Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Grief Waves and Other Healings

I've sat me in front of this screen several times since last I blogged a blog, but just haven't had the will. I've been busy with the nuts and bolts of tidying up. Which isn't true, exactly, but it is a comfortable euphemism.

I have spoken to many people who, due to distance, have slipped past my daily connection. I have sent out Spirit Eagles! I Billy Jacked others. :~) I am overwhelmed with the inside jokes of generations. Of life-long friends. We are none of us alone.

So, I will post a late Bloom Day November, OR an early Bloom Day December. :~)
This will tide me over until I get back from San Diego. With more pictures, more memories.. More Lessons, more Blessings. THAT post will come later.

A mix of colors

a couple of hold-out leaves still decked out in their Fall finery, clinging to that last dance.

A Fall mixed basket with annuals and perennials. I love the yellows mixed with the blues and oranges!

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.. W.Pooh
The Larch I've been shaping and dandelions.

The Jungle Within

Chinese Sunrise hosta. The leaves are golden-green, a small hosta, rather slender leaves, with fragrant purple flowers. What a sweet little shade blessing!

My little indoor annual fuchsia who will not die. YAY!

Happy little hummer lovers. Magellicana (?) Hardy Fuchsias live up to their name.

What a lovely shrub. I need to try jam next year.

I love this little fellow. Small, floriforus, evergreen, and fragrant. Just make me a happy gardener.

Cape Fuchsia. A hardy soul! This one seems to like the spot I've plopped it... A fortunate mistake on my part.

Angel Wing Begonias. Larger than I expected!

Darn I forgot to get a couple shots of the "annual" allysum which is either reseeded itself *yay* OR what actually SEEMS to be occurring, it doesn't wish to die back yet. The annual that keeps on giving.

Hold tight to one another. We have less time than we bank on.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Good Bye and Thanks for all the Fish

Sometime Friday, November 14th, 2008, my best friend and husband probably had a Gran Mal seizure while at home (he had left me to live with his Mom in San Diego a year & a half ago) and never came out of it. His brother found him dead in bed around 5 pm. We won't know the exact cause of death for about 90 days. The Investigator told me there was "No obvious signs of cause of death". Meaning, they don't know until more tests are done.

Since we were living in different states, his Family and I are trying to puzzle out the services and the nuts and bolts of death. Death of someone far too young to die. Vincent Jeffrey Mills was only 52 years old. He did not suffer, tho, not if he had a seizure. He never remembered them, never remembered the horrible fear and loss of control. He would just wake up sore, like he'd been someone's punching bag. The very first one, I thought he was playing a joke on me. He flopped over onto his computer desk, and remained unresponsive for a few minutes. When I said "HEY!" and pulled him upright, he looked up at me and smiled that sweet Vince smile. He never knew what hit him.

Vince and I were friends in High School. After we graduated, we started seeing each other. We lived together in Ocean Beach for a year in the late 70's. There was a misunderstanding, and we broke up. Young, and foolish, and both of us stubborn and full of pride. I was unwilling to give up the least bit of my autonomy, he was unwilling to give me the unconditional freedom I needed. But we remained very good friends throughout the years.

Somewhere around the late 80's, or 1990, we hooked up again. We got married in 1997.

Vince taught me a great deal about what it takes to be a good wife. I never was a very good one. I took too much for granted because we'd known each other for so long, I thought I KNEW him. Thought I knew what he wanted. But I made some very foolish assumptions in that regards. Because I was so independant, and because both of our marriages were quite late, (I was 40, he was 41 when we married) once again, I was unwilling to give up my autonomy. I DID try! But it seemed to be a power struggle between us at times. It didn't help that we lived with my Grandmother, as I was her Caregiver. Both Vince and I were with her until she died. It was a GOOD THING! this Caregiving we did. But there is a great deal of pressure on a young couple to take care of a VERY stubborn, independant woman with severe dementia, undiagnosed lung cancer, fragile replaced "bionic" hips, macular degeneration, and pissed off about all that to boot. Vince was "Number One Son", and he was very honorable in that role and responsibility he had given himself.

Right around April 2000, Vince had an on-the-job accident. He was a roofer by trade, and one of the workers had removed a chunk of the plywood right behind him. Roofers work backwards, and Vince stepped through the now-gaping hole, and fell through, catching his arm on the way down. Workman's Comp was seriously negligent with his care. He tore his rotator cuff, and we now believe that he hit his head in the fall. The Workman's Comp doctor said therapy would suffice, so for about 8 months, Vince tried to deal with the pain, and therapy, and still work. Then he damaged it again on-the-job. He was working for a friend of his, and tried to protect this friend from incurring any extra costs, so he did not tell the full truth about the accident. Surgery was next. He had to have the shoulder opened up, debrided, then healed, and then RE-opened up and re-built. He was now unable to ply the trade he loved so much.

