Category Archives: Flowers

#augustbreak2013 Day 16

Floral

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved flowers. It’s one of my favorite things to have a jar full on my writing desk. For a long time, lilacs were my clear favorite.
desklilacsLately, I’ve developed a huge crush on peonies.

luminositypeony05smallAnd I have soft spot for Rocky Mountain Bee Plants. They showed up in our flowerbed out front one year, and have returned each spring, bigger and bigger, to feed the riot of bees and ants and moths and butterflies, our own private version of a food truck, a lunch wagon parked right beside our driveway.

rmbeeplant12I also have a favorite rose bush. It grows right next to what was Obi’s favorite spot in the backyard, and they smell amazing.

obiroseblurry

Gratitude Friday

rosesfrommygarden

1. Flowers from my garden. As much as I am working on cultivating a garden I can eat, I also want a full season of blooms.

2. Easy and affordable access to healthcare. I am so grateful, especially after this weekend, to be able to get help 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from wise and compassionate caregivers.

3. Free Yoga Journals. On one of our morning walks this week, we went by a house for sale that had a full box of about six years worth of Yoga Journal magazine sitting out front on the sidewalk. I passed it up at first, tried to convince myself I didn’t need them, was in the process of decluttering, but ended up going back for them. Truth is, I’m starting yoga teacher training in January, they are my favorite magazine, and after I read them I always use them to collage, so I kind of did need them.

4. HGTV House Hunters and House Hunters International. I’ve mentioned before that being a highly sensitive person, I have to be careful what I watch. I can’t really watch anything with conflict or meanness or horror anymore, which means most TV is out. But I love HGTV. If I could have just that channel, I might consider getting cable again, but for now, thankfully, there are episodes available online.

5. Summer break. I had a dream last night that I was on vacation in Hawaii, but I’d spent most of my time working, being inside, that I was spending the last day there doing laundry and was so sad that I hadn’t enjoyed the trip more. I think that was my subconscious telling me that it’s time to start acting like I’m on vacation, (I’m not really very good at it). I’m listening to Beach House Radio as I write this, and missing the beach so much it hurts a little. This time last year, we were packing, getting ready to leave the next day for a whole month there, with no idea that our sweet Dexter had cancer, no idea it would be his last trip there with us.

Dexter embraces his gray hair.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. I almost hate to say it outloud, afraid I might jinx it, but he’s gone five days without a bloody nose. A few nights ago, he slept in bed with us the whole night, and his routine for getting in was exactly like the “good old days,” — go out to go potty, come back in and check that everyone is in bed, go find his Little D, hop into bed with us, play with his baby for a little bit, get petted, and finally breathe a deep sigh and fall asleep against my leg. It’d be easier to let him go if he weren’t so dang sweet.

Gratitude Friday

1. Rain. We’ve had a good amount of rain this spring, rain but not hail or big thunderstorms, and my garden and yard, the park and the river are all really happy about it.

2. Crowdfunding. In the past year or so, I have helped musicians get records made, writers publish books, documentaries get made, people without it get clean water, kids that might go without receive Christmas presents, and even cancer patients pay for their treatment. I love crowdfunding so much. I love us and our big hearts, our kindness and good intentions, our willingness to help. Here are two projects just recently completed, with rewards on their way to me, an album and a book.

3. Collaboration. I have a project I’m going to officially announce tomorrow in a post that will introduce it in more detail, Self-Compassion Saturday. There are an amazing group of wise and compassionate teachers, writers, healers, and artists who are going to help me consider some important questions I have about self-compassion. It is the most beautiful thing, and I can’t wait to share it with you. I am humbled by the ways these women are gracing me with their wisdom and kindness, their willingness to share, beginning with the simple act of saying yes.

4. Peonies. I planted three this year, but I am already thinking I’m going to need more. N e e d.

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ~Iris Murdoch

springpeonies

5. Nature. How green everything is right now, how full and fast the river and blue the sky. How at an English Department retreat on Wednesday, we were visited first by a deer, then a pair of wild turkeys, and finally a baby deer — and when I say baby, I mean JUST born, still wobbling around on its shaky legs attempting to learn to walk. And there was a moment of sadness, that tender sadness present in everything, when we spooked his mom and she ran, but he was too unsteady to catch up to her, and I imagined his desperation, “Mom, wait!” *sob*

one of the turkeys in question

one of the turkeys in question

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. An extra special bonus was that he slept in bed with us two full nights in a row. He’d slept with us every night for seven years, but when we got Sam, Dexter “got his own apartment” and started sleeping in various other locations throughout the house. Sam has recently made some similar shift into adulthood, and begins each night by sleeping for a few hours in his crate, which is in another room. I’m thinking something about this makes Dexter feel more comfortable getting in with us. I don’t care why, I’ll take what I can get.

