Freesias, Poppies, Pansies. Oh my!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

These are straight out of the camera. They require little introduction.

Peaks and Valleys

I have been avoiding my thoughts by digging in the soil, planting vegetables, flowers and herbs. It has worked. Until today. Today, my heart is heavy and my limbs barely move. The garden calls to me. I ignore her. The phone rings. I ignore it.  The wind gently calls, but I can barely  hear it, I can't feel it. I guess this would be a valley. 

The days working the garden, hearing the wind, watching the plants grow, the sun penetrating my skin; this would be a peak. Today is not a peak day. 

Maybe tomorrow will be a peak day. Maybe the next valley is so far in the distance that I can't even see it. Let's hope.

So I finally forced myself outside. Do you know what my biggest problem is right now? I can't pick all of the pansies and freesias fast enough. There are vases of flowers in almost every room. It would appear that my valley certainly has a few peaks... 

What I did this weekend...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We spent the weekend building soil sifters, preparing garden beds and a general cleaning of a winter of birth and death. When I say,"We," I use that term very loosely...Some times, I am not actually even present! Peas, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs and tomatoes were planted in the new beds. I am very optimistic! Will share more later...

Ripped Away From the Garden

Monday, March 23, 2009

Last year at this time, I was hoping for insurance approval for a back surgery. I could do nothing more than lie on my back, looking straight up at the ceiling. Still needs to be painted, by the way.

This spring, I am able to plant seedlings and paint flowers on bed borders. I can hoe a little and plant a little. I have to be careful not to overdue. I want to crouch down and sink my hands in the dark earth, play with the worms and notice the baby praying mantis make his way up the lavender bush. Yet, now I am more mindful of my body, my back. I am learning that this life is not meant to break our back. We must learn to support ourselves, physically and spiritually. For many years, I have worked so hard, mindlessly, really, to please others. Through this back breaking injury, I have gained some clarity. This humanness, is not meant to be frittered away doing work that injures us, or others. Even work that seems fulfilling can be deceiving. The only voice that counts is the sweet whisper we hear when all is quiet. It is an important tool, honing that hearing aid. The voice is so slight, so pure and at a tone we can only hear when our hearts are open and our ego is otherwise occupied.

I have been hearing it in the garden as I greet the worms, welcome the butterflies and call to the honeybees. Yesterday, a blustery wind blew through the valley. At first, bringing heavy rain and wind. As the rain clouds emptied, the sky appeared in all of it's glory. Fluffy clouds with hints of pink and gray, silver and heaven danced above our heads. The wind blew in blustery gusts, clearing the air, washing away that which the rain had missed. 

I am itching to go out to plant the eggplant and cucumbers. Please do not forget about the 100th Post Give Away. Leave a comment of one of your magic moments. I will pick a random winner on Thursday evening. I will iron, fold and pack it away to some lucky lover of magic moments!

It was recently Billy Collins' birthday. I leave you with one of my favorites:

On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

Billy Collins

Lichen Gnome

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I simply could NOT leave this wee gnome behind. Not only does his stump match my striving plum tree, but it also has matching lichen on the stump. Just like MY tree. The clincher, his left hand is behind his back and his fingers are crossed. That sly little gnome, what fib is he hiding? I had to bring him home, because there is something so tasty about a mischievous gnome hanging out in the garden. Oh, don't forget to look at his "furry" boots. One more garden gnome and I will officially be known as Crazy Garden Gnome lady by the neighborhood children...

100th Post Giveaway!

So, I finally found a moment to get out of the garden and take a photo of the GIVEAWAY gift. It is a vintage hankie, hand embroidered with a quote from "A Street Car Named Desire."  I have been using my time in doctor's waiting rooms to hone my stitchin' skills. 

As a gift to all of you that have been visiting me and encouraging me in this deep transition, I want to say thanks. Thank you  for your comments and sweet words, they are all taken in and warmed in my heart. 

Leave a comment about a magic moment in your life. I will announce the winner next week, Thursday! Good luck!

