August Garden

garden August 2014

Somehow so quickly, the summer has past. It was a cool and wet summer but the flowers loved it. I spent as much time as I could, which is never enough, sitting out and enjoying the beauty. This is my canvas and I paint  in spring with my flowers. Mother Earth fills in and takes over as the summer progresses. It is the first place I retreat to when I come home and I end my day out there. This is my garden at night.

At dusk

At dusk

The long view from my chair

The corner of the deck

The corner of the deck

View from my chair

View from my chair

View of my chair

View of my chair

During the day I have many visitors. I also have my favorite tree named Elgin in honor of Rising Hawk. Elgin gives me great advice.

Mrs. Bunny                       Elgin in the light

This weekend we leave for Sacred Ground. We are off to The River for a long week.

My meditation spot at the River

My meditation spot at the River

 

The suitcases are packed. However, I had to face this look all day. They know we are going. But they have their Auntie Carolyn to cuddle and smooch them up all day and every night and Uncle John, their favorite is coming over too. So they will be fine. However, I still had this face.

ms attitude

Namaste.

 

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June and July garden views

Normally I write inside and I though I would show you where I write. In the summer, I move my laptop outside to the garden. I decided tonight to show pictures of the garden. There is another page I added to this blog which shows pictures of the garden in May. These are June and July shots. I spent a lot of time today giving plants a good trimming and weeding and we worked on the new rose bed. I love roses. For my birthday, my husband gave me a dozen and I had them next to me in my indoor spot.

writing spot

Birthday roses 6-15-14

 

I love to grow roses but I have very little sun. I put in one rose bush last year and it  gave me

eight beautiful roses. open roses  This year I added another one that makes abundant little ones.                                            new roses

Now to the rest of my garden, my paradise.

Garden to the left

  Garden to the left

Garden to the right

Garden to the right

This may look like a lot of work to maintain, but it is not.  Having said that, I can hardly move tonight but it is ok….it is a good hurting. I have the mulch put down and the only thing I do is water, mow and prune….. ok, and plant and weed.  The Rhododendron had a tough winter like us all and I did not have the normal blooms. The oldest one suffered freezer burn and I had to whack it back. But it is back completely and blooming. Joe and I  did put work on the lawn and put in new grass as we had nothing after winter. But we had heavy rains and it washed a lot of the seed down the hill. Matter of fact, the drain by our property has wonderful grass growing from it. The new stuff we put in way in back looks great.

Ms. Cookie

Ms. Cookie

The kids love the garden almost as much as Bishop did. I do have a planter in honor of the Bish.

Bishop's planter   Browny and Cooke spend as much time as they can playing and laying in the sun.Browny

This year I skipped growing tomatoes and went for herbs and lettuce. The lettuce is ready to be picked. herbs and dirt for the dogs

basil and catnip   And I am growing all different Basil and catnip for Magoo, our cat.

tiger liliesElgin and friend

                                                                                                          I love my garden.

The Garden views 2014

Well folks, it is finally here. Spring. I thought we would never get here. It is time to share my refuge and one of my sacred places. This is where I go in my head when I need to calm. It is so great to physically be able sit in my garden.

Dawn breaks

Dawn breaks

We had a long very cold winter. Some of my plants did not fair well. We had NO grass. We put down seed twice.

The bare yard before seed.

The bare yard before seed

We spent two weekends hand tilling and putting down seed. Mother Earth provided the rain. Boy did she. The canal by our house went over its banks. I have never heard of that happening from rain, but it indicates how much we got.

Rain that cause flooding

Rain that cause flooding

The dogs spend every moment they can outside. It took them a while to get used to the open door and freedom. But they run and play for hours. Their favorite thing is to beat each other up.

The doggies playing

The doggies playing

snarling doggies

The sound so fierce.

But in the end, they love each other. The Black and White one, Cookie, is the mother to Browny.

I still love you

I still love you.

I love to just sit and look. This is the view.

View to the right

View to the right

Neighbors tree

View to the left

I have started to plant my annuals.

Annuals one of many flats

Annuals one of many flats

The best part of my day is to climb into my chair and get quiet. Sometimes a dog will jump into my lap and snuggle. Other times, it is me and my praying tree, Elgin. I sit in the quiet sounds of the birds and wind. The bugs are not out yet. I do have to bring a blanket. Often I will slowly melt into the darkness. I look forward to many nights of thinking, prayer and reflection and meditation and the best: Peace.

Me in my chair: note feet.

Me in my chair: note feet.

