nurturing thursdays: beating the odds and opting for life

Our instinct to survive motivates us to do whatever it takes.

As we all know, humans aren’t the only ones wired for survival. What we might learn from other species, however, is…to never give up…no matter what.

Taken down by two peregrine falcons, this owl coolly swam back from the brink.

… i’d better practice my swimstrokes…

………hugmamma.

For more inspirational thoughts, visit…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/nurt-thurs-no-accidents/

springtime…when all things turn to fanciful-ness

I tend to decorate to the nines.Imported Photos 00154 What I can’t fit inside my four walls…is relegated to a space in the great outdoors.

Lazy summer days in our backyard...

Lazy summer days in our backyard…

img_1665.jpgApril 2011 00038Not only does my yard abound with the normal tchotckes, like bird baths…trellises…and statuary, but there’s a vintage iron headboard nestled under the shade of a maple tree.

img_2036.jpgBroken-down, painted benches with which I can’t bear to part company have put down roots alongside the house, as well as on the front and back decks.

img_1784.jpgStep ladders, too short to be of much use, are content to prettify a spot bereft of sunlight, or serve as a backdrop to pots draped to overflowing with petunias, sweet pea, heliotrope and alyssum.

IMG_1549IMG_4433 IMG_4436Neighbors comment, and have for years, that our yard serves as eye-candy for them. So hubby and I are encouraged to slave away during the warm days of spring, summer and fall…making sure  we keep the neighbors happy

IMG_1869IMG_1964The wildlife don’t seem to mind either. In fact, hummingbirds…well, at least one…monarchs and smaller butterflies, finches, sparrows, blue jays and red-breasted robins…flit and fly about the yard, owning every inch of it.

And then there are those critters that annoy, the ones who chew their way through the garden indiscriminately…the slugs, the deer, the bunnies.

IMG_3302Slugs dine at night, while the deer and bunny rabbits feast all the day long. Both stand their ground, daring me to…”Come closer…I dare you.” Only when I shout and wave my arms like a psychopath, do they get the message. Glancing at me furtively over their shoulders, they seem to say…”Sheesh! What’s all the fuss about?”

Squirrels test my patience as well. They act as masters of all they survey, taking control as it suits their fancy. They pay no mind to my attempts at shooshing them away.

IMG_1864IMG_1865The little, black squirrel in particular sizes me up as though he’d like to chew me up and…spit me out. I’m sure if I got in his face, that’s exactly what he’d do. I don’t think I’ll tempt fate.

I got to thinking about all this after reading about Thierry Ehrmann, a Frenchman. It seems he fancies decorating his outdoor space as well. Have a peek at his genius at http://www.cvltnation.com/abode-of-chaos/

Scattered around the garden are a giant silver skull, a crashed helicopter and a model of the jagged steel remains of the World Trade Center. On the outside, the house is decorated with big black-and-white portraits of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, George Bush, Bashar al-assad and Mitt Romney. Old computers and hard drives hang from a tree in a net.

A sign reads: “Chaos in progress.”

You can imagine Ehrman’s neighbors aren’t pleased with having a rock star of a garden artist living among them, mere mortals that they are.

The ‘Abode of Chaos,’ which is his name for the museum, attracts hundreds of visitors on weekends. ‘They come in droves and look at us as if we were strange animals,’ says neighbor Boris Perrodon.

A 45-year-old schoolteacher, Mr. Perrodon says he has considered moving away but when he tried to sell his house, he says, he didn’t get a single offer. Other neighbors say they are in the same predicament.

Pascal Paysant, who runs a real-estate agency in nearby Fontaines-sur-Saone, says there is no rush to acquire property near the Abode of Chaos. ‘Perhaps we lack artistic flair, but the fact is this house depreciates real-estate value in the town,’ he says.

Even the local mayor is on the verge of collapsing under the weight of Ehrmann’s Abode of Chaos.

The village mayor Ms. Revel, who has been pursuing the fight against Mr. Ehrmann undertaken by her predecessor, says the protracted legal battle has left her on her knees. She says she is exhausted physically and mentally because dealing with Mr. Ehrmann’s mail is ‘a full-time job.’

‘It is unbearable,’ she says, showing off piles of letters on her desk sent to her by Mr. Ehrmann.

I guess I could spiffy up my garden…just a tad more.

thierry Ehrmann le 112 ème est Jorge Mario Ber...

thierry Ehrmann le 112 ème est Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis), painted portrait DDC_7831 (Photo credit: Abode of Chaos)

…what do you think?…

………hugmamma.

weekly photo challenge: solitary

The Hawaii envisioned by most who dream of one day visiting the islands is most often one of basking …on sandy, white beaches…under sunny, blue skies…in warm, ocean waters.

What is rarely ever experienced is the barren, solitary flip-side of islands that have evolved over time…from molten lava…to hard rock. Beauty resides here as well, though not of the typical kind.

No fragrant plumerias…or showy hibiscus…or striking bird-of-paradise.

Rather…broken asphalt…barren trees…craggy rocks…lichen…edible cacti…native flora…the lone bird…distant vistas…and the solitary…Makapuu Lighthouse… the piece-de-resistance.

