Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The end of May and a minor Incident that could have been much worse

It was another rainy day yesterday.  On Monday I visited nurseries and planted annuals in the flower beds and also started a new bed for hostas and coral bells in a place that has become too shady for the usual annuals.  I'll still grow some nasturtiums there as they don't seem to care where you plant them.  Everything seems to be doing well, growing and thriving.  Crossing fingers now for all the annuals.

On the way home from one nursery stop, I had the unfortunate incident of driving over a large item of debris on the freeway.  I couldn't swerve to avoid it in the heavy, fast traffic.  It looked like a car fender and it sounded like an explosion when I drove over it.  I was sure I'd had a tire blowout and quickly moved over and took the exit that was just there at the right moment.  When I got out of the car, I could see no damage except that the right front tire seemed a little low.  I drove straight to the tire store but found them closed due to the holiday.  The tire seemed to be holding, so I drove home.  The following day, I took the car in to get the tire checked, and they found it had a screw imbedded causing a slow leak.  Now the tire is fixed and everything else seems to be okay.  I feel lucky the debris hadn't hit me in the windshield and didn't cause a blowout.  A far worse outcome could have resulted.  If I were a cat, I might cross off one of my nine lives.

So somehow, we have arrived at the end of May.  I have finished all the things I wanted to do outside and will add the usual perennial every now and then as opportunity and weather permit.  The yard is nearly perfect in a rather rustic unplanned way.

Tomorrow my youngest grandson turns 6 years old.  He has one more month of kindergarten and that means one more month of these crazy three trips a day to his school.  The kids are only out for three weeks this summer because of year-round school schedules and changing to a different track.  So I will have them every day all day for the three weeks, and then I will start a new schedule with just two round trips a day to the school and no afternoon tending of my grandson.  I'm glad I've been able to help through this year of difficult scheduling--as kindergarten always is.  And I will continue to help.  But with the two kids on the same schedule, I'll have much more time again and I'll be able to begin to really feel what it's like to be retired.

Now I turn my attention to some indoor projects I want to finish.  It has taken so long to get back around to this, but anymore, I feel good to just get one thing done at a time.  As this month draws to a close, I feel more like I have a handle on things than I have done in a long time.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

New Trees and Grass

Alberto's guys are simply incredible.  The weeding and cleanup are done and the new trees and sod are in, along with a new dedicated sprinkling line (drip and spray) just for the trees.  I have four new flowering pear added to the one I already had, one new crabapple barely visible behind the arbor bench here, and a wonderful new blue spruce.  I also kept the little blue spruce that looked like it was dying.  It appears to be trying to survive and I will give it another year and see if it pulls through.

I had dug up the old thyme checkerboard and decided on replacing with grass.  This will make a nice place for little boys' bare toes in the summertime. 

Today we are getting a deep soaking rain with cool but not cold temperatures -- the timing couldn't be better.  My flower pots are all ready to be placed around the yard when the sun comes out.  And now I'll add some annuals to the flower beds and things will be finished for spring. 

My heart feels so happy to have all this work done and things looking so beautiful.  The new trees provide a bit more screening from the road and increase the feeling of sanctuary here.  The birds are already celebrating.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Planting and Patience

Today is just the 14th of May.  I am often planting annuals much later than this.  But with temps in the 90's yesterday and 80's today, even though dropping to the 70's for the rest of the week, I felt the conditions were just right.  I wanted to wait until Alberto's crew came in and did the work I need done first.  But my plans never work out so well.  The city decided to close the road to my house for two days this week -- the same day(s) Alberta was supposed to be here.  So I had to postpone the work.  But with my large patio as a workspace, there was really no need to wait.  And in two days I have planted 23 pots.  Two rather large, and four quite small, and all the rest medium-ish.   I found some good deals on plants, and I think I have spent now about $60 total on all those posts.  A bargain.

I hope Alberto will be able to come tomorrow.  The weeds are out of control and I've decided to have his guys do the weeding one more time for me so I'm not playing catch up all summer.

In addition, they will plant 4 or 5 new trees, put in sod in the backyard to replace the thyme checkerboard that died.  Take out a dead tree and bush, do some general cleanup, and add new bark mulch to the perennial sections.

I still need to plant annuals in the flowers beds - six beds in all.  I started some zinnias and Mexican sunflowers indoors from seed about six weeks ago.  And they are coming along, though not quite ready to go in the ground.  They are on the patio "hardening" right now and I hope to be able to plant them by the end of the month.

