Still Life in the Garden

I so enjoy the lilies,
and also the foxglove,

the "Nearly Wild" roses,
and the " Pink Iceberg" roses.
I hope I can keep this begonia blooming like this all summer.

A Bouquet for a Friend and Mentor

I picked a bouquet this morning to take a friend and mentor that is also my therapist. Nine years ago I first met D.R. when I knew I needed help in some kind of way. Through the nine years we have been meeting we have addressed my depression, anxiety, and also how to handle stress. D.R. has encouraged me to grow as a person, helped me set goals to improve myself, encouraged me to write, and supported me in surrounding myself with all that is good in the world. We have eaten chocolate, cried, laughed out loud, and had deep discussions. When I completed my national boards we actually did a toast with a glass of wine. We have read books together, shared articles of interest, and shared websites. She has encouraged me to journal and I have filled books in the nine years.

Two months ago D.R. had an accident at home. I didn't really know what happened. She quit seeing patients for awhile. I knew she had to recuperate. It was difficult. I realized how much I relied on her. I didn't call or email. I waited until she was ready to see patients again. I went through some tough stuff during that time. I missed our sessions, but also realized I actually dealt with stuff that was thrown at me.

Today we had a session after two months. When I handed her the flowers I could see she is back to normal. I am getting closer to normal after we met today. We once again ate chocolate, cried, laughed out loud, and had deep discussions. I left with a whole list of things to do and felt twenty pounds lift off my shoulders when I drove away. I knew I was better, but not ready to give up on our sessions. It is a habit I don't want to break any time soon.

I was also relieved when she told me she wasn't ready to retire. She looked at me and said, "What would I do with myself if I wasn't here working?" I smiled and hugged her good-bye.

The Kittens Venture Outside

Grayson and Junebug got their first outside tour today. It was quite a bit of excitement for two little kittens. We watched them closely... as did the dogs.
Junebug loved the chair.

Grayson discovered an iris.

Way too much excitement.

Sibling Assignment #131: Memories Around Food

Raymond Pert gave the assignment this week. What are you looking forward to at the cousin reunion in Orofino in July? You can find RP's post here and Silver Valley Girl's here.

I have written many memoir pieces centered around food in Orofino.  We didn't always eat in Orofino, but those memories have stayed with me. The gathering around the table with food always brings back vivid memories of Auntie Lila's Swiss Steak, Auntie Ronnie's canned cherries, Grandma West's homemade apple pies that came up from the freezer with hard ice cream, and old fashioned popcorn at cousin Lura's.

As we come together this summer food has already been planned. I know we will collect new recipes, talk about old ones, write down copies on cards from each other and I will have more to add to my collection. When families gather food becomes a vehicle for beginning conversation, sustaining conversation, and remembering.  I know that Lura makes a "killer taco salad". I also can't wait to taste Judy's bean dish from the crock pot. Gloria is known for her dill pickles. Mark will be smoking fish caught in the waters around Orofino. Lyle will be making his signature coffee.  Mom will make her potato salad and pies at home in Kellogg and transport them to her hometown as not to heat up the kitchen in Orofino. All this is only the beginning.
I will probably be able to pull together a cookbook by the time we are done on Sunday of our cousin reunion. I can't wait. I look forward to choosing recipes from my collection, hearing stories about where other recipes came from, and just enjoying the fellowship of family and food.

A Contrast to Home

Minneapolis is a beautiful city, but it is so different from home.
I couldn't get used to sirens blaring all night, the sun being lost behind tall buildings, and feeling closed in by those tall buildings.
 It was a nice visit, but I love my wide open spaces.
I did feel a bit of familiarity when I visited Barnes and Nobel. I must have looked familiar also because three people asked me for help while I browsed the store. Finally I turned over my name tag.

Away from Home

I don't leave home and travel too often. I am spending time in Minneapolis at a conference called " Recruiting for Diversity" sponsored by the National Writing Project.
In the heart of downtown the tall buildings block our the sunshine. Gorgeous flowers are everywhere in bloom. The rain and thunderstorms remind me of home. 
I am surrounded by good people, good conversations, good food and good infomation.

The Whole Truth

On the last page of each issue of the magazine Whole Living, Body +Soul in Balance there is a column called The Whole Truth. Each month a different famous person answers similar questions. I have found their responses enlightening and decided to do it myself today.
If I could say one thing to myself ten years ago.... " When you plant trees and ground covers in the gardens eventually shade WILL  be created and the ground covers WILL help control weeds."

My favorite place in the world..."A quiet campground close to home at the end of September when the air is crisp, it is quiet, and we can sit by the campfire with the dogs and relax."

The movie I watch when I want to laugh... " I haven't watched comedy movies recently, but if I wanted to laugh at a classic comedy it would be Tootsie. 