This is an interim post while I get out of the garden 100th post coming soon

Monday, March 16, 2009

I have been tagged by Circe. I have never done one of these, secretly, I was envious that I never had been asked. Let us see how this goes...

What is your current obsession? Working in the garden, I can't stop. The family had to pull me in last night because it was getting dark. Then, in the house, all I could think about was what I would do tomorrow!

What are you wearing now? A pink nightie with rosebuds and cotton lace. I am still in bed, it is early...

Who was the last person you hugged? My teen man/boy. He has to bend over about seven inches to reach me.

If you were a tree, what tree would you be? A mango tree, easy.

What's for dinner? Brown rice, mung dal and homemade chapatis. With a little mango pickle.

What was the last thing you bought? Oh, my. I hit a thrift store that is closing it's doors. I bought a green and black vintage coat, sweet English plates, a box of ric-rac, (Have I mentioned how much I love ric-rac?) Crazy Bakelite sunglasses for my daughter and loads of vintage bark, cloth, linen, a jar of vintage buttons and a beautiful vintage pipe tobacco tin. You asked.

What are you listening to right now? The morning birdsong and the wind.

What is your favorite weather? Sweet, sweet spring like days. Warm sun soaked summer days and cold grey rain.

What is on your bedside table? The Keeper of the Bees, the camera and a vase of fressias from the yard.

What is your most challenging goal right now? To be at peace with some of the choices I have been free to make and some I have been forced to make.

Say something to the person who tagged you: I love your warm, sweet energy and am I so happy to have made contact and share with you our musings...

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished, where do you want it to be? Carpinteria, CA 

Favorite Vacation Spot? Italy

Name the things you cannot live without: My loves, a bit of earth to dig in, art, water, for starters...

What would you like to have in your hands right now? A hoe

What is your favorite fragrance? I make an oil from geranium, bergamot and a dash of patchouli. I keep it in a vile in my purse. It makes me feel like an alchemist.

What is your favorite/favourite tea flavor/flavour? Coconut Pouchong for iced. Caramel Rooibos with raw honey and cream, hot. I could drink an ENTIRE pot!

Here is a second question I've added; when it's time to brew tea, what do you use? Kettle, fresh water, warmed pot.

What would you like to get rid of? Regret, self-doubt.

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? India

If you could have your portrait painted/made by any famous artist from any era, who would you choose? This is a tough one. Pissaro, or my friend Chris.

What is your favorite time of day? Early morning, the moment just before everyone begins to wake...

The Rules:

1. Respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog, replace one question you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one more questions of your own. (I cheated; I left all the questions and added 1, so you may omit 2 if you like, and still add one or more of your own.)

2 . Tag eight other untagged people. (And I say, "Or more. Or less!")

These are the people I'd like to have play, Kristin Lea, Betty,  Stacy EmilyDenise, Liz  if they'd like to! Even though his blog is not really inclined towards such things, I'd like to tag Chris It's still a fun way to be introspective... even if you don't publicly play. Still, it'd be grand if you did.

Have fun! Homemade giveaway coming soon! I promise.

Pretty Tins

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I have been amassing these darling tins on my thrift store excursions. I can't resist a really spectacular tin. I use them for storing buttons, bobbins, threads and other sweet things. I keep imagining them in my studio. The one I do not have as of yet, but will one day soon. I keep envisioning the color of the walls, the neat stacks of vintage fabric, an easel, paints and brushes out and ready. There will be a table for cutting and creating, the sewing machine, and all of my "found" things that I incorporate into my art.

Upon the neatly lined shelves, will be these tins, filled to the brims with notions and snaps, buttons and baubles. I see you, studio space, come hither. I am waiting...

This is the 99th post. The weather has been spectacular, so I have had my hands elbow deep in earth all day. The 100th post give away is coming soon. I just need to wash off my hands. I smell like compost. Yum!

Coming Soon-100 Post giveaway!

