A Gift of Time

How often do you get the chance to wander or leisurely stroll or stop, sit and observe in a botanical garden? What a gift! My husband was taking a pruning class for two hours, so I was on my own to wander or leisurely stroll or stop, sit and observe. I enjoyed every minute. Come with me for a few of the sights.

In the butterfly garden I discovered this balloon plant. The green balls are the bud, so I wonder if I will see flowers next week. (Yes, I get to go back next week too. 🙂 Stay tuned!) Butterflies like to lay their eggs on this plant and the larva love to eat it.

I didn’t see many butterflies hovering around the blossoms but I did spot

this enormous bumblebee! I was tempted to pet his fuzzy body, but reason took over and I only watched it and many more visiting the flowers.

After a wander through the hosta section of the gardens, I spent most of my time with water lilies.

This is a mosaic water lily. I love the way the little diamond shaped leaves join together to create a round shape.

The Victoria Water Lily looks like floating platters. The underside is covered with an arrangement of veins or ribs. Air becomes trapped between the ribs which allows it to float.

Yes, that is Chihuly glass in the water lily garden. Note that all leaves are not green.
Statue and tree reflection in the water, plus a quick water bug.

As I sat by the water lily gardens, I noticed movement. Water bugs were playing tag on the still water. A dragonfly landed on a bud and rested. All of a sudden bubbles rise to the top, pause, then pop. Ripples appear from nowhere. I have the time to discover all the action happening on the surface of the water.

One last water lily view –

The tag said Lycoris, but this is not the plant google finds when searching. When I saw the leaf, top left, I though perhaps the very hungry caterpillar had visited.

What does this look like to you? Does it look like a plant you might see in the spring? This is an autumn crocus! I had no idea there was such a plant.

Next week I will explore another section of the gardens. Wonder what I will find. Here is one final picture –

I have a Chihuly crown!
Don’t you have a story to share?

Learning

As a child, I devoured books. Trixie Belden, Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and more lived in my head and heart. I followed their adventures with glee. Then in high school I fell in love with Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, D’Artagnan in The Three Muskateers, or anything by James Michner. The longer the book, the more I enjoyed being lost in this fictional world. Fiction ruled my reading world.

Nonfiction reading was for writing research papers. I didn’t really consider that “reading.” Where was the joy in facts? This reading had a purpose, meet the teacher’s request to research and spit back the information acquired.

Now I must admit, I did love reading nonfiction picture books. The combination of the pictures with the text opened my mind to an interesting natural world. They piqued my curiosity.

So that was the extent of my nonfiction reading, until I read a book by Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. A couple of friends were reading it and their conversations intrigued me to discover this book, too. Sy Montgomery has caught me in her web of books and I can’t stop reading and thinking about her ability to draw the reader into her world of discovery.

Currently, I am reading Birdology by Sy Montgomery. The sub title is Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur. Doesn’t that just make you want to know more?

I’ve always been interested in watching birds, but this book gives me a whole new perspective to consider. In the introduction she says,

“No matter where we live, birds live with us. Too many of us take them for granted. We don’t appreciate how very strange they are, how different. We don’t realize what otherworldly creatures birds are.”

All this is to say, that on my morning walk I passed a neighbor’s yard and saw this –

a yard shimmering with little spider webs. I stepped closer. There was a red dot in the first one. I looked at another one, same red dot.

I gently blew on the red dot. It scurried to the edge of the web. I was curious, I needed to know more. Probably Sy Montgomery would have a variety of protocols in place to help her learn more, however, I just used google when I got home. 🙂

According to my “research” they are probably black-tailed red sheetweavers also known as red grass spiders. They are only found in Mexico, the West Indies, and the United States. Should you want to know more about these spiders click here. During the day, the webs disappear. I will be looking tomorrow to see if they reappear.

What sparks your curiosity?

Don’t you have a story to share?

A Better Day, Tomorrow

In my desk drawer, I found a card that a dear friend made for me. I’m so glad I never sent it away.

I needed these words on Tuesday. I found these words Thursday. I will keep them front and center if I have a day like Tuesday again.

Last week was my birthday. I decided to celebrate all week long. Small moments each day filled my heart with joy. It continued through the weekend and then Tuesday arrived.

It was dreary, no sunshine to recharge my internal solar battery. I ached. I was out-of-sorts. I don’t usually have that kind of day. I hoped that in the morning I would wake up with a better attitude.

I did.

Don’t you have a story to share?

Control

“We plan our days, but we don’t control them.” I read this sentence in the book Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. I stopped reading. I grabbed a notebook to save those words to ponder their truth.

Life rolled along allowing us to do what we wanted, when we wanted, where we wanted with a few restrictions. That’s the way it was and would always be, so I thought. I guess I thought I was in control of my days because life followed my plan, usually. Then a virus appeared and spread around the world ending everyday life as we knew it.

Before the virus, I could make plans. Sometimes the plan worked out, sometimes the plan needed a little tweaking. The tweaking was no big deal.

Now, I might make a plan, but changing that plan turns into a big deal. Is the risk worth the change in plans? Usually not. Who would have thought that going to the grocery store, eating in a restaurant, or browsing in a shop might alter one’s life?