Big D, Little D, and Dexter’s tomato plant

Day of Rest

pinkpeonies

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?
~Mary Oliver, Peonies

Yesterday, I planted peonies, made a memorial garden of sorts. One Moonstone, “This heavenly-scented peony has large double white flowers with blush pink petals along the outer edges,” one Shirley Temple, “This early bloomer has double blush-white flowers with a hint of red. Pale pink fading to white, these medium-sized blossoms with petals arranged in whorls create a very delicate appearance,” and one Rachel, “This attractive perennial is prized for the amount of double blossoms. The late midseason blooming flowers are a bright crimson color and are held on strong sturdy stems above the clear bright green foliage.” I am completely and utterly in love with peonies, so lush and delicate, strong and soft.

At the nursery, the sign said peonies can live for 50-75 years. They live long, are “drought tolerant, deer resistant, and good for cutting.” My friend Susan, Kelly‘s mom, said she has one that her grandmother gave her for her wedding 45 years ago. I love that. Peonies were blooming at Kelly’s memorial service four years ago. Something about them soothed me, gave me comfort, even though looking at those blooms now breaks my heart all over again. Kelly was an avid gardener, and digging in the dirt, cultivating my garden makes me feel close to her.

peonies

I bought three to start. That number seems right — three for the three I’ve lost but still carry with me, (Heather, Obi, and Kelly), and three to represent all three of my dogs, (one I’ve already lost, one who is somewhere in between, and the one who will have been here for the grief of both losses, helping to heal me). I planted them in the mound where our cottonwood tree used to stand.

That tree was one of the main reasons we chose this house over the other options — that and the big yard, the location (close to Old Town and Lee Martinez Park, only a five minute commute to work for me), and the decorative plaster ceilings. In truth, at already almost 40 years old, the tree was a liability. It dropped a huge limb on our car once, causing $1500 worth of damage. I made a deal with her then that if she dropped another limb that big, we’d need to take her down (we live around the  corner from an elementary school and have lots of kids on our block, and that size limb was potentially lethal, even to an adult if it had fallen just right). A few years later, another came down, so we had to take her out.

she was massive

she was massive, and beautiful, and terrifying

Taking her down, losing her was traumatic. I still remember how it felt coming home and seeing her there, stripped of all her limbs, a man high in a bucket raising his chainsaw to start taking down the first section of trunk. I felt sick. I wanted to tell them to stop, but it was already too late. I hadn’t realized until she was gone that she’d provided more than shade. That she’d been more than a threat, she’d stood guard, somehow protecting us. Without her, without anything between us and the street, between us and the rest of the neighborhood, I felt exposed and vulnerable. It took almost six months for that feeling to go away.

Based on that, it might be surprising we didn’t simply plant another tree. We chose to put in flowers, vegetables and fruit instead, along with a spot set aside to remember everything we’ve loved and lost, with the intent of eventually getting rid of most of the grass. Eric was telling me that he heard a story on NPR the other day about the history of lawns, how people initially put them in as a status symbol, to show their prosperity — if they didn’t need that land for growing food or raising livestock, that meant they were well off. It reminds me of how at one point in history, having a tan marked you as lower class because it meant you had to work outdoors, but then later having a suntan became a symbol of affluence, showed that you had enough leisure time and money for travel that you could afford to spend your days lounging around in a lawn chair or by the pool or on a beach somewhere with nothing better to do.

So far we’ve put in three new raised beds for vegetables, made another bed for strawberries, filled in the front burm with irises and other flowers, created a spot for the peonies, and dug out other spots for various melons, squash, and cucumbers. I made sure to put a cherry tomato in the back yard for Dexter (we have three beds back there too), just in case he decides to stick around until there is fruit, (he loves them so much, I sometimes catch him picking them himself — if he gets a green one, he spits it out). This morning, he made it an offering of his Little D, so I think he approves.

Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
~Mary Oliver, Peonies

Plant a Kiss Blog Hop Party 2013

pak-2013-logo-web

In the spirit of Amy Krouse Rosenthal‘s work, 18 bloggers set out to “Plant a Kiss” in the world on April 29. We each did something we thought would spread a little extra joy, color, connection, poetry, or magic in the world. Then we watched to see what would happen!

Plant a Kiss Day was created to celebrate the message and spirit behind Amy’s work and the whimsical book she created, Plant a Kiss, which is beautifully illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.

