What a week it has been in Boston, Massachusetts! This week appeared to be the first “real” week of spring. The weather has been beautiful and just warm enough to let us know that winter has passed. Unfortunately, there has been unexpected tragedy in Boston this week with the bombing of the Boston Marathon.
Like most who are aware of this terrible event, I and my loved ones are safe. We are sad for everyone who has been physically and emotionally harmed, especially those connected to the people who were killed. Of course, there is also some fear and anger about such an event and oh so many questions. Who would do such a thing? Why? Will they be caught and punished?
There are many people who are working to answer these questions and lots of discussion about it so I won’t venture too deeply into this emotional and trauma inducing territory. Just let me say that terrible, tragic, and evil events happen everyday here and around the world. Somehow we humans manage to continue to live and dream of a more peaceful and pain free future. As our ancestors have done, we remember, we grieve, we learn and move forward. We don’t forget the pain but we get over the fear and move forward.
I pray for emotional health and peace for you and for me. I’m looking back but thinking ahead.
Living in the moment sounds like a thoughtful way to live and a wonderful thing to do. When I am engaged in tasks or events that I want to be part of, I definitely want the moments to last and they seem to hold a special significance. So why is it that in so many things that I do, I simply want the time to go by?
For instance a visit to the dentist though significant, is usually unpleasant and seems to drag on an on. The payoff is clean teeth and a healthy smile but to get there I have to put up with scraping, digging, and other unpleasantness. Those are moments I just as soon forget.
Recently we had a major storm named “Nemo” that dumped large amounts of snow on Boston. Prior to the storm, I imagined how cozy it would be inside our house ( if the electricity held up) and how much I would enjoy the time with my family -none of us would be able to go anywhere once the storm really got going. In fact, our governor declared an emergency so no one could drive on the roads for a period of time.
I did savor those moments with family, watching it snow, eating great food and listening to good music. We were lucky because we had electricity, heat, food, and each other. After the storm, we went outside to shovel snow and walk through our neighborhood with a friend. We met neighbors we hadn’t met before and talked and generally had fun. I think that I learned that living in the moment is another way of saying “appreciate life now. ”
Well I did, and I do.
My friend here lives at the zoo and is doing fine too.
A day or two ago, I was thinking of things that I was grateful for. What’s funny about that idea is that it arose from experiencing something I was unhappy about and I was being ungrateful!
There I was in the middle of what has been a mild winter, and I was shoveling snow and feeling a few aches. I got over myself pretty quickly when I realized that I was alive and mobile and those are two things I am particularly grateful for.
Now, I admit that I am not always a ray of sunshine- though I try to remain hopeful about what this life has to offer. I also think that there are lots of blogs that you can spend time reading that will make you angry, upset, or downright miserable. I am not going to do that to you. When I want to make someone miserable I am woman enough to do so in person and live with the consequences.
So today I am leaving you this message of hope: yes it is winter, yes it is cold, no your problems are not solved and neither are mine but I am thankful for many things- including you….
My birthday is tomorrow and I am preparing to celebrate it with my family. This birthday, like the last few, means a lot to me because several years ago my life was almost cut short by breast cancer. I don’t say that for dramatic effect it is simply a fact of my past. I don’t take my life for granted, nor do I live in constant fear that it will end but this year I am even more contemplative because during the past few weeks a number of major events have occurred that affected the way that I look at my life even though the events are not about me.
In the U.S. we just came through an election that simply made people crazed. There was a lot of public anger and such unhappiness that no matter what side you were on it was unpleasant. I believe I heard a collective sigh of relief when it was over just so we wouldn’t have to hear the negativity in ads anymore! More recently there have been terrible crimes committed including a massive one impacting many very young children and their families and friends. All of this and Christmas is just a few days away.
I recently saw the movie about President Abraham Lincoln and surprised myself by being anxious about how it would end, despite knowing how it would end. I learned a lot from the movie and realize that the world continues to turn, seasons change, ideas change, people change. How I feel about those things matters only to me and those in my orbit. Maybe you. So, I am taking the events of the world in- knowing that I may have no control over them, processing them, feeling the sorrow when appropriate, and being grateful that I was born.
Here I am in the wee hours of the morning in bed, but awake. I was thinking about how busy I have been lately, how much I have accomplished, and how much more I have to do. I am not upset about the situation, in fact, I am grateful to have a life that is so full. I do not take any of this for granted. I was very ill a few years ago. With the love of my family and friends and the power of my spiritual life and modern medicine- I am here today.
Of course this is the modern world with many people and situations to complain about. We just completed an election here in the states that had many of us on edge and feeling negative. It is over now and somehow most of us survived it and are moving on as we always have.
I’m not writing today to say look at what I have overcome! Get over your issues! Believe me, as long as life goes on, as long as my life goes on, I remain supremely human with all of the complications that may entail. What I am saying is that this morning I woke up early, in the dark and felt peace and happiness for a period of time despite all that is happening in the world and I was happy and thought of you…
Now that summer has faded, I am thinking ahead and doing some preparation for our winter holiday season. It may seem early but it takes time to do anything well and I like to do holidays in a big way. I get great pleasure from giving my time and talent to making people happy. Generosity is not my only motivation- the act of giving serves me as much as anyone to whom I give.
I buy lots of items as gifts for friends and family especially for Christmas. I try to purchase things throughout the year in order to save money. If I find a gift worthy item in July then I buy it and hide it. Of course the trick is remembering where I put it when it comes time to wrap gifts in December!
