Sometimes Sad Bubbles Up

Last week I missed Microblog Mondays because I was driving to southern Indiana, by myself, to go to my grandma's 85th birthday. (Nope, that's not a typo, she was 18 when she had my dad and he was 20 when he had me, so I'm lucky to have a young grandparent, even if the math makes eyebrows jump sometimes.) I did not mind driving, I prefer it immensely to flying, and plus I had my trusty new Bluebird to get me there. 

It was a whirlwind. I got to see my dad, my sister and her husband, many aunts, and uncles, and cousins, and my cousins' kids. It was a lot of activity and fun to see people I hadn't seen in 5 years (at my grandfather's funeral) -- and so nice that we were celebrating a life together while that person was still alive to enjoy it. 

I came home pensive, and was struck with the magnitude of what we've lost. I am so grateful for the life that we live, but it doesn't erase that when we turn 85 (hopefully), there will be no giant picture of all the descendants. Because there will be no descendants. There will be no family to throw a party and make a speech about the impact our lives have had on the family. 

Also, I enjoyed running after the kids and counting spiders in the windows of the hotel event center with one cousin's little boy and putting the bubbles from the wedding a few weeks ago to good use. It was a lot of activity, and then I came home and the house was so... quiet. 

Now, I also enjoy the quiet. I enjoy the time I get to read and do Pilates and garden and just sit out on the deck in our Adirondack chairs, drinking some tasty Bordeaux and watching for shooting stars like we did Saturday night. Quiet is nice. 

But I did have big fat tears rolling own my face as I talked about how my being sad at the loss of descendants, of the children who look somewhat like the children we might have had that I got to spend time with. And I felt like I had to caveat those tears, and be like "I LOVE OUR LIFE. I'M NOT SAD ABOUT OUR LIFE." 

It's just those two things can exist together -- the resolution and the loss. The joy and the grief. Sometimes it bubbles up and demands to be felt. 

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy! 

Congratulations! (But Also This Card Is Judging You)

I went to a wedding this past weekend, of a friend from school. It was a beautiful wedding, small and meaningful. I have a soft spot for small weddings, and a grouchy-old-lady take on the bonanza that weddings have become in recent years -- so much money and time! This one was just perfect. 

I went card shopping beforehand, and holy WOW. 

You know how when people announce they are pregnant and it's like "welcome to the club" and "yay, momma!" and "This will be the greatest work you ever do?" I feel like most of the time those sentiments don't make it into greeting card prose. Or I've blocked it out. 

But imagining myself as a unpartnered person, shopping for a wedding card? UGH. Soooo many cards that said "Two is better than one" or something along those lines. Seems a big flipped bird, huh? It would be like if new baby cards were like, "Oh finally, you've made a REAL family" or "Now you're a valued part of society!" 

It got me thinking.... There's got to be ways to congratulate people without making one life out to be better than another.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy! 

My Corner Garden

When we moved into our new house, pretty much everything inside was all set, minus paint, but the outside was a blank canvas. It turns out it's a canvas that's very difficult to paint, as we have poor soil, invasive Jumping Worms, rocks, invasive weeds/vines/root systems, poison ivy galore, deer, rabbits, groundhogs, chipmunks, walnut trees (poison the soil with juglone anywhere within the dripline/where leaves fall/where squirrels put the nuts...which is EVERYWHERE), and now a pervasive drought. 

I have made the best of it and planted all the spiky, aromatic things with good survival skills and taken note of what works and what doesn't and chalked it all up to learning curve. 

One of my favorite garden spots is the corner garden. You can't see it from the house. This prompted a garden guy who was pitching to help with some hardscaping to say "Why would you ever plant a garden there? You won't ever see it!" We did not hire him. 

Corner garden earlier in the summer

Because, I had a vision. I wanted a garden that would be for everyone to enjoy. I might not see it from literally any windows in the house, but I see it every time I leave or come home. Anyone walking on the street can see it. And when there are no humans around, it is enjoyed by pollinators galore including honeybees, bumblebees, wasps, hoverflies, various butterflies and moths, and hummingbirds. Unfortunately the deer and groundhogs seem to enjoy it in the spring also, but once all the spiky/herby plants mature, they pretty leave it alone (although I probably just jinxed it). 

Spiky stuff

I love this garden because it is not just for me. It's for everyone, human and not. It is enjoyed regardless of whether humans go anywhere near it.

I also bought a bench recently, that I envisioned going against the house by my birdbath garden so I could sit and enjoy. It turned out that it was a weird space for a bench, next to a heat pump/AC unit, and so awkward and not really such a great place to sit. Oh well. 

But then, today, I moved it to the corner garden. Originally when I said I was going to move it there, Bryce said, "but will you actually sit out there?" And the answer is yes. I sat there for a good 40 minutes, despite the heat advisory and sweat EVERYWHERE. It's in the shade and it gives me a great view (and a sort of secret hidden feeling). I can see sitting there with a book, with a notebook, or just watching the bees and the visiting hummingbird. It's a lovely spot. 

Ahhh what a lovely spot! 

It's funny, because the first plants that went in were dug by my mom, because I was recovering from my hysterectomy and could not do any digging. Then, when I recovered, I dug a bed around those plants, and planted more. It's a little island with pollinator activity and public beauty. It's a labor of love. Every year I amend the soil (AGAIN) and weed and mulch and inspect what is surviving and what is not. And then I do maintenance. It was is a gradual process. I had a vision, which I then had to adjust, and now, slowly but surely, it is starting to look like I'd hoped it would. This is the thing with gardening. It requires patience, a long-term vision, and flexibility. All things which make it so very rewarding when it works.

I always wanted a place to sit and rest when working out there. And now I have it! So awesome when you have a vision and it can be brought to life... not by a miracle or fate, but because of hard work and flexibility and adjusting a plan as you go instead of hard-headed-ly continuing down the same path that isn't working. (Get the metaphor?). Now it is a place of peace and beauty and purpose.  

Look! Bees! Spiky things! A snake about to gobble a globe thistle! 

Chronology of a Corner Garden:

Back at the very beginning... April 2019

May 2019

August 2019

September 2019

July 2020

July 2021

And today! August 6, 2022

A Delightful Recommendation

Let me tell you about this book: 

This, while very very different, is my The House in the Cerulean Sea pick for Summer 2022. My evangelical read. 

I'll let Ross Gay tell you his premise as he writes in his Preface: 

"One day last July, feeling delighted and compelled to both wonder about and share that delight, I decided that it might feel nice, even useful, to write a daily essay about something delightful." 

"I came up with a handful of rules: write a delight every day for a year; begin and end on my birthday, August 1; draft them quickly; and write them by hand. The rules made it a discipline for me. A practice. Spend time thinking and writing about delight every day." 

Isn't that amazing? So simple, so beautiful. Then, this: 

"It didn't take me long to learn that the discipline or practice of writing these essays occasioned a kind of delight radar. Or maybe it was more like the development of a delight muscle. Something that implies that the more you study delight, the more delight there is to study. ...  I felt my life to be more full of delight. Not without sorrow or fear or pain or loss. But more full of delight. I also learned this year that my delight grows -- much like love and joy -- when I share it."

I love this book so much. It truly was delightful, and a reminder to make a practice out of finding delights in life, especially because lately everything seems so terrible. 

And IT'S AUGUST FIRST! Happy birthday, Ross Gay. Now go read this book and discover the contagiousness of shared delights. 

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!