…beauty is in the eye of the beholder…it comes…in all forms.  

………hugmamma.

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spring’s arrived!!!

 

Springtime flowers.

Image by beamillion via Flickr

I think it’s safe to say that the Pacific Northwest is finally beginning to experience spring. The sun’s been out all day; it’s warm. Perhaps it’s time to think of storing away cold-weather clothing…or maybe not. One can never tell here, it could be dry and in the 50s and 60s one day, wet and in the 30s and 40s the next, or even later the same day. But I won’t jinx it. It’s spring!

I’ve been cleaning and refashioning the rooms in my house, preparing for the new season. Now that it’s April, with summer right around the bend, hopefully, I like to keep the decor light and airy, and colorful. Although the primary color palette remains pretty much the same, shades of blues, greens, roses, and mustards. Country colors. “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can never take the country out of the girl.” That’s me to a tee! I love cities, and fit right in with city-folk, as long as I know it’s not a permanent arrangement. Being an island girl, I always go back to those small town roots for sustenance and recharging.

When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob Bobbin' ...

Image by Fozzeee via Flickr

Having redone my daughter’s bedroom so that I now have a small, computer table stationed in front of the window, I’m sitting here typing away on the keyboard. Where I use to roam between my husband’s office, thereby throwing him out without intending to do so, and sitting uncomfortably at the dining room table, I’m now occupying prime real estate. Gazing out at the back yard, I can watch red robins digging in the dirt for insects, squirrels scampering up the big cedar tree trunk making their way nimbly out along the large, drooping branches, and leaves swaying ever so softly as the breezes drift through the boughs of the lilac bush and the low-lying roses. What with all this day-dreaming, I may not get a whole lot written.

Actually, sitting here I’m reminded of all the work that needs to be done in the garden, weeding being my least favorite. I can already feel the arthritis acting up in my lower back. Oh me, oh my…getting old’s no fun when I’m still doing the work I use to do in my 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, but haven’t the same agile body I had back then. No complaints though, at least I’m still moving around, indoors and outdoors. I’ll just be taking my time, that’s all.

I’m just glad the warm weather’s here. I can do anything when I’m not shivering just standing still.

i age less when the sun’s out…that’s for sure…hugmamma.

“laugh or smile,” whichever suits

I don’t know about you, but I need a good laugh right about now. One of my hovering angels seemed to read my mind, and emailed the following. Whether or not you’re in need of a lift, I think you’ll smile at this.

Gentle Thoughts for Today Birds of a feather flock together . . . and then crap on your car.

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat have gotten to be really good friends.

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

He who hesitates is probably right.

Did you ever notice: The Roman Numerals for forty (40) are  XL.

If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.

The sole purpose of a child’s middle name is so he can tell when he’s really in trouble..

Did you ever notice: When you put the 2 words ‘The’ and ‘IRS’ together it spells ‘Theirs…’

Aging: Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know ‘why’ I look this way.  I’ve traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.

When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to your youth, think of Algebra.

You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.  Ah, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

Lord, Keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

   AMEN!

i second that…amen…hugmamma. 

if i were to speak

I’m not a public speaker. I heard my husband speak once at a community gathering of “movers and shakers” in the small, eastern Washington town of Okanaga. He was starting a conversation about possibly bringing employment to some of their citizens in the form of a call center, where questions could be fielded, and reservations booked for his company. Initially fearful for him, I was soon mesmerized by my husband’s comfortable, conversational style of public speaking. He smiled easily, added small touches of humor, and to my way of thinking, knocked their socks off! He did mine, anyway.

My daughter has also taken to speaking publicly without anxiety. At the end of her ballet company‘s season, the end of April, she and 3 or 4 fellow dancers choreograph pieces, setting them on the trainees. These are dancers hoping to be hired into the company one day. Unfortunately most don’t make it, so they audition elsewhere, or go on to do other things.

It seems my daughter has emerged as the spokesperson for WIP, “Works In Progress.” On the day the pieces are performed for a non-paying audience, she gives a brief introduction about the history of the project, and the choreographers, and the pieces to be danced. Evidently my daughter’s been congratulated by the artistic staff for her eloquence, and ease of delivery.

I’m not sure if I’ve always felt tongue-tied, with a panic attack near-at-hand just before standing, or sitting, to speak before a group, large, medium, small, or tiny. I know I begin to hyperventillate, trying, in the last few moments, to memorize an entire speech which I’d not written beforehand. But, of course, I can only visualize a blank wall, staring back at me.

So if I were asked to give a fantasy speech, for example about blogging, in front of a group of professional writers, here’s how it might unfold.

I’m not as good a speaker as I am a writer. That’s not to say I’m a great writer. It just means I don’t speak as well as I write. But I’m sure I don’t write as well as you all. If I could speak like anyone, I’d like to speak like Colin Firth, not the stuttering Colin Firth, but the tongue-in-cheek Colin Firth. Know what I mean? No, of course not.