There are men who define themselves by their jobs, and Vince was one of these. The inability to work gave him a feeling of uselessness. The inability to make a living pummeled his self-esteem. He had our generation's suspicions and mistrust of the Social Security system, and that system did not disappoint him. He was told that he could be retrained, that Workman's Comp had set up a retraining fund for him. One whole semester's worth of "re-training" for a man who had taken three college classes nearly 35 years ago, with no counselor to speak of. Some woman in an office who was always too busy and would "get back to him" and never did. He tried very hard and did not finish even one of the classes. That system set him up to fail.

Early in 2003, one of my neighbors tossed poison over the fence and killed one of my wolfdogs. Tica was a rescue I had rescued out of harm's way, she was sweet, and she was kind, and she did not deserve to die that way. Then a neighbor (probably the same ratbastadge) sued for noise abatement, a case that my lawyer lost for me, because he filed a "No Contest" Guilty plea without telling me. I decided that we had to, after 32 years in that house, we had to move.

Then in 2003, came the Cedar Fire, which took his sister's house, threatened ours, and was the final straw. I went searching for property. Vince wanted us to move east a couple miles, and stay in San Diego. I wanted to get out, to escape all the development, and stupid city folks who wanted to drag the city kicking and screaming into the country and ram it down the throats of the rural folks who had loved the land so long and well. The developers were mitigating our concerns unto insignificance, and I was just done, stick a fork in me, done.

I drove to Oregon and found this place, this Wolfdancer Creek Farm. Vince had told me that Oregon was "acceptable", but I think it was too far north for him. He helped us move, built my dog Yards, and told me "I'd done good finding this place." He WAS happy here, in a lot of ways, but when the seizures started happening, it was just too much taken away from him. He lost his license, so couldn't drive, and now had to depend on others to get anywhere. Lost any hope of employment, because after all, who wants to hire a builder who might at any given time fall down and seize? Social Security & Disability denied him, and it was just too much. Despite myself and others telling him he had to reapply, they ALWAYS deny you the first (and second) time, it was just too much. This town of population 2600 is not "social" enough for such a social person as Vince was. None of his good friends were here. The town was within walking distance, but it was one WHALE of a "brief stretch of the legs". He missed his Family, missed his friends, missed his Hometown more than he could stand. He started losing his teeth, and losing weight. The depression bagan weighing on him like a murky anvil. He was on Dialantin, and would be for the rest of his life.

In August of 2007, he left me a note on my computer desk saying Good Bye, and took a cab, and an flight back to San Diego to live with his Mom. I was taken completely by surprise. We had a date that coming weekend to see my Pal Jeannie's boyfriend's band, and have dinner and go dancing. I had been actively trying to not jump to conclusions, to not take everything he said negatively, I was trying to be more patient, to give him some attention, to make him feel like he MATTERED to me. I was working hard to not be so busy that I took him for granted. He DID MATTER to me, but as I have said before, I was a lousy wife-type person. That Thanksgiving, he came back to town, unannounced. I helped him get his driver's license back (he had been seizure free for a year). His Mom rented him a U-Haul, and he packed up his kiln, his pottery wheels, as much of the supplies he could find, his surfboard, (the one I designed the logo for, and he built from scratch) a couple of saws and tools, his Dad's projectile point collection and a painted cow skull, some art, a bunch of his tools, and called me from the road to tell me he was leaving again. "Sorry to have to say Good Bye, but.. Good Bye", he said. This time, I knew he was going-- I knew it for positive when I found his surfboard gone--but I sure wished I could have said Good Bye in person.

His brother Jeff told me yesterday that Vince loved me very much, but just couldn't see how we could go forward. He said that seemed to be the case with me, as well.

He was right.

So, Dear Vince. I loved you very much. I will always love you, and I am most honored to have been your friend and your wife. Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for being "Number One Son". Thank you for your sense of fun and adventure. Thank you for building my dog yards. Thank you for your patience with my animals. Thank you for your love. Good Bye, and Thanks for All the Fish.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Details, Details

Yesterday, it was a dark and stormy day, with the wind howling -literally- through the screens and windows, so I spent a bit of time updating my website. Chasing bugs in the code, cleaning up old links, re-coding pages...

You look at wee bitty type written letters which make no grammatical sense, and are written in a foreign language. Until you get dizzy. Help. I've fallen and I can't get up. Then add pictures. /glee.

