Monday, June 30, 2008

Blame it on the Rain

There must be something weird in the air. We have been having thunderstorms and weird energy patterns. Power outage that lasted 20 minutes. Then my internet provider was down all day yesterday.
Raging skies and then cooling winds. Pouring rain, then soft, summer breezes.

Last night Hubby and I were tucked up in bed. Hubby was just slipping off into dreamland, when suddenly, I jumped up, threw back the covers and started rummaging in my night table drawer.

"What are you doing?"
" I have a poem in my head and must write it down - or I'll forget it by morning!"
'Poem?', he must be thinking. 'Since when has she ever written poetry?'

I'm blaming the energy. I've never been good at poetry, much less limericks, but here goes:

There are socks on the stairs,
Shirts draped over chairs,
And underwear under the bed,
But, I'm begging you pardon,
I'm off to the garden,
It's cleaning and housework I dread!

So - let's continue our "forget housework, the summer/garden/sunshine is calling" (except for naturewitch who is in the middle of winter) poetry and whoever wants to post something - please do so. It doesn't have to be a limerick. There are no rules. Never any rules to stifle our creativity. Just silly, summer, release...

Friday, June 27, 2008

A bit of summer fun....

Dust on the furniture
Dirt on the floor
Clothes in the hamper
Need I say more?

Don't know why this verse popped into my head. Well, not all at once. I was making the bed and noticed a layer of dust on the dresser.
Aww - who wants to vacuum and dust in when the flowers are calling out to be watered; warm summer breezes are dancing in the leaves, whispering to come and play.

The last thing I want to do is be cooped up in the house. Passed the clothes hamper on my way outside to weed in the garden.
Geeze - can't clothes learn to wash and dry themselves?

Then the rest of this silly poem popped into my head and I thought I'd share it with you.
If anybody can add a verse or a line or two - please, be my guest!
Who knows what happens when we plant a seed together......

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I never thought....

in a million years, that I'd do this. Dotty old ladies do this; ones that can't remember what day of the week it is - not me. Never me!

I had a couple of "menopause moments" stored up. What to do? Send them to Judy at Menopause Moments? Incorporate them into one of my blogs?
Couldn't decide, so let it go.
But today - this one jumped up and bit me on the nose!
I had to share it.

My nephew is in hospital with a lung abscess. A lung abscess at 16 years old!! They don't know how he got it, or what is growing in his lung - yet. Once the tests are done, we'll have some results.

What do you do for an adolescent boy in hospital? Send flowers - I think not! I live too far away to go and visit. So, I'll send him a card.
Went to the grocery store card section. Mostly mushy, flowery, soppy get-well cards. But I did manage to find one "from all of us". O.K. that's fine. The envelope was pink - forget that. I exchanged it for a purple one. Not much better, but a step up. I hope it wouldn't remind him of his little sisters - or (horrors!) his mom.

Let's get this card in the mailbox, asap. Who knows how long it will take to arrive in a pediatric hospital? Maybe he'll be home by then.
So, quick-quick - get the address from the internet.
Get his room number from his mom (my sister).
Copy address meticulously.
Write room number. Underline it. No, better still, put a box around it. But.... it's a french hospital, Better write "chambre" underneath Room, just in case somebody doesn't understand english. You know how slow mail carriers are - and if they have to translate from english to french - may take months! It's not called "snail mail" for nothing.

O.K. all set. Let's go.
Drive to mailbox.
Open mail slot.
Pop in card.
Good - hopefully, he'll receive it in a few days.

Oops. I forgot to put his name on the envelope.
Nooooooooooo - how could I do that?
And why did I remember, just as the letter fell to the bottom of the mailbox????
Noooooo - not me... Dotty, little old ladies do things like that.
Not me.

Called my sister from the car.
Guess what I did?
Sent Devon a get-well card and forgot to put his name on it.

"Hahahahahahahahaha - you did not!"
"I did. It's in a purple envelope."

"Hahahahahahahaha - there are 2 anorexic girls in his room (girls in his room? what are hospitals coming to these days?), one of them will probably get it. Did you sign it at least?"