I also have quite a few perennials that have over reproduced in one place and need some thinning and moving around.  It's so wonderful having free plants!

With any luck, I'll have all this done by the end of May -- just two weeks..  I try to spend an hour or two a day.  What with tending grandkids every day, this can sometimes be a challenge.  Plus my 18 year old granddaughter is coming to spend a week with me next week, although she is more help than she is work and will be good company.  But that should be sufficient time for it.

Bonus pleasure is the spring migration is underway and every day brings beautiful birds and hummingbirds to the feeders. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

(Mom, 1954, with Wendy, John and Becky)

At my age, it's rare and special to still have both parents living.  Mine are and still live in the home I grew up in.  It's a lot of yard and house to care for, but they don't want it any other way.  I can't say I blame them.  With eight children and I have no idea how many grandchildren and great grandchildren, they do have help looking after things.

Today is a day to express love and appreciation for mom and all she did for us.  I visited mom yesterday as my own children will be dropping by today.  It's kind of a high pressure day for everyone.  But I appreciate every gesture of kindness.

I try not to give my adult children advice.  Even though I realize I could have been a better mother, I could have done so much better, it's too late to try to change things.  So I listen and I don't judge.  I am grateful my children are all close to me and trust and confide in me.  I am definitely happy to be their mother, so this day is for me, too:  A "Happy Mother's" day. 

Friday, May 10, 2013


Below is a link to a blog I followed for a short time at the suggestion of my daughter.  It was witty and fun with kookie drawings.  But suddenly it took a dark turn.  The author told us she was suffering from severe depression.  She tried making a few posts, but then she went away completely--for 19 months.  She had a big following and many were worried at the extended silence.  And then finally this week, she entered two new blog posts.  The second explained about the 19-month absence. 

Hyperbole and a Half

It's so honest and painful, yet a good read.  I really recommend it.  For one thing, it helps so much in understanding how a depressed person feels and what they need from their friends. 

I have often wondered about depression and where sadness leaves off and depression begins.  I think the lines are blurred.  I've had so much sadness in the past few years and I've made myself deal with it and be strong.  I function.  But when I'm alone, the old sadness can be overwhelming.  And I'm alone a lot.  But I do get stuff done.  Just consider the major construction projects I've done during this time and the changes I've made in my yard.  And I'm always, ALWAYS there for my children and grandchildren.  My own feelings be damned if one of them needs me.  So I think I'm just feeling some long-term effects of trauma in my life.

However, sometime about a year ago I stopped playing or listening to music.  I love my piano and guitar.  I have a broad range of musical interests.  But all the things I loved no longer had the same appeal.  I could sit down to the piano and barely make it through a tune or two.  It's not that I lack the desire, it's just unexplainable, I can't do it.  Oh, I post videos on Facebook and watch those posted by others.  But this inability or lack of desire, or whatever it is, with my personal music has started troubling me.  After reading the blog post I linked above, I recognized a sign of depression.

But I function.  I am very busy taking care of grandchildren.  I have so much to do around house and yard.  Although I realize I'm slacking off in those areas, too.  I have so much responsibility.  I sometimes just think I'm tired--I can fall asleep instantly almost anytime anywhere.

But I put on a happy face.  I laugh at jokes.  I celebrate holidays.  I visit friends who call--though I'm less and less likely to make a call myself.  And I get out in the outdoors and watch the birds.  This last is the most
enjoyable thing I do.

Am I depressed?  Maybe a little.  Am I sad?  Sometimes, yes.  Am I happy, too?  Yes, most of the time.  I ask myself these questions because if I seriously feel I'm in trouble, I'll call a therapist I have had in the past.

I think we all go through periods of life where we struggle as I am.  And I believe there are degrees in the seriousness of the condition--worse for some than for others.  Maybe the single factor that keeps me in there fighting is my kids and grandkids. 

As I said in another post:  It's not easy doing a life.

"When you judge other people remember one overriding axiom: 'Everybody is having a hard time'. Everyone is insecure. Everyone is hassled. Everyone is tired - we all need more sleep. Everyone wishes he had more courage, more money and better social skills. Everyone wants more glamour in his life, and we all desperately need more laughter. Few can figure out how they ended up living the life they lead. Don't be misled by flippant talk; it's a battle for everyone... Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."  Joshua Halberstam