So, my sister has a problem.
Well, really, my parents have a problem.
And if my sister and my parents have a problem, so do I.
My parents bought a used camp trailer last year, and it was in pretty rough shape. It is now in worse shape for the winter, as my sister discovered as she came down yesterday to prepare it for the season. Bad enough that the roof and at least two walls will need to be replaced.
And, as I don’t have anything else to do at the moment, I was drafted into helping.
I got to do deconstruction.
I genuinely enjoyed the drive down. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that it’s now legal for me to drive my car, so I wasn’t as paranoid about cops, but I’m going to claim it had everything to do with the time of year.
I spotted several largish patches of wildflowers–indian paintbrush and globe mallow. I could see meadowlarks singing their hearts out on fence posts, and saw perhaps a dozen hawks and eagles. I could smell the sagebrush, and the alfalfa that’s ready to cut, and the rye just starting to bloom.
And then my nose stopped working and my eyes started to swell shut. Ahhh, spring.
I came into town a different way than I usually, do, mostly because I wanted to stop and take pictures of wildflowers if I saw any more, and I had a car pass me, that I later passed, and I didn’t want it to see me stopped on the side of the road. Yeah, I’m insecure like that.
I drove though what I consider my real home town, the place where I lived until I was 8. It’s been more than 20 years since we moved, but it still feels like home.
I figured, since I was already there, and my eyes were already swelling shut from the rye, I might as well swing by the cemetary, to find the grave of Clayborne Elder. (You can read about him here)
So, here’s the thing. I know the Leamington cemetery. I know a lot of people who are buried in the Leamington cemetery. Heck, I’m related to perhaps half of them. But I’ve always known that. I’ve always known that my Mom’s ancestors settled the area, and I’m still related to at least a third of the population in and around this community.
But that’s all my mom’s side. Clayborne Elder is–different, somehow.
I found his grave, and discovered that it’s very well taken care of. There’s a fence around it, and the old sandstone headstone was replaced by a granite one at some point.
When I saw it, I started to cry.
My roots in this area run deep. I always knew that they did, but when I was standing there, realizing that this was my family–from my paternal line, surrounded by maternal ancestors, I felt them go even deeper. It’s weird. I felt the family connection, and also the connection to place.
This is where I belong, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
My body has apparently decided that breathing is optional. I disagree.
I really don’t feel like I can bitch about allergies, because I know the pollen count here isn’t as high as in the south and east, but still, they seem worse this year–and a month too early.
A combination of not being able to breathe and worry over my dad’s oldest brother who was in a serious car accident yesterday kept me from sleeping much last night, so this morning, I didn’t feel up to spending the day with Sis and her family. Instead, I sat around the house trying to breathe.
Anyway, lately, I’ve noticed that I’ve started narrating my life. I can’t really think of a better way to describe it. For instance, this morning, while I was walking the dogs, I noticed a bird hopping from branch to branch inside a bush. Instead of just watching it, I thought:
“She noticed a little bird, a sparrow, flitting around in a bush that hadn’t had enough spring growth to hide its movements. She was only a few feet away, but was very careful to stand still. She wondered if the bird knew she was there. The bush, she supposed, sparse as it was, would give the bird ample warning and protection if something untoward were to happen.”
I’m not really sure what to do with this new development. I guess it’s good practice for actual writing, I mean, if I even have a character ponder a little bird in a bush, I’ve got the scene down, right?
Writing would be so much easier if my life had an over-arching plot. Maybe it does, and I just can’t see it. Characters rarely do.
It’s been a bad day. I’ve felt like crap both physically and emotionally. Nothing I’ve tried seems to help the allergies. I feel helpless and hopeless.
I’m going to bed now. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.
I woke up this morning, and, per my usual routine, checked my garden while I was getting ready for the day. I know that there won’t much change since I checked it the night before, but the new growth is always exciting and joyful to see. (I really wanted to use the word ‘behold’ there, but that just seems too melodramatic. Even for me.)