 

 

 

Small joys

Bishop in the old garden

Bishop in the old garden

The one thing I have found more in my life lately is small joys. Today was filled with small joys. I do not usually write two posts, but I had to tonight.

It seems that mornings have been filled with sadness for me lately. I have been very consistent with my meditation practice and it seems to help with sending whatever angst I bring from my dreams on their way. This morning, I sat and wrote and then after I posted, I meditated and all the feelings of …and I am not even sure what it is…. were gone. I proceeded to go outside and sit with the trees and birds. Ah, this is the music I longed for in the blowing and freezing wind this winter. The sun warmed me gently and slowly, the grip of worry, fear and sadness were totally gone.

I donned a support brace for my ankle and armed with my brand new rake, I began to clean the lawn of dried grasses, doggie presents, twigs and stones. After a while, my husband joined me as we had just purchased his and her rakes. The sun at that point was warm enough for me to hang the wash out on the line. I even changed into a sleeveless top and shorts and we worked until we had raked the whole back yard. We paused often to enjoy the sun and the doggies who cannot resist a lap.

With the lawn all raked and cleaned, we proceeded to empty the shed and bring all the garden ornaments out and in to their designated spots in the yard. My husband proudly put his whirligig into its spot and spun it a few times. We worked in tandem and in short order, the garden was alive again. It was amazing. The one ornamental shrub, which I have no idea what it is, was blooming. It is always the first and attracts many bees. The big trees are barely budding. Upon close inspection, I saw the very tiny nubs of new growth on my roses. The multiple wind chimes were singing in the soft breeze. At this point the dogs were worn out from running around and barking at passer-byes. They lay in the sun, one watching for any action, the other content to just close her eyes.

After we returned from dinner with my in-laws, we all raced outside to enjoy the garden and the sunset. The dogs, revitalized from their nap while we were gone, ran and played and then hopped up into our laps to sit and be adored. The sun slowly turned the crimson and both of us thought that the raked dirt seemed to have a green haze forming. Slowly the multiple solar lights blinked on and grew in their sparkling glow. We both sighed and talked about how nice it would be to spend our time not having to rush and get ready for work. It is coming in a few years. For now, as the sun set and the chill came over the garden fence, we headed in to prepare for the week.

The contentment and joy is so large in my heart right now. I am blessed in so many ways. I needed the connection of the soil to become grounded again. I needed the air and sun and the feel of the trees and my flowers coming back to me. My husband said that I am totally different after being in the garden all day. I said, “I have chlorophyll for blood.” Neither of us laughed as I think it is true. I am sore, I have a blister, and I am sunburned. I love it. The amazing thing is that the foot and ankle that was so awful all week is not swollen at all. I took the brace off early in the work as it was irritating. My husband even sees how special the garden is this year which is wonderful. I know we will be spending many hours enjoying it. Even though my trusted and beloved Bishop, who spent hours with me in the garden, is no longer here, I could sense him everywhere. The new pups fill it with a different energy and it is fine. I am so glad that winter is over. I am sure I will be boring everyone soon with pictures. – Namaste

The Present Moment Warrior

I feel like I am in a new arena of my learning. I had a pretty dark winter which is why I did not do much writing. Well I wrote, I just did not publish. This latest period of my life had been interesting though, but I am really hoping I am done with it and moving on. The stasis of depression was too deep.
Up here where I live, we have an abundance of grey days. I work in a grey office with no natural light. I have three incandescent lamps in my office so that I get some semblance of more natural light. I hate fluorescent which is what is predominant. The training rooms are the center most of the building, so they do not have any windows. I go in early so often and there is no daylight and up until recently, I leave in dark when I come home. And the snow is terrible. It is March 30 and it started to snow last night. We have about a foot on the ground and it is to continue all day. It was warm when the precipitation started, so there is a slick of ice on everything. My poor dogs where slipping all over the place and the little one could not get off the deck because the snow is too deep and heavy for her to navigate. backyard 3-30-14
I also have not been feeling the best. I have a condition brought on when I was given massive doses of drugs including steroids and chemo when I first was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. The combination was too much for my right kidney which decided to stop functioning. I was able to heal it some but only have 40% usage and that will be it. It is better than none. But because it is sluggish, it produces stones pretty regularly. Nothing else causes it. There are stones lodged in it that hopefully will never pass as they are too big. My other kidney is just fine and clear. I have gotten to the point where it is just something I live with. I have produced over thirty stones I have captured. For the past couple of weeks, I knew I was in the process of passing a stone as I can feel them traveling. This baby had knives in it.

