Archives for category: gardening

I had a weirdly difficult day yesterday. My mood quickly soured during the morning commute, though I couldn’t pin down quite why; it wasn’t that bad. I made good time. Drivers were the usual assortment of human beings being entirely human. I shrugged it off and restarted my experience with a cup of coffee, and the completion of some relatively easy-but-tedious tasks that had been pushed off earlier in the week. Satisfying.

My day continued as a rollercoaster ride of along a spectrum of emotions, hitting lows of vague frustration and irritability, riding brief highs of satisfaction, contentment, or eagerness. Up and down. Again and again. Hours of it. Day’s end found me eager to begin the weekend, but the commute home was an unpleasant continuation – more of the same. It was a bit like playing the game of living with all the settings on “difficult”. lol

Something was definitely nagging at me, keeping me irritated, and as much as I wanted (very much) to blame something external, I have come to terms with how often whatever is “up with me” is generally something both within me, and within my own control. So… I went looking for it in the one place I know to check, my meditation cushion. 🙂

Search within; it’s closest.

Yeah…so… I didn’t get anywhere definite with that, but I did feel better. Calm. Content. Balanced. I let go of the irritation. I regained my smile. Throughout the evening, I still caught myself punctuating unexpected moments with a discontented sigh, or a deep cleansing breath. I didn’t take it personally, and the evening was quiet and pleasant.

I woke this morning with a smile, a calm heart, and a clear awareness of what had been aggravating me so deeply in the background; I was thinking about buying a new car. I was considering it with a great deal of excitement. I was taking steps in that direction without really considering all the consequences of the decision. I’ve embraced having a car, and the convenience of getting around with greater ease than public transit allows, but it is a bigger car than I’d ideally like, if I had chosen it for my own needs. I’d love a sub-compact SUV, something with some guts, maybe a little sporty… I pre-shopped over days, and made plans to do some test drives this weekend, with some eagerness (I can just go do this!)… Although… I’d already also planned a quiet productive weekend at home, taking care of home and hearth and meeting other needs, that do indeed need to be met… The conflict implied in that bit of planning nagged at me all day yesterday without really being sufficiently obvious to resolve with any ease. This morning? I get it. I don’t need a new car. I don’t need a different car. I have a car. It’s in good condition. It’s comfortable. It is fuel-efficient. It is safe. It is enough. (More than enough.)

The garden calls to me; there are roses to deadhead, weeding and watering to do… and moments to enjoy.

Feeling like lost balance has been restored. I canceled test-drive plans. It isn’t “time” to buy another car, or a different car, or a newer car. I have what I need. There are other things I would use limited resources for, financially, and it would be an exceedingly frivolous move to buy a new car right now. I decide to put my attention on my actual needs, and take care of the woman in the mirror with greater skill – by telling her “no” on this one. 🙂

I haven’t even finished moving in yet! The studio remains unfinished, and not yet work-ready.

I finish my coffee while I finish reviewing my budget and looking for opportunities to be comfortably frugal, more focused on legitimate needs, and things I can take care of that would be significant quality of life improvements (a car would not qualify; I have a nice one already). I’ve got quite a list of such things, as it happens, and a weekend to do some of those things. 🙂 It’s a good place to begin, again.

 

Waking up was hard this morning, but with some commitment, I managed it. I did not sleep well last night, and it was very late before I was able to fall asleep. Today, I’ll park at the nearby-ish park-n-ride location, and ride the bus to work. I am not sufficiently rested to be driving in commuter traffic.

Emotionally, I am in a far better place this morning than I was the evening before last, or, again, last night. My visit to see my therapist was well-timed, and the offered insights were helpful.

I arrived home to roses in bloom.

A pleasantly long conversation with my Traveling Partner ended my evening, and although I have been feeling lonelier than usual lately, it definitely went a long way toward putting that right, just hearing the love in his voice.

Moments matter. I make time to really appreciate seeing all the roses recovered from the summer heat and the move.

Waking up is still a struggle this morning. I’m making today work on about 3 hours of nightmare-filled sleep. I sip my coffee, relieved to find it is not too hot to safely drink and drain the cup. I make a second. I’m eager for the weekend after a couple fairly stressful weeks. I even have plans (and if I didn’t, my plan would be to make the drive down to see my partner) – this weekend is Musicfest NW. I’m pretty excited about the lineup. I’m almost as excited about my appointment with my new eye doctor Saturday morning, though, as I am about the music. LOL (I really really need new glasses.)

A few minutes go by, fuzzy and vague, music in the background. I lose track of time thinking about moments that are not now. I smile, finish off the last of coffee number two and pull myself back to “now”. Being present, even for the painful moments, the tired moments, the frustrating moments, matters so much. Life is an experience, disconnecting from it sort of defeats the purpose of living.