My newest addition, the fuchsia, came from NPS, and when I got it home, it looked like it. There’s still a trail of dead leaves and blossoms leading from my parking space to my front door. But, I got it in an environment that the internet tells me it loves, and watered it until it started pouring out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot (just for that first watering, I’ve been much more careful with water since then) and it perked right up.
The clover continues to look more clover-y every day. Um, perhaps I should explain again why I’m growing clover on my third-floor balcony.
See, I have dogs. And, in a perfect world, I would be out of the house from 8am to 5pm or longer five days a week. My dogs are 6 years old. They are good to not potty in the house, but they are getting old, and I wanted somewhere where they could go to relieve themselves when I’m not home. So I asked my brother-in-law to build me a box that I could plant grass in for my balcony. After doing some research I decided that clover is more dog-resistant and would require less work. So, I planted dutch white clover instead of grass.
The package the seeds came in said it was 98% clover seed, with no noxious weeds, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I found a stranger in the yard-and-a-half.
Someone who reviewed the seeds from the place I ordered them from online said they found cilantro in their clover, so I’m hoping it’ll be a pleasant surprise.
The lily of the valley are getting noticeably bigger every day. I’m pretty excited about them:
The blueberry bush was the real surprise. It still looks mostly dead, but, new this morning, were ACTUAL GREEN LEAVES!
Hopefully, they’ll get opened up, and start producing enough energy to get the bush back to life quickly. I want berries in August, dangit!
So, even with the clogged sinuses, the post-nasal drip, the sneezing, coughing, swollen, itchy eyes, and the nose rubbed raw from blowing it so much, I’m pretty excited about spring this morning.
Now, I’m off to play at Midway again. Sis and I have a better idea of what we want to do today, so it should go better.
I learned an important lesson over the past two days. Namely, while it is nice to open all the windows and air out the house on the warmest day of the year so far (as long as you’re in April), if the warmest day of the year also comes with a high wind warning, the windows should stay firmly closed.
My allergies have been going crazy the past couple of days. I’m allergic to, well, everything, and spring, though pretty, is my least favorite time of the year.
I remember waking up as a child and not being able to open my eyes, they were so crusted with gunk, and swollen from allergies. Memorial Day, our mother thought it a good idea to teach us to be good citizens, so we would go to the cemetery to watch the various ceremonies honoring veterans.
The cemetery in the center of a bunch of farms growing alfalfa.
The cemetery where rye grows volunteer, and blooms around Memorial Day.
Guess what my two big allergies are?
Also, when I was about 6, my best friend’s family ran over my dog on the way home from the cemetery on Memorial Day. Yeah, not my favorite holiday.
Anyway, moving on.
The last two days my allergies have been as bad as they had ever been in my adult life. I’ve been sneezing, coughing, my nose wouldn’t stop dripping, I had a mondo sinus headache, and I couldn’t wake up. It was so bad, it affected my voice. I was thanking my lucky stars that I didn’t live in the South, where the pollen is so bad that the whole city of Atlanta is coated with a visible greenish-yellow layer of dust.
Just when I was figuring out the pros and cons of going into hibernation until June, it started to rain.
I’m a desert girl, and grew up in a farming family, so a good rain is always appreciated. Unless it turns into a flash flood. Or the hay’s been cut and is drying in the field. Or a little dog needs to go potty, but doesn’t like to get her feet wet, and I wasn’t smart enough to grab a jacket.
Rain has always been something of a wonder to me. It calmed and cleaned the air, removing the dust and pollen that was afflicting me. (if afflicting too dramatic a word? I’m gonna stick with it anyway) It seems to calm the world.
Except the other little dog who was so determined to get out of the rain that he forgot to poop, then decided 20 minutes later that he couldn’t wait any longer and insisted we go back out.
Rain is a reminder for me that life goes on. It wasn’t a big thunderstorm, just–rain.
This morning, I woke up to the sounds of running water and the sight of melting snow. The air was fresh and clean (and blessedly low in pollen) the sun was shining, and the birds singing their little hearts out.
