Go Time

For about two-and-a-half weeks, we've had this weird spring weather pattern here in my corner of the universe. It's been really cold, but . . . not like a normal spring cold snap. Those usually come and go in any northern spring -- a threatened overnight frost following several teasingly summer-like days is normal and expected around here.

But, nope. This cold snap . . . was not "snappy" at all. Frigid air and biting winds swooped in for a long visit. Too long. It was a real drag! And for some reason, it really dragged me down. I don't usually let the weather stop me from getting out in the garden (too much), but these past couple of weeks, it kinda did. 

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It was like a freeze frame in the garden! And apparently for me, too. It was like Mother Nature hit PAUSE. And there we were.

Trees that were blooming when the cold moved in (my redbuds and my viburnum, for example) just held onto their blooms the whole time. Normally, those blooms don't last very long - because warm sunshine moves things along quickly in the spring. So it was nice to have those blooming trees stuck in a time warp. And buds . . . just stayed tight buds. (Good thing. Because that protected the tender blooms from the freeze.) The only thing that took a real hit was my azalea (pictured above). It looked just like it did in the photo - with the blooms just opening up - when the cold front moved in. Nearly three weeks later, it looks the same. Only with frost damage. It won't be blooming this year.

Well. I guess I took a hit, too -- in terms of my emotional and mental health. The freeze frame in my garden . . . extended to me, too. (Languishing, I tell you. It's a real thing.) I would've been okay with a typical cold snap. This one just hung around too long.

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But yesterday, the temperatures climbed into the upper 60s. And the sun was shining! Today it's supposed to hit 70. I can feel myself . . . thawing out. My garden can feel it, too.

I have some alliums just waiting to pop.

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There are beds to clean. Weeds to pull. Containers to plan. Ponds to get running.

It's GO TIME.
I'm feeling better already.

==

I hope you all enjoy a great weekend -- filled with things that will help you flourish.

 

 


Checking In

Last fall, and then through much of the winter, I struggled quite a lot with what I thought might be depression creeping in. I wasn't sleeping very well. I wasn't excited about much of anything. I felt like I was slogging through my days. But I still had some hope. And I could still find things I enjoyed doing every day. I kept scrabbling along . . . 

And then things started to brighten. The vaccine news was good. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris arrived on the scene. Spring was coming. I started to sleep again, and much of the sloggy feeling was ebbing away.

Most days now, I'm feeling hopeful and ready to move forward with purpose.
Some days, though? Well. Not so much.

Turns out (as I'm sure many of you have undoubtedly already heard) there's a word for this now. . .
Languishing.

Yep. Languishing is the name for the blah I still feel sometimes. Because even though I generally feel pretty good, there are times that I still feel a lack of concentration and focus. When I feel a bit aimless. When stagnation and emptiness creep into my day. When I've lost my mojo for things I normally like to do. As Adam Grant said in his article about languishing for the New York Times, it's like "looking at your life through a foggy windshield." Languishing is the absence of well-being. There are no real symptoms of mental illness, but . . . it's not the picture of mental health either.

It's like not functioning at full capacity.

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And what's the flip side of languishing? That would be . . . flourishing. Flourishing is operating at peak physical, emotional, and mental fitness. It's mental health at its finest. It's feeling fulfillment, purpose, and happiness. If you're flourishing . . . you can't be languishing.

I feel like there have been days this spring where I have been flourishing. And there have been days, too, where I've definitely been languishing. This week, for example . . . for some reason . . . has been a languishing week for me. I don't exactly know why. (But I'm blaming the crap weather pattern we've been stuck in for the last 3 weeks. Too much cold wind. Too much freezing cold temperatures. Altogether too-much sweater-wearing for May.)

Anyway.

It occurs to me that it doesn't really take much to tip me from languishing to flourishing these days. Sometimes I even move from one to the other in the same day. But mostly, whatever "phase" I'm in tends to last for a few days at a time. So I decided to research this flourishing thing; to find out how we can move ourselves out of the languishing category and into the flourishing category.

