Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another day in the yard

I will embrace the day I have no more big projects and can just work on maintaining and tweaking the yard without chugging down Aleve and spending so much time in the hot tub I'm pruny.

Picked up the last 20 patio blocks for the landing pad.  It will be interesting to see what happens the first time we try putting the canned ham on it.  I'm expecting the patio blocks to all shatter, the sides of the landing pad to burst out on to the lawn and the whole long, exhausting project to be a complete disaster.  But then again...I'm an optimist and it might be worse than all that.

Another round of weeding and the yard should be looking okay for our gathering on Thursday.  We have a bunch of Russian students coming to work for the summer and two of them will be staying with us for the first week.

It is good to have an incentive to clean up things and get projects done...nothing like inviting people over to get the house cleaned.
Today I'm waiting for the septic pumping guy to come and clean us out...'cause that's what we people without city water and sewer do.  We believe that a royal flush beats a full house any day.

Long Live Queen of the Household chores

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fairy Gardens

Fairy gardens are just smaller plantings to set the stage for fairy activity.  I've had a lot of fun playing with these types of things before, but now that I've added my doll props into the mix I'm having way too much fun!  Creeping wire vine was used to twine this arbor for the seating area in this fairy garden.  This is a larger container and has miniature hostas.  The moss was pulled off the railroad ties when they were removed from the patio area.  Everything in this yard gets recycled or composted...nothing is wasted.

Since I have more metal chairs than needed for my dolls, I decided to plant one up with some small ivy and sedums.  

Moss was used on the bottom to create a structure for it.  We'll see if it grows enough to spread and cover more of the chair.

This one is one of my favorites.  There must be homeless fairies wandering around the gardens with their shopping carts full of possessions, right?  

Or maybe this is just a fairy doing her shopping.
The large hen & chick is called Metallica and almost glitters.

I have a little wheelbarrow needs to be painted and then have holes drilled in the bottom before planting.
I guess I'll need to buy some more small plants for it and add some tiny garden tools.  I have a feeling these will be continuing for some time.

Long Live the Fairy Queen

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A hosta love affair

I love hostas of all kinds, but the miniatures are a favorite of mine, probably because the deer are too lazy to bend down that far.

The names are so much fun.  My newest ones are called 'tick-tock' and 'mouse trap'.
Theres an entire series of mice - mouse ears, country mouse, you name it...they have it.

The deer seem to be leaving the hostas alone, it's eerie how little damage I'm finding.  
I added some new hostas to the waterfall area and the fairy garden behind the house.  It's amazing to see the larger ones push their way up out of the ground in a matter of days.

I'm still in pursuit of one called White Feather that is almost completely white - haven't found it yet.  Might have to mail order it if it's not cost prohibitive.  I'm not sure which I like best, hunting for them, planting them or watching them grow!

Long live the Queen of the Hosta

Friday, May 27, 2011

Not quite ten pounds...bummer

Before heading out of Dodge I went for my Weight Watchers weigh in and found my weight had gone up a tad.  Also, when entering my last week's weight into my online tracker I found I had only lost 9.8 pounds, not ten.  I am NOT giving back my sticker and I already received my massage reward.  It's like buying something on credit...bummer.  But, I had still been allowed to rock the five pounds of fat.
We have a replica of what five pounds of fat visually looks like.  It's pretty gross and fascinating.

After doing my weigh in I headed to my daughter's house to work on cleaning out the basement.  But first we attended the granddaughter's softball game.  It was thrilling to watch the progress from T-ball to softball.  No longer do they sit in the outfield and string together dandelions or run the bases in the wrong direction.  She caught a line drive while playing second base.  

Actually, I believe the ball hit her, but she managed to bobble it around and maintain a grip on it like a slippery piece of chocolate and made an out. 

I'm not related to this young lady at all, but I loved her eyes and freckles.

On Friday morning after the kids were off to school we tackled the depths of the basement and sorted things into various categories and put things to be donated in the back of my car.  I scored a couple of treasures during this purging...two wigs, one really cool child's sock and some polish money.  One person's trash is another's treasure.  
On the way out of town I dropped them off at one of her favorite charities and made my way home while testing out Maggie Magellan, my GPS.  It will take a while to get used to her, but I'm sure we'll become friends....eventually.