Stay tuned, two more posts and then I will be offering a sweet, handmade giveaway. Poise your fingertips at the keyboard....

March Moon

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Full Worm - March Moon 

As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter.

Printed from this website. I love the bright, cold moon. My window was illuminated throughout the night, sigh.


These were placed in the quiet, dark earth last autumn. The bulbs were brown and hairy, rough and unruly. I knew they were there all autumn and all winter. Yet, I am still surprised when I walk out of the cottage door and find new Freesias, pink, red, white and yellow, greeting me in the cool morning.

I always bring the flowers indoors. I think they enjoy being picked and fawned over, loving glances upon them every time I walk into the kitchen. I leave a few for the bees and butterflies, but the rest, they are mine. I am so selfish.

Happy Spring!

The Sweet Days of March

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

As I gaze out my window, a butterfly dances in the copper sprinkler and the new green leaves shimmer like golden fingers on all of the trees. The mornings are cold, but the days are filled with filtered sunshine and birdsong. 

The plum tree in our backyard has been hanging on for a few years now. Half eaten by termites, it only blooms on the east side. But just now, as I type, a bird is bathing on the dead branches facing the setting sun. Lanterns and lace hang from it's limbs. I can't bear to think of it gone. Last summer we had nine or ten really perfect plums. I will take that. I will call that alive. I will nurture and light that plum tree until the last plum blossoms and swells with sweet pink juice. Because if we create one sweet thing in this life, we are alive. Regardless of our weight, or wrinkles or gray hair or bug eaten limbs, we are alive and have the opportunity to bloom fragile white blossoms and swollen pink fruit...

The New Sunrise

The morning comes in a quiet gray dawn. I miss the sun greeting my eyes as he rises, I miss the shadows cast upon the walls over my bed. This Daylight Savings time always irks me a bit. I am not sure why. Perhaps because I wake with the sun and now I must wait until the tea water is bubbling in the kettle to see the first pink rays. I should be grateful to see it all, to be blessed with sight, inside and out. 

The birds are chattering loudly this morning as they streak across the periwinkle sky, maybe they are irked too. I know I will get over it soon, I just liked the way things were, I liked the tilt of my head as I gazed at the birth of a new day, just a slight lift from my pillow. Now, I am up and about and am forced to peer through the cottage's wee windows as our morning preparations are done.

I am a lucky one, indeed. For I see.

Buttering the Sky


On my shoes,

Boiling water,

Toasting bread,

Buttering the sky:

That should be enough contact

With God in one day

To make anyone



Vivid Dreams

Monday, March 9, 2009

My nights have been filled with vivid dreams of things past and things future. I just can't seem to read the urgent news. I awake tired and spent from the nightly travels and yearn for a few more minutes of dark, dreamless rest. My memories have been flooding back to me in rushing torrents and waves. Faces, young and old, of my students flash before my heart and eyes. I feel relief and remorse. Failure and triumph. I want to run toward and away. Move back and then rush to the next chapter. Everything in my life reminds me of my time with my students, in every corner, something takes me back and moves my heart. The only thing I do not know, is how to proceed in the present.  I find myself wandering the empty house without purpose. There are things that can be done, I just can't reach them, physically, spiritually. I want to walk in the other direction, onward, alone, if I turn to look back, I fear I will turn into a pillar of salt. I would be stuck with my past, unchanged, unexamined. But, oh, the fire of change! I yearn for the sulphuric experience. Burn the past, release the gaseous memories to the air, transform the carbon into ash, dissolve it in the waters of life, and the salt of earth rises once again. A resurrection of soul, memory and wholeness.

Someone Should Start Laughing

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Someone Should Start Laughing

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:

How are you?

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:

What is God?

If you think that the Truth can be known
From words,

If you think that the Sun and the Ocean

Can pass through that tiny opening Called the mouth,

O someone should start laughing!
Someone should start wildly Laughing –Now!