Apparently, the best thing to do when you find yourself languishing is to find "flow" -- or absorption in a meaningful challenge where your sense of time, place, and self melt away. This "flow" state could be from . . . anything. Doing the New York Times crossword puzzle every day. Binge-ing Ted Lasso (again). Weeding. Painting. Reading. The challenge with this, though? Well. It's hard to get into a "flow" state when you're low on mojo. And it's hard to stay there if you can't focus.

What to do? Here's what the researchers suggest doing, for a start.

  • Give yourself some uninterrupted time (that means no distractions) (like . . . put away your phone) and allow something (anything, really) to grab your full attention. No pressure that it needs to be something "big." Really. Ted Lasso will do it.
  • Focus on small challenges that you know you can manage -- and find success in the completion of the task. Baby steps. Success begets more success. Maybe it's just . . . fold the load of laundry that's been sitting in the dryer for days. Or weed that bed for 15 minutes. Or cut out that top you've been wanting to make. Something small. Again, no pressure.
  • Acknowledge that you're languishing. Give voice to it. Admitting (to yourself or to others) that you're feeling the quiet despair of languishing actually helps light a path out of the void -- for yourself and for others. So . . . talk about it.

It's been a rough go. A long year. An emotionally taxing time. We can expect to move in and out of languishing for a while yet, I'm afraid. Sometimes (like it did for me this week), it sneaks up on you when you think you're setting up permanent residence in the flourishing camp. Sometimes it hangs around for a while. 

So I thought I'd just check in. How are YOU doing? And if you find yourself languishing, what helps you move forward? What helps you hold things together?

 


No Stopping Me Now

So after the overalls . . . I've kinda gotten back into the sewing thing. (I lost all my sewing mojo last year after sewing all those masks.)

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This week, I stitched up something that's been on my radar for a couple of year now . . . Meg McElwee's Hinterland Dress. I think it would be a great casual dress for summer (especially the sleeveless version), and I have a very nice piece of gingham linen that might work really well sewn up in this pattern. But . . . I didn't want to chance it with that nice linen right off the bat.

So . . . I sewed a "gauge swatch." In Sewing World, this is called a "muslin." (Or a "toile" if you want to sound European . . . or a little bougie.) Basically, sewing a muslin means you sew something up (or a part of something) in a fabric you don't care much about in order to see if you like the fit or need to make some adjustments. The goal - just like with gauge swatching in knitting - is that you end up with a well-fitting garment that you actually like and can wear when you're finished. If you're lucky, and things all turn out, you might end up with a "wearable muslin" . . . meaning you can actually wear your test-garment, too. (Unlike knitting . . . if you're not happy with the finished result you've sewn, you don't have the option of ripping out the yarn and re-using it for another project. Once you've cut it out and sewn it up? It's hard to repurpose.)

Anyway. I'm never really sure about what size to make when I'm sewing. I have broad shoulders . . . and no boobs . . . so a lot of times the fit is off and the darts end up in the wrong place. So I cut out just the bodice pieces of the Hinterland Dress to see how it would come together. It worked, so I cut out the facing and the sleeves and added those. Still good. So I cut out the front bands and tried them. Still good. So I cut out the pockets and the skirt. I also added the optional ties, because things were looking pretty . . . roomy.

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Checking the fit . . . 

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I could've gotten away with making this at least one size smaller, maybe two. Let's just say . . . I'm happy I added the ties. I definitely got a "wearable muslin" out of the process. And I think it'll look a lot better once it's had a chance to loosen up a bit after a few rounds in the washer and dryer. (Also when I'm not wearing it on top of workout clothes.)

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(And, yep. There's a wonky buttonhole in there. I got an eye twitch for a minute there, thinking about ripping it out and re-doing. But then I reminded myself . . . muslin! . . . and just let it go.)

Anyway. I think I'm ready to cut into that nice piece of linen now, and make another. Smaller size. Sleeveless.

But, first . . . this!

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There's no stopping me now.

==

How about you? What are you making these days?