Kidney stones 3-28-14

Kidney stones 3-28-14

This is my present moment. But I am choosing to find alternative things to focus on and it is making all the difference. Interestingly along with the misery I was subjecting myself to there has been a wonderful current of hope and happiness. I am choosing to focus on that. Yesterday morning I sat outside and listened to the birds. I love that so much. We had a few that were eyeing up the real estate for homes as I have many bird houses. I passed not one, but two kidney stones on Friday night and they were big. The feeling of relief and no pain is marvelous and I am so grateful they are out. It is Sunday and I do not have to go anywhere and hopefully they will have cleaned up the snow and ice more so by tomorrow it will not be hazardous driving. Meanwhile, the dogs and my husband can kick back all day. I have chores but those too are ok because I do not have to go anywhere.

Princess LaLa snoozing

Princess LaLa snoozing

Village plows

Village plows

I am beginning to define my present moment as what is good in it, not what is wrong. It is a challenge when I am so used to being negative. My brain automatically turns to that and I must recode and process differently. In all my reading I found out that being negative is quite normal. We are preprogrammed for that to keep us safe. I just went too far with it. Not that I caused it. But understanding all this created such a sense of relief and release of guilt and shame that allowed me to move on. I also know that it is fine to embrace the sad and disappointment of life too. There has to be balance with expression from both ends of the spectrum. It is ok to be upset, sad and even angry if you know there is another end of the pole to reach. Until I had all the pieces of the puzzle there was no way I would have been able to put things together.
I understand so much more now. I understand I had to face a lot of junk from my past in order to understand my present moment. But it is not what defines me. The old voices are wrong, the people who choose to see me in only one light are wrong. But I do not have to prove anything to anyone any longer. (Could I say any anymore?) You could not have told me this two years ago or even a month ago. I had to reach this on my own.
I am congratulating myself and saying one more thing. It is not original, others have said this to me and I did not believe them. I am certainly no wimp. I am a warrior. And I am getting stronger and braver every day.

Safety

Snow in the pines

Snow in the pines

I am to a new point in my path. I am not going to spend time here on the long and short of it as it is not relevant. It completely boils down to one thing. Feeling safe. Simple, right? Not so simple for me. My safety issue is huge and has led to chronic illness, relationship issues and the worse component; extremely low self-esteem. Because this issue is so pervasive, it has been right in front of me all this time without me being able to see it. Others have, but that does not matter. I have to see it for what it is. It is a huge nasty beast that needs to be put to sleep.

This past week, I have been so off kilter. It started Sunday when the weather reports started their screaming that a storm was coming. I love storms because I love Mother Earth. What I do not like is the idea of having to travel in a storm. If I can stay put, preferably in my own home, I am content to watch the fury from my chair, be it wind, lightening or even snow. But tell me I have to get into a car and face the idiots who do not have an ounce of safety in their head, and I am in a panic. The morning of the storm, I had worked myself up to being paralyzed and so I stayed home. Granted, there was no snow until about 9 am, but I knew in my heart that it was going to be awful. I was right.

Wind and snow abounds

Wind and snow abounds

I am never far from a panic attack of my own making. And let me explain something, my attacks are not like others where they visibly wring their hands and sweat. Mine manifest in a quiet inward way. But they are no less critical as someone who throws a tantrum or erupts. They are no less real than someone who is a war weary soldier. This is not a contest to see who has it the worse. No one wins. I have spent a copious amount of time and money trying to fix this issue. This weekend was a climax that has been coming for a while.

I did something I hardly ever do and that was nothing. Literally, I did nothing for a better part of the day. It took most of the morning and a round of quick grocery shopping to allow myself that freedom. It was a recommendation I put into place. It gave me a pause and it was a much needed pause.  I pulled my medicine cards and came up with a reading that said that this was exactly what I need to do and to continue this practice for a while. The butterfly card which was the first one I pulled was very telling. The center card was the blue heron, which is my totem, but it was upside down. The card read “come up for air. There are many layers of truth to understand, and wholeness is impossible in one dive.” I downloaded a phenomenal guided hypnosis tape, slapped on the headphones and retreated for about an hour and half. We then spent the rest of the evening watching great movies; all had a message I needed.

I am not sure what is next. I know this: I need to feel safe. I don’t. I need to fix that. Simple. I woke up this morning and before my feet had hit the ground, I had tightened my shoulders into a neck spasm thinking about the upcoming issues and scary events I have coming up. And, scary is indicative of the lack of safety I feel because to anyone else, they would not be scary. Feeling safe is not something I actually think I produced intentionally; I think it is just a conditional reaction. This is what needs to stop. The events are actually something I love doing, but are now tainted because of the layer of fear I have attached to it.