"Of course!! I signed it from the whole family"
"Well, it's the thought that counts."

"Thanks..........I think."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Granddaughter Graduates

Eldest granddaughter getting ready for her graduation

Here she is in her pretty dress, specially chosen for this occasion.

She can say good-by to elementary school.
And look forward to high school in the fall.

She made the principal's honour roll and won a leadership award.
We are all so proud of Kaitlin.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Everything is as it should be

Everything is as it should be.
Everything is as it should be..

Walking along the street, while glorious sunshine washes over me. Breathing in clean, sweet fresh air.
Birds sing as they fly overhead, busy with their busy-ness.
People working in their gardens, stop and wave (I live in a small town and everybody waves to everybody else).

Ahhhhhh- summer. Real summer. I've been waiting all winter for this.
June 20 - Summer Solstice was rainy.
Saturday, June 21 - was beautiful and sunny and not too hot. The absolutely perfect day.

So, why was I grumpy? Because I wanted to drive to Ottawa and visit my son, his wife and their 6 month old son (littlest grandchild). I had planned this visit and was looking forward to it.

But - Hubby is not feeling well. He asked me to stay home. So I am. Grumbling as I walk.
Chanting "everything is as it should be".

Thinking to myself: why are you spoiling a perfectly good day? Just because you can't make that visit? Don't you think Hubby is suffering more? Of course he is - not only is he sick, but he is feeling his neediness in having to ask me to stay with him. Selfish pig - thinking only of your own fun. O.K. - stop that right now!

"Who are you talking to?" A neighbour looks up from her weeding.
"Oh, hi Anna!" I avoid her question.

We take some time to chitchat. She tells me her son was recently diagnosed with Crohn's. I tell her my niece was diagnosed last year with Crohn's. She tells me she thinks her husband is seeing someone else. Good heavens - she's never said anything so personal to me. She must be really upset. A few more minutes of chitchat and I'm on my way.

Hmmm - I guess everyone has stuff to deal with. At least I don't have a cheating husband.

Continue on my walk. Saw a pileated woodpecker! They like to hide out in the woods; rarely do they come to people's yards.

A little girl wearing a bicycle helmet comes out of her driveway and hands me a bunch of buttercups.
"Why thank you, Kelly - aren't these for your Mom?"
"She's in the bathroom."
Tried not to laugh. I guess Mom was in the bathroom at the wrong time. Kelly couldn't wait that long to give her buttercups away.

Put some steak on the BBQ for supper. Hubby could barely eat any, but I made myself enjoy mine. Even had a little glass of wine.

At dusk, I went for a bike ride - properly dressed this time - no flip-flops.
Rounded a curve, passed a small wooded area and heard..................
an owl!!!
Wow! Strained and strained to see it, but of course the foliage was too dense.
Never mind. I really had a wonderful day after all.
I guess my visit wasn't meant to be. I can go another time.

Everything is as it should be.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Solstice

A picture says a thousand words - and this is no exception.
Sun rising over Stonehenge on the longest day of the year.

A celebration by the ancients.
Celebrating the Sun at its zenith.
From now on the days shorten, until we come to Winter Solstice.
When the Wheel of Life turns again, changing our seasons.

Mid-summer - the mid-point between planting and harvesting is celebrated over the next few days.

For us in this part of the world, we've only just finished our planting. Some still at it. Harvesting seems a long way away.

But today - summer is here! End of school for the children. Long summer days, reading peacefully in the shade, or swimming, hiking, biking.
Ice cream, watermelon, BBQ's. A time to be more social. People wave at each other from their gardens or as they walk along the street.
Families on holidays at the beach, parks, the zoo. Picnics, concerts in the park, tai chi on the grass, singing by the water.
Watching ducks and ducklings swim by.
Birds singing from the trees.
Smelling roses, honeysuckle, jasmine.
A time to cherish our days outdoors - and time for fun!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Moon in June

Stepped outside onto our back deck last night...
To say good-night to my plants.
A huge light, partially obscured by clouds, partially hidden by trees shone down on me.