Today, I am off like a terd of hurdles to do a talk at the Estacada Garden Club. I am nervous! yet excited and very honored. It's on over wintering tender perennials as house plants.

wow! Wish me luck.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cleaning Up for Winter

I took a day off from my OTHER jobs, and did a chore that needed doin' before the Big Freeze wanders in: I cleaned out the Greenhouse. Now, I use that term loosely, because it's less a "greenhouse" than it is a "really big cold frame". But it's friendly, and it has helped me survive many tenders who would have languished inside the house, and definitely died outside.

However, there IS the matter of .... slopes. blackberries. naughty weeds. naughty bugs. little room to maneuver. little money for proper shelving. little experience in carpentry. poor design. All of these things can be -- and are-- overcome, but not without their spot o' pint o' blood.

So I whacked the procrastination monster back into his cave, and I started in. I took all the plants that I hadn't had time to put outdoors ALL SEASON LONG (BAD Plant Mom. No biscuits for ME!) and I moved them outside in the rain -which has been steady but balmy all week- watered them well, and I began to get down to it. I pulled and cut all the weeds, I laid down cardboard on top of the insulation to "square up" and steady up the insulation (and further abate the weeds) I made a new shelf (albiet a jury-rigged one, it needs bracings better than an old cat litter tub turned upside down to rest upon.. BUT it will function for this season) I pulled out the heat mat and cleaned it, I organized the implements, and I *gasp* composted the pants who didn't make it. I gave them a decent burial, and thanked them for their help, and I know they will eventually add to the richness and lushness of my Garden. Someday.

Then I brought all wee plants that I got from Little Prince of Oregon a nursery with a PRINCE of a Crew, and absolute ROYALTY of plants at their Open House a few months back. (If you are ever in Oregon, and want to peruse a Nursery of just phenomenal people who grow just phenomenal plants, I invite you to give these folks a call) and settled them in for the Winter.

I haven't had the time (OH I love this economy! Live to work. Live to work) to transplant much of anything, so I wanted to make sure everything was protected. It feels good to be ahead of the game for protection, tho! Last couple years I was scrambling in the dark to get everything under cover.

YAY TEAM! It looks so nice and organized and clean!!!!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

I feel like a Rainbow

Finding Joy


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Have a Dream

This is MY America
This is YOUR America
This is OUR America.
Let us roll up our sleeves and begin the work which is before us. The work of reclaiming the Dream. The work of reclaiming the Love, the Pride, the HOPE.
America the Beautiful
(lyrics by Katherine Lee Bates;
music composed by Samuel A. Ward --
more history on the poem and music)
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassion'd stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.

America! America!
God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

O beautiful for heroes prov'd
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.
The Dream

Today, for the first time in a long long while, I am truly deeply madly Proud to be an American.


Vote Vote Vote

Today is Election Day. This is a Right we fought hard for. I found this great research site History of US Elections and of course, the Women's Sufferage Movement

Regardless of HOW you will Vote, regardless of whether I would agree with your choice or not, it is your DUTY as a Free American Citizen to VOTE. Vote informed, Vote your Conscience, and VOTE TODAY.

As to MY Vote, well, I have heard it said that fair weather favors the Democratic Candidate, and foul weather favors the Republican Candidate. I have never been a Fair Weather kind of person, I am in it for the long haul. The blustery cold rainy day will not deter me from casting my Vote for Hope. I am envisioning the 44th President of the United States of America. President Barack Obama.

Bright Blessings on us all, every one. Everything is Light. EVERYTHING.

I Am A Real American


Monday, November 3, 2008

Gardening with Intent

I managed to take a day all to myself (weeellllllll ....) and I tilled under the garden. I need to start naming these Gardens. This will be The Front Garden. The next one (not yet pick-axed or tilled, or worked, or indeed, cleared) shall be the ... Back Garden. And then there shall be the Hill Garden. So the Front Garden is now --with the exception of the incredibly prolific Sun Gold Tomatoes, which are STILL PRODUCING!!-- planted with a cover crop mix which includes Austrian Field Peas, Crimson Clover, Annual Rye, Vetch, and Buckwheat.

There is sadness in this tilling-under. It indicates an ending. An end to the lush fecundity of Spring. An end to the fruitfulness of Summer, an end to the Harvest of Autumn. And yet, and yet.. There is a Beginning to this tilling-under as well. These spent flowers and fruits and leaves and vines, this compost which has been "cooking" since last year, these pounds of annual, briefly lived cover crops... They are nurturing next year's Bounty. They are fertilizing my Opportunity to feed.

