Thursday, June 30, 2011

Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens


Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens

Once I began reading Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens, it was nearly impossible to stop.  Every chapter, each one centered around a session with her psychiatrist and the ensuing dialogue between that advice and Sara’s strong-willed actions, urged me to keep on reading. 

The novel focuses on a thirty-three year old woman, adopted at birth, and her search for her birth parents.  What she discovers is shocking—never knowing may have been better than knowing!

Just when I figure that I have the plot and characters all pegged, a new twist appears, throws me off-kilter and propels me on to the next chapter.  Chevy Stevens’ writing instantly captures my interest and weaves a spell that compels me to read until I have completed the novel.

Having worked for years in the field of mental health, I particularly enjoyed the accuracy and thoroughness of Stevens’ portrayal of the character “John.”

I recommend buying a copy of Never Knowing, when it is released on July 5, 2011.  The book will keep you on the edge, until you reach its end; you finally get all the answers, to questions that might have been better left--unasked.

Chevy Stevens, the New York Times bestselling author of Still Missing and of the soon to be released Never Knowing, grew up on a ranch in Vancouver Island and still calls the island home.  A Canadian author!

I received an Advance Reader’s Edition of Never Knowing from Goodreads and St. Martin’s Press.  I received no remuneration for this review; it is simply my own opinion.

Want to know more about Chevy Stevens?  Check out  http://www.chevystevens.com/


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Birthday



Happy Birthday

Life has got to be lived—that’s all there is to it.

What are birthdays?  Markers of time past, time passed, future time?  Celebrations of who we are, where we’ve been, where we’re going?  Parties, celebrations, festivities?

A birthday is a special time set aside to celebrate the wonderful, singular “presence of you in the world.”  It’s a day to search and reflect both backward and forward in life, and to have fun celebrating your self.

Gary has been observing his birthday festivities for quite a few days now.  D. gave him luggage bags for his bike on June 1; M. gave him a Las Vegas Harley T-shirt on June 9.  My mother and sister each gave him cards and a generous gift last week. 

L. & K. hosted him for a superb gourmet supper with a planked salmon BBQ and a much appreciated bottle of rum on June 26. 

His sister came to visit with a card and great hugs yesterday.  Our good friends made a wonderful chicken and spare rib supper last night, ending with strawberry shortcake and a chatty evening visit in their screened porch. After that, he spent nearly an hour on the phone getting caught up with his younger son.

His older son and daughter-in-law have invited him over for supper and a visit with the grandchildren next week.  Today, we’ll do whatever he wants and go out for a meal and a movie later.  There will be other contacts and more birthday wishes and surprises.

Gary has been well fussed over and will continue to be so for days to come.  At this rate, his birthday could last for weeks!

Life has got to be lived—that’s all there is to it.

Life’s passages have got to be celebrated—the more celebrations, the better!

For today, Happy Birthday to you, Gary!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Day



Summer Day

Today is breezy, warm and sunny, almost too good to be real.

I’ve spent part of the day in the yard, weeding, weeding, weeding, but took time in between for sitting, resting and enjoying.

The air is full of murmurs of rustling leaves, whispering to all who will listen, “Summer is here.  Enjoy it. Breathe in the fragrances of the Russian sage by the door, the cinnamon scented pinks, the mock orange near the windows and the heavily perfumed irises.”

The sound of lawn mowers powering through the long, rain-nourished grass, the cacophonous racket of trimmers and weed whackers break the quiet.  Neighbours are out in their yards chatting about the weather and commiserating over all of their “To-Do” lists.

On the streets below our house, we hear motorcycles roaring by, shifting gears, cars motors droning, and the giggling laughter of children home from school, finally out for the summer.

Above and behind all the motor noises are the breezes ruffling the leaves, trees swaying and reminding everyone, “Breathe-in summer, enjoy.  Feel the luxurious heat caressing your skin, enjoy.  Listen to the soothing sounds of nature all around you, enjoy!”