I slammed the screen door behind me and quickly crossed to the edge of our deck. Looking up, I strained to see through the clouds. That was the moon, wasn't it? It was so bright! At least the little bit I could see from the doorway. Too many tree leaves in the way.
Drat! Ran into the middle of the lawn for a better view.
Only a ripple of silvery light.... washing over some clouds.
But it was a huge ripple - like a big round ball!

That's it. Back in the house (Hubby had retired for the night).
Flung open the garage door.
Sprang onto my trusty bicycle wearing capris (which Hubby insists on calling pedal pushers) and flip-flops.

Pedaled like a mad-woman through our quiet streets seeking the Moon (she's almost full)!

Looked up and saw a bat flying overhead - wonder if it's the same one from my evening walk not long ago. This one looks bigger. Do they grow that fast? Or did I see junior last time, and this was mother or father?
Never mind -

Faster and faster I pedaled, trying to get to a place where there were no trees in the way. A little voice inside my head whispered "Hmmm - pedaling your bike in flip-flops? Not too smart. Weren't you the person who had plantar fasciitis not too long ago? Hmmmmm??"

Too bad - this was not going to be a long ride (pant, pant - whew, how much further?)
At least wearing capris (summer pants that end just below the knee), no long pants material would get caught in the bicycle chain. Been there, done that!

It really wasn't too far to the end of the street and up a short hill, but I was going as fast as I could - trying to catch a glimpse of the almost-full moon before a cloud totally hid it's round, serene, shining light.

I love to watch the full moon come up. Hubby and I used to do that in the summertime while feasting on a dairy queen chocolate sundae. We'd drive over to the DQ pick up our ice cream and sit on a bench (or in the car if it was cool or mosquito-y), and watch the skyline for a first peek of Ms. Moon as she rose from the darkness to light up the night.

For me it was a celebration of Mother Moon in all her splendor. For Hubby it was just fun.

Got to the top of the hill. No moon.
I waited. Still no moon.
Darn! Where did it go?
Please don't tell me I was chasing a street light.
No. Mind you that has happened before, but not this time.
I would be out walking and see light bobbing through the trees.
Ah ha - the moon! Nope - just a street light.

But this night I was sure. I did not make a mistake. It was such a big round luminescence - no doubt about it.

Finally it was really getting too dark to be out on a bike. Besides - what if Hubby woke up looking for me? No sense sending him into a panic for nothing.

Filled with disappointment, I pedaled home - at a more leisurely pace, flip-flops still intact.

Back home in my bedroom, preparing for bed, I went to the window to close the shades. Peeking out, I scanned the clouds. Nothing.
Fine. Don't shine then!

I was just turning around when..... a shine..... a glow.........a round light slowly emerging from the darkness.
There She is! At last! I smiled to myself.
Nobody can harness the Moon. She comes out when she's good and ready.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

To all the wonderful fathers everywhere - Happy Father's Day !

Thought of my Dad today.
Called my 2 sons and 1 son-in-law to wish them Happy Father's Day.
Even after 12 years, it still feels funny to be calling my sons on this day.

For Son #1 - it's his first. A very special day.
For Son #2 - his 12th!!
For Son-in-Law - his 2nd.

It's like sliding down the generation scale, instead of looking up (like you do as a child).
For years, it was only my Dad. Then Hubby. And that still felt fine.

But now......
Oh well, I guess it will be even stranger one day, when I call my grandsons to wish them Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lasagna Gardening

I found this in our local paper and thought I'd share:

Lasagna Gardening is a method of layering organic matter, watering alternate layers, and planting immediately. The earthworms do all the work and transform the layers into a very healthy soil, where plants grow as if they were on hormones!

The secret is to alternate a layer of brown matter, like leaves, barn litter and earth, and a green layer using grass clippings, organic kitchen waste and green garden waste, watering these and sprinkling peat moss in between the layers.

