Friday, June 28, 2013

A Phoenix from the Ashes

It seems like I'm focusing on plants recently, but today's good thing is that I finally got some cuttings of Mom's Zephirine Drouhin rose to root.  A couple of years before she died, I got Mom a climbing Zephirine Drouhin rose.  It's an heirloom rose, with a strong scent and bright pink blooms.  It's other advantages are that it's  nearly thornless and will even grow in the shade.  

I've been wanting one for my yard and even ordered one that I promptly killed.  Early this spring, I took cuttings of Mom's rose and none of them rooted. I think they dried out.  I tried again a few weeks ago and put all the cuttings in their pots into two big plastic bags.  They all seemed to die -- the leaves mostly fell off and looked moldy -- but when I went to throw them out yesterday, lo and behold, two of the stems had rooted and were sending up new leaves.  

There's no guarantee that I won't kill them in the next few weeks, but at least they've gotten this far -- so they must be tough.  

Yesterday, I finally finished putting together the raised garden box that I've been wanting all spring.  It's a little late for planting this year, but I still plan to set out a few things if any are available in the garden stores at this late date. Well, the box is done:  4 ft. x 8 ft. and 12 inches high, but I still have 800 pounds of top soil in the back of my van to move into the box!    So, I'm not exactly finished .... 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Great Oaks and Little Acorns

Today's good thing is this little Burr Oak seedling that I got from my Dad's yard.  He has a majestic Burr Oak in his back yard -- the trunk is seriously about 3 feet in diameter.  Mom put one of those tree "faces" on it, with eyes and a nose and mouth that you tack onto the bark.  It looks like the type of tree that ought to have a face.

Anyway, Dad has seedlings from this tree coming up all over his yard as a result of the squirrels burying the acorns.  When I was down there a couple of weeks ago, he dug one up for me and I brought it home with the acorn still attached at the bottom.  I potted it and I've been keeping it watered and it's sprouted eight new leaves.

Over the past couple of days, I've watched the tiny buds grow and then, suddenly, unfurl into leaves. It happens so fast and they grow so much, you almost feel like you could watch it happen if you could just sit still long enough.

Overall, my thumb is pretty much brown.   I do my best, but the chances of this little seedling actually growing into a magnificent oak like my Dad's are pretty slim.  Maybe that's okay though if I enjoy it to the fullest today.  Maybe its purpose will have been fulfilled.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Life of Love

Today's good thing is that Sam seems to be hanging on pretty well.  He's still eating -- probably a little less each day -- and he's still getting around okay.  His backbone seems to be bonier and more protruding than it used to be.  He doesn't seem to be in a lot of pain -- just a little slower every day.  He's enough himself that I can be in denial about his ever leaving us.

I'm careful to watch for any signs that he's in pain.  I've started giving him a pain killer every night so he'll sleep well while the rest of us are asleep and can't be with him.

Particularly with the new puppy around, we've been lavishing him with attention and making sure the puppy knows that she's nowhere close to being the top dog around here.  In general, he just ignores her.

He's been such a good dog and faithful companion.  He's been a source of unconditional love for the whole family for 13 years.  Not to be maudlin, but -- rather than lesser creatures -- I sometimes wonder if dogs aren't superior beings, maybe angels, in disguise.  They lighten the load wherever they are with love and humor.  Unlike people, they're able to live in the present moment all the time.

I'm very thankful for Sam and all the good years we've had together.  I hope to see him again in another world.

Anyone who hasn't seen this, needs to:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Armchair Power: Make It So, Number One.

Today's good thing is online shopping.  When I was growing up, stores had very limited hours.  Banks had even more limited hours.  If you needed a wedding gift, you had to ask around to find out what the couple needed, have the money on hand, make a trip out to the store, wrap the gift, and make another trip to the post office to mail it.  And, even then, you didn't know if the gift was duplicated by someone else.  

This morning I was able to sit in my chair, watching Spongebob, and view my niece's entire wedding registry.  I could even see which gifts she had already received.  I was able to pick something I thought she and her fiance would enjoy and send it, gift-wrapped, directly to her.  All without leaving my chair.

I love the Internet.  

