daily prompt: mid-season replacement

I’m sitting in the midst of a mess, because my daughter’s bedroom underwent a remodel. 

Meanwhile, outside the skies grow darker earlier, and remain that way until later the next morning.

I’ve started turning up the heat to stave off the chill indoors. And when walking the dog…I’m all bundled up.

I don’t think I’d want to go backwards to the sunny days of summer. 

That’d only delay the onset of winter…and beyond…the sweetness of spring.

I might have felt differently had this mess not occurred. 

Now that the remodel is done…I’m excited…

…to have friends over for the holidays!…

………hugmamma.

 

weekly photo challenge: infinite

Want to count how many daffodils there are?………hugmamma.IMG_3966

And then my heart with pleasure fills…and dances with the daffodils.
—William Wordsworth Longfellow—

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.

“turn, turn, turn,” a folk song

Joan Baez was a songstress who epitomized the folk song era. She had the peaceful appearance of the “flower children” who grew like wildflowers all over the 60’s landscape. And her voice lulled those who were listening, into believing that life was beginning to replicate Heaven. I wonder what she thinks of the way things have turned out decades later?

To everything turn turn turn there is a season turn turn turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to be born a time to die, a time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal, a time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything turn turn turn there is a season turn turn turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven
A time to build up a time to break down, a time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything turn turn turn there is a season turn turn turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time of love, a time of hate, a time of war a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything turn turn turn there is a season turn turn turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven
A time to gain, a time to lose, a time to rend, a time to sew
A time of love, a time of hate, a time of peace, I swear it’s not too late

To everything turn turn turn there is a season turn turn turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
To everything turn turn turn there is a season turn turn turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

 

“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.

“rain, rain go away,” and don’t come back another day!

You know you live in Seattle when the skies are gray, all day, and when you’ve got more water outdoors, than is running through your pipes indoors! I’m not certain anyone acclimates to the Pacific Northwest’s lackluster weather, but I know for sure Hawaiians don’t. I’ll bet if a poll was taken of the ethnicity of most travelers to the Aloha State during the rainy season, the biggest number would be locals returning home for a “shot of sunshine.” Maybe not so much in this economy, however, where passengers are having to pay extra for a lot more than we did in the “good old days.” Fun-loving, we Hawaiians can still be practical.

When my husband and I attended the Human Rights Campaign fundraiser a few weeks ago, we successfully bid on tickets to Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Twyla Tharp Performance,” for this weekend. So tonight my daughter and I found our way into the city, where we met my husband, who was joining us after work.

I’ve never been keen on driving in the rain, in the dark, especially in heavy traffic. Of course the skies opened up, as we left the house minutes before 5 p.m. We were heading out right in the midst of “rush hour.” Already dealing with a slight headache from neck and shoulder tension, I looked like a deer caught in headlights, as I sat straight as a ramrod behind the wheel. I’m pretty sure I didn’t draw a deep breath until we got to our destination, an hour later.

My daughter knew my stress level was high; it was oozing from my pores. Normally happy to be nodding my head back and forth to Michael Jackson on  DVD, I asked her to find something calmer on the radio. She fumbled with the switches, unfamiliar with the area stations. I couldn’t even speak to help her. ALL my attention was on driving in the rain, cars flying by me on the freeway.

In the past there’s been a couple of instances when other drivers have caught my attention, not easily I might add, letting me know that my headlights were not turned on. I remembered this as I was stepping on the gas pedal, working my way up to the 60 mile-an-hour speed limit. Speaking in clipped phrases, my daughter and I tried to figure out if, in fact, I had the parking lights, or the head lights, on. I never yell, but my voice did go up several octaves, almost to a shrill. I decided they were on; my daughter wasn’t certain, but she thought they weren’t. I overruled her, since I had to return to focusing upon my driving. If this was another instance when a passing car had to tell me I was the one who was wrong, then so be it.

Thankfully, traffic moved along, me with it. Making it to Mercer Island, the exit just before crossing Lake Washington to enter Seattle, without any glitches, like an accident, was a huge relief. But the trip was only half-finished. I still had to get through the traffic in town, on a Friday evening, in the pouring rain.

Once I was out of the second tunnel, it was clear sailing until I reached the  beginning of the “bottleneck” on 4th avenue. Patience, and braking, saved the night. Passing through the Westlake Center area of town, I was well on my way until I reached another “bottleneck” near our destination.

My wonderful daughter reached over to pat me on the back as I parked, expressing her thanks for a “job well done.” Where she lives the freeways, and the in-town roads are wider than they are here in Seattle. She felt our roads, by comparison, were pretty cramped, making it seem like we were sandwiched in by cars on all sides, during the entire ride. Talk about making me feel better.

Compared to friends of mine, back East, and here, I’m a “wuss” of a driver. They will drive inter-state without any qualms. When I decided to make the trip with my daughter’s car from Atlanta, Georgia to Chautauqua, New York, where she was dancing for several weeks one summer, my girlfriend Becky drove the 13 hours. We did overnite in West Virginia, halfway through our trek. She didn’t mind, preferring to drive than be a passenger. Hey, that was just fine with me.

When “push comes to shove,” someone pushing AND shoving me, I’ll drive where necessary. It might take me longer than someonelse, and I might make a couple of unexpected detours, like to a state other than the one I’d had in mind.  I think that’s why my husband has always preferred to do all the driving. He likes to get where he’s going, without any detours, or any “pit stops,” for that matter. When it comes to driving, he definitely likes to be in control.

So you see, I’m a “shrinking violet” when it comes to driving. And I’m at the age, where I’m already beginning to think I might have to give up my driver’s license soon. I don’t think anyone will have to convince me that it’s time  I get off the road. I’ll probably make the suggestion myself. I’m a wimp compared to my mother-in-law who’s only now wondering if she should stop driving, at 85 years of age. God bless her!

I congratulate all the women who drive like men, fearlessly! You go, girlfriend!

driving like i’m still in maui…hugmamma