I hope everyone treasures and takes pleasure in this superbly sunny day.

I did!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Friends and Foes in the Garden



Friends and Foes in the Garden

There is a swath of flowers edging our steeply curved driveway.  Most of the perennials and shrubs were there when we moved in.  We're grateful for that beginning.

Unfortunately, when we inherited an older garden, we also inherited the goutweed, creeping jenny, daisies and myriad weeds which co-habited with the flowers we wanted.  It is always that way with an older garden; it comes with the friends and the foes.

I am learning to live with the foes.  I can now welcome the sight of creeping jenny, a low growing bright yellow, ruffled mat of blossoms.  The white and yellow daisies burst upwards like happy-faced messengers shouting, "Here I am.  Isn't summer wonderful?"




I have not been able to make friends with goutweed, because it chokes out everything around it.  I have set up limits to its territory but have been forced to give up my wish to eradicate it altogether. 

Goutweed should never be planted near anything else, though it is perfect for a slope with poor soil and doesn't care if it has sun or shade.  Properly planted goutweed spreads rapidly into a carpet of pretty ivy shaped leaves, bright green with edges of yellow, white and cream.




"Having a garden is about learning compromise and patience", a good friend once told me.  After years of arguing with my garden, I have agreed to a number of truces and am able to trade a dream of complete control, for the reality of partial control and a wild-looking garden.

It works.

Photos are mine.

Weigela Shrubs



The weigelas are in bloom; their spectacular show lasts nearly six weeks.  These old-fashioned shrubs will continue to produce flowers in summer, after the initial spring blooming.

However, it has been such a wet spring that our weigelas are late coming to flower, for their first time.

 
We have two shrubs; one has stunning yellow-throated trumpet-shaped pink flowers about 1 ½ inches long, the other’s blooms are vibrant red.

The tubular flowers appear in large clusters along the length of the branches, and a mature shrub sometimes blooms so profusely that its branches bow under the weight of the flowers.

 
Our hummingbirds prefer flowers that are long and tubular, and contain abundant nectar.  These tiny birds are attracted by the colour red, and they love weigela’s flowers.

So do I!

General reference information was taken from Lois Hole's Favourite Trees & Shrubs, published by Lone Tree Publishing in 1997, Edmonton, Canada. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Crows



Crows

Are crows the smartest of all birds?

Crows intrigue us and aggravate us.  They have a great mysticism and mythology attached to them.

The first noticeable characteristic about this bird is its striking black colour; sometimes it will have hints of deep blue and purple on the feathers, as well.  Black is the colour of creation.  It is the womb, out of which the new is born.  It is also the colour of night.  Black is the maternal color and thus black night gives birth to a new day. 

Although the crow is a diurnal or daytime bird, it reminds us that magic and creation are potentials, very much alive during the day.

Crows have a connection to watchfulness.  Crows always have a sentinel posted.  They build their nests high in tree tops so that they can see the entire area in which they are nesting and feeding.

The ability “to warn” is connected to the crow’s second, most-noticeable characteristic—its voice.  Crows have a complex language.  Though they have remarkable voice range, they actually do not sing.  They can caw in many different ways, each with its own meaning.  

The crow has great intelligence.  It is adaptable to its environment. It will eat almost anything.  Part of their ability to survive is this being omnivorous and their unique ability to communicate with each other and to work together.

Their ability for attentive watching and their intelligence have given them a reputation for thievery.  They will steal food from other birds or whatever source is around—including human food supplies.




Wherever crows are, there is magic.  They are symbols of creation and spiritual strength.  They remind us to look for opportunities to create and manifest the magic of life.  They are messengers calling to us about creation and magic, that is alive within our world everyday and available to us.

This information is taken from Animal Speak, written by Ted Andrews and published in 2001 by Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.

All photographs are mine.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Peony





Peonies may be the showiest, longest lived and hardiest of all perennials.   I have a peony plant in my yard, that I discovered last year, hidden in an overgrown honeysuckle bush.  A neighbour told me that it was likely part of an original peony “hedge” that was planted by the family that built this home.  That makes it sixty-three years old!