Friday, June 21, 2013


Today's good thing is Reese's Puffs cereal.  I love the stuff.  I know, I know, it's a disgustingly sweet cereal and adults should know better, but it's really not THAT bad for you.  Read the label.  I usually eat some for breakfast and another bowl for a snack before bed.  In fact, when I go on trips I usually bring some with me.   Somehow the sweet chocolate and slightly salty peanut butter and the crunch are perfectly satisfying.  

So between my sweet cereal and my Spongebob addiction, I'm about five.  Don't let it bother you.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Spring Fed Pond

Today's good things are my new Stella D'Oro daylilies.  These were a kind gift from a friend who was overgrown with them and thought of sharing them with me.  This spring, when she and her son were thinning their plot, she set aside several clumps for me.  I planted them in the front yard and they have made themselves quite at home.  They started blooming last week and they're lovely.

I love it when a person shares what they don't need or want and another person can enjoy it.  I remember the dandelions that Nancy brought me last year when she and Eric were weeding their lawn.  The bunnies loved that treat.  Things like that reassure me of the abundance of life.  Like a spring fed pond,
Pepper thinks the flowers are for eating.
we can all be endlessly full.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happiness is a Warm Puppy

Today's good thing is a warm puppy in your lap.  Well, sort of.

This morning, I let Sam and the new puppy, who has finally been named Pepper, out and got them taken care of.  I made my coffee and sat down for my morning meditation.   About two minutes into it, I heard a crunching noise from upstairs.  I ignored it.  It persisted.  I finally got up and investigated.

Pepper had gone into the upstairs bathroom, selected one of the girls' safety razors, and was chewing vigorously on the plastic handle.  In accordance with puppy protocol, I informed the razor in a low, menacing voice that it was a very bad razor and spanked it severely.  Then I found Pepper's toy squirrel and praised it in a high cheerful voice, telling it what a good toy it was and how it was such a good thing to chew and gave it to Pepper.  Pepper got the point.  She does not want to be associated with any item as bad as that naughty razor.

Sam meditating
Sam is a good at meditating.  When he hears the bell, he goes to his bed and lies down and, generally, doesn't stir for 20 minutes until the ending bell sounds.  Pepper, not so much.  After I got the razor away from her, she tapped around the house and played with her squirrel and investigated all the corners, and generally distracted me.  After a while, she jumped into my lap and began licking my face.  Again, not too good for meditation.  Finally, I was able to discourage her enough that she curled into a ball and went to sleep on my lap -- allowing me to finish a very disrupted meditation period.

Pepper meditating
Still, there is something sweet and life-giving about a warm puppy in your lap.  So sweet that I name it today's good thing.  Being able to roll with life's little distractions is a good skill to practice.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Ties That Bind ... And Bind

So much for my new resolution.  I already missed a day ....

Good things ... good things ... good things ....

Okay.  I've got one.  I had a pleasant call from my brother last night.  We actually communicated a bit as equals.  Most people won't understand that.  Most people think my brother is a great guy -- and he is.  He's a well-respected doctor who is very social, has a ton of friends, and is active in his church.

But to me, his big sister, he is aloof, snide, and superior.  When I was so horribly overweight, he made cruel jokes about it. Once, when my Mom's dachshund was trying to jump up into my lap, he noted dryly that she was looking for a lap where no lap could be found.  He would probably have said it was tough love and for my own good.  He tends to laugh quietly to himself whenever my sister or I make a statement of any kind, as if we're such children and one day we'll understand the world as he does.

So, when he called last night and had an actual conversation with me, it was nice.  He called to encourage me to take more control over Dad's financial affairs -- so he wasn't just calling to be friendly -- but he was pleasant and he thanked me for the work I do handling Mom's trust and taking care of Dad as much as Dad permits.  I shared my day with him and he listened and I complimented his wife.  I thanked him for spending Father's Day with Dad.  It was all very pleasant ... almost friendly.

So, it's a good thing.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Good Things

I'm going to try to resurrect my posting of daily "good things."  It was a helpful exercise and helped to make me mindful of the little blessings in my life.

Today I'm thankful for those mornings -- most mornings -- when I wake up before everyone else and get a little private quiet time.  I brew my coffee and pour my milk and cereal and then sit down to meditate for twenty minutes.  Sometimes I sit and cry with Sam and for Sam, my dog who has liver cancer.  Sometimes I listen to the birds.  It's a peaceful, nourishing time and I'm very thankful for it.

Sam is relaxing too.