Archives for posts with tag: spring

…It’ll be another. πŸ™‚

In this case, it’s a lovely sunny Spring morning, a Friday. I took the day off because I’ll be on a plane heading to a work conference late tomorrow evening, sleeping thousands of feet overhead as I wing my way to the conference location. I’m not exactly excited about it… I’m not exactly not excited about it. I spent so many years as the partner staying behind, staying home, venturing out seldom, that this still has some novelty and interest – especially after two years of pandemic life. But, whether I am excited or not, I definitely do want and need time to chill, to plan into it, to prepare with care – because when I give up that time and don’t do those things, my experience feels frenetic, chaotic, and stressful. Besides all that, a Saturday departure makes a short weekend with my Traveling Partner (who is the more likely of the two of us to be staying at home, these days). I didn’t want to undermine those limited precious minutes we share, so taking the day off results in something more or less like a normal weekend, at least in duration.

I’m sipping my coffee contentedly. Just finished off the payday stuff – that’s a pretty low stress endeavor these days, and I feel that. The lack of stress, I mean. It’s pretty splendid that the mere mention of a payday, or a bill, or indebtedness, or budgeting doesn’t send me into a massive anxiety attack of some kind, or trigger my PTSD. A lifetime ago, being even a penny off on the painful process of balancing a checkbook with my first husband would almost guarantee I’d have terrible dark painful new bruises afterward. Literal violence, over pennies. What a lot of horrible bullshit. I can look back now and see that I should have walked away much sooner, but it wasn’t so obvious at the time. Understanding now that I was also viewing life through the lens of a fairly serious brain injury that was not actually rehabilitated (and that I was not, at the time, aware of), I am much more compassionate with that younger version of me.

Have you ever thought about that? How easy it actually could be to cut your younger self some fucking slack? Bad decisions are pretty commonplace when we’re young; we have limited life experience, and we’re the sort of creatures that commonly learn best through our mistakes. So… yeah. Every one of us has fucked something up, probably pretty badly. The world is going to make a point of ensuring we get a proper reckoning, more often than not. We could at least be there for ourselves, after the fact, right? We could bring our wiser perspective to our recollection of events, be kind to that younger self who just didn’t have all the tools or knowledge to do things much differently, and be just a bit more nurturing of ourselves on that look back – couldn’t we? And why not? The events of the past are past. Treat yourself more gently now and then. It’s okay to be your own best friend.

I’m not saying ignore warning signs that you need real help – definitely seek out and get the help you need. Think your mind “doesn’t work right”? Get therapy. Just like you would if you had a broken bone, or a terrible case of flu – get qualified help. Get treatment. Embrace change. Don’t like who you are? Make other choices. Change your thinking. Change your practices. Walk away from a situation that you are not thriving in. Jobs? There are plenty. Find one that you enjoy and doesn’t entirely drain away your joy in life! Relationships? Yeah, I know, we get attached, we feel that connection, we hope… But a bad situation is a bad situation. You could walk away. Maybe you should? Don’t like where you live? Move! Okay, resources are limited, so maybe that feels out of reach – but setting a goal is within reach. Making a plan is within reach. Exploring options is within reach. Steps. Incremental change over time adds up.

Anyway. It’s a lovely day, in spite of this being a world filled with violence and chaos, and threats to our freedoms, and shitty entitled ass-clowns seemingly just every-fucking-where… it’s okay to choose joy, and to live life. Savor what feels good. Seek to change what isn’t working so well. It’s okay to look back on yourself with kindness, and with respect for what you have endured so far, and how far you’ve come to get where you are now.

…It’s okay to begin again. πŸ˜€

Springtime is flowers, morning coffees on lazy Saturdays, sunny mornings that still feel too chilly to take my coffee out to the deck… and seasonal allergies. Yeesh. These fragile meat suits we wrap ourselves in to tackle this mortal lifetime are annoyingly prone to stuffy heads and sneezes.

The pollen count is high. Trees are blooming. My Traveling Partner’s Spring allergies are going absolutely nuts. Mine are not so bad, but they crop up in Spring. There’s some particular tree… I’m not sure which one. It isn’t all of them, and it’s a brief period in the season, for me. I know other people whose seasonal allergies associated with pollen are all Spring, all of the summer, and right into autumn when the last of blooming things gets done with blooming. My mother didn’t care for flowers, much, her allergies were pretty bad. I could – for most of my life – bury my face in flowers loaded with Spring pollen and have no reaction other than pure delight in their fragrance. That’s less true now, than it was then, but my allergies are nothing like his. As I said… there’s a particular tree. It happens to grow plentifully in our community here… whatever it is. LOL

Blue skies and flowers; it’s Spring.