I’m feeling better today, both physically and emotionally. A good storm will do that, after it passes, it leaves clear air and clear hears.
It’s mocking me.
The “New Post” button, it keeps mocking me.
“Corianne,” it says, “You don’t have anything to write about. You phoned it in yesterday, and skipped the day before, and today, you don’t have anything. Just give up. Mwahahahahaha.”
Evil laughter in my head is a bit anti-climactic.
Perhaps that’s true, but what’s the point in setting a goal to write every day if you give up when things get hard? Anyway, evil “new post” button, I DO have something to write about. Something I’m very pleased about. So there.
I’ve lived in my home for about three years now. Long enough that I’ve finally got it through my head that my balcony faces east, and there are building right across from me, so it’s like I’m in a canyon. I get a few hours of sunlight a day, but not enough for, say petunias and marigolds.
The apartment I lived in before I moved here faces west, with no trees or buildings to block the blast from the afternoon sun. It is very nice in the winter, in the summer, though…
I lived there for three years as well, and tried my hand at gardening on that patio too. It’s crazy that it’s taken me this long to switch my way of thinking about the plants I can grow from “heat hardy and likes sun” to “prefers cool and shady” but I think I managed this year.
The clover’s come in nicely, and I think it’s to the point where I can’t call it baby clover anymore, but they’re not to maturity yet, so adolescent clover? Teenage clover? Either way, I’m impressed with my seed-growing abilities that it’s survived thus far.
Well, minus the spots where Max scratches after he goes potty…
My pansies are still happy, but pansies are always happy until it gets too hot right? You can’t really see it but there is a pansy in bloom in the bottom left corner of the yard-and-a-half.
The lily-of-the valley appear to be doing well, despite the pot that they’re in being Lulu’s favorite spot to sit and bark at the world (really little girl? Do we need to have another discussion about the big white box just to the right of the lily container?)
I guess my blueberry bush is doing okay. I’ve got new growth, and most of last year’s growth has fallen off. I feel like it should be blooming by now, but, as the only time I’ve ever lived anywhere with soil acidic enough to grow blueberries was on my mission, so I don’t know anything about their growing habits.
I’m remembering that I got my blueberry for my birthday last year, and there wasn’t many leaves or blossoms on it then, and my birthday is still a week away. So, I’m not going to be too concerned. Really.
I want to grow more things that I can eat, but I don’t get enough sun for tomatoes, or any other vegetable that I can think of and know does well in containers.
It doesn’t help when I muse out loud stuff like “Do peas need a lot of sun?” and Mom says “Just plant peas at my house, and come down to take care of them.” Sorry Mom, but driving an hour and a half to take care of someone else’s garden? That’s just not appealing.
Anyway, I’m quite pleased with my little garden, especially the clover that I’ve grown from seeds, and the blueberry that I kept alive over the winter.
There’s something about growing plants that just makes you happy, and during this rough week I’ve had, I’ve been grateful for my plants, and my little dogs, both of which have done a great job of cheering me up.
Today (yesterday, I suppose, it’ll be after midnight by the time I get this post finished) was a rough day. I can’t even really say why. It was warm enough that I’ve still got a window open and the furnace turned off, the dogs have been behaving, and frankly, I’ve done everything right. Today should have been a good day, it just didn’t turn out that way.
I discovered something today (er, yesterday) that should have put me over the moon.
A while back, I made the mistake of wandering through the garden section at Wal-Mart, and was dreaming over the seeds and bulbs and gardening tools. I found some lily of the valley rhizomes; five in a pack for white, two in a pack for pink, and, despite my bad luck with growing bulbs from Wallyworld in the past, I bought some. Pink–because I’ve never seen pink lily of the valley, and the pot that I put them in isn’t big enough for five rhizomes.
This was about the time that I sowed the clover for the first time, and I’ve been sure to keep the lilies in a place where they won’t be affected by frost. I haven’t really thought much about them, but I have watered them when I’ve watered my clover and the blueberry bush. Today (er, yesterday), I noticed a couple of teeny tiny sprouts pushing their way out of the dirt. Right now, if I didn’t know they were lily of the valley, I’d just be able to identify them as a bulb plant, but not the species. Again, I’m putting a lot of faith in myself that I’ll be able to keep these baby plants alive until adulthood, and on through next year.
