. I did nothing wrong. I was injured at work. I was treated badly by the insurance company, by my employer and by the law.  I am just trying to piece a broken life back together the best I know how. There is no hidden motive, I just want to reconcile this trying year. There is nothing to be ashamed of, it is a modest goal.

To my loyal readers AND my lurkers, be well and do good work. Namaste.

I watched a Bird Today

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I could have been buying toilet paper and ice. Instead, I watched a bird. I watched this black bird flit from garden bed to garden bed, mulberry tree to plum tree. It even sat upon Basil Buddha's head for a moment. I had a book, I had a glass of mint water. Instead, I watched a bird. I watched as it turned it's head to and fro, hopping from tomato plant to hollyhock. To Cosmo and Rasberry patch it lighted.  Softly it landed, swiftly it flew away. This particular bird has been visiting the garden daily. But today, after planting corn and trimming the rosemary and hanging it to dry along the clothesline, I sat and watched this bird. I watched a bird today. Among all of the tasks I tended to today, this task, watching the bird-has been by far, the most satisfying. 


I missed my home. I missed my family, I missed my love. I missed my garden. I have spent a few days tending to slug bitten leaves, deadheading neglected flowers and planting new seedlings. I have also planted more flowers, inviting the great pollinators to my yard. The vegetable plants are beginning to flower and are in dire need of a kiss from a butterfly or bee.

My love did a fine job caring our plot of land in my absence. He admits though, that it all looks a bit better now that I am here. I told him I don't do anything special. Mostly I smile at the growing plants. I talk to them and inspect them for critters. When I see a butterfly or bee or praying mantis or ladybug, I always whisper, "Welcome to our garden!" If someone were watching me, they might think me odd or crazy. Maybe I am, a little. 

I sat on a chair last evening, just by the mint pot. As I visited with a friend, I munched on spearmint with jasmine blossoms in my hair. Not a bad way to spend a bit of time. I think before all is said and done, the backyard will be transformed into a small farm. Each time I pass a large, empty, grassy lawn, I imagine all the food that could be grown, all the bugs and birds that would find solace there.

I long for a small beehive, a duck to eat those pesky slugs that feast on my radish greens, a chicken or two and a small painting studio. I see it all so clearly. Which means it is only a vision away! Off to the garden...

We Have Not Come To take Prisoners

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

We have not come here to take prisoners,
But to surrender ever more deeply
To freedom and joy.

We have not come into this exquisite world
To hold ourselves hostage from love.

Run my dear,
From anything
That may not strengthen
Your precious budding wings.

Run like hell my dear,
From anyone likely 
To put a sharp knife
Into the sacred, tender vision 
Of your beautiful heart.

We have a duty to befriend
Those aspects of obedience
That stand outside of our house
And shout to our reason
"O please, O please,
Come out and play."

For we have not come here to take prisoners
Or to confine our wondrous spirits,

But to experience ever more deeply
Our divine courage, freedom, and


The Sun Never Says

Monday, April 27, 2009

All this time
The sun never says, to the earth,

"You owe

What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the 


Home Again, Home Again...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I arrived late Friday evening. Everyone was waiting for me. It is good to go away. The fridge is clean, which proves that I need not be here in order for the fridge to get cleaned. Imagine.

I will share more later. just wanted to share a hello!

Still on the island

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I am still here in Hawaii, I was stung by a Portuguese Man o War, a lovely blue bubbled jellyfish. My foot swelled to three times it's size. The doctor did not want me to fly. Darn. I had to stay in Hawaii, my angels really look after me, don't they? 

I still do not have any photos. Not a one. The camera has been in the same spot since I put it down the evening I arrived. I am usually snapping photos of everything around me. This trip, I seem to be just soaking up my environment through my skin, my nostrils, my heart.

I am swimming in the love of family. Spending time preparing meals, sewing, quilting, watching movies, talking and simply being together. I feel surrounded by well wishers and those who see me, really see me. It is nice to be known.

The rain has been spilling from the sky night and day. I awake to a cacophony of birds chatting in the high trees. Pink plumeria flowers bloom outside my window and the trade winds waft through my room. At night, I hear the soft sound of steady island rain. The clouds are ever changing, the air perfumed with water and sweet scented flowers.

I had tea with my cousin and aunt at  The Moana Surfrider in Waikiki. We sat on the veranda, overlooking the ocean on one of the days the sun showed it's face. I was so grateful for my life, to be alive, to be with loved ones, to be looking out over the twinkling sea, I thought I was going to burst into tears. Tears of joy.

