Archive for April, 2008

The sun hits the front yard in the morning, so the plants that went into the dirt in the twilight got their photos taken this morning.   Marigolds really pop in the heat of the summer, and they are sturdy except that slugs find them yummy.




This is the Lime Ricky heuchera, planted last year, purchased on a lunch shopping trip with friend Gail.  It is bright, showy, and I can’t help thinking it is leaf lettuce.  It weathered the winter really well.



This is Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus), a Victorian-era plant with exceptional colors.  It likes a contrast with grey foliage, so it will work well with the long needle pine that droops down toward it.



I went to the pool for deepwater running tonight.  Our space was the small square to the left of the 3 meter diving boards, but around 8 PM we were able to lap up and down the pool, since the divers quit at 8 and the life guard refresher class involved a lot of talking and not much pool time.


The obligatory pink azalea photo.


Now I am off to finish knitting the rose colored shawl.


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In the Garden

“In the Garden” is one of my favorite old hymns.  It will make me weep, guaranteed, every time.  Most people don’t know, but it is the story of Mary the Magdalene meeting Christ in the garden after the Resurrection. The only other hymn that is a guaranteed weeper for me is  “I Shall Be Living” by Huub Oosterhuis which is a song I want sung at my funeral (just in case the priest doing the homily doesn’t get it right.)


Sunday, my friend Celia and I went shopping for garden plants.  We went first to a big box store to get the “common” stuff – impatiens, begonias, and the like.  Then we went to a “real” nursery for the special stuff – a few lantana, some English thyme, some special dwarf shrubs for Mike’s garden railroad project.  Yesterday was too rainy for planting, not to mention that I got home at 9:30 from children’s and Spirit choir rehearsals.


This evening I had about 1 hour between getting home and needing to get ready to go to church for the Novena service I sign at.  I planted three pots of Caladio caladiums near the front door.  The no-name pink lily I was given after John died I planted by the other Asiatic lilies.  The Salmon Beauty achillea is planted in a fairly sunny spot near a sage plant.  There is a similarity of leaf color but different texture.  The King Edward woolly yarrow is planted near two Tango Dark Red geraniums and a Lime Ricky heuchera.  (This may be an odd combo, we’ll see.) 


The Persian Shield is planted in the giant pot with the astilbe next to the pine tree.  The other giant pot of astilbe by the holly bushes were joined up with a couple of impatiens (a no-name red and a no-name white.) The pot by the holly is in a lot of shade.  The giant pot containing some more red geraniums (planted Saturday) also received some thyme, parsley and a coleus.


All of the above were planted in the front yard where the sun was already gone.  Perhaps I will get photos tomorrow.  In the back yard I planted a sedum kamtschaticum “variegate” in the patio rock garden.  The sun was golden for about 5 seconds, but I didn’t have the camera out yet and missed it.  This photo below doesn’t do it justice.



I planted a small rosemary in the big pot with the chives (which are about to bloom):



The figs are budding their little figs:



And in the kitchen window – the amaryllis has opened!



This sounds cheery, but today was a sad and difficult day. I closed my office door for a while, because I wasn’t holding it together well.  I struggle with meaning and purpose

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The pool where I go for deep water running was very crowded tonight.  A diving meet – a national regional one – was just starting.  Fortunately I found a parking place, and fortunately, the lap lanes were open.  On a typical Friday night, the pool’s diving team practices until 8 PM.  John really enjoyed watching the young kids learning to dive, while he ran.  Over the years we watched many kids, cheering on their successes and attempts.  Tonight, one 9 year old girl we watched for the past three years scored three 10’s on a difficulty-4 dive off the 7 meter platform.  John would have been tickled.  She was the only diver in the group to get a perfect set of 10s.  Doing the math, she would have been 6 or 7 when she started.


I am not sleeping well.  Last night – the 7-week anniversary of John’s death, at 1:11AM Friday morning – there I was, awake, mourning, journaling.  Perhaps I am awake at 1:11AM on Friday mornings because my irrational mind thinks that this time it will turn out differently.  It makes the rest of the day exhausting and difficult.


About a month ago, I planted all of my amaryllis bulbs, large and small, in one big tub and put it in the back kitchen window.  All the bulbs sprouted leaves and two have sprouted buds as well – one bulb sprouted two bud stalks.  Curiously, the stalks are short this year, less than a foot.  Soon, though, I will have some beautiful flowers to show you.  For now, you can anticipate them with me:


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Odin’s Saga

Odin is watching my front porch for me right now.  It is one of his all time favorite spots to watch.  Sometimes he gets a little anxious about something he’s seen from his window, but every time I go to look, there is nothing there.  So the little guy has a good fantasy life (or really bad eyesight?) 