I was thinking about my little patio garden, and how incongruous gardening is in this modern world. My lilies, for example. They’ve probably been growing since the day I planted them, but I couldn’t see it happening, so I assumed it wasn’t.
I thought about how things happen below the surface. We live in a world of progress bars and instant gratification. It would be nice if plants came with such things, but, unfortunately, we have to take it on faith that, for instance, the Wal-Mart plants will grow and thrive.
Because I do stuff like this I compared it to my own life. Just because I can’t see progress in the things I have no control over, doesn’t mean that progress hasn’t been made. Roots need to get established before a plant pokes its head out of the ground. They need strength before they face the world of heat and cold and dog pee.
It’s hard for me to remember that life very rarely (okay, practically never) runs on the timeline that I would like. Patience has never been one of my strong suites, and has been one of the constant lessons in my life.
Of course, I realize this analogy completely falls apart if I don’t manage to grow my lilies into adulthood…
I had every intention of getting up early this morning and going to the temple–Lulu had different ideas. She woke me up at a quarter to four letting me know that she needed to go outside. If it was even an hour later…
Anyway, I managed to get back to sleep, but woke up at 9:30, and the temple closes at 10am on Mondays. I wasn’t going to make it. BUT–the sun was shining and it was such a pretty day that I decided to load the dogs into the car and went out in search of some nature.
I ended up at Nunn’s Park, in Provo Canyon–I wanted to go to Bridal Veil Falls, but the trail was closed.
I suppose my search for nature was either too early in the year, or too late in the day, but I had a nice walk, Max and Lulu got worn out, and I got a few interesting pictures. I’m going to have to try this again some time.
As the photographers in my blog feed are so joyfully telling me, today is the first day of spring for us in the northern hemisphere. (I’ve only had one reader from south of the equator, so…neener.)
So, the days are now longer than the nights, my baby clover are doing well–and have invited friends! The starlings are starting to imitate not only cats and car alarms, but red-winged blackbirds and meadowlarks (or I’m actually hearing those heralds of spring), the days are bright and sunny and my nose won’t stop dripping. Yep, I think it’s spring.
I feel like a new woman. I actually managed to get to bed at a decent(ish) time last night, and didn’t take too long to fall asleep, then woke up at a decent(ish) time this morning.
I had a cousin mention on Facebook after last night’s post that she thought I’d do well at writing satire–which is kind of timely, because the catalyst for the post yesterday was a story idea I came up with that could be called satirical–but I still don’t know what the climax or ending of the story would be, and even satire needs drama to move the plot along.
Writing satire on the whole makes me a little nervous. I don’t like poking fun at people. (Except myself. And good friends and family members that I know will let me get away with it.) And, while I like to think I have a good sense of humor, it falls flat when I sit down to write something funny. But, if this story I’m thinking of actually gets beyond the planning stages, I might have to reconsider.
So, moving on…
When I was at my sister’s house retrieving my computer earlier this week, she got a text message from E’s birth mother. His birth father wants to meet him, so they are going to meet in a park today. This has caused more than a little bit of stress for the family–Mom is so freaked out by this prospect that she’s on her way to SLC so she can be a part of it too. I was offered the opportunity to go up, but decided that it really isn’t my place.
Under Utah state law, if a pregnant woman wants to place her child for adoption, the birth father has up to 24 hours after the birth to sign a paper saying that he wants custody of the child (plus the duration of the pregnancy). E’s birth father neglected to do that. He is legally Sis and the Bro-in-Law’s, even though the adoption won’t be official until May.