I transplanted it two years ago to a healthier part of the garden, though it was weak and spindly looking.   Amazingly this summer, it has tripled in size and has buds about to burst into blooms.  It isn’t photogenic just yet, so I am sharing photos that my sister took of her picture-perfect peonies, which have exploded into flower this week.


They are predominantly Double or Chinese peonies, with massive flower heads that resemble huge roses and smell as sweet.  Each flower sits atop a long stem, above deep green, glossy leaves that remain attractive all season.



There are hundreds of excellent peony varieties, so please, try some.  I’m certain you’ll be thrilled with the exuberant flowers and the vibrant show!



These photos are not mine;  they are my sister's photos, peonies from her  garden.

Roses and Dinner



Roses and Dinner

This week, we celebrated my brother-in-law’s birthday.  We invited them for dinner, and gave him a Montreux Rose bush from John’s Garden Centre, in Riverview.

He is a gourmet cook himself, so hosting him for supper is always slightly worrisome, though he is content to have someone else cook a meal and is generally accepting of any menu.  We tend to cook  simple, plain food, well prepared and lovingly served; he seems to appreciate those efforts.

We ate baked-brie with spiced cranberries and toasted almonds, along with crisply browned crostini, sliced apple and pear.

Gary barbecued butterfly pork chops.  I made a spinach salad with homemade dressing, mashed potatoes and green beans.  The recipe for “Carmel’s Superb Salad Dressing” --a marvellous maple vinaigrette is at the end of this blog.  Try it!

They brought desserts from Nanna’s Bakery on Mountain Road, Moncton—a golden butterscotch pie and still warm, a tart lemon pie.  The butterscotch pie was a bit too sweet but the lemon pie was excellent.  We’ll buy that one again, as Gary’s favourite desserts always involve lemon!

Since our birthday guest is also an avid gardener, we hope he will enjoy the rose bush, a hardy rose that should overwinter well in this climate.  

I think that everyone should have a bright yellow rose bush blooming cheerfully in their garden.

Roses are one of the world’s most beloved flowers.  Hardy roses are as easy to grow as any other shrubs, but they bloom for longer periods, so are well worth the effort.

We enjoyed the visit and the simple supper and anticipate enjoying the Montreux roses blooming yellow-gold in his garden.

Carmel’s Superb Salad Dressing:
Maple Vinaigrette

¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Pepper

Blend all of these together in a blender
and slowly add ½ cup olive oil. 
This goes well with almost any salad.


The photo is mine.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Irises and Lupins



Irises and Lupins

Early light edges pink to the pale blue sky.  Cloud layers are barely discernible, as gauzy white and grey shadows against the blue, as the morning sky comes to life.

I’ve complained about the rain all spring, but looking out over the yard today, I see remarkable lushness.  The morning light-washed greens are vivid, full and rich; they make my heart glad just to see them.  All because of abundant rain!


The dramatic, tall bearded irises are in bloom, regal, opulent, a swath of purple falls, and mauve standards and fuzzy golden beards in the garden.





The neighbour’s patch of impressive lupins bursts with colour—pastel pinks, whites and purpled-blues.  The lupin leaves spread out like fingers on a hand surrounding the long stiff stems.




Everything green and growing appears dazzling in the slanting early morning light, even the weeds!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tea Leaf Reading


Tea Leaf Reading

Last week, on the full moon, I took a “Beginner’s Tea Leaf Reading Course.”

Penny Lighthall of PathWay Connections was the instructor for an intimate group of five students.  She began by introducing us to the history and purpose of tea leaf reading.

This ancient practice of interpreting patterns made by tea leaves in a cup is called Tasseography, otherwise known as tasseomancy or tassology.  “Tasse” or “tass” is an Arab word, meaning small cup or goblet.