Throwing Caution To The Wind

Read With Us

Generally speaking, I'm cautious when it comes to recommending books to other people. I actually don't do it very often, and only if I really, really understand someone else's reading tastes and can match my recommendation to what they may enjoy.

I mean, I'm notorious among people who know me . . . for liking books others don't find appealing. You see, I'm a big fan of the gritty, messy, "hard" books. The ones with ambigous endings. Or books that feature characters without names. Or books with weird punctuation. I tend to appreciate authors that stab you in the heart, and then twist the knife around a bit. Sometimes more than a bit. That kind of thing. (Although I absolutely draw the line at books where animals die or come to harm.)  

So I've learned to be careful about making recommendations.
Because not everyone likes that kind of book.
I often say . . . I loved it. Your mileage may vary.
And people generally get what I'm saying.

Our most recent Read With Us pick . . . 

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ummm . . . well. It might fit into that category of books I'm cautious about recommending. It's gritty, and definitely messy. Some people might say it's "hard," (but I'd just say it's life.) The ending is kinda-sorta ambiguous (spoiler alert: everything is not tied into a pretty bow, neat as you please, by the final page). All the characters do have names, and the author uses standard punctuation -- but there is a lot of dialect (which can be somewhat challenging until you get the hang of it). And, yeah. The author definitely stabs you in the heart and twists it around - real good - a few times.

I loved it.
Your mileage may vary.
But I'm going to throw caution to the wind . . . and recommend it to you anyway.
I really do hope you'll pick up a copy and give it a try!

Because Shuggie Bain . . . is definitely a book worth reading. The writing is brilliant, the story compelling. It's completely "readable" . . . despite the dark subject matter. And that . . . is a testament to the mastery of author Douglas Stuart. He writes so tenderly about hurt and damaged people who are just trying to make their way in a world that isn’t helping them at all. You'll care about his characters so much and so deeply, despite their ugliness and all their flaws. It's Powerful Stuff, I tell you.

While not a memoir, author Douglas Stuart did draw upon his own experience as a queer boy growing up in Glasgow with a single mother who struggled with addiction in writing the novel (his first, by the way). NPR's Scott Simon did an excellent interview with Douglas Stuart in November 2020, just days before Shuggie Bain won the Man Booker prize. It's worth a listen -- and at only 6 minutes long, it's quick and easy, too. (Plus, Douglas Stuart's accent is absolutely charming.)

Speaking of accents . . . Much of the book is written in Glaswegian dialect (also known as Glasgow patter) (and I'm not making that up). It doesn't make it impossible to read or understand the book -- I had no trouble getting the meaning through context, but this little Glaswegian Dictionary would have been a helpful reference. I started out reading the hardback version of the book, but before long, I found I really wanted to hear the voices and the dialect, so I grabbed the audiobook version and alternated between reading with my eyes and my ears. I highly recommend this approach, as it added depth to my reading experience.

Although our turnaround time from announcement to discussion is a bit shorter than usual for this book, you've still got plenty of time to read along. We'll be posting our blog book discussion questions on Tuesday, June 8 -- and then we'll be hosting another Zoom book discussion later that same evening at 7:00 pm Eastern time. (I know that makes it early if you're in the Mountain or Pacific time zones, but Bonny, Carole, and I all live in Eastern time -- and we turn into pumpkins if it gets to be too late.) I hope you can make plans to join us for the Zoom. We've had a couple of great discussions now. It's a lot of fun to get together and talk books with blog friends. 

I do hope you'll join us!

I highly recommend this one. . . 
I really do.

 


The State of Things: An Update

Way back at the end of March, I shared how I was progressing with various projects on my plate at the time. Since then?

  • Overalls. Check.
  • Colorwork Sweater. Check.
  • Taxes. Check.

The garden bed cleanup, though? Still plugging along!

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I mean . . . I created a monster. My garden beds are too big and too numerous for me to ever keep up with all at once. (I, of course, never considered this as I kept expanding.) I love it. But it's been a good exercise in . . . letting go of perfection, living with weeds, setting priorities, and knowing when to say "when." (There are so many metaphors for life in my garden.)