I was asked to talk about blogging. Well, I’m only a novice, having started a mere 7 months ago. I can only tell you what I know, which is not a whole hell of a lot. Oh, sorry. Excuse the language. Getting old you know, words just slipping out, just as other things are apt to do in old age. Oh, sorry, sorry. TMI. TMI. My daughter’s words, not mine. Now where was I?

Blogging! Right! Pretty mind-boggling stuff, you know. Couldn’t do it without wordpress.com. Those buggers set the whole thing up, I just “click” wherever they tell me to “click,” and voila! I’m good to go. As long as I’ve got pictures with the directions, I can get most things. But when they start throwing around techy-speak, well I’m as lost as the cow who flew over the moon and never came back.

You want to know the truth? I don’t know why the hell they asked me to talk to writers about blogging in the first place. We’re birds of a different feather. You’re all flamingos, and I’m just a Hawaiian mynah bird.

But you were real nice to listen to me jabbering away about nothing. Mahalo!

i’d say the same about you, dear reader…hugmamma.

“sun’s out!,” time to plant?

What a difference a day makes, even here in the Pacific Northwest! The sun’s rays are showering down on all the tree tops; glistening raindrops hanging ever so delicately from the twiggy branches of the apple tree. It feels like spring. Yet I have to remind myself that the calendar on the desk top reads January 19. No scurrying out to weed or plant bulbs. I did that when we first moved from the east coast 13 years ago.

Having left icy winters behind whose last dregs were not gone until Memorial Day, I was elated to find that here in the Seattle burbs my garden began to show signs of new birth in February. So I got outside and sloshed around in the mud, oft-times kneeling in it to pull out unwanted stuff, and replace them with finds I’d discovered at Molbak’s or Squawk Mountain Nursery.

I wallowed in early spring, in the sunshine, in the sweet smell of new growth. I loved the sun warmly beating against my bent back, as I toiled away in the dirt. I am my mother’s daughter, I’d think to myself. She left me her “green thumb,” and she’d be proud at my constant use of it, even when I lived in Redding, Connecticut.

Friends, neighbors, and passersby would often comment upon the lovely cottage garden that surrounded our small, Victorian farmhouse. I strived to outdo myself each year. But my loveliest memory is of the abundance of wildflowers which grew from a packet. I sprinkled its contents on either side of the walkway leading to our front porch. Never one for math, I overlooked the explanation that the seeds were to be spread over a larger area than where I’d chosen.

It seemed forever before the blooms all emerged. But as they filled in, overwhelming the space in which they grew, I was like a child experiencing nature’s glory for the first time. Every morning I’d bound out the front door, which slammed shut with a loud bang. I’d walk the path, oohing and aahing at the varieties, the colors, the scents. I couldn’t count the number of wildflowers peeking out from behind one another. I tried picking favorites but gave up, because en-masse they were all beautiful!

Soon the bees came calling. And the butterflies, tiny ones and Monarchs, began congregating in my garden. Nearby, robins and finches twittered and chirped in the massive, overhanging, rhododendron shrub. Being careful not to get stung by a busy bee, my husband, daughter and I would plop ourselves down on the porch steps or an outdoor bench. Gazing upon Mother Nature’s handiwork, we were enthralled by what she could do with one inexpensive, little packet of seeds.

Those among you who are gardeners, probably know the ending to my story. Yes, it didn’t take long, perhaps a few weeks, before happiness turned to sorrow. With the first heavy downpour, my glorious, little garden nearly drowned in the onslaught. Hardier flowers were able to lift their heads once more, but the more fragile were too frail to pick themselves up again. I tried for a time to help, leaning some against others for support, propping others up with twine and stakes. Before long I too gave in, digging up the whole mess, save for a few that didn’t “throw in the towel” like me.

I replanted with specimens that were tried and true. Though the results were lovely, they never recaptured that brief moment when our house and its front path looked as though Cinderella and her fairy godmothers lived there, or Snow White and the seven dwarfs, or Red Riding Hood’s grandmother.

Throughout the first decade of her life however, my daughter loved the first home she ever knew, and all the flowers that grew in its gardens. And so, while I could never replicate my cottage garden fantasy, I’ve continued to make my garden here my own. I try very hard to follow planting instructions, but I’m still inclined to want every plant that I fancy to have a home with me. Grumbling to dissuade me, my husband is usually won over, and moves plants to make room for a new neighbor, or two, or three.

But thank goodness my energy’s maxing out as the years pass, for my garden space is maturing as well, meaning that it’s maxed out too. Although there’s still that wild, unkempt patch of brush at the top right of our driveway. I Wonder what I can do there? Hmmm…

it never ends…nature’s beauty, i mean…hugmamma.

enchanting memories, venice

Hope you enjoy these mementos of Venice, for a picture is worth a thousand words. There’s nothing to compare with a city built of 468 tiny islands connected by bridges. Embellished by architecture centuries old, that inspires awe. Where else can you travel by gondola? You should visit; make it a wish on your “bucket list.” Trust me, there’s nothing to compare… Venice, a city on water…charming…bellisima!

and smiling Venetians are the icing on the cake…hugmamma.