Long Live Queen of the Five Pound Fat Blob

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Funny stuff

I had the honor of being the presenter at the camera club with a brief program on humor in photography.  Humor is my special love and I hope I convinced some to see things differently.

Very often it's only the perspective that makes a photo funny.  Often, it's using photo manipulation to enhance or distort details.

When I got home I thought of all the photos I forgot to add to my presentation....like this one.
I had the parents pose in front of the cabin and had the girls dancing in the grass so they'd be easy to extract and place in the sky.  It was a fun photo to put together and one of my earlier attempts at this kind of thing.
This is a cactus from our trip last year - totally untouched.  It's just being able to see the face as it is.
I won't be posting for a day or two as I will be visiting these wonderful creatures.  Left Brain and She Devil will be hanging out alone for a day or two. 

Long Live Queen of the Funny Photos

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The vegetable garden

Yesterday was a busy day working on the landing pad and then planting more plants.  Once again, they are all in the ground and watered in.  This body is getting too old to have this much fun.

The vegetable garden also allows for some creativity.  I have a mix of edibles and flowers.  It's fun to come up with interesting ways to prop things up instead of just using the boring old cages.  The bright red ladders are perfect for my tomatoes and add some color.

Last year I started working with raised gardens and put in boardwalks to keep my feet from getting so muddy.  It makes working in the vegetable garden much more enjoyable.  I also have a small sink by the door so I can rinse the vegetables before carrying them into the house.  I'm hoping to replace the potting table (which is starting to fall apart) with a cedar raised table.  This could be used for potting or growing smaller vegetables up higher.  Or it could become one incredible fairy garden!

Each year I plant up a big 'salad bowl' with some decorative plant in the center and various herbs mixed in.  It's attractive and easy to access for salads.

The new tomatoes added this year are called Tumbler Tom and feature cherry tomatoes in a hanging basket.  I put one in a pot in the garden and the other in a pot on a stand.

The vegetable garden also contains plants that would be eaten if left outside for the deer, as well as a cutting garden.  

A small planter of everbearing strawberries is new this year.  It's fun to take one or two while working in the garden for a sweet treat.  Last year I planted a blueberry bush, so I'm hoping to get some blueberries this year.

An asparagus bed was added outside the fenced in area with 10 roots.  Hopefully this will allow us some fresh asparagus for our meals in a few years.

So, I'm hoping to have lots of fresh organic food this summer if all goes well.  Last year I set up a table by the side of the road for the over abundance and it was fun to see neighbors do their drive by shopping and pick up cucumbers and tomatoes.

Long Live the Queen of the Veggies

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Monday

Saw the new Johnny Depp pirate movie yesterday with the young lady I tutor for reading.  It was her first time experiencing 3D and she was quite impressed.  We managed to get home before the storm that hit our area with our very first small tornado.  Supposedly where three rivers come together this never happens, but it appears Mother Nature decided to make an exception to the rule.

The backyard project is almost complete...the railroad ties have been removed and the retaining wall blocks are in place.  The gently curving lines are much nicer than the hard straight lines and sharp edges.  

It will look great when the vines start growing and all the containers are in place.

There's always more to be done.

The pond area is coming back from it's clean up earlier this year.
Here's a photo of what it looked like in June 2010.  I've added some more plants to the waterfall area, but not all are up and full yet, so it helps to have these photos to remember what it could look like.

Well, short post for today.  I need to get cracking on my household chores.  More photos to come soon of the fairy gardens I've put together.