Part of this sadness of course is a direct relationship to the Juggernaut of Holy Daze incoming upon us. I am without Family here, except for the Family which I have created for myself. But they have Families of their own. So I will probably embrace the oncoming Holidays in solitude. This is not a Bad Thing. But there is sadness in it.

I have drawn out a map of the Gardens of 2009. What I wish to plant, and where. Which veggies worked well for me, which need to be rotated out to a new area. I am hoping to begin the Back Garden's pick-axing this month. I might have to forego the Three Sisters plot I so wanted to get in this year. Last year, I crowded them up too much (last year being the first year I tried this method) and it was nigh impossible to harvest everything. I need more space. I HAVE more space, I just need to pick ax a significant area, then cover it with the newspapers I have been saving for months. Then come Spring, I'll need to till it, and add a Unit of Mushroom Compost (OR Garden Blend! a bit more expensive, but it would increase drainage incredibly) If I skip the corn, I can plant my tomatoes there along with their companion plants, Cabbage, Carrots, Onion, Mint, Borage, marigolds, nasturtiums.... (I realize that corn & tomatoes are not normally planted close to one another, but if I plant Companions which repel the pests they are both prone to, there should be no problem in sharing space..)

So, to fight back the sadness which inevitably creeps into the garden of my Heart at this time of year, I will dream of the NEW Garden. I will plant the seeds of Joy and Peace and try to create an environment in which they shall thrive.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Collection of "Musings of the Moment"

I always have the feeling that I'm just another human being.
Dalai Lama

One Vast Garden
"I find one vast garden spread out all over the universe. All plants, all human beings, all higher mind bodies are about in this garden in various ways, each has his own uniqueness and beauty. Their presence and variety give me great delight. Every one of you adds with his special feature to the glory of the garden." By: Sri Ananandamayi Ma

The Master said, "It is by the Odes that the mind is aroused." It is by the Rules of Propriety that the character is established. "It is from Music that the finish is received." The Master said, "The people may be made to follow a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it.

- Confucius

The tendinous part of the mind, so to speak, is more developed in winter; the fleshy, in summer. I should say winter had given the bone and sinew to literature, summer the tissues and the blood. ~John Burroughs

My GrandPops used to say: "You can't complain if you don't Vote." We worked hard for the Right to Vote in a Democratic Society. So VOTE!

People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. ~Walter H. Judd

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant's point of view. ~H. Fred Ale

Everything is Light. EVERYTHING. --Mary Clair Brader

A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew. ~Herb Caen

Death is at once The end of the body's Old journey And the beginning of the soul's New journey.
Death is not the end. Death can never be the end. Death is the road. Life is the traveller. The soul is the guide.

Chase down your passion like it's the last bus of the night. ~Glade Byron Addams

In music the passions enjoy themselves. ~Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 1886

Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless. ~Honoré de Balzac

Every civilization is, among other things, an arrangement for domesticating the passions and setting them to do useful work. ~Aldous Huxley


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Notes to Myself

Must borrow camera and take pictures. The trees are showing off their flashy dresses in rich arrays of golds, crimsons, and oranges. They flick their lacey hems at every passer by. The leaves are disguising themselves for Howl-0-ween as butterflies. Must develope these pictures in my head. Now, how will I upload these? I need that camera!

Have you ever wondered why we follow trails? I wonder if the trail leading from the pond and over the bridge to the back portion of the property was originally made by deer? It certainly wasn't made by the former occupants, I rather suspect they did as little walking as they could get away with... So I have been walking every day on just the OUT side of the trail. Will there be a tracing wandering zig zag around the trail? Will the trail which leads from the front to the back begin to look as developed? How long does it take for human feet to blazon a path? The goats are doing a lovely job of clearing the area, will that help the trail stand out?

Why do our feet naturally follow the beaten path? Why do my feet NOT want to walk on either side of the beaten path? I shall force them to concede. Will it take 2 years? 3? for my off-the-beaten-path Path to be a Path?

And then there are the roads. I must take pictures of the path looking down from Bear & Rhi's Yard to the pond. I musttake pictures of the path leading to the Pet Cemetary. I must take pictures of Surface Rd just over the rise as the mixed forest emerges from the fog of Faraday Lake. I must take pictures of the golden leaf-strewn road heading up to Jim & Betty's beyond George. I must take pictures of their driveway.

As I was driving to their place to finish up the Bonzai'd Juniper, I found myself catching my breath. The light filtering through all those precious metal leaves. A yellow gold so intense it hurts to look at them, aches in my chest. And I thought to myself, "OH MY GOSH!! I have never seen anything quite so lovely since.... Since last year at this time. And for the same reasons."