I’m not really bitching about my allergies. They’re not that bad. Maybe you’ve got it much worse? If so, it may dull the shine of Spring for you, and if so, you have my sympathy, and my well-wishes: I hope you find relief. Allergies suck. If you’re among the ludicrously robust and strong-of-constitution, be kind to those who suffer. Just saying, the suffering is very real.

I see the sunny day beyond the neighbor’s fence. There are two pear trees and a cherry tree in my neighbor’s yard. They’re blooming. It’s quite lovely. There is so much I love about Spring. I’ve been watching a lot of gardening content on YouTube. By far my favorite gardening content, at least right now, is from a UK gardener named Huw Richards. His climate is rather similar to the climate here in McMinnville in most regards. His philosophy and practical approach suit my own inclinations. I’ve got a much smaller space, but the basics are the basics – are they not? I bought his book. lol It’s excellent with my morning coffee on a Spring morning.

What can I say? I like books.

I spent a portion of yesterday’s sunshine out in the garden, planting kitchen herbs in the front flower beds. I’m not personally a fan of the American “standard Pleasant Valley Sunday suburban curb appeal landscaping” that is so common in suburban communities and neighborhoods. I know, it’s a template that’s easy to work from, but omg – so lazy, and unpleasantly homogenous! I get that developers building a community of homes to sell to consumers would want to be easily (and cheaply) able to purchase and plant the necessary landscape, but for fucks’ sake would it really be that hard to provide some variety? In the case of this little house of ours, it’s easy to point back at the developer although the house is 18 years old; it was clear that most of the landscaping was wholly original, never altered by the previous owner. He wasn’t a gardening sort. lol (I’m sure the handful of recently-added primroses in the flower beds was something the realtor thought of to prepare the house for sale.) Now, a couple cycles of seasons has passed, and I’ve got a sense of where I’d like to take this garden… it’s time to get to work out there!

Kitchen herbs waiting to be planted.

…It was very satisfying planting some thyme, oregano, sage, and flowers. The lupines and nasturtiums that I had planted last year are making an appearance this year. That delights me. The roses are wide awake and growing fast – soon the small buds will be blossoms! (Well… soon-ish.) The veggies are planted in grow bags, along the rock walk that tops the retaining wall, just past the deck. Later, when the weather is warmer, I’ll plant peppers in hydroponic buckets. I also plan to have some Japanese eggplant (most of the veggies this year are chosen for stir fries, which I’m doing a lot). The eggplant has a lovely form and flowers; I’ll tuck a couple of those into the front flower beds as “showy annuals”. πŸ˜€

My thoughts are in the garden on this lovely Spring morning… it’s a distraction from the task ahead. I’m taking down my aquarium today, permanently. Oh, no tragedy, it’s not like that. It simply takes a lot of time to maintain, and in this little house there just isn’t an ideal location for it that suits the purpose. Where it sits now, it is too close to a big sunny window, which has led algae to proliferate and I’m over fighting with it. It’s noisy to live with, and it’s adjacent to the bedroom wall… and the entire point originally was a soothing “noise cancelling” device to allow my living space to preserve some sense of privacy and solitude in the midst of a noisy household that was triggering my PTSD regularly. I don’t need that, now. Now the noise is an unwelcome distraction, and the tank has become problematic to maintain. So.

…The hardest part has been re-homing “Teller”, my now-at-least-seven-year-old clown pleco. He’s the one creature in that tank that is truly “a pet” to me. The rest are well-cared for, greatly enjoyed, delightful dΓ©cor. Hardly seems reasonable to keep creatures captive for that purpose. So… today I will carefully remove the creatures and take them to their new home. I’ll shut down the filter pump and the heater. Tomorrow I’ll finish taking down the aquarium. In the long term, that’s one less complex, highly demanding, time-sensitive household chore to tackle every week. I could use that added bit of ease; I no longer have the boundless energy of my youth, and honestly, I’m neither surprised nor complaining. I’m just taking care of myself the best way I can figure out how to do. There have been a few intensely poignant moments along the way – making the decision was the hardest part. Writing about it? Probably the next most difficult piece; just saying it, acknowledging it, and allowing it to be part of my reality. πŸ™‚

It’s hard to say good-bye.