Long live the Queen of Gardens

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A wild ride

Indigo bunting on feeder, has nothing to do with
today's post, but isn't he pretty?
On Thursday I achieved my goal of losing 10 pounds.  I needed two more pounds for this goal and had lost 1.6.  So, Becky had me take off my shoes (one pound) which gave me 2.6.  She stopped me from stripping off the rest of my clothes in my excitement.  Therefore, I am officially down 10.6 pounds.  I suppose that's cheating but we'll do anything for that sticker.  Then I got to rock the baby - the replica of what five pounds of fat looks like.  It's yellow and blobby-quite gross and very reassuring to rock and then hand back.
Later that night my garden group met, always a late night with decadent desserts, so it was late when I finally got to bed.
Friday morning started bright and early with another trip with Ms M to the Twin Cities this time in search of more...yup...more plants.  We spent an hour trying to find our friend who is in a nursing home in Rochester, with both our GPS's up and running for guidance.  It appeared my Maggie Magellan did not like her Miss Garmon and there was quite a fight on the dashboard.  Since Maggie was being rude, she was unceremoniously stuffed back into her travel bag and Miss Garmon guided us the rest of the day.  Sorry Maggie.
Rose breasted gross beak 
We managed to find our friend, who after battling breast cancer and then a brain tumor has given up the battle.  It was sad and unsettling to see her like this, but comforting to be able to hug her and say good bye.  After this somber awaking to the fragility of life we plunged headfirst into our plant pursuits with the zest of two women determined to savor ever second of this life on earth.
Our plant shopping has been somewhat disappointing this year, very few unusual plants being found for sale and quantities are down.  I'm guessing that due to the economy right now garden centers are trying to stay alive and only going with the more common varieties.  Oh well, it gives me something to chase after next year.
On our last stop Miss Garmon had some fun with us and took us over, around and through some strange county roads we'd never seen before and hope to never see again.  
Holy cow!  What was that!?!  I was not able to swerve to avoid it.  A woodchuck had run directly in front of me!  Luckily he had good timing and managed to avoid the tires and sped off unharmed, but it was scary.  On one of our trips to photograph round barns I had a similar close call with a suicidal turkey.  So far I've managed to avoid hitting anything, but it got me thinking. To make as much room as possible for plants I had removed everything, including my little tool kit I carry in the car.  I explained to Miss M that it would torture me to hit something and have it not dead, but suffering on my account, and I would not be able to end it's misery in any way.  Then I mumbled 'I need to keep a hammer in the glove box... in case I need to kill something' and she glanced out of the corner of her eyes and inched a little closer to her door.  I wonder what made her so nervous?
bloodroot leaves with dew
Ms M's directions clearly showed it was only three miles off the highway and well marked. What the ....?  We finally pulled up to the garden center many twisty miles later to find they had just closed.  We missed it by five minutes, but had not yet taken down the open sign, so I proceeded up the road. Thankfully, the lovely lady allowed us to shop anyway so I started tossing plants into my wagon as fast as I could since I'd not had a lot of luck earlier and her plants are reasonably priced and thick.  We thanked her and got her directions for finding our highway again (three miles) and headed home.  
Campanula Miss M gave me because it turned out too purple
Now, part of our plant shopping tradition is to have ice cream on the way home and our sights were set on the Nelson Creamery for some of the most creamy homemade ice cream  available.  But, thanks to Miss Garmon and her treachery, we arrived shortly after they closed and there was no nice lady to say, come on in...what would you like?  Bummer.  So, we headed to Subway for a sandwich and finished up yet another adventure.
We got to her house at 8:30pm and unloaded her plants and I went home and left my new friends in the car until the next day.
Long Live the Queen of Plants

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The plants are in the ground!

Yesterday at 5:30 the sun peeked through the window and the birds were singing...time for a quick breakfast then out to plant my new friends.
Spent some quality time in the vegetable garden putting in my seeds and vegetable plants I'd purchased earlier.  Also put together some really cute fairy gardens and potted containers for the deck. Photos to come later.
I emptied out the rest of the soil from the trailer and put it back in it's spot, where I learned it's hard to control a heavy trailer going downhill. Luckily the brick wall broke my stop  before hitting the neighbor's boat. 

At 2:00 I quit to grab some lunch when it started raining and make a run to Menards for a couple of the things I needed.  Since it was not raining hard and there was no lightning, I went right back out to finish up. 

When Left Brain got home I went in to clean up the kitchen and fix some supper. 

Today will be spent cleaning and catching up on paper work again and hoping for good results at the weigh in.