I don't regret a thing about my garden.

But sometimes, in the spring, I do question a few things.
(As in . . . what was I thinking???)

Anyway.
At this point, I'm over the half-way point in cleaning up all the beds. (And the toughest ones are complete.) (You know. For the first pass.) And our "lawn guy" (we hire this great kid -- who started his own landscaping company as a sophomore in high school; he's a senior this year, and a master businessman) has helped me by clearing out the real detritus of the garden. And he's started the weekly mowing and edging. Tom is poised to begin mulching. Progress, for sure.

Because there is so much . . . garden . . . to manage, I've "divided" it into 17 "beds" (even though most of them are actually contiguous) so I can keep track of where I'm working and what needs to be done where. I've also named each bed, which allows me to refer to them by name when communicating with Tom, my chief digger and mulcher. (He's got the nomenclature down.)

This area, for example, is referred to as "The SCOD," which stands for Semi-Circle-Of-Death. (In the earlier years, many things . . . came and went, failed to thrive, met their demise . . . in that area of the garden. Things have settled down now, but we still refer to it as The SCOD.)

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(The first photo in this post is also The SCOD, but from the opposite direction.) The SCOD . . . requires a lot of work. Every year. All the time. And because it's the main pathway into our backyard and garden, I like to keep it looking pretty good, most of the time. (In the background of the photos, you can see another bed. I call that one Arborvitae Alley. It's much more low-maintenance, and especially since we pulled out 3 unruly red twig dogwoods a couple of years ago.)

Some of my beds are named for their . . . distinguishing features.

The Pergola Area, for example.

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Or The Pond. (You can see the pond is not yet set up; the hose. . . )

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There's Tom's Garden (because he turned a boring corner of the lawn into a secret corner garden of delight) . . . 

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And we have The Butterfly Garden. The Deer Salad Bar. The Arbor.

But most of our garden beds . . . are just named for where they are. The Bed In Front of the Window, for example. Or Against the Fence. Or Front Door South and Front Door North. (This is Front Door North.)

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Or Back Corner . . . 

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Like I said . . . it's a lot. But it's also a lot . . . to love.

Perhaps I'll come back and show you how the beds are shaping up as the season progresses. It's all still in the just-emerging phase right now; preparing to launch. It'll be much more spectacular and impressive in a few weeks!

For today? I've got my work cut out for me as I take on The Herb Garden and The Bed In Front Of The Window!

==

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you on Monday. 

 

 

 


Very Random Things

It's been A Week around here, let me tell you. I worked at our special election all day Tuesday (and by that I mean 16 hours, beginning at 6 am, mostly spent sitting on very hard folding chairs) (for a mere 79 voters at my precinct, but the school millage renewal did pass, so there is that). And then yesterday I had a Zoom board meeting in the morning and a Zoom art class all afternoon long. And then I discovered a major issue that is going to completely disrupt my photo scanning project, and that . . . just took all the wind out of my sails.

I mean. . . none of this is a Big Deal.
None of it.
But it has combined to throw me off my game (as if I have one). 
I'm glad I thought ahead and stuck this sticker in my planner this week. . . 

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Always a good reminder.

So. Because that's all the whining anyone needs to do (or read about) when it comes to minor inconveniences and silly blunders, here are three Very Random Things on a Thursday.

First. April has ended. . . which means National Poetry Month has ended . . . which means I'm not sharing poetry today. But I am sharing this stack of poetry books I purchased for my personal collection during April. (I'm very intentional about supporting poets and adding a few volumes every April.)

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Second, remember when I told you I have a love/hate relationship with houseplants? We're entering the "hate" phase again, unfortunately. I discovered spider mites on three of my plants. Two are now out the door and in the yard waste recycling bin (hopeless cases). I'm working hard to treat the third with organic options (soap, essential oils, rubbing alcohol), but I'm not confident that any of it will work. Oh, well. (And this photo has nothing to do with my spider mites or their treatment but I'm throwing it in anyway.)