…Not all of our choices, however wise they seem, or may in fact be, are easy to make – or to implement. It’s a very human experience…

It’s time to begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee enjoying a moment of fond appreciation and gratitude for the life I am living, and love I am fortunate to enjoy. There are no guarantees; circumstances change. Change is. Count on it!

Sometimes small surprises really turn a day or week around. πŸ™‚ I got a nice little package from my cousin. I had sent her a wee note card a couple weeks ago. I think very fondly of her, and we haven’t stayed in touch very well. She replied, and sent me a couple cute quilted items she had made. They are delightful. I’m still smiling. I feel loved. It was such a thoughtful gesture.

Yesterday, my Traveling Partner surprised me with a substantial token of his affection – handmade in wood, a symbol of balance. It’s lovely, and sits here on my desk, just past my keyboard. I don’t know where I will place it longer-term. I like it sitting right here, where I can see it. On my desk, I’ve also got the desk caddy he custom made for me in his shop; holds my stuff, in the relative positions where I would place them on the bare desk, in the order I generally use them. It’s brilliant and I love it. He made a pizza peel for us shortly after we moved in. I use it any time we make pizza. Sometimes I use it as a big trivet. lol

Balance and perspective – critical tools.

I’m starting the morning in a good place. I feel settled and contented. I feel loved. Valued. It’s nice. It hasn’t been effortless getting from “where I was” to “where I am”, and I won’t say that I don’t see a continued journey extending ahead me. πŸ™‚ I am still learning, every day, what it takes to be the woman – the human being – I most want to be. It’s not a journey about money, or material success and comfort, and I definitely don’t see value in making it a competition with other human beings on their own individual journeys. I’m just one woman on this one path of my own, enjoying a quiet Saturday morning over a cup of coffee, and feeling grateful to be as fortunate as I have been.

Spring – the pear trees on the other side of the fence have begun to notice, too.

I’m eager to be back in the spring garden. I’ve got my early stuff planted – but I’ve also apparently got a raccoon “helper” who has been rummaging around in the grow bags I’ve planted with carrots and scallions, and I may need to do some damage control. lol My space for gardening is very limited, so the veggies will mostly be in grow bags, and when warmer weather comes, I’ll add a couple hydroponic pots for things like peppers. I hope to grow some Japanese eggplant, too, but honestly I think those are quite beautiful plants, and I’ll just put them into the flower beds out front. πŸ˜€

My veggie garden getting started for the year.

In the simplest terms, it is a pleasant weekend morning. I’m enjoying that quite deliberately, sipping my coffee and thinking about the many things I am grateful for. Embracing joy and cultivating contentment are worthy endeavors; in my own experience “happy” has not come “naturally”, it has taken quite a lot of commitment and work to get past all that ancient pain, all that anger, all that despair. It’s for sure worthy effort, but… it is effort. It does take attention, and practice to make changes. I smile to myself; this morning is sure damned close to feeling “effortless”, and that’s something amazing (and very much worth enjoying while it lasts).

I queue up some gardening videos. I immediately find my mind wandering to cooking… I laugh and drink my coffee. My delight is not affected; if I’d queued up a cooking video, I’d have been thinking about the garden. This is where my happy place is – here at home, where I can cook, and garden, and hang out with my lover (even in when we aren’t in the same room, I feel his presence here at home with me).

Sure, I’ll begin the day again, after I finish this coffee… nothing fancy planned. Grocery shopping. Run an errand. Get out in the garden. Love my partner. It’s a lovely day for all of that. That’s enough.

It’s a rainy Monday. A new day – and an opportunity to begin again. What a strange experience this mortal existence is. My Traveling Partner and I spent the morning over coffee listening together to a lecture by Alan Watts (why not?). I made a simple breakfast that we enjoyed together afterward. Just eggs scrambled with mushrooms and onions, and a toasted English muffin.

My cooking has gotten so much better during the pandemic… weirdly, I don’t have the recollection that it was “bad“, before… although my partner will occasionally, and ever so gently, suggest that perhaps it was less good than I thought. lol I figure he’s likely quite correct, and certainly based on his own experience that he has shared with me, I know I count on the truth of it. I’m okay with getting better at things; we become what we practice. I’ve been spending rather a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking things, as an alternative to fast food (which is an impractical cost and nutritional disappointment). I definitely enjoy the food I make at home so much more than I used to. It’s not even a question anymore; I like to eat at home more than I want to go out. πŸ˜€

My vegetable garden.