Long Live the Queen of the Aching Muscles

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More plants

There's always room for more!
Yesterday I spent another delightful day with Ms M in search of the perfect plants.  We started at Klinger's in Chippewa Falls and then went to Lucy's for lunch and shopping.  Found a cute black wrap and a scarf to add to my collection of things I never seem to wear.  Now that my jeans are down one size I have renewed interest in dressing nicer, so I'm  fantasizing about the new wardrobe I'll have next year.  
Then we stopped at Chippewa Valley Growers for more plants and exhausted ourselves to the point we needed to visit Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream therapy.  I'm a bit afraid of what the scale will say tomorrow at Weight Watchers. 
Our last stop was at Down to Earth which involved a lengthy backtracking when I failed to spot the correct turn off.  We got to see some places we've never seen before, including a house with a picnic table on the roof.  A pointed roof.  That made us both go hmmm.  We managed to get home about 7PM, early for us.

On the way I made the mistake of sharing a story from my past.  When will I learn not to give her ammo like this?  When I was very young and dumb I would go deer hunting with my first husband.  Love makes you do dumb things.  Love and hunger.  After freezing my butt off walking around the woods and trying to be quiet (never easy for me) I pointed out what we were doing wrong.   After all, I explained, if the government went to all the trouble to figure out where the deer crossed, why not hunt on the road by the sign?  With any luck we could shoot one, it would stagger over to the car and fall across the hood - slam dunk.  Tag it, gut it and drive it home.  He laughed so hard I'm sure we scared away all the deer in the proximity.  Marti thought this was funny also.  It made me not want to tell her that that's why all deer accidents happen on the right side - that's the way the picture shows them coming.  You'd never expect to get hit from the other side, right? 

Long Live the Queen Deer Whisperer

Monday, May 16, 2011

Glorious Monday

I vaguely recall a training video that only the government could possibly put out called "thank G-d it's Monday!" It was to get us fired up about starting the workweek or some such rot.  Now that I'm retired, I finally get it.  Thank G-d it's Monday!  
Now I can resume my life and shop when the stores aren't so crowded and sleep in if I want to.

The landing pad for the canned ham is nearly completed.  I need to revisit Menard's for more patio blocks.  At times I feel I am single handedly depleting their supply of brick materials.  Then I need a couple of large flagstones for the pond.  I'm creating a hiding spot from the raccoons for them. 
Hey, I'm not fat...I'm just big boned!
One came down from the hill today and he was much larger than my favorite neighborhood dog, a West Highland Terrier.  It appeared to be a good 30 pounds or more.  I wonder if he'd join me for Weight Watcher meetings.

There's still a small amount of dirt left in the trailer that I will probably just pile in the garden until needed.  We've put in almost six yards of soil so far. That just seems like the logical place to store dirt...I mean soil.  Then we'll drive the tractor and car over the landing pad to see if it holds.  I sure hope this works, cause I don't know what else to try if it doesn't.

The seating area in front of the house looks just adorable, at least to me.  Left Brain just kind of shakes his head and keeps walking.  He just can't wrap his brain around little seating areas that nobody really sits on.  Oh well.  I wonder how he'll feel about the legs sticking out from under the tree when I'm done with that project.

Long Life Queen of the Yard Make-over!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Boy am I sore from all the work yesterday... needed an extra long soak in the hot tub this morning.  I went to a Fairy Garden Workshop at La Crosse Floral Saturday and then to synagogue.  I've missed so many services as I've been gone or have had company and it felt good to connect again.

I got the kitchen tools from Akia up and they are working great.  It's fun to have everything so handy and it looks a kitchen now where someone actually cooks.  And I do...so I don't have to fake it any more.

It was a misty gray day yesterday, perfect for everything I planted.  I need to stop at Menards to pick up the patio blocks for the new creation in front of the house.  There was no color there so I added a lime green table and two chairs, a trellis and colorful flying fish to brighten things up.  Now I need to find some electric blue pots, perhaps some orange ones also and bright flowers to plant in them.  Now I've got color.

Then 20 more retaining wall blocks to finish the beds behind the house.  I really like the way that's coming along.  It allowed me to transform the straight edges and sharp corners into a gently curving pathway.