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Third, Tom has unlocked the Pandemic Ponytail Achievement! This was his pandemic goal, so I'm not sure what he'll be doing next with his hair. (He did complain that it "gets in the way" just yesterday . . . ) So much suspense.

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I don't think I could get any more random than that if I tried.

Happy Thursday, everyone.
(And be sure to jump over to Carole's to read other Three on Thursday posts this week.)

==

Also. . . 

If any of you have used an outside photo scanning service, would you mind sharing your thoughts, experience, suggestions with me? Let's just say . . . I'm in the market for such. But I'm nervous about sending/shipping my actual photos . . .

 


You're My Blue Sky

[Click here for accompanying soundtrack.]
(As if the song hasn't already started playing in your head. . . )

This time, I managed to hit the sweater/weather match right on the nose!

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I actually knit a wool sweater I can wear for the next couple of weeks (given the current local forecast). This is a looser gauge, kinda swing-y sweater that screams "spring" to me -- especially in this particular yarn colorway. (It's called "Mother Earth" and it's from Miss Babs.) It's perfect for cool, spring weather -- when you still want to ward off the chill, but want to feel breezy and . . . not like "winter carnival." (Y'know?)

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You're my blue sky,
you're my sunny day.
Lord, you know it makes me high
when you turn your love my way.
Turn your love my way . . .

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You can find all the details here on Ravelry if you're interested.

And . . . here a little treat. You can watch the Allman Brothers perform Blue Sky (my favorite Allman Brothers song, by the way) for a little lift in your day!

 


The Merry Month of May

Ahhhhh. May. One of my favorite months! Blooms and buds. Green exploding everywhere. More consistent (sorta) weather patterns. I can ditch the socks and get out the flip-flops again.

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I really do love May. But there is one thing about May that generally (and surprisingly) gives me a bit of . . . consternation.

True confessions: It’s this whole #MeMadeMay thing. For several days now, I’ve been thinking about why, exactly, #MeMadeMay vexes me so. 

Before I launch into my thoughts about the whole thing . . . let’s back up a little bit. Because not everyone will know what I’m talking about here. So. #MeMadeMay . . . is a social media “challenge” for people who make their own clothes - #MeMades - to wear them and share them on the various platforms (Instagram, especially, but also Facebook, blogs, etc.). It’s designed as a way for “makers” to share their “makes.”

And what, you ask, could be vexing me so about THAT? (I know, right?Because, after all . . . I AM a “maker” with a closet full of “MeMades” . . . and I have been for most of my life.

In fact, as I’m scanning all the old family photos I’m pulling out of nooks and crannies everywhere (I swear this photo scanning and organizing project is going to take years and years; yet still I persist), I’ve been struck by, well . . . all the #MeMades! In nearly every photo, my sister and I are wearing dresses my mom made for us, or - as we got older - outfits I made for us.

Kym and diane last day of school 1968 kym 3rd grade di K

(Matching sister-culottes made by my mom.)

Growing up, my family had . . . enough. But we didn’t have extra. I always had enough to eat. I was always warm enough. I had proper outerwear and toys to play with and solid shoes. I was able to take dance classes and swimming lessons. But, as a kid, I knew that we didn’t have extra for store-bought dresses or shiny shoes or sparkly tights or the "real" Barbie clothes they sold in toy departments. I didn’t whine for the stuff, although I did keep elaborate wish lists of things I wanted . . . y’know should Ed McMahon ever come knocking on our door because we’d won the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes (my biggest hope for a bright future at the time). I knew how to “wait for payday.”

But we had plenty of dresses! Because my mom made them for us.

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(Fancy velvet dresses! My mom made all three.)

And I learned to sew myself when I was quite young. By the time I was in junior high school, I was making most of my own clothes. Back in those days, it wasn’t “cool” to make your own anything. (Or to like Home Ec. Or to strive to win all purple ribbons at the 4-H fair. Or to admit something was “homemade.”) No. . . back then, you needed to have store-bought clothes (and lots of them!), preferably purchased in town at one of the “exclusive” shops (Sweetbriar’s was the local dress shop preferred by the cool girls). But that wasn’t going to happen for me. 

