Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Verdant Verge

Today was unusual in that it hit 90 degrees, a new record for April. Sadly, the daffodils took a beating from the strong, hot sun and are now gone by, sooner than they would have been otherwise. All the trees have a halo of green around them, leaves beginning to emerge and unfurl. This is probably the last day before they totally pop and we have trees with foliage again. It's such a beautiful time of year, everything so fresh and green, not yet dried out from the summer sun.

As our yoga teacher reminded me spring can be a time of reconnection with nature. Just as all the plants, shrubs and trees are coming back to life we can strive to be more in tune with the earth and what surrounds us: thankful to the trees that provide us shade and clean our air, grateful for the beatiful flowers that give us pleasure, appreciative of this amazing planet we live on.

Back at Square One

After 10 days of feeling pretty rough due to the flu (not the swine flu, thankfully!) I can finally say I'm starting to feel better. If I had a dollar for each person who asked me if I did have the swine flu, I'd probably be able to pay my medical bills. And that's sayin' something!

A week ago Saturday I developed a fever and fatigue, not unheard of in the world of CF. When I was still feeling lousy on Monday I called my doc who wanted me to come in. Tuesday I was seen, Xrays done, blood tests, sputum cultures and viral swabs taken. The worst was the viral swab, up the nose with what looked like a mascara brush, and it went so far up I swear I felt it tickling the back of my head! It was all I could do not to sneeze in the poor nurse's face. Not even a day later I got the call: the viral culture showed h. influenza. Ok, at least I knew what I was dealing with. Thankfully, the Xray looked unchanged.

A full week later I finally am free of the wretched body aches, fever and only a nasty cough and generalized weakness remain. Ok, time to start rehabbing. I took a short walk with Joe last night - clearly this is going to take some time! I'll start back at yoga today which will be a nice, gentle way to ease back into the routine. I never stop being amazed at how quickly the body gets debilitated: 6 weeks of hard work gets undone in a matter of a week. Better get started!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It Always Feels Good

Early Spring Pix

There is a climbing hydrangea growing on the oak tree in the front yard and as I was looking at it in my fevered, flu-ish state I thought it looked so interesting, the brown vines growing against the gray, grooved trunk of the tree. I couldn't resist getting some photos of it before the leaves hide the supporting branches, which is only days away, given that this weekend is going to be in the 80s.

Naturally, being out in the yard with the camera led me from one thing to another, each little shoot an indication of where a good sized plant will be in just a matter of weeks, if not days. The grape hyacinths are the prettiest color - purplish-blue, I don't even know what to call it, periwinkle perhaps? Somehow I imagined periwinkle would be more purplish, but I'm not color expert.

The spiky shoots are the first signs of a big, blue-green hosta that was given to me by our former neighbor, Roberta, just before she moved away. It's a nice reminder of our friendship and I love the way the plant emerges, like some weird underground alien making an appearance. The leaves are absolutely tremendous, it's hard to believe they come from such small spikes. Because it's at the very edge of a walkway and tends to get stepped on at this stage, last year I put some beach stones around it to remind me it's there. So far it's worked! Happy Spring.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Online Quilt Festival

How to select a favorite quilt? Each has a story to tell, its own unique history, and represents a certain era of the quilt maker's life.  After much deliberation, I selected this one as my favorite. Technically, it isn't the most "perfect", with all seams lined up and nary a pucker. There's even 
a mistake in the pattern; but for me it symbolizes a time in my life when things were not particularly easy and I feel triumphant that I was able to create this beauty despite the hard times.

The fabric is 100% silk, only the batting and thread are cotton. The print was a gift from a dear friend- a silk kimono worn by her husband's mother in Japan. It was stained and torn and not deemed good for much, yet the intact parts of the pattern were so gorgeous I couldn't wait to use it. The remaining fabrics were purchased at a closeout sale and the back constructed from other kimono and their linings. 

I've always been interested in recycling and repurposing so this quilt has special meaning, since most of it was made from garments that would have been discarded otherwise. Life circumstances necessitated using what was on hand at the time and I was thrilled to be able to pull something like this together. Although it would never win a prize for being perfect, it reminds me that beauty is always possible no matter the circumstances.   

I'm excited to be part of this online quilt show- my very first! I have found so much inspiration in others' quilts and want to say thanks for taking a look at mine.  Here's the link back to the page that started the festival: Park CityGirl  Enjoy!

Friday, April 17, 2009


This is my second attempt at this post, I wrote it out a few days ago and then when I went to publish it, the computer ate my homework! Usually Blogger is pretty good about saving the work as a draft, but no such luck this time. Ah well, maybe it happened for a reason.

The other day when I was on the treadmill, with my mp3 turned up nice and loud to distract me from the fact that I really don't like exercise, one of my favorite songs came on. It's such a good song that it makes me walk a little faster, just to keep up with the beat. I always feel lucky when a great tune comes up on the random play setting, it's like a little bonus, or it seems that way, anyhow.

As I was listening to the lyrics of the song I had an "a-ha!" moment and I heard them in a different way than I had before. Taken literally, Modest Mouse is singing about their dashboard being melted (like back in the 80s, when your dashboard would crack from being in the sun??) But, no matter.... they still had the radio. The song goes on with a similar theme... "the car was on blocks, but I was already where I want" to be etc, etc etc. The tune is so catchy I had never really thought about the lyrics. Maybe it was all the blood circulating faster than usual and therefore giving my brain a bit more juice, who knows, but all of a sudden I heard the lyrics saying that they were looking at the glass half full, rather than half empty. Sure, the dashboard might have melted, but hey, the radio is working!!! Talk about being grateful for the small things. The realization made me smile.