I rearranged some rocks in the pond and managed not to fall in, which is amazing when you need to work on a muddy slope facing downward.  It's a good thing I'm accustomed to being on the slippery slope in life on a regular basis.   Doing this hides the plastic liner better when the water level gets low and gives some nice areas for the birds and frogs to sit. 

The pit remains needing more dirt - will order that for next week.  I asked my neighbor if I could borrow his tamper and he said he broke it the day before.  Later in the day he came over with a new, improved one he purchased...so that I could borrow it.  What a guy! He truly is the Apple Valley Super Hero.

There's just nothing like mucking around in the yard.

Long Live the Queen of Mud

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Still Alice

I just finished another book by Lisa Genova called 'Still Alice'.  This one deals with Alzheimer's Disease and the story is told through the eyes of Alice, a 50 year old professor at Harvard who has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease.  What an amazing insight to this terrible illness.  

The first one I'd read was called Left Neglected and deals with the strange disorder caused by a traumatic brain injury where the patient does not recognize having a left size.  It is a true condition, as bizarre as it sounds.  Another fascinating glimpse into a strange world and the courage and humor of the woman in the story dealing with this situation.  It's another good case of don't use the cell phone while driving.

Both are good books and I can't find any others that she has written, so I guess I'll find something else.  I had a friend offer me her book to read and I said I couldn't transfer it to my Kindle so it wouldn't work.  She then reminded me that I could just open the pages and read it....oh, yeah.  I kinda forgot you could do that.  Thanks JuJuBean....I will accept your offer.

Long Live Queen of the Kindle (and other books too)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the Thirteenth

I love Fridays and the thirteen is usually a good day for me.  It still amazes me that I lost 1.8 pounds last week with as much food as I've been dumping down my throat.  Maybe it's from all the heavy lifting I've been doing?  

I purchased 200 retaining wall blocks and just went back to buy the last 20 needed.  I used them to make the landing pad for the canned ham and redo the pathway in the back.  I'm digging out the old railroad ties and replacing them with the blocks.  I've removed the old bricks and patio blocks from the other side and brought them to the front of the house to use on the landing pad.

The first load of dirt arrived this morning.  I was so afraid two yards would be a huge pile and I'd have lots left over.  Not to worry.  I will need another four yards to complete the project.  So, being tempted by the rich blackness of the soil, I started digging out parts of my existing garden beds and dumping it into the pit and stealing the good dirt for the beds.  I just love to haul dirt back and forth.  If there's a shovel in my hands there's a smile on my face.  It also allows me to eat a bit more than normal.

The weigh in yesterday showed another 1.8 pounds gone and I'm official down 9 pounds.  One more pound and I'll have achieved the first goal of losing 5% or my total body weight.  Then I can look at the next goal of 10%.  Step by step.  The best way to eat an elephant is to take one bite at a time.  I wonder how many points that would be?

The photos of the Indigo Bunting were not very good, but I'm posting it anyway just to show how blue they are.  I've seen and heard the orioles nearby, so I bought them some oranges today.  Now I can only hope to snap a photo of the hummingbird that comes around and that the scarlet tanager visits me sometime this year.

Long Life the Queen of Digging

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The plant shopping has begun!

I can always add one more plant.
Yesterday was my first all day plant shopping marathon with Marvelous Marti, my friend and navigator.  I'd never get anywhere if it were not for her and her organizational skills.  All day she kept pulling things out of her smallish sized tote bag that couldn't possibly really hold all that stuff.  It was like watching clowns getting out of the tiny car at the circus.

We outflanked some of the construction zones but still got held up when we came across two semi trucks spooning in the middle of the highway.  Lots of flashing lights, but they were ahead of us, not behind...so that was good for us.  

She goes into the garden centers with her clip board and spread sheets showing the plants she is looking for, a spread sheet of what she has already purchased and other documents that appear to have a top secret clearance.  I go in caffeinated and with a credit card.