No one knows I... "also say prayers for the safety of all my dogs and cats when I go to sleep at night."

I feel healthy when I... " drink lots of water and cut out sweets."

If I could do anything else for living I'd... " work in a plant nursery in the mornings, then grab a coffee drink and work in a book store in the afternoon."

Exercise routine... "Right now? I walk around the yard to take pictures, I walk out to the road to get the mail, and I walk back and forth building to building at school. I think I need to find a place a bit further away to walk."

Proudest moment in my career..."was when a student that had been "a challenge" came back to visit me a few years later and apologized, then thanked me for believing in him."

My dad always told me.." Your mother asked you to do it. Do it!"

My mom was right about..." The time from the vine to the brine is the secret to crisp, flavorful dill pickles. Amen Mom!"

The lesson I keep learning over and over... " If a child isn't learning in my classroom, it's not because they can't, but often something I can't control is getting in the way."

I wish I had more time for..."spending time with family that lives far away."

My great unfilled dream is...." to gather creative people together at my place where we can have a sanctuary to dream, write, create, and learn more about ourselves. "

Real contentment is "sitting in the garden after dinner with my husband reflecting on all the good in the world."

One of my favorite quotations is... " To the outside world we all grow old.  But not to brothers and sisters.  We know each other as we always were.  We know each others' hearts.  We share private family jokes.  We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.  We live outside the touch of time."~Clara Orteg

I always feel saner when I.... " grab my camera and capture the simple beauty of the world around me."

If you feel like joining in and finishing these sentences I would love to read your responses.
You can find Whole Living magazine here.

Ten Cool Things About This Rainy Weather

While all of us are wondering if we will see sunshine two days in a row this summer, I have to say there are advantages to this cooler weather that has gripped the inland empire.
1. I have seen the most spectacular rainbows ever... even some double rainbows.
2. Weeding and deadheading have been postponed way too many times.
3. Photos turn out better on cloudy days.
4. The roses have never had more buds or bigger blossoms than right now.
5. I figured out my back windshield wiper on my car needs replacing. How would I have known?
6. Umbrellas are hip and in style.
7. It is easier to stay in bed in the morning when it is gray and cloudy.
8. The campgrounds aren't as full. Of course... who wants to camp?
9. The new kittens can lay in the windowsill and not get sunstroke.
10. I don't have to worry about a pedicure. I am still wearing wool socks!

Blending Dogs and Cats: Obsession

Now that Grayson and Junebug have been officially named we continue to try to get them acquainted with the dogs. The cats did great this evening, but the dogs were frozen to their spots playing "Obsession Dogs". When they play this game they sit and stare frozen at whatever obsesses them. Annie plays it better than Shelby, but tonight she had the rules down also.The kittens were ready to just play.... they didn't get it.

The Garden Shed Makeover

As I mentioned last week JEJ had a terrific idea for changing the garden shed. It was an inexpensive makeover. He took all the "garden junk" out of the shed, added some walls, painted, and found some leftover flooring.
It started like this.
Then some walls were added. JEJ painted them.
Then we dusted off the old twin bed,found a table JEJ built, recycled an old computer chair, and brought in a lamp from another room.

I found a few other doodads that I moved to the room. ( It helps that most of my "found treasures" are the same colors!) 
  Lily even came to pose outside the new guest cabin. Even if we don't have any guests soon I think I may have to sneak off and do some quiet activity out there...or maybe a nap!

My Dad's 10 Simple Rules

Father's Day is a good day to reminisce about the rules my dad lived by. Dad was taken from us in 1996 by cancer. I have been thinking about my dad a lot today and if I could sit down with him today he might just agree with these rules.

My Dad's Ten Simple Rules
1. If you can read... you can cook.
2. The best gift to give your granddaughter is a bubble gum pink Schwinn bicycle.
3. Men can cry... especially when they sing "God Bless America".
4. Respect the river.
5. The WSU Cougars were crummy... until my daughter got a master's degree from the university.
6.You can go home again.
7. The best place to examine the world is from your own front porch.
8. Respect your mother.
9. Money doesn't grow on trees.
10. Remember the good times and be generous to your friends.

Simple Pleasure: Summer Dinners

I love simple dinners in the summer that don't heat up the house and can be prepared easily. I also love finding a spot somewhere outside to depending on where the sun is.
Whether it is a cold salad, a few drumsticks on the grill, some fruit, or a cold drink summer dinners are the best.

The Beauty of Peonies

 One bloom that was too short for the vase can make a whole bouquet.
Mixed with other flowers they make an exquisite bouquet.
I love the bouquet in the evening light.

Day Five: The Kittens

Today Clementine and MacRae got to see the living room!
Now the literary cats are reading the dictionary
and the back of the Kitten Chow bag.
There are lots of places to explore.
It is also fun to pose for pictures.
It does feel safe back in the guest room again.