I allow myself a moment to “reset”. I’m okay. There’s climate and weather, right? The “climate” of this life is fairly choice, quite good actually, much of the time. I’ve still got emotional weather to deal with now and again. I’m very human.

The morning sky reminds me that change is a thing, and life itself has cycles and seasons; the still-pre-dawn-at-this-hour sky becomes a metaphor and a reminder. I make coffee number three, and begin again. My results do vary, and there are verbs involved… I’m definitely having my own experience. 🙂

There’s a metaphor in the resilience of a rose bush. 🙂

I slept in today, which was lovely, even though I woke with a stuffy head, a headache, and aching joints. I thought maybe I was coming down with a cold, but as I woke up, moved around a bit, showered, and got myself going for the day, I began feeling better. So… maybe not a cold.

I had a clear plan for the day, it unraveled almost immediately. If I were deeply emotionally invested to the details as planned, I’d be struggling with disappointment, frustration, and feeling aggravated. I’ve learned a lot about contentment over the last couple of years, and generally speaking, lasting sustainable contentment requires a couple of simple-but-harder-than-they-appear practices, in my own experience. Firstly, refraining from becoming emotionally invested in an outcome is super helpful. Then also, it’s a good practice to avoid holding implicit unstated expectations (of myself, events, or other people). Then, one more, sometimes super challenging, practice; letting go of attachment, just generally. Doesn’t mean “nothing matters”, that’s not it at all, it’s more that however much something I’ve planned may feel urgent, important, or necessary, circumstances can and do intervene, other people are human and also have freewill, and sometimes – no, seriously – sometimes I’m just mistaken, or lacking in complete information at some point that results in a plan breaking down.

So, today, when I woke very much not feeling like doing a lot of things, at all, I took a look down my list and noticed that grocery shopping properly, getting fresh produce into the house, and restocking the pantry of some exhausted supplies seemed to be overdue. So – I went to do that, figuring it would be a simple enough errand to run, in the early morning.

When I started the car, the “low tire pressure” warning light came on. Huh. Well – okay, there’s a tire place right up the road, quite nearby. Easily handled. Since I’m doing that, I’ll get the oil changed, and the tires rotated – on the way to the grocery store. Nice. I’m feeling super efficient and adulting with skill, now, yeah? 😀 I did the shopping. Got my nails done. Got home… and now that list doesn’t seem so daunting. I check off all the things I’d just done (all of which were on my list, anyway).

I continue to assemble a new updated weekend “bug out bag” for spontaneous road-trip-ery; having the car opens a lot of interesting doors. I check my calendar for upcoming weekends to spend with my Traveling Partner down south where he is working. I add some calendar events to my calendar, and find myself wondering about the holidays. Is it too soon to send him an invitation for the Yule holiday hear at home with me? (Not for me, it isn’t! lol)

Right about then is when I realized why the day was feeling so terrifically satisfying; I feel at home. I’m “home making”, today. I smile. Pause for a coffee break and a few minutes to write. I shrug off my utter failure to score tickets to see Macklemore in Portland in October (those tickets went fast) and send my Traveling Partner a calendar event to spend that weekend with him. Nothing to regret about the way that turned out. 🙂

I move down the list, and around the house, checking off tasks as I complete them. I water the garden. Feed the fish. Do the dishes. Start a new batch of sprouts. I’ll probably just keep at it until I hit the 6 hour mark or so, then call it a day well-spent, put my feet up, and relax. 🙂

…I still haven’t hooked up the TV or stereo. lol I guess I could do that too, at this point, with very little risk of over-indulging in “brain candy” (videos, anime, YouTube content…) or derailing my productivity. Taking a break from all that for a couple weeks now and then seems a healthy choice for me, particularly while I am rebuilding broken or bent routines affected by a change in circumstances – or address.

This is where I live. This is “home”. It’s not an instantaneous thing, and there are verbs involved here, too, and a commitment to “make it my own” in so many little ways. That continues, I suppose, until I can find my way in the dark, until I can step into the studio and immediately begin painting, until I can step on the deck and cut fresh herbs for cooking, until each and all of my friends and loves know just where I am on a solitary night, and whether I would welcome them… there is so much to do. I sometimes forget how much I enjoy doing it. 🙂

My coffee is done. I still have several things to do on my list. I guess I’ll begin again, then – it won’t change “the world”, but it certainly makes this wee corner of it more comfortable. 😉

To change the world
It starts with one step
However small
First step is hardest of all
Once you get to your gate
You will walk in tall

by Dave Matthews Band

I start the morning with music. Yesterday was a good day of self-care, and housekeeping. Needful things. I woke feeling rested and cared for, with the smile left over from visiting my Traveling Partner still lingering at the edges of my mood. So far, another good day. These good days are not coincidental in my life, I build them with my choices, and my results vary. Oh, that’s not to say that circumstances can’t (they do) intervene and change the course of a day for the worse (or for the better), it’s just that over time I have learned how much power over the quality of my days I actually do have. It’s enough. It’s more than enough, generally.