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(Lookin' good in 7th grade! I made both my dress and my sister's jumper.) (We're with a tiny cousin.)

Anyway. Eventually . . . I got really good at sewing. I got good enough, in fact, that the other girls stopped making snotty comments about my “homemade” clothes.  Not because they were impressed with or valued my sewing skills, but because they just couldn’t TELL anymore. (I’ll admit . . . some of my creations in the early days were very Not Good. Years of sewing taught me how to choose the right kinds of fabrics for the patterns I wanted to make, that pressing your seams open as you sew was actually beneficial, and how to perfect the “telltale” signs of a homemade look: zippers, buttonholes, topstitching; that kind of thing.)

Back then, no one celebrated #MeMades. No one showed off their own handiwork. You hid the fact (at least from the masses of high school Mean Girls) that you sewed and knit for yourself!

So . . . I truly love the concept of sharing - publicly and visibly and with some fanfare! - #MeMades. I mean, what a great thing. It makes me so happy to see so many people making their own clothes. I love that others have discovered the benefits of creating their own garments: you get what you want, you can stretch your clothing budget (theoretically), you can fit YOUR OWN body, you can take pride in your accomplishments.

I love the celebration of all things #MeMade. I appreciate the attention that all my favorite crafts are getting this month. I’m inspired by seeing what other “makers” create. I take advantage of the pattern and fabric sales that show up in May to further encourage the #MeMaking. 

15-year-old me would have been over the moon about #MeMade May.
And yet . . . something about it all still . . . vexes me.

I think it’s the pressure and (and I’m just going to say it here . . . ) heavy-handedness that sometimes accompanies the challenge.

Because seeing all the #MeMadeMay posts popping up this month . . . can make the casual sewist or knitter feel like maybe they’re “not doing it right.” What if you haven’t amassed enough #MeMades to devote an entire month to wearing and posting a photo of a different #MeMade each day? Or what if your goal is to sew something now and then -- but you can't possibly consider filling your closet exclusively with #MeMades?  What if hearing other makers constantly deride ready-to-wear clothes makes you question your own closet decisions? Well . . . 

It can all feel like a bit like my high school experience . . . in reverse!

I think we always need to remember (and #MeMadeMay provides a perfect backdrop here) . . . that there is no one “right way” to do this "making" thing. (Or not do it.) Some of us enjoy making things that we can wear. Celebrate that! Some of us just don’t have the time, the skills, or the inclination to mess with it. Celebrate that! Some people get really into fashion and love having a closet-full-of-options. Some people don’t give a crap about that. Maybe your life goal is to never buy ready-to-wear again. Or maybe you only want to fill your closet with thrifted clothes. Or limit yourself to 33 items. Whatever works for you . . . works for you! It’s all good! Celebrate that! 

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(Bitchy high school Mean Girls? I made these overalls. And they are pretty awesome. So there!)

So, now that I've figure out what was bugging me . . . I’m ready to enjoy #MeMadeMay. To scroll through photos of really awesome things other “makers” have made -- to be inspired, to get fresh ideas, to celebrate what others have accomplished.

Be inspired. But never let the Mean Girls get you down. Y'know?

==

I'll be back on Wednesday. With (ahem) . . . a #MeMade. (And it's not my overalls.) I'm working a special election here tomorrow, and guessing I'll have plenty of time for knitting but no time for blogging. (It's a one-issue election. And it's not a controversial issue at all. We're expecting low turnout. . . ) See ya then.

 


Gardening. So Much More Than Pretty Flowers.

"A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself."
        –May Sarton (2014). 'At Seventy: A Journal'

You learn a lot of things when you garden. 

And I'm not just talking about soil composition, color balance, last-average-freeze-dates, pruning skills, or how to properly mulch a tree. That's all vital information for a gardener, but I'm actually talking about . . . 
Life.
Secrets of the Universe.
What Makes the World Go Around.

That kind of stuff.

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Case in point.

See that gorgeous, flowering redbud there in my front yard? It makes my heart leap a little bit everytime I see it out my front window . . . or whenever I walk the dogs up the hill in front of my house these days. I love it so!