After a very rough year, loss of my old life, my old friends, my community, my class of children, I have been swimming in sorrow. I mourned for what I lost, for being betrayed by those I put my trust, for the first time in my life, I felt regret creep into my thoughts. Yet, here, where the air smells of blossoms and everyone greets you with a kiss and warm aloha, I remembered. I remembered that deep beneath the sadness dwells a heart that is grateful for the simple pleasures of life. I remembered that I am a a good girl. I have pure intentions and all I did was accidentally hurt my back while at work. All the grime that followed does not define me as a human being. Those that turned their backs on me, never truly had their hearts toward me. I am a good person, I love deeply and without condition. I am sorry for those who feel betrayed by me, it was never my intention. I am learning to care for myself, to listen, really listen to the small voices of my heart. These are the voices pure in tone, that resonate with love and truth, I have been ignoring them for too long. The trade winds reminded me. The scented air reminded me. The salty blue water reminded me. I will take this sweet air, this clarity, with me, on my way back to the mainland...

From The Islands

Monday, April 13, 2009

Unfortunately, there are no photos to share. I promise to have some tomorrow. I have been spending my days practicing yoga, reading and surrounding myself with family. There have been long naps, and deep night sleeps, lulled to slumber by the mighty trade winds and rainy skies. I have not even dipped into the ocean as of yet. Tomorrow, for sure.

I am sewing and quilting and embroidering my fingers stiff. Playing with dogs and wee ones, braiding hair, sharing french fries and milk shakes, dying eggs and baking cookies for Easter baskets.

There have been many meals shared with loved ones and outings, here and there. Mostly, I am sticking close to home. Close to my heart.


Spring Rain

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Yesterday afternoon, the wind began to blow, gently at first, then with great gusts. I could see the Maple leaves thrashing outside my window and the unmistakable sound of wind and leaves and branches meeting. The winds brought rain and black night skies, I smiled to myself as I thought of the seedlings and young plantings in the garden. I planted another two rows of corn last night before the wind blew too hard. What a gift for the dried corn, tucked in the dark earth, the rain. I don't have high hopes for the corn, the most I am hoping for is the drama of the tall stalks bowing gracefully in the beds. I will not complain if we have sweet ears of yellow corn come August, I am just trying to be realistic. 

I will leaving for the lush island of Oahu tomorrow. A bit of alone time, time to finish healing and to prepare for what is ahead of me. What that is, I am unsure. I feel as though I need a little tender care of my own. In some ways, I am afraid of the isolation, but I do look forward to rediscovering my strength and fire for life. I have been dampened by the events of this last year. My self-confidence and inner resolve are at an all time low. I intend to soak in the strong sun, the trade winds and saltwater, feed my soul with quiet reflection.

I am unsure whether I will lug the computer with me, if I do, you will be hearing from me.  

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Monday, April 6, 2009

How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells,
And pretty maids, all in a row...

This is our garden, as humble as it may be. There two more beds, waiting for seedlings.
I have a feeling there will be many more plants, veggies, herbs and flowers before the fall harvest. Yes, those are blueberries in Southern California. It is a new thing, I was told I needed two bushes, but have not got around to purchasing another. I was told the same about the pomegranate tree. I guess everything needs a friend for support, to lean on, to pollinate and fruit and thrive with... Not unlike us, I suppose. I have been trying to intermingle flowers, herbs and vegetables, enticing the bees to come and feast in our yard. 
Grow, Little Garden, Grow!

Silent No More

I have been very quiet of late. My insides are jumbled and twisty, my thoughts unclear. I have been in the garden many a day. Planting, weeding, watering, whispering, "Now grow! Grow!" I think it is working. The hardest part is waiting for the seedlings to emerge, to be ready to be planted. I want to rush them, but I know it is best for us all if I just wait, let them grow stronger, so they can make the transition into the ground. 

There is a perfect play of sunshine, wind, rain and attention, the yard is beginning to bloom. I want to spend every moment out there, watching the bees and the wee praying mantis that now resides with the eggplant and peppers. He only appears to me. I tell people about him, but he only shows himself to me. The neighbor is cleaning out her yard. She keeps poking her head over the fence, handing me chipped pots, she no longer wants in her picture perfect garden. I take them all. As we dug up the earth behind the garage, we found my son's old tire swing. "I guess we should throw this out..." says my love. Or we can make it a planter! Duh. It is now the home to three cantaloupe seedlings. Maybe it isn't picture perfect for others, but I believe in using what one has. I promise pictures later!

Winner of the 100th post giveaway!

Kathy, please send me your mailing address and I will ship the hankie off to you straightaway!