Today is a work day. A day in a life. A day of choices and practices. A day of moments and opportunities. It could be any day of so many. Where will it take me? What will I do with it? Will it go to waste, lost among bad choices and disordered thinking? Will I build lovely memories from a quality experience? Will I commit to action, but find myself resenting it as “wasted time”, wanting instead to play? Will I snatch the chance to meditate in the evening from the waiting clutches of more moving in that could be done?

Last week was a reminder that my choices are my own, and that how I make them is what my week – and my life – are built upon. I all but gave up on self-care trying to force everything I thought needed to get done into the limited time I had available to me. I ended up exhausted, aggravated, and too tired to follow through on the entirety of my original plan for the weekend. Lesson learned? I’d like to think so, but it’s doubtful. I’m a human primate. I’ll need more practice. 🙂

Today I’ll meditate in the morning. I know this works for me. I’ll have any dishes started before I’m out the door. The bed will be made. The garden will be watered. I’ll have had my coffee, my oatmeal, a shower, brushed my teeth, and fed the fish. I’ll make a point of hitting the gym at work for some strength training, and get a good walk in over my lunch break. I’ll get home after work… and the evening will be mine. Then what? I don’t really know all that yet; I’m satisfied to have mornings more or less worked out at this point. lol

I notice I’m tugging at a jagged bit of cuticle. In the dry hot weather, my cuticles have begun to split in places. I fuss with the edges mindlessly, often. I try to stop that behavior when I catch it. The effort required is hard to adequately describe, even after a lifetime of partners, friends, and family members nagging me about it. I make the effort of will this morning. Put myself on pause. Actually fully mindfully stop myself… but then, I have to also stop writing, also go get the little cuticle nippers to trim that up so it isn’t so tempting… again with the damned verbs, right? lol Yep. There are always verbs involved, somehow this is true even of the things I want not to do.

Oh hey – it’s already time to begin again. 🙂

 

Yesterday I hung a few paintings. I vacuumed, did laundry, did dishes, watered the garden on the deck, hung out a bit with a friend who made the trek out my way, figured out what will hang over the mantle and got it to the framer’s shop. It was a sweet, quiet weekend, and yesterday was every bit as lovely as the day before it.

By evening, I was sort of just chilling with my foot iced and elevated, and staring at the empty book shelves was nagging at me severely; it seemed inconsistent with the rest of the weekend that the bookshelves were empty. One by one I brought in boxes of books, and emptied them onto shelves… which resulted, more than anything else, in a mess of books out, just everywhere, in small stacks here and there, crowding onto shelves that suddenly appeared to be “the wrong shelf for that one” and now my previously tidy living room is messy with books. A lot of books. A tiny library of books gathered over a lifetime, filtered by moves and gift-giving, added to, subtracted from, and the result being about 500 or so books very precious to me worth dragging around over a lifetime of moving.

Books are heavy. By the end of the evening, which snuck up on me rather unexpectedly, I was really tired, and also a lot more moved in… well, aside from (because of?) the mess of books that I created. 😀 I guess next weekend I’ll be connecting the tv and stereo (maybe tonight)…

…It hits me that my weekend is over. Today is a work day. It’s a new work week. I take a moment to get my expectations and sensibilities in order; being late is still something that causes me rather a lot of stress, so avoiding that circumstance is desirable, generally. 🙂 I look at the time. I look at the weather. I make a note to ensure the air conditioning is on, and that the thermostat is set to keep the house comfortable through the upcoming actual not-fucking-around-it’s-summer-for-real heat that is in the forecast for this week. 110 degrees (F)?? In Portland, Oregon? What the fuck is that about? I stick to a promise I made to myself yesterday, and quickly finish my coffee, and fill up my water bottle.

As I head back to my desk I notice a huge spider struggling in the sticky trap at the edge of the kitchen floor. Wow. A big one. There was one in the bathroom trap this morning, too… Curiosity gets to me. There really haven’t been many spiders on this move. Just 4 so far. (I’ve been keeping count, yes.) There are large ones, and some small ones, in every trap I placed over the weekend, after waking up with a single spider bite on Thursday morning. Yeesh. Ick. I sit down in my studio, paintings stacked everywhere (like spider condos…) and a grim chill runs down my spine; there are no sticky traps in here. (I ran out.) I find myself wondering how many spiders are watching me from crevices and corners right now…

I’ve creeped myself out completely now. So. Yeah. Great. It’s time for work. lol

… It’s time to start a new day. I can begin again. 🙂