Just by virtue of John’s being home during the day while I was at work, Odin became more John’s cat than mine over the years.  Odin especially liked to lie on John’s newspaper, and liked to sit on his lap and watch scary movies on DVD, especially ones with lots of explosions.  He wasn’t afraid of the explosions, and seemed to enjoy the movies quite a bit.


Odin’s companion cat, Ra, was three years older.  Ra was a barn cat, a large tom with markings similar to Odin’s but without the agouti pattern.  Ra became increasingly ill over the past 3 years and was so sick in January that he was put to sleep.   This was very sad for John and me. 


Odin has been pretty quick to adapt to being an ‘only cat’ with an ‘only owner’.  I doubt he will ever be a lap cat, but he does greet me at the door, and lays on the bed at night.  He also likes to help with quilting projects.  Here you can see him helping out with the quilting of our niece River’s quilt.



Here is River’s finished quilt.  River lives in California — by a river in the mountains.



Tomorrow is the funeral for Rose’s husband Jack, and I will sing in the choir to honor him and her.  Rose is an alto and choir member of longer standing than I am, and I’ve sung with the choir for 25 years.  Jack was active with the church athletic association, a service organization for the youth of the area.  Peace be with you, Jack.  Peace be with you, Rose.


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How are you doing?

People, bless their hearts, mean well.  I have not figured out how to answer the “How are you doing?” question, but it’s one so many people ask. I have no idea.  (Can I say that?) 


An old friend from work stopped by my office on Monday, and asked some interesting questions. One of them was one I wondered about myself.  He asked whether I ever momentarily forget John’s gone and expect he’ll be coming home shortly, or expect him to be in the next room, and then remember, oh, yes, that’s right, he’s dead.  This doesn’t happen to me, actually.  When I am aware of John, I am aware of his dying, probably more than anything. 


What does happen is that after I have been mentally focused on some piece of work – a data problem, for example, or learning a song or conversing with a friend, – I return to thinking about my situation, about John, about his death.  This is like a fresh wound, like his dying again, one more punch in the gut. 


What else happens has to do with “stuff”.  I have a hard time deciding what to do with the stuff.  What should I throw away?  What should I give away?  I have a haunting feeling that there are things I have to keep in order to keep our marriage, our love, our relationship intact.  Which is, of course, nuts.  That magazine you wrote “Save” on, John, I threw it away.  But not without looking at it really hard and trying to figure out whether that was right.




I have some new yarn to make some gift shawls – prayer shawls or caregiver shawls.  The golden yarn is a mohair blend that I must look at twice as it sits on my desk – it is the color of bread dough, and eggy bread dough.



And here is John.  Here is a photo of him in the plane on our Thanksgiving trip to Colorado.




Peace be with you, John.

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Purple Rag Ball

Last night I finished stitching and winding this purple rag ball.  My loom is dressed and ready to weave.  Perhaps I will use it to begin a new set of rugs tomorrow.  I have a long list of activities for Sunday, including planting the geraniums from Costco, writing some thank you notes for memorial donations, pulling together some more estate information, and repairing a water problem I discovered in one of the storage sheds.




I was the cantor for the Mass this afternoon, and held together OK until hearing during the Prayers of the Faithful that a friend’s husband died.  He had been ill, and my friend and I had been praying for strength for each other.  It was a shock to learn of his death this way and I felt terribly sad for her.  In our church there are several of us with sick, dying or dead husbands.  We form a reluctant sisterhood, but yet can not abandon each other.



I want you to meet my little friend, Odin.  He is a beautiful 10 year old cat with a little bit of Abyssinian blood.  His grandmother was a full Abyssinian, but both grandma and mom slept around, so he’s got a bit of Siamese in him and heaven knows what else.  He has attitude, a lot of attitude.  He was John’s cat, and not very sociable to guests.   He and I have been working on that.

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Long Thursday

Thursday is a busy day.  Besides work, on Thursdays I direct a bell choir rehearsal and sing soprano (and sometimes tenor) in a vocal choir at church.  Tonight we worked on Mendelssohn’s “See What Love Hath the Father”.  It is one of my favorites.


Since the bell choir rehearsal starts at 6:20 PM and the church is on the way home from work, I don’t go home between work and rehearsals.  Anymore.  I used to go home to see John, and to get him some dinner.  Tonight I got home after 9:30, checked the voicemail, and the mail and made a quick dinner.


Then I finished up some work on the papers to give my estate lawyer tomorrow. 


The best place to cry is in the car.  As long as you don’t hit anything, you don’t upset anyone.  I found myself telling John how sorry I was, that I wasn’t able to keep him well, to get him better.  If only…


On a totally different note, I received my passport, yesterday actually.  Flank speed for the State Department.  I was amazed; it took less than a month.


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