Through The Lens

When we peer through our lens, which part is an illusion and which parts comprise the true picture of who we really are? What is the arc of our whole life? Are we looking through a teeny tiny lens and only seeing the physical, the external? Or are we, at times, able to peer in more deeply at the true self, the one that lasts forever?  I wonder if our troubles would seem less urgent if we could see them as a speck on a stretch of life that is eternal...

I have been looking at my life in short arcs for a long while now. It has just been through my experiences this past year that I have been able to put into practice that which I have known for some time. I am eternal. My soul is deep and complex and it would serve me in my daily life to remember this. My true self is really the anchor that can keep me grounded, so as not to be  swayed or capsized by my daily challenges.  May my lens be clear and true.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

I will use any excuse to wear my new wellies. We usually have little opportunity in Los Angeles to don rain gear. After living in the Pacific Northwest for many years, I know first hand the benefit of proper rain gear! It makes the wetness, not only more tolerable, but more fun. I found these wellies in a thrift store for $3. They were half off! I LOVE half off sales at thrift stores. I feel like I am getting away with something.

I purchased these wellies with the hope of a winter of life giving rain. My prayers have been answered, we have had much rain, it has kept the mountains green and the sky clean. Not an easy feat here in the City of Angels and our need to drive alone along crowded highways and byways. After a weekend of 80 degree temperatures and hot sunshine, Wednesday arrived with a torrent of rain. It spoiled a trip to the ocean, but I used it as an opportunity to pull on my wellies and my black macintosh   and headed out to enjoy the weather. It was nice to be cold, to have the cool, gray air kissing my cheeks and blowing my hair loose from my hair tie. It felt good to button up my coat to guard against a chill. It did not last long. The rain blew out late last night. The morning dawned with bright blue skies and ice cream cone clouds. There was a cleansing wind throughout the day that whispered, "Spring is upon us. Spring is upon us."

Tomorrow I will plant more seedlings and draw a plan for a new garden bed. In the hot, dog days of summer, I will recall splashing in my wellies along the damp ground, and hopefully be cooled by a sweet, damp memory. Spring is upon us! Spring is upon us!


Monday, March 2, 2009

I Got Kin


So that your own heart

Will grow.


So God will think,


I got kin in that body!

I should start inviting that soul over

For coffee and



Because this is a food

Our starving world



Because that is the purest


Spring Afternoon

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The cherry blossoms are numerous now. The tree outside of the kitchen window, once bare and reaching out to the sky with it's stick arms, is bursting with tender green leaves. The birds, once out in the open with the bare branches, are hidden in the bushy foliage. I can hear their sweet song, chirping and chattering. I have taken to throwing our bread and biscuit crumbs out of the kitchen door, attracting the brave birds to our doorstep. One even hopped into the kitchen. I can never get the camera quickly enough. 

I cleaned out the mint bed Saturday morning. The earth was dark and damp, a layer of leaves mulching the tired bed. As I crouched down, hunting for earthworms for the compost bin, I noticed the earth teaming with life. It was alive with movement. In my stillness, I was able to enjoy the roly poly bugs, now interrupted, were moving quickly to cover themselves in the deep, revealed earth. Pincher bugs and potato bugs, that frightened me as a child, began making new tunnels. I felt sorry, disturbing their home. But spring brings renewal, even the insects must be renewed, even it if it hurts a little. Even if you are exposed momentarily, even if you want to scurry back into the deep, covered, comforted by the dark.

I feel as though I have been in the dark earth. Comforted by the heaviness of my blankets, like the dark, damp earth. The trembling I feel from the juicy beckoning of spring is shaking me loose of the earth that has been covering me. I want to scurry back under the covers. I do not want to be exposed. I have been resisting renewal. Watching the insects, once covered by mint gone to seed, earth still and packed by winter's wind and rain, were forced to find new paths. I suppose the spring is tearing away at me, exposing me to the warm breezes and bursting insides of trees and plants. Once sleeping, now jarred awake as Persephone makes her way back from the Underworld. Awake, my friends, for spring is on her way!