And you know what?

I didn't plant it.
Neither did Tom.

It's a garden "volunteer!" It just . . . showed up one year. I was weeding out in that particular bed (which I refer to as the "Deer Salad Bar" because they eat whatever I plant there) (except for the hellebores) (because as far as I can tell, that's the only plant in my garden deer WON'T touch), and I noticed a little tree sprouting up. The leaves gave me pause . . . because they were heart-shaped . . . and I wondered if it might be a red bud that somehow ended up among my Austrian pines. I decided to just . . . let it be. And find out.

(Note: I get a LOT of "volunteers" growing in my garden. Many of them - the dreaded buckthorn, for example, or the English ivy my neighbor planted as ground cover, etc. - I dig out as soon as I find them. Others? I've learned to just . . . see how things go. It's easier that way.)

Anyway. Now, several years later, I have this rather glorious redbud in my front yard!

It gives me great delight every spring.

And it makes me think (a lot) about the very essence . . . of gardening. 

I mean, gardening . . . is really trying to tame a bit of nature for yourself. To make your little plot of land . . . do something it might not want to do, given its own rhythm and the whole "nature" thing. It takes a lot of work to keep formal, tidy gardens looking formal and tidy! I always tip my hat to those gardeners who manage to keep everything looking tip-top because . . . it ain't easy! Shoot . . . if you do what "good gardeners" do and create the soil conditions to grow whatever it is you want to grow (vegetables, flowers, shrubs, whatever), well . . . you're also going to invite the things you don't want to grow (weeds, volunteers, insidious ground cover). Because (nearly) every plant is looking for great soil and plenty of water, y'know? Nature finds ways to keep doing what it wants to be doing. And it wants to put down roots. To grow. To keep on keeping on!

So.
Back to my rogue redbud.

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(It really is a stunner, isn't it?)

This redbud is giving me more than just beautiful blooms right now. It's also reminding me that . . . 

  • You really can bloom where you are planted.
  • Sometimes the right answer is to just . . . let it be.
  • It's okay to be curious and see what happens.
  • Nature will do what nature does, and often, it disrupts.
  • Life is easier when we can allow ourselves to go with the flow.

Gardening is so much more than pretty flowers, y'know?

"The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway."
        – Michael Pollan (2007) ‘Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education’

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Enjoy the weekend!
I hope you find some beautiful, blue sky blooms in your corner of the world.

 

 

 

 


Blasting You With Poetry: Week 5

Welcome to another (which also happens to be the last) Thursday in April, filled with poetry!

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"You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket."
        --- John Adams

Today is Poem in Your Pocket day . . . first celebrated in 2002 and now celebrated each April on the last Thursday of the month. John Adams was on to something . . . carrying a poet in your "pocket" - someone whose words you know and can depend on -  is a great idea. I'd go further, though, and say that carrying a few poems "in your pocket" might be even better!

For me, having a poem in my pocket .  .  . just means that I have a few short and meaningful poems that I love, and that are universal and easy to "get." They're poems I can share. Poems that won't turn other people off. Poems that might actually get someone to smile. To feel better about their day. Or, maybe, to feel better about poetry, in general.

In previous years on Poem in Your Pocket day, I have chosen a poem and printed out a few pocket-sized copies. I carried them around with me and then I just . . . left them behind, randomly, as I went about my day. I've left poems in gym lockers and on grocery shelves, in doctor's waiting rooms and tucked into library books I was returning. That kind of thing. This year, well. I'm not planning on going anywhere today (what else is new). So I'll share the poem I'm carrying "in my pocket" with you.

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Instructions on Not Giving Up
Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

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Today's poem was originally published in The Carrying: Poems by Ada Limón, 2018, Milkweed Editions. For more information about the poet, check out her entry here, at the Poetry Foundation

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I hope you'll stop by and "blast yourself" with the poems we're carrying in our pockets today . . . on Bonny's, Kat's, and Sarah's blogs. And . . . thanks so much for joining us this month as we've shared our love of poetry.