One of the workers at Kopke's who was helping us was clearly in awe.  He has no idea how much deeper the organizational skills go. She has markers with her name to claim which boxes of plants are hers and not mine. I think she gets suspicious when she finds plants in my yard that she purchased but can't find in hers.  Ooops.  It must have jumped a box.  I have several plants in the garage waiting for me but couldn't tell you what many of them were.  I only remember buying a pink ladyslipper for $30 that had three buds breaking the ground.  Such a steal compared to what I've paid...ooops.  Left Brain may be reading this blog also, so we'll just stop there.

We had a great day and I was so excited when I noticed a restaurant called Taj Mahal on the way to K&W Nursery in Janesville.  Yes, traveling three hours away for the right plants is not a problem for us.  I could hardly wait for lunch and we doubled back to enjoy Indian food.  We were worried it might not be open for lunch but the sign clearly said "lunch buffet".  We leaped from the car and pulled on the doors.  Nothing.  We pushed on the doors.  Nothing.  Then she noticed the sign that said "coming soon".  Rats!  So we went to a lovely Mexican restaurant instead that had an adorable courtyard scene and an even more adorable waiter who asked for our ID's when we ordered the margaritas.  Gotta love that.  

We managed to doge all the thunderstorms with the exception of a brief hail storm.  The rain would let up as soon as we were inside somewhere safe and cozy.  We ended up at Culvers for supper and than again later at another Culvers for ice cream.  I can't wait to see what my Weight Watcher's weigh in today looks like!  Bad girl.  Oh well, it was a fun day of shopping and eating and I'll be working outside most of the day tomorrow finishing the landing pad for the canned ham when the dirt arrives, so I'll be back on track.

Long Live the Queen of Over Eating

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

After the storm is over

Do I look happy about it?
Yesterday was a lost day, no energy and when the thunderstorm started to move in I cancelled my tutoring session and went back to bed and took a late morning nap.  The day was pretty much spent catching up on paperwork that had been neglected for some time.

After I snapped out of it, I rearranged the living room.  There's nothing like shoving furniture around the room to invigorate me and change things up.  Now all the chairs face the front windows providing a cinematic view of our backyard.  The first show was a horror flick starring a Coopers hawk killing a blue jay.    But the next show was a romance, featuring a male cardinal feeding seeds to the female.  That's more like it!  Now if the Indigo Buntings will just come back for their photo shoot I can post those photos.

Todays activities involve picking up another 50 retaining wall blocks (groan) and finishing the landing pad for the canned ham and then starting on the flower beds behind the house.  It will be nice when it's done and I won't have to deal with rotting railroad ties and landscape timber any more in my old age, which seems to be rolling along.  I remember being told that once you're over the hill you start to pick up speed, so I must continue my heavier projects while I still can.

Then I will have lunch with some friends and run my errands and resume my life.  I hope all this gardening is helping to make my next weigh in a success on Thursday.

Long Live the Queen of Furniture Relocation

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dreary skies today

I am so thankful that Mother's Day was sunny and bright.  If it were windy and gray like today it may have pushed me over the edge.  I'm so glad that holiday is done.  I've made it past the first year anniversary of my mother's death and now mother's day. Next will come her birthday later this month.  Each day and remembrance brings a little more closure. 
Thank you to all who reached out to me with their comments and insights as to their own mother relationships.  
I do believe that my experience is not unique in any way.  There were many of us who never heard the comforting words or felt the hugs, possibly due to the fact that's just not the way things were done back in their day.  It helps to know I'm not alone in this and that many of you have taken the same approach I have in trying to change this with our children and grandchildren.

It's lovely to have acknowledgement from your children that they value you as their parent and it hurts when you hear nothing from them.  To me being ignored is the most painful, possibly due to my own invisible childhood.  But, the underlying fact is that you have to create your own life.  To take what circumstances you have been given, good or bad, and make them work for you.  Turn your life into the one you want to live, not just the hand you have been dealt. There is no magic to having someone make you feel good or being satisfied.  You must love yourself first and take care of your own needs, no one can do that for you.

I celebrated mother's day by going to a Chinese buffet with my trusty Kindle and eating and reading, two of my favorite activities.  Then I met up with a friend and went to the production of Chicago at our local community theater.  Had some leftovers for supper and watched television.  Pretty typical night for me, but a comfortable one.  Now if I could just get out in the garden!