Because I’m a worrier, and tend to imagine the worst-case scenario, I’m imagining this guy running off with E. Mom (who is also a worrier, if a more pragmatic of one, although she denies it) is thinking about G–his birth mother wanted a closed adoption, and…how to put this delicately…if anyone ever came forward as his birth father, he would be arrested immediately. (Okay, so I suck at delicate.) Mom has always been a bit concerned that E’s adoption is open–Sis has contact with his birth mother almost daily, and she’s worried about what will happen to G if E has both a birth mother and a birth father in his life.
I’m trying to step back from the situation, but I’m not really comfortable with it. I understand the birth father wanting to see E, Sis thinks that he thought that E’s birth mother wouldn’t really go through with the adoption, and he hasn’t gotten over it. There’s also the practical side–it gives Sis and the Bro-in-Law a chance to get a medical history.
I’m just glad that it’s not my decision to make.
So, er, anyway, happy spring! I’m off to try to do some writing…
I decided to take a good long look at my patio garden this year, and really think about what plants would do best with the little bit of sunlight that I have each day. Also, new this year, is the yard-and-a-half, a box that I asked my sister and brother-in-law for for Christmas, where the dogs can go and potty when I’m not home during the day. The picket fence was a bonus.
After some research, I decided that dutch white clover would be a better choice than grass–it’s more resistant to dogs, and wouldn’t require “mowing”. However, I did want something the dogs could munch on if their stomachs were upset, so I planted some wheat grass in an old bulb pot I had. (I noticed that if I went to a pet store and bought “pet grass” it would cost $4.50. If I went to the grocery store and bought wheat grass for human consumption it would cost $1.50)
I ordered some clover seed online, (paying twice as much for shipping as for the actual seeds. I’m a little bitter about that.) and sowed my yard and a half.
I fully acknowledge that while I love gardening, I struggle with growing plants from seeds (except weeds, for some reason). So, I’ve sown the seeds, then, the first thing I would do each morning would be to check the yard-and-a-half to see if they had germinated. After a few weeks without seeing any green, I resowed. This happened twice. I was beginning to despair a bit–and wonder how a girl who technically lived on a farm until she was eight (we didn’t have any crops, just a feed lot in the back yard) and came from a long line of farmers on both sides could fail to grow anything from seeds, until, upon checking the yard-and-a-half this morning, I saw this:
I had a horrible night last night–the migraine made sleeping hard, as did the changed acoustics of having my bed on the other side of the room. (Seriously, the trains and traffic are much louder than they were three days ago.) Seeing these seedlings this morning cheered me up incredibly.
Now comes the part that I really struggle with–keeping these little baby plants alive until they reach maturity.
After I had gone to bed last night, but before I fell asleep, I was thinking about what I wanted to blog about today. I had two or three good ideas–but I was too tired to jump out of bed to write something. Of course, this morning, I couldn’t remember any of them.
The head cold is still kicking my butt, and despite what weather.com says, I think it’s starting to be taken over by spring allergies. All I know is that it is way too early in the year for my nose to be this chapped.
Spring seems to have decided that it wants to stay, I’ve been hearing meadowlarks and red winged blackbirds in the morning, and have been watching a sparrow build its nest in one of my neighbors dryer vents.
I’ve been turning the heat off during the day, and opening the windows to air things out. My downstairs neighbors already have their air conditioning running. (I wonder if I should be concerned about what they are doing, they get even less sunlight than I do, and I’m freezing to death, and they’re running their air conditioner. I’m just glad I don’t have to pay their electric bill)
So what have I been doing this fine spring day? Have I been out enjoying nature? Have I been getting my patio garden ready? Have I been following the instinct that women have had since we decided that we had enough of sleeping outside and moved into caves, and been deep cleaning in preparation for the warmer months? Yeah, not so much.
I’ve pretty much been laying alternately in bed or on the couch, chained to a box of kleenex, and trying to convince one dog or the other to lay on my lap in such a way as to act as the perfect heating pad, and trying to overcome the fact that Oprah and I have very different tastes in literature.
This is usually my favorite time of year, when the first signs of spring appear, and the days start to get longer, but before allergies come. This year–well, granted, it’s only been a few days, and I am sick, but not so much.
I did finally get my Christmas lights down, though.