I am distracted by the garden, in a pleasant way. My time outside yesterday was well spent, tidying up the large-ish fabric pots that sit along the back strip of the property, just beyond the deck. I’ve got 5 of them. I used them to plant tomatoes last year, and it was waaaaay too many tomatoes, and rather a lot of work, as they became progressively more ridiculously overgrown. We don’t eat a lot of tomatoes, generally. lol I just find them easy and tasty to grow, so… easy win? Silly to take that approach, it’s haphazard and wasteful.

This year, I thought about what I cook, what we eat, what grows where we are, and what kinds of produce would be potentially more cost effective to grow, myself. It’s a relatively short list, that seems heavy on alliums of various sorts, which didn’t really surprise me; I’ve been using a fucking ton of shallots, scallions, leeks, and garlic this winter, as I learn to cook in a wok. LOL They’ve crept into a lot of my other cooking, too. Handy and flavorful. I also planted some carrots, and an assortment of lettuces and greens (and I do mean assortment; it’s a blend of several blends!). I have sucked at growing greens, so that’ll be where most of the work and personal growth will be. lol I don’t think I can fuck up onions. Carrots have been a success for me before, and the difference in flavor between grown in the garden and purchased at the store is remarkable.

5 pots with somewhat depleted soil became 4 well-filled pots, planted each with their own thing: leeks in one, scallions in other, then the carrots, and the greens. I’d like to add garlic and scallions. Maybe some bush beans? Peas? I sat down with my garden plan and updated it with those details to save my sanity later (otherwise, and I promise you this is true, I won’t remember what I planted, or where it got planted).

I sip my second coffee, listening to the rain fall. Thinking about herbs and roses – those will be finding their home in the front garden, among the flowers and the shrubbery. I savor this feeling; the feeling of being home.

What next with the day? Dunno. Maybe more time in the garden when the rain lets up. There’s some weeding to do in the flower beds, and things to make ready for more planting as the soil warms up enough for less hardy flowers and things. I’ve got nasturtium seeds… I could plant those today… doesn’t seem likely we’ll get another hard freeze at this point… probably…

I sip my coffee thinking about Spring and seeds and beginnings. I think about love. We become what we practice.

I woke to a smile and a backache. That’s okay; it’s Spring! My coffee is hot, and tasty. I’m in good spirits. The drizzly morning looks likely to give way to a pleasantly mild morning and a sunny afternoon. Spring is a season for starting things (for me). It’s time to get into the garden, and start tidying up for new plantings. The temperature feels mild enough to start planting the hardy early starters… maybe? I itch to get my fingers into the soil, and to stoop down low to talk to the roses and find out how they are doing.

I feel mostly over being sick, so a trip to the store is not out of the question. I’ll still mask up. It’s the right thing to do. It’s not even “about COVID” – it’s just polite not to go into the world contagious without taking real steps to prevent exposure to other people.

This morning, as I sip my coffee and write, I am listening to the sound of rain on an old-fashioned wood-frame greenhouse. I’m definitely eager to get into the garden. πŸ˜€

So… Spring… time to start something. What will you start? I’ve started learning to cook with a wok (admittedly, that began in February, but I think it counts in spirit). Getting seeds into the ground is an entirely different sort of beginning, and I’m eager to get that going, too. I’ve also started reading “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching” by Thich Nhat Hanh. My Traveling Partner gave it to me recently. With the weather so much more pleasant, already, it’s time to get back out on the trails, too. Another beginning to embrace. Beginnings often feel so much more positive and joyful (to me) than endings. This strikes me as odd, since most beginnings require something else to have ended. I reflect on that a moment and sip my coffee.

My Traveling Partner pokes his head into the studio to ask me what I’m up to. “Still writing about roses?” he asks with a smile. I grin and point to the monitor, shaking my head, “Spring! I’m writing about spring. I want to get into the garden today and do a bunch of clean-up and…” He smiles & frowns sort of at the same time (he’s got a look for that) and reminds me “Take it easy, you’re still sick.” There is so much kindness and love in that reminder, and his smile encourages me to do what I can and enjoy the day. He’s right. Self-care first.

Damn I’m glad I took tomorrow off. πŸ˜€

It’s Spring, and it’s definitely time to begin again.