I'm terrible at interpreting poetry and I suppose music falls into that category as well. I tend to take things very literally so making this connection (which probably would have been obvious to most everyone else) made me happy. Sure, I hate to exercise, but I did get to listen to a great song, and be reminded to see things in a positive light. Thanks Modest Mouse!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gomer's Pile... of Leaves.

Today was a sunny spring day, temperatures in the 50s, just right for some work in the garden. I decided to play hooky from everything but work around the house today. After doing a load of laundry I put on my work clothes and headed out into the yard. Most of the leaves had been cleaned up already, but there were still a few areas where the wind had blown them and they collected under the bushes.

I was startled when I heard a rustling and a familiar "meow" coming from under one spirea. Gomer had made a cozy nest in the leaves that camouflaged him perfectly, the leaves being almost exactly the same color as his fur. So this is where he had been hiding!

A warm spot in the sun, well protected underneath the branches of a bush, in a soft bed of leaves that hide him and let him sleep in peace. I didn't have the heart to clean up the leaves under and disturb his bed. Clearly, by the indentation, it looks like he's been sleeping here for a while- his only refuge from the energetic kittens who refuse to leave him alone while he's in the house.

For some reason seeing this little space of his made me want to take a photo. I like knowing now where Gomer sleeps when he's outside, knowing that it's safe, warm and comfortable. A perfect secret hideaway.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spirituality vs. Religion

I feel that I should clarify something right off the bat so as not to offend anyone who might read this: the title of the post isn't meant to say that spirituality and religion are somehow opposed to one another, as in one sports team versus another. Rather, that to me they are two separate entities and can either exist together, separately or not at all.

Religion, as defined by Webster's dictionary:
1 a: the state of a religious religion> b (1): the service and worship of God or the supernatural(2): commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices3archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
Spirituality, again, by Webster's:1 : something that in ecclesiastical law belongs to the church or to a cleric as such2 : clergy3 : sensitivity or attachment to religious values4 : the quality or state of being spiritual
This time of year seems to be one that reminds people of both their spirituality as well as their religion: for Christian's it's Easter and the resurrection of Christ. For Jews it's Passover. Pagans and Earth Centered the Vernal Equinox. I don't want to appear to be excluding the Muslims, who, as I understand it, follow the lunar calendar for holidays so are on a different schedule and don't have a "set" time of year for theirs.
All in all, this is a very powerful time of year for many of the major spiritual practices. People come out in droves for church services to celebrate. There is also a large secular component to the holiday, as we have seemed to do for every religious holiday, with the Easter Bunny, egg hunts and gifts.It's a time to appreciate the arrival of spring, or what passes for spring in New England, anyway. It's all part of the celebration.

Last week there was the intersection of 3 major days: Good Friday/Easter Sunday, Passover as well as the full moon. Regardless of what philosophy you follow that's some powerful energy. Although I am a card-carrying UU and have been a member of the local church for 10+ years, right now I don't feel like I need to do the group worship thing. I'm very content to sit on my zafu each day, take care of myself, my family, friends, pets and my small yard to the best of my ability, trying to do things with kindness and mindfulness. This may not seem like a true spiritual practice to most people, and it certainly doesn't qualify as "religion" by Webster's definition, but it is what satisfies my craving for spirituality. And I guess that is the most important thing.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thought for the Day

The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances. - Martha Washington

A friend sent me an email with this quotation at the end of it and I liked it so much I thought I'd put it in a blog to better remember it.

Today was a gorgeous spring day in New England, 60 degrees, light breeze, sunny and the air smells so fresh and clean. The crocus are just finishing up their show, bright bunches of purples, yellows and white that add color to the otherwise drab gardens. The grass is still brown and only the tiniest of shoots are coming up where the perennials will be later on this spring.

We've had some typical weather for our area over the past week; a chilly ocean breeze has been keeping us cooler than it is inland. There have been clouds, rain and drizzle most days so today it was heavenly to see the sun and have some warmer temperatures. A nice hint of what is to come after the next batch of rain we'll be getting. What's that saying? April showers bring May flowers? I can't wait!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

I wasn't able to decide which photo I liked best, so figured I'd splurge and put all three up. After all, what's the point of having your own blog if you can't do as you darn well please in it?

I was trying to get some photos of soap to send to a shop in Salem when Millie decided to pose for me by the window. I love how it looks as thought she is hugging the stone birds, although I'm sure she has not idea what they are and that, if they had been alive, they would have been fun to play with. Cats don't really mean to be sinister, it's just part of their nature to instinctively go for fast-moving, small furry or feathered creatures. Why can we accept Manny being Manny and not give cats the same courtesy?

Anyway, I wasn't able to resist getting some pictures of Millie looking so cute by the window on the porch. After she tired of posing and ran off to play with Gracie I did get some decent photos of my soaps, which I then emailed off to the Pickle Pot. After a week of no response I sent a follow-up email just to see if they were received. I did get a reply to that, stating that the shop was very busy preparing taxes and that I'd hear back within a couple weeks. Not a total blow-off, but neither was it a guarantee. I'm keeping an open mind and am trying not to be attached to either outcome. Que sera sera!