You can create a new flower or vegetable garden right over grass or weeds by simply spreading a minimum of 6 layers of newspaper (no glossy pages) on top of the grass or weeds. Water the newspaper so it doesn't fly away, then start layering. Do not water the peat moss layer because it is powdery and will fly away as you spray. Here is an example of the recipe:

1. Newspaper on top of the grass. If you have extreme weeds you can use cardboard. Water.
2. Sprinkle peat moss, just enough to cover.
3. Shredded cedar mulch, again just enough to cover. Water.
4. Peat moss.
5. Kitchen waste: fruit & vegetable scraps, eggshells, tea bags, coffee grinds. No bones, fish, meat scraps or fats! Water.
6. Peat moss.
7. Chopped leaves (do this on your driveway and not on the grass if you want a nice lawn). Use whole leaves if you are too busy - it will still work. Water.
8. Peat moss.
9. Grass clippings (about 1 inch). Water.
10. Peat moss.
11. Compost layer (about 2 inches). Water.
12. Four (4) inches of earth. I (the author of this article) use 3 in 1 mix soil (sorry, I'm not sure what she means by this).
13. Make a hole for each flower and sprinkle Myke (mycorrhizae) a bacteria that gives tiny extra roots that are able to give more water and mineral nutrients to the plants.
14. Plant!

Other ingredients that can be added: rock dust, ashes, hay, mushroom manure, sawdust,animal manure,seaweed, straw.

Well, there you have it. I (me, Wendy) haven't tried it yet. Sounds like a lot of work, but I'm sure once you get going it will be fun. I live in horse country, so barn litter will be easy to get (unless the horse farmers use it all). On second thought, it may smell bad. Forget it!
I have no idea what the Myke - bacteria to produce extra roots is, or if you can buy it at a nursery. Will have to do some research.

Would like to know if anybody's heard of this. I know it works for the author, because I've seen her garden and it's luscious!
Happy Gardening all.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Summer Magic and Odd Bedfellows

Doesn't this look magic? As if the Sun is illuminating my hibiscus - making it glow with an ethereal quality.

It's actually, really bad photography. But I thought it was neat.

This is what I set out to capture and it turned out too white. All washed out. Ah well - I guess it takes practice - and probably a better camera.
But it looked so lovely and glowing in the early morning sun.
* * * * * * * * * *

Hubby and I were having a leisurely supper last night when - without warning the power went out! There was no storm outside, no high winds, nothing to cause this failure. We waited a few minutes (Hubby breathing with his portable 02 tank), hoping that it would just as suddenly come back on.
It didn't.

Down the basement I went to hook Hubby up to the huge, monster-like 02 cylinder that resides just under the stairs.

Fortunately, I was at home to do this.

The day before, I was babysitting my granddaughter (about 3/4 hour's drive away) when a sudden electrical storm blew up. A bright flash of lightening closely followed by a crash of thunder set off my daughter's house alarm. The dog went crazy. Lights flickered. But the baby, snug in my arms, didn't make a peep.

I managed to turn off the alarm, but was very worried that the power would go off before I could get home to Hubby.
I couldn't phone him, (to ask if everything was o.k.) because I knew he was taking his afternoon nap and wouldn't hear the phone.

Luckily, the storm blew itself out quickly, the wind and rain stopped and the sun shone once again.
Soon after, Daughter returned home.

I was still apprehensive driving back home. Would our power be on and everything o.k.? Or not.....

I sighed with relief when our automatic garage door opened. Everything would be o.k.
I peeked in at Hubby and found him sleeping peacefully - with 2 portable cylinders in the bed next to him.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He looked so frail and yet had the foresight to have extra cylinders close at hand in case of a power failure.

I wonder how many wives come home to find their husbands in bed with oxygen cylinders. Better that than another woman!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Smells of Summer

Pheeeeeew! Eau-de-skunk!
I stepped outside for an evening stroll.
Yuk! I hope this skunk is a few streets over - not right under my back-deck or hiding in the culvert under the driveway just waiting to ambush me.

Yesterday was a scorcher. 86 degrees and tropical. That means hot, humid and heavy air. Definitely not good for Hubby.
So he stays inside - where it's cool.