Penny herself has been giving tea leaf readings for many years, beginning at age nine under the instruction of her grandmother.  Penny now views tea leaf readings not as a “fortune telling activity at parties” but rather as readings of wisdom, guidance, understanding and compassion.  She relies on her intuitive abilities, years of symbol work and “guidance from the universe.”  Penny doesn’t try to change anyone’s life nor tell anyone what to do; rather she offers information for them so that they can make “informed choices” of their own.

She guided us through the history and ritual involved in tea leaf reading.  Then she refined our learning, as we each completed two readings for each other.  Again the emphasis was on telling us something about ourselves, rather than to do fortune telling or future prediction.

The class was about “learning to see” the images in the tea leaves, as well as learning to recognize the intuitive process in ourselves, then combining those to find meaning for the seeker.  The ability to focus attention and intention worked well; I was amazed at the information that complete strangers gave me about myself in my readings.  They saw that I had been in a brief, life-altering relationship with a man from Australia, and that I am now in the throws of helping my mother move, plus two other events that I won’t share.

I know I’ll enjoy giving tea leaf readings; the more I offer the more proficient I’ll become.

Tea, anyone?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Of Curtains and Towels




Of Curtains and Towels

I spent the afternoon at my mother’s.  Today’s project was installing window curtain rods upstairs; two towel rods, three hand towel rings, one toilet paper holder and one glass shelf in the downstairs bathroom.

I’ve not done repairs and installations since I married a “handy” man six years ago.  I know how to do all these things and did them for years and years when I lived by myself.  I’m merely rusty and slower now, so the jobs took four hours today.

Mum and I spent a good deal of the time discussing where each rod and ring should go and in measuring distances.  Once I started actually working, it went quickly; drill, wall anchor, screw and bracket, then screw driver, do it all again.

From Mum’s upstairs windows, there is a spectacular view of fields, the river and more fields across the river.  Everything we could see is profound green, shimmery wet and luxuriantly lush from the downpours.  Thunderstorms rolled through all afternoon, offering full spectrum rainbows and menacing lightening, reverberating thunder and brief torrential rains.

In between rains, Mum planted her tomato plants in the garden.  And, we discovered the screen door for her front entry, leaning against the back of the house. All the screen door needs are minor screen repairs and some hearty wood screws for the hinges.

That’ll be the next project!

Happy Father's Day 2011


"Happy Father’s Day” wishes to each of the strong and gentle men, who so lovingly and capably parent our 10 grandchildren. 

To Jeff and Mike and Kevin—your children are all sweet little folks, so lovable, full of joy and life and fun because of each of you.

To Tim—your son is a delightful little boy nurtured by your obvious gifts as a dad.

To Dan—thank you for the ways you love these two children of yours.

To Kelly, who will soon become a step-dad to two marvellous teens, thank you for loving them.

Many folks are great dads without actually being the biological father.  When I grew up my mother was both mother and father to us, after her relationship to my Dad ended.  And my grandfather parented us, as any strict and caring father would.

Sometimes uncles are the best dads to nieces with no father presence in their lives.  Happy Father’s Day to you, Ken!

Sometimes “Dads”, strong and gentle folks who care for and nurture, shape and pattern, instruct and love young lives are dads; sometimes they are mums, grandparents, step-fathers and uncles, too.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gary is at Bike Week 2011



Laconia Motorcycle Week is held from June 11 - 19, 2011 in scenic Laconia, New Hampshire.  This year, Gary is there.

The Laconia Motorcycle Week, also known as Laconia Bike Week, has its roots dating back to 1916 when a few hundred bikers met at The Weirs (aka Weirs Beach).

Years later, the “Gypsy Tour” started in Loudon, New Hampshire.  When it passed through Laconia, it kicked off the official Laconia Motorcycle Week.  This makes it one of the oldest Motorcycle Events in the United States and “America’s Original Riding Rally.”

In the last 88 years it has also grown to be one of the largest Motorcycle Events in the United States and is part of the "Big Four".  It averages around 400,000 motorcyclists over the week long biker party and will continue to grow.