Long Live the Queen of Survival

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My first truly happy mothers day

Mother's Day has always been a tricky one for me.  How to honor a woman who had a transparent dislike for me most of my life?  I have considered creating a line of greeting cards for dysfunctional families to help them out.  Most of the typical ones on the market are too flowery, too gushy, too full of lies.  I really needed one that said "Happy mother's day, I'm so glad abortion was not available in your day."  She always made if very clear that if she had that option, I would not be here.
After working through many decades of fear alternating with loathing, it is refreshing to not have to pay false homage to her, to be free of the hoopla that surrounds this holiday.  The many years I took care of her I would pretend she was just a sick old woman that needed my care, a stranger I didn't know (which wasn't far from the truth), and in that way I could perform my duties. 
It has been a year since her death on May 5th and I arranged to have a quiet, gentle day to be ready for any emotions that surfaced.  I spent time in the company of my garden group at a nursery (always fun), had a quiet lunch at my favorite soup place (Pickerman's) and then had a soothing massage at Caring Hands (784-9495).  It was a most perfect day.
It was in the midst of the massage, maybe due to the essential oils Kathy uses, more likely due to her wonderful spirit, that I felt a great deal of the anger and resentment melt away from me.  I just let it go and immediately felt lighter and more content.  It is time to begin my healing. 
I do believe that my goal of losing weight is now possible as I am out from under the dark cloud that surrounded her. She would always remind me of how heavy I was and I think I kept the weight packed on like a suit of armor to shield myself from her.  It was a visible barrier and when she made me nervous or feeling hurt I would soothe myself with food, taking in the nourishment I never got from her.  Now I have the nourishment of friends and family that love me openly and am able to let down my walls, being free of her attacks.
Death is so final.  All the things I would have liked to have asked, but were afraid to, will never be said out loud now.  "Do you love me now?"  "Are you proud of me in any small way?"  When asked by the chaplain why I never pushed these questions at the end of her life, I explained that I was afraid of the answer.  My mother did not lie or mince words, she just didn't have that 'polite filter' that comes in so handy.  To not ever hear "I love you" or "I'm proud of you" allowed me to fantasize that maybe she really did and just couldn't say it.  To ask and be told "no" would have been too devastating, I just could never risk it.  And now I'll never know.
So, I ask this favor of you mother's out there on this special day.  Give your children your blessing.  Tell them to their face that you are proud of them, that you are happy to have achieved motherhood through their birth.  Tell them directly that you love them.  Please don't ever do this disservice to your children and let them always wonder if they were enough or feel they were a mistake.
Long live the Queen of Being Enough

Friday, May 6, 2011

Okay, just some more

I've posted all the barns now, and some of the haunted houses, so these are just a few of the extra photos I liked.

I chose to show this windmill with gray skies, which is closer to what it actually looked like. Although the earlier posting of the windmill in the sunset was nice, it was totally bogus...pure Photoshop.

The old rusty license plate tucked into the edge of the barn.

I wished I could have made out what the other sign said.  Perhaps it was left over from someone waiting at the DMV?

The robin sitting on a rusty old barb wired fence.  

There was a lot of barb wire, they took their fences very seriously.

Oh yeah, there was one more rusty old thing that I did take a picture of that day...my friend busy with her camera at one of the barns.  Don't tell her, okay?

Long Live (if she doesn't find out) the Queen of Candid Camera

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Last of the round barn photos

I believe I have them all posted now, as well as some of the other fun shots taken during the day of old rusty things.

There's something about old deserted buildings that just pull at me.  I always wonder about the lives of the people who lived there and where they went... or if they might be buried in the basement. 

I really need to stop reading so many murder mysteries.

This one made me chuckle.  They put a home addition on top of an old silo.  This is recycling at it's best in our backwoods.  All I could think of is the expression "a square peg in a round hole".

This was just part of one of the barns, but it had such a warmth to it.  I used a posterization filter on this photo to enhance the corrugated metal of the barn.
I especially liked the bright yellow of the new leaves of the weeping willow.
Long Live the Queen of Old Stuff