I also had inner rapid vibrations. This is my indicator that I am in transition. Being aware of all this is the first step. I think I have method that may be at least a partial remedy. I am not going to find resolve from someone else trying to fix this and I am not going to find safety in others until I can learn to feel safe with myself. I have tried to get others make me safe and it only has produced anger, frustration and disappointment. It has to be me. The other thing I know that is imperative to my healing is taking the time to stop, pause, breath and (dare I say it?) JUST BE.

Princess La La teaching Mommer to Just Be

Princess La La teaching Mommer to Just Be

 

 

Blizzard Anxiety 3-12-14

snow in the bushes It begins.

Blizzard Anxiety

I woke up this morning to not a trace of snow. Matter of fact, it was still near 35 and there had been a trace of rain but it was still wet and had not turned to ice. And I was standing there watching my dogs run in the mud, wondering if I had made a foolish choice again. This whole week, and actually since last week, they have been predicting the storm of the year for us. I am a weather geek and my own internal gauges coupled with following good web sites had indicated we were in for a doozy. When I was a kid, the anticipation of a snow day was as good as Christmas. As an adult, the opportunity of snow day stopped when I stopped teaching in public schools and went to work for non-profits. Instead the anticipation was replaced with unbridled anxiety. I got so worked up about this I actually made myself sick to my stomach.

Everything was reporting yesterday that they were closing for the day in preparation for the predicted storm. The schools were closed and many businesses indicated they would not be open. The non-profits all said they were closed, but the staff needed to report. I think that is horrible. If the weather is so bad that you so not want to bring the clients out in it, keep your staff home too. But they do that so the staff will take a sick day or personal time and they do not have to pay them if they do not show up.

For the past two days I was wrought with the worry of having to drive in the weather. I only have to go ten miles, but it is towards the lake and the roads are the worse when it snows. I cross three towns and the variety of the clearing of the snow varies.

In March 1991, we northern New Yorkers woke to the pelting of ice on our roofs and the explosion of transformers that were caked in ice. I will never forget watching the one behind my house sparking green bolts until it finally went out. We went ten days with no heat, no power and it was cold. I was working for a town as a media relations person and had to report to the Community Center which had been set up as a Red Cross Shelter. I spent a lot of time there making food and helping people. I would return home to build a fire in the fireplace and cook on the grill. It was cool for a week, but by the second week everyone was pretty weary and nasty.

So as I sit here typing, the snow has begun. It is wet and heavy. The temperature is plummeting. My husband just told me that the Weather Channel is here down on the Lake shooting. That to me is a big sign.  I wrote my boss, who is working at home because her teen age son is home from school……. that I would not be in. The relief of not having to go out is making me content and joyful inside. There are so many indicators for me that there is a need for change. This is just another. snow 8 am

 

Winter views

In an attempt to change my attitude, we decided to head out and have breakfast at our favorite place and then go to the lake. The water was calling me. I need actually a River fix, but we can only go to the source of the River, Lake Ontario. We live about 12 miles from the southern shore. The weather was not bad yet, but they were calling for Lake effect snow today. I am glad we did go out earlier because this is about four hours later and sure enough, as I write this it is snowing steadily. winter lake view This is looking out over the lake and a private beach area. We like to come down here in the summer and walk the pier.pier in winter        This is the bay outlet which is only partially frozen.   There were swans and duck swimming in the icy water.   swan on winter water

The bleakness and frosty wind was not conducive to taking pictures. We come down here a lot in the summer to enjoy the sunsets. You cannot really see the pier that extends out into the lake. It is fun to stand on the bridge which they remove in the summer to allow the outlet to be open and watch all the boats go out into either the lake or the bay.

The rest of the day will be spent working on a course I am taking or sitting in our new chairs. The boys beat me to it.

new chairs               asleep in chair

 

Frosty Puppies

The other day before the terrible chill hit, I took my camera out with the dogs to the garden. It was a brilliant sunny after noon.

The dogs had been playing inside with their new toys Santa Paws gave them. Browny gift

As I opened the dog, Browny shot out after a squirrel. Little Cookie struggled with the snow. But she pursued. Squirrel But the snow was deep. Cookie snow 2

She kept at it.  cookie face pfffttt and told me in her own way she was not thrilled with the snow.

Browny is taller and can get through it easier and will usually make a path for her. But he was more interested in the pursuit. Barking Browny But even he was having issues. Frosty browny

The snow had settled in little and big places.                       frozen rose hips waiting chair        My Garden chair waits for me and the return of the Light.

winter dusk garden          The same view          .Elgin