Gary wanted to be sure not to miss this world-class event in New England and has been preparing for weeks to attend.  Most of that preparation consisted of polishing the Harley, installing wind deflectors, buying new boots and cleaning his leathers.  I wonder why, because he’ll come home totally bug splattered and wind burnt.  

He will have a splendid party experience and will be able to spend all his time with motorcycles of every description; his idea of heaven.

Gary left early on Wednesday morning to drive down to Laconia with three friends.  They stopped in Bangor overnight, and will again on the way home next week.  They won’t be killing themselves riding hard, as one guy has to stop to eat all the time, one has to stop to smoke and one, to pee.  Lots of stops and resting! 

Gary is happy to be travelling with these three, as they’ll set an easy pace with shared laughter, cold beer and lots of food. 

They managed to book a convenient lodging just 5 minutes walk from downtown; had to book it at New Year’s to attain accommodation that close.  It has all the amenities: BBQ, walking distance to the stores, taverns and all the action, air conditioning, and a hilltop for viewing the bikes passing by, all 400,000 of them!

I haven’t heard much from him since he arrived in Laconia, except one bleary conversation with lots of laughter and music in the background and the slosh and clink of ice in a rum glass.

Have a great time Gary!

Safe journey home!


Both photos are mine.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lunch With a Friend


Unhurried lunch with a friend, what a luxury!

Sitting with my friend today, I reminded myself that he has accompanied me on my life’s journey, consistently offering friendship and support, a listening ear and wise counsel for nearly thirty-nine years. 

We have shared our lives, our families, watched the children grow and grandchildren come along.  He has been a true friend to me through my children’s growing years, my marriage breakup, divorce, troubles and joys with children, career changes, relationship challenges and a second marriage.

We have been friends throughout all of the metamorphoses of my life and of his. 

Today we had a rare and valued time together for an unhurried lunch.  We spent the time talking, laughing, sipping coffee, catching up on each other’s lives.  It was a blessing, a time out, a respite from the busyness of the daily routines.

I encourage you to do the same; have lunch with a dear friend. Whether it’s at home or at a cafĂ©, leave enough time to linger, to savour the moments, to reminisce and to celebrate friendship.

It is time well and happily spent.

Everything Bright



Everything is bright today!

My pansies are extremely versatile.  They bloom in a wide range of flower colours and patterns, in an old grey wooden barrel beside our house.

I love these cheery flowers because I can plant them in the earth early, and with care they will bloom all summer and well into fall.




Violas are charming little flowers, that look like miniature pansies.  They also produce an abundance of flowers, blooming early in the season until late fall.

     The sun shines today;  all is bright and well.


Photos are mine.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Odd and Interesting




Odd and Interesting

Our neighbours have a small secluded pond, where each year, a pair of mallards nests. The male mallard hangs around keeping an eye on the situation in the beginning stages.

He usually lurks in our yard seeking higher vantage points from which to survey the busy female and her nesting activities.  This year, he’s outdone himself.  We caught him perching on top of another neighbour’s roof…an odd and interesting resting spot for a mallard.



My Mum likes to take homemade cookies to her doctor’s appointments.  She likes her doctor and he loves her cookies.  He says they remind him of his grandmother’s cookies when he was a boy.

She was going to cancel her appointment tomorrow because she had no cookies to bring. Odd and interesting! 

Mum is in the throws of getting settled in her new apartment and the stove isn’t usable yet, so I made the cookies for her to take, this time. 

The recipe is: Aunt Marion’s Ginger Sparkles.  And I’ve actually witnessed the doctor gobbling the cookies in the hallway, outside the consultation rooms.


The images of the mallard and cookies are mine.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Let Us Commence



I thought you might enjoy reading this excerpt from Anne Lamott's address given to 2003 University of California at Berkeley Commencement Ceremony.