I first encountered Amy’s work when I read Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, a truly original and amazing book, one of a kind. It’s the kind of book that makes every writer think, “I wish I’d thought of that!” (or maybe that was just me?). Everything Amy’s done since has inspired me, made me feel a deep confidence in basic goodness. I love having the opportunity to celebrate her work, and to do my own bit towards cultivating love.

Today the 18 of us who took part in Plant a Kiss day are posting about our experiences. My thoughts are below. Click here (http://www.simplycelebrate.net/plant-a-kiss-day-2013) where you can find links to all of the participating bloggers and hop around to see how each woman was uniquely inspired to celebrate Plant a Kiss Day.

Plant a Kiss #1: Send flowers to sweet Rachel. She is recovering from having her tonsils out and I wanted to cheer her up. I got a recommendation for a local flower shop from her neighbor, Mati Rose, who was spot on sending me the information for Arjan Flowers and Herbs. Designer Mina Bolouri put together a ridunculous bouquet of ranunculus, Rachel’s favorite, a riot of color and soft shapes.

Plant a Kiss #2: Deliver snacks to Fort Collins Veterinary Emergency and Rehabilitation Hospital. They have been taking such good care of Dexter, both with his ongoing physical therapy and his emergency visits, and I wanted to express my gratitude. I made chocolate chip cookies, and took hummus, crackers and veggies.

Plant a Kiss #3: Drop off donation for Animal House Rescue. This is our local (as in a few blocks away from our house) no-kill rescue, and also where we got our Sam. I took them paper towels, trash bags, bleach, folders, and dog treats.

Plant a Kiss #4: Love bomb the third floor of Eddy Hall, (the building where I work at Colorado State University).

Love bombing, in the most general terms, is when you anonymously leave notes or small gifts for people to find. It can be in a public space, such as a grocery story (like leaving notes that say “You are beautiful exactly as you are” in the diet food aisle), library (putting messages of hope from the Universe inside books about depression or addiction), or where you work (leaving notes that say things like “The way you smile and say hello always cheers me up” in someone’s mailbox), or it can be a private or more personal space, such as leaving cookies on your neighbor’s door step, ringing the doorbell and running away before they catch you, or putting a note on someone’s car windshield.

youareloved

For my Plant a Kiss love bomb, I put up tearable flyers in the employee mail room, both bathrooms, and one over the water fountain in the main hallway. This is the second time I’ve love bombed Eddy Hall, and only a few people know it was me. One person who still hasn’t figured it out posted on Facebook, “Somebody put up the motivational tear-away flyers in the women’s restroom with positive thoughts again! I love this, whoever you are! And there’s also a sign indicating employees should moonwalk out of the bathroom. English people (students? faculty? staff?) CRACK ME UP!”

*tee-hee*

lovebombmaterials

If you’d like to try a love bomb, (I highly recommend it, makes you feel good and cheers up the people who find them), some of my sources for flyers are:

Special thanks goes to Sherry Richert Belul for hosting this project (I adore you and your shenanigans, Sherry!), for the 17 other bloggers who helped me spread the love, and to Amy Krouse Rosenthal for being our reason.

And Happy Plant a Kiss Day to you, kind and gentle reader. As always, you have my love and deep gratitude. It makes me so happy that you keep showing up here. May you find a bit of love planted in your life today, or be able to plant a kiss for someone else who might need it. Don’t forget to check out the other blog posts, maybe get an idea and join us in cultivating even more love.

Gratitude Friday

1. Fort Collins Veterinary Emergency and Rehabilitation Hospital. They took such good care of Dexter this weekend, and for the past few months with his physical therapy. I feel so lucky that they are there.

2. Surprise flowers at work. I might not always love my job, but I work with some of the kindest people, one of whom bought me flowers because I was having a rough week.

surpriseflowers

3. Green grass and blue sky, after a week of snow.

4. Sherry Richert Belul and her shenanigans. This time it’s Plant a Kiss Day, which I’ll be participating in. She is an instigator of joy, and I adore her.

5. Flexible paid work. With Dexter being sick, and then needing regular doses of medication and lots of company, it was so nice to have work that understood and allowed for my need to be flexible.

Bonus Joy: Even though it was a rough one, we had another week with Dexter. I’m so grateful he’s feeling better, not suffering. That’s all I want–not more time, not a miracle cure for his cancer, just that he is happy and well while he’s with us, and when it’s time to go, that he have an easy death.

dexaprilsnow

Day of Rest

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~Rachel Carson, Silent Spring