Another aspect of gift giving that I truly enjoy is the making or embellishment of items so that they have a personal touch. This is a way to express my creativity and to personalize the gifts. Over the years many of my gift recipients have told me that I should sell what I make. Well, I don’t have a storefront but I do make some items available for purchase at this web address. Right now I offer gift baskets, special occasion bears, and embellished items for gift giving. I share this site with my family so my husband’s photos, cards, and calendars and my daughter’s hand made jewelry are also available.
So take some time to savor the season and show your crafty side too. If you are not so handy there are people like me from whom you can buy creative gifts.
Fall is a busy time for me and I’m sure that’s true for you also but like the birds- I’m getting ready!
late spring decorating
I am a big believer in plans. I believe that plans can help us to avoid some of the problems that result from not thinking ahead. I know that I am not in control of the cosmos and that anything can happen, but I don’t want to add to any unpleasantness that may result from a thoughtless mistake. Of course, I have made plenty of mistakes despite my beliefs. Fortunately, I have learned a lot as a result.
One of the most important lessons I have learned is that some times we make mistakes that result in a benefit for us. I made a couple of big mistakes when I decided to work on my gardens this year. I committed the first one back in June. For some reason I planted many items later than I should have. Among the many plants that I tried to grow, I picked a couple of plants that I thought were perennials and they were, but not for New England! I wasn’t sure that the various plants would grow to maturity or that they would survive our incredibly hot summer. The only thing I was sure about was that I enjoyed the process.
I enjoyed purchasing the plants and seeds and I saved money because most of them were discounted. I looked to various sources for inspiration: the New England Flower Show, magazines, the gardens of my neighbors and more. I considered the birds and other wildlife that inhabit or pass through my city yard. When considering the design of my front yard, I thought about the children who pass by on their way to school. I love seeing them smile about the birds or some surprise that they spy in the yard.
The second mistake occurred in July when my helpful neighbor cut down a bush and a tree that bothered both of us. I had discussed both plants with him at an earlier time and he volunteered to trim them but he actually cut them both down completely! There was a gaping hole between our homes that used to be filled and allowed for privacy- suddenly that was gone. My neighbor apologized profusely and I was left to wonder what to do about the space.
the tree is gone…
I ended up decorating a space on the fence and was able to attach some trellis wood to the fence and container plants to the trellis. Two different hydrangea plants that were shaded in the past, began to receive light and are doing better than ever. Not only that, but my neighbor and I are better friends because of the incident. We talk more because we can actually see each other!
So once again I learned another life lesson; despite planning and dedication, mistakes are likely, and can sometimes make things better. Here’s hoping there are good things in your life no matter what mistakes you have made.
Front spring garden
I keep telling myself that there are almost 4 more weeks of summer. This is factually correct because September 22, 2012 is the first day of fall this year. I have to remind myself of the date because so many forms of media want to rush the season in order to get all of us to purchase goods for that season.
I put a lot of energy into building up my front and back yard gardens. I learned a lot about myself in the process. First, I learned to be more patient. Sometimes you just have to wait for a seed to grow or a plant to emerge from the soil before you can enjoy the results.
Second, I learned that preparation is helpful in most situations in life. The more I prepared the soil or area that I was working in before I placed a plant in the area the better the plant fared. Many of my plants are in containers so preparing the soil was extremely important.
late spring deck
Now that we have entered late summer, my family and I are enjoying the fruits of my labor. We are picking tomatoes every day, enjoying the birds that are attracted to the yard and enjoying all of the flowers.
mid summer front yard
I will not be rushing into fall even though I love the season. I will take my time and enjoy each day as much as I can. Fair warning: that’s me in front of you going slow on purpose. Enjoy the rest of the summer if you can.
It takes a wheelbarrow
It may be hot enough to fry an egg outside but I am happy with the results of warm dry weather on our garden. I have worked on our backyard/garden for a number of years now. My goal has been to create a space in which friends and family can relax and retreat. My tastes are eclectic and I believe that they are reflected in the way our yard appears. The other benefit is that there are plenty of items for my husband, Lars ,to photograph when he likes.
summer backyard beginnings
When you read any of our posts you can see many of the photos that he has taken. You also have the opportunity to learn some of the techniques that he uses in his photographic pursuits. Take note however, that for this post all of the photos are mine. For that, I apologize…
This week we are starting to harvest some of the tomatoes that I planted. Our perennials have been growing and our annuals are providing lots of color. Of course to keep all of this going, I have to do a lot of watering, feeding, and pruning. I don’t like it but I like the results. I collect rainwater and try to conserve water as well.
Last week we had to get rid of some poison ivy that was growing along our fence. I thought I had killed it all a few years ago but nature proved a formidable foe. Some of it came back! After some very careful, limited, spraying and pulling up roots- I believe the problem is solved. Right now I am hot, content, and itch free…
I hope that your summer is enjoyable. Let me know if you need some tomatoes.
a few summer flowers
a summer visitor
Front spring garden
I cannot believe that it has been 8 weeks since I last posted. I believe I was complaining about the weather and prolonged gray sky at that time and one of my favorite outdoor cats had died. Since then, I have been fortunate to be very busy living life and remaining in good health. I hope that you are having the latter experience.
During the last couple of months, I have been invited to graduations and weddings and I have had guests over for meals. The weather has been fantastic! A New England spring and summer cannot be beat. Cool mornings, hot days, and warm nights are wonderful.
The birds chirping and beautiful flowers (both wild and cultivated) make my heart sing. I’m busy but not too busy to share my thoughts and experiences with you. If I am talking to myself it is still worth it to put into words a reminder of how the experience of life is a gift. Sometimes you get what you ask for and it is good.