Let Us Commence

From the wise old pinnacle of my 49 years, I want to tell you that what you're looking for is already inside you. You've heard this before, but the holy thing inside you really is that which causes you to seek it. You can't buy it, lease it, rent it, date it or apply for it.... So it can be confusing--most of your parents want you to do well, to be successful. They want you to be happy--or at least happy-ish. And they want you to be nicer to them; just a little nicer--is that so much to ask? They want you to love, and be loved, and to find peace, and to laugh and find meaningful work.
But the thing is that you don't know if you're going to live long enough to slow down, relax, and have fun, and discover the truth of your spiritual identity. You may not be destined to live a long life; you may not have 60 more years to discover and claim your own deepest truth.... I do know you are not what you look like, or how much you weigh, or how you did in school, and whether you get to start a job next Monday or not. Spirit isn't what you do, it's...well, I don't actually know.... But I know that you feel it best when you're not doing much--when you're in nature, when you're very quiet, or, paradoxically, listening to music.
I know you can feel it and hear it in the music you love, in the bass line, in the harmonies, in the silence between notes.... You can close your eyes and feel the divine spark, concentrated in you, like a little Dr. Seuss firefly. It flickers with aliveness and relief, like an American in a foreign country who suddenly hears someone speaking in English. In the Christian tradition, they say that the soul rejoices in hearing what it already knows....
We can see spirit made visible in people being kind to each other, especially when it's a really busy person, taking care of a needy annoying person. Or even if it's terribly important you, stopping to take care of pitiful, pathetic you. In fact, that's often when we see spirit most brightly.... You're here to love, and be loved, freely. If you find out next week that you are terminally ill--and we're all terminally ill on this bus--all that will matter is memories of beauty, that people loved you, and you loved them, and that you tried to help the poor and innocent.
So how do we feed and nourish our spirit and the spirit of others?
First, find a path, and a little light to see by. Every single spiritual tradition says the same three things: 1) Live in the now, as often as you can, a breath here, a moment there. 2) You reap exactly what you sow. 3) You must take care of the poor, or you are so doomed that we can't help you....
So I would recommend that you all just take a long deep breath, and stop. Just be where your butts are, and breathe. Take some time. You are graduating today. Refuse to cooperate with anyone who is trying to shame you into hopping right back up onto the rat exercise wheel. Rest, but pay attention....
In my 20's, I devised a school of relaxation that has unfortunately fallen out of favor in the ensuing years--it was called Prone Yoga. You just lie around as much as possible. You could read, listen to music, you could space out, or sleep. But you had to be lying down. Maintaining the prone.
You've graduated. You have nothing left to prove.... There are so many great things to do right now. Write. Sing. Rest. Eat cherries. Register voters. And--oh my God--I nearly forgot the most important thing: refuse to wear uncomfortable pants, even if they make you look really thin. Promise me you'll never wear pants that bind or tug or hurt, pants that have an opinion about how much you've just eaten. The pants may be lying! There is way too much lying and scolding going on politically right now without your pants getting in on the act, too.
So bless you. You've done an amazing thing. And you are loved; you are capable of lives of great joy and meaning. It's what you are made of. And it's what you're for. So take care of yourselves; take care of each other.
Source: 2003 University of California at Berkeley Commencement Address


If you would like to know more about Anne Lamott, click  here.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lady's Mantle


Lady's Mantle, with its large clumps of rounded downy leaves, is a charming addition to gardens. 

Huge spreading heads of tiny, star-like flowers surround the grayish-green foliage through most of the summer, forming the loose cloak that gives the plant the common name.

After the rainfall last night, water droplets linger on the leaves like glittering crystals.

Lady's Mantle is an undemanding plant that provides a delightful source of flowers for fresh and dried bouquets.

Lady's Mantle is really "Alchemilla Mollis."  Alchemilla comes from the word "alchemy" because when used as an herb, these plants are believed to bring about miraculous cures.

In some counties, for example, a tea made from the leaves is reputed to restore youth and beauty.

The species name "mollis" means "soft hairs" and refers to the light, downy covering in the leaves.