My eyes swept the driveway as I made my way to the street. No skunks - good. Walking around the neighbourhood, I soaked up the warm evening air - inhaling the smells of summer; lilac blossoms, lily of the valley, and other fragrant flowers I couldn't identify. A smokey smell - was someone making a fire? Not allowed in our community.

Strange how the world works: just under 2 months ago, we were still buried in snow. Back then I was longing to see grassy lawns instead of all that cold white stuff.
Now the trees are full, leafy and shady; spring flowers brighten up front lawns and gardens. And it's hot, hot, hot.

Here in this part of the world we often skip spring and jump right into summer.
A crescent moon follows me as I walk.
A firefly winks at me through the neighbours trees. Firefly? It really must be summer, even though we're still two weeks away.

I madly look about for more fireflies. None.
I guess it really is too early. This one must have been a scout - sent forth to see if the time is really right for the rest of the firefly clan to come out of hiding.

Movement catches my eye and I look up to see a bat fly overhead. Yes, we have bats here. They're gentle creatures and just fly around in the dark. They don't bother anybody and fly high enough, out of reach.

Back home again. Did not meet Mr. or Mrs. Skunk - thank goodness, nor any raccoons or rabbits this time.
But I did enjoy my quiet evening walk.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Fudge cake and strawberries & cream frappuccino

I'm pampering myself. I've come down with a Cold. Not a very bad one, but it's making me feel yukky.
Whether bad or not we have a protocol set up.

Hubby sleeps downstairs and I sleep upstairs. He prepares his own meals (yippee), makes his own tea and coffee. We wash hands often and use separate towels. We try to stay away from each other as much as possible.

So far, so good.

I made myself a big pot of chicken soup. Nothing like good homemade chicken soup to chase away Cold evils. And fudge cake with chocolate peppermint ice cream. I am thoroughly spoiling myself.

Yesterday, I got up from the couch and decided to go to a wonderful garden center. It takes about 45 minutes to drive there, so most of the time, I end up at the local ones for my annuals, earth, etc.

But this one is filled with exotic plants. I love walking through their greenhouses, drooling over their lush, vividly coloured flowers. Even just the smell of earth and plant fertilizer makes me sigh with contentment.
If I ever win the lotto, I will spend it all on plants!

I bought some geraniums, inpatients, snapdragons, and another dahlia. I almost bought a fuchsia-coloured bougainvillea. It was sitting in a basket, off to the side - away from the other plants.

I walked closer to inspect it. Looked at the tag and noticed it was slightly cheaper than others. Not discounted or marked own, just less expensive.
Hmmm - what's wrong with this picture?
That's when I noticed some little white bugs all over a portion of the plant. Not the whole plant, just a wee little bit. Maybe I could cut that bit off.

Forget it - I'm not spending $40.o0 on a basket of bougainvillea only to have it die. But - maybe I could wash away the insects, instead of cutting away some of the plant (which would spoil the shape anyway).
My good sense won out and I decided to leave it behind. Maybe the owners had it in seclusion - and it really was not for sale.

So to console myself on the way home, I stopped at my favourite Starbuck's and got a decadent, delicious, loaded-with-calories (which I certainly don't need), strawberries & cream frappuccino.
Best medicine I know to chase away Cold evils.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Aquafit Class

Aquafit is winding down. There are only 2 or 3 more classes left before this session is over. I am sure this is why our teacher is pushing us.
Music is getting funkier.
The pace is faster.

Walking out of the changing room towards my car, I fell into step beside one of the other participants in this class - a 79-year-old lady. I knew, because she had confided her age to me after a previous class, when we were talking about not putting on our underwear after class.

"Well," she told me at that time, "I'm 79 you know, and I'm going straight home. Who cares whether I put my underwear back on, anyway?"

I laughed at that time, hoping I could be as flippant and active as she is, when I reach her age.

After today's session, I was pooped. I had worked my buns off.
"Whew!", I turned to Mrs. 79-years- old, "that class was hard!"
"Oh, was it?" she responded casually, getting into her car.