It's a rewarding plant in our garden, a gift from a dear friend!


Specific information on Lady's Mantle plants was taken from Lois Hole's Perennial Favourites published by Lone Pine Publishing in 1995.

Photos are mine.

Gargoyle and Clematis


A tiny pensive gargoyle guards my clematis.  Each year he spends the winter in the basement, each spring he comes out and stays until the snow flies again, sitting with arms folded contemplating the garden’s changes.

He watches the clematis vines sprout and grow, climb and bud, and eventually burst into showy white flowers with deep pink bars. 

This particular Nelly Moser clematis did not over-winter well, suffering breakage from the excessive snow.  Consequently, the blooms that usually bud from the previous year’s vine stems will not be here.  The broken vine had to be cut back to deal with the storm damage; it has started over from the height of mere inches.  

This clematis vine is resilient and has managed to grow high enough so that the leaf tendrils are catching in the lattice work, providing a sturdy support to climb. 

The gargoyle will watch over the evolution of the garden this summer; if only he could encourage the clematis and help with the weeding.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cornflowers in Bloom


Cornflowers in Bloom

One of my favourite flowers is the perennial cornflower, also known as bachelor’s button.  The flower head is a large spiky cobalt-blue on a sturdy stem, with green leaves outlined in silvery-white.

I like the cornflower because it is so adaptable and can grow in poor soil, hot, dry locations and hard to plant areas, like the sloping garden at the edge of our curved driveway. 

I also appreciate its ability to bloom for a longer period than many perennials, providing that I keep it dead headed.  Once it has finished blooming, I cut it back and it will bloom again later in the summer, filling the garden with its mild apricot scent for a second time.

Cornflower’s slightly irregular looking flower heads appeal to me because they are informal and fit in well with my not-so-on-top-of-it-gardening style.  

I’d like to have a neater flower bed along the driveway, but cannot make any headway with the established flowers and weeds that we inherited when we bought the house.

As long as they are looking alright from the street view, I can stand the untidy and wildish-looking flower bed up close.  The resident flowers and I have made a truce.  After six years of struggling to make the bed neater, I have decided to let it do what it naturally does.

Seems the sensible choice for now!

Photo is mine.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Moments of Joy


I awoke this morning in-between.

In between a large furry man and a large furry cat; both had cuddled next to me during the night, both giving off warmth and both snoring!  I awoke sweating and feeling loved, with a bit of cat hair stuck in my eyelashes.  On my!

It started me thinking about in-between places in my life and in the lives of others.  You know those liminal places where one is neither here nor there, but in a doorway of sorts, or perhaps at a plateau.  Finished with one place but not quite ready to go to the next, or not quite knowing where one is going.

Mum is in a plateau place now.  She and her furniture have moved out of her old apartment.  Her furniture has moved into the new one, but she cannot, not just yet. 

The apartment is not ready, though my niece and her partner are steadily working to make it so, and working hard to make it welcoming for her.  The plumber came yesterday and the finish carpenter comes today, or tomorrow?  There is no fridge yet; no place to put it until some of the other work is done.  Painting and fans/light fixtures need to be repaired.  The stove needs to be cleaned and hooked up. There is a list.

Mum is at a liminal place in her life, currently staying with my sister and her husband, as she waits for her new home to be complete.  Though she enjoys being at my sister's home, it’s hard on her not being in her own.  She’s used to being in charge of her life and doing what she wants when she decides to do it.

She’s a good sport!  Mum occupies herself with gardening at my sister’s and with brief errand runs for items such as door stops and a mirror, new towels and a “Welcome Mat” and a carpet for beside her bed.  This place of neither here nor there is hard on her, but she is coping.

She knows she must wait and enjoy what she can out of each juicy day.

We all have those times, the in-betweens, the neither here nor there; it is part of our journey.

All will be well in the end, if we enjoy our moments of joy, like waking up warmly loved, or a new bedside rug, colourful, cheery and cozy!