This virus has taken control of our days. It dictates when one should go to the store. It makes you wash your hands after getting the mail or picking up the newspaper from the driveway. It is the first thing one needs to do when entering the house. I wear a mask and plastic gloves anytime I am out in public. There is a bottle of hand gel and a canister of antibacterial wipes in a basket in the front seat of my car (plus a ziplock bag of cloth masks and an empty ziplock for used masks). I worry a lot about family members and friends. Will I ever see them in person again? (That has never been a concern before.) I hope so.

So for now, I will keep the plan for my day is simple, because I know I don’t have total control.

Don’t you have a story to share?

Attacked!

I couldn’t believe my luck! Delectable delights waiting to be devoured and I was the only one there. Look at all the maple seeds (they are also called samaras or kids call them helicopters – but I call them delicious!) just laying around.

I must admit, I wasn’t paying much attention to my surroundings because I was starving. I was here last week checking out this location and no one was around. Imagine my shock when a robin attacked me, immediately followed by a small blackish bird. They flew right at me and pecked my head! What was that all about? Quickly I dove for cover.

The hostas were perfect for hiding. I waited for a bit then cautiously crept out to continue my feast. Have you ever tried these seeds? They are the best in the spring!

Just as I settled back in for my feast, the birds were back interrupting my meal. I would have gladly shared my seeds, but they weren’t having it. They kept flying right into me so I had to hide out under the arborvitae tree.

Cautiously I crept out to continue my dinner, but I wasn’t safe for long.

Thank goodness for the safety in the hostas! Do you see that robin sitting on the fence. It was just waiting for me to creep out of my hiding place.

Eventually I gave up trying to have a peaceful meal. I climbed up the fence and was strolling along the top when the #%$@! bird came charging. I scurried across the top of that fence and hid in a dense viburnum bush. Maybe later I will go back and snack on a few seeds. Want to join me?

Find more stories, or write one of your own to share.

Surprise Visitor

You weren’t invited, but you decided to “pop in” to check out the neighborhood. You didn’t think anyone spotted you, but you were wrong. I saw you through the kitchen window.

You sat up, looked around, then climbed the nearest tree. Conveniently, you found a shelf. It was perfect for a rest and to observe the world below.

Soon you became bored and disappeared in the foliage. Will you be back?

Can you spot the squirrel?

We have lived in our house sixteen years and I think this is only the second time we have had a squirrel in our backyard. It was quite a surprise to see it and watch it from the kitchen window.

Don’t you have a story to share?

Not This Year

Hello friends! This is a short post just to let you know that I won’t be blogging every day in March as part of the month long writing challenge.

In 2011 I participated in my first March Challenge and continued to write almost every Tuesday and every March. I have made dear friends through blogging. I will continue to read slices this month, but I won’t be writing any beyond today. I am taking a break. (Yes, I know I started this break months ago.) 🙂

Have a great month of blogging!

 

Water Everywhere

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

I go to the closet, take the weather forecast into account, and what I’m doing for the day before I pick out my clothes for the day. I don’t spend a lot of time considering what might happen to my clothes through the day. My hope is there won’t ever be a malfunction with my wardrobe.

Yesterday, I knew I would be spending half a day in a meeting. I knew I would be going for a pedicure after the meeting. I knew I would have dinner out with friends after the pedicure. So the clothing of the day had to be comfortable and able to be worn in all three situations. I opted for a knit pair of capris rather than denim and a light-weight knit tunic top. Wise decision . . .

Dinner was over, dishes had been removed from the table, and everyone was sitting around chatting when all of a sudden the table lurched and water glasses came flying towards me. Fortunately, I was on the end and able to jump up quickly when I realized what had just happened. A waterfall cascaded down the side of the table! My right side was soaked from my waist to my knees! My right sandal was water logged as water dripped off my foot. However, as I stood there trying to soak up water from my clothes, I realized that you couldn’t see how wet I was. The knits did not change color. Unless you touched me, you wouldn’t know half of my body was dripping wet.

At that moment, I was grateful for the decisions made earlier in the day. You just never know how your day will go.

No Chips?!

I am a rule follower (most of the time). I know that these rules are in place for good reasons. So when I am handed a sheet labeled  Oral Surgery Post-Operative Instructions, I will read it. Of course the assistant went over a few pertinent details before I left, but she knew I might have questions later. Hence the need for the printed instructions.

I spent the afternoon biting on gauze and not eating much. When my stomach started to grumble that it had not seen any food since before the extraction, I thought I should check my printed list of do’s and don’t’s.

Do eat soft food, such as gelatin, soup, well-cooked vegetables, and ground meat. That sentence sent me to the fridge to grab a peach-mango applesauce and a cup of tapioca. I have the soup category covered. I actually like my vegetables well-cooked. My husband hates soft broccoli, but I prefer it soft. So no problem there. We don’t eat a lot of ground meat, so I’ll have to think about that one.

Do not suck on a straw for at least five days. I prefer to drink with a straw. I hate the way ice bonds together, then splashes in your face when you tip the glass to drink. I don’t like it, but I will do it.

I read on, Do not eat hard, crunchy foods like chips, raw carrots, or popcorn for six weeks. What!? Are you kidding me? No crunchy food for SIX weeks? Now I’m not sure I will be able to follow this rule. I can see a couple of weeks, but SIX? I will just have to wait and see how my gums heals.

The one statement that made me laugh was Do not use illegal drugs while you are taking the narcotic medication. I guess they have to say it, but duh!

So here is what my lunch will be for the next couple of weeks:

Good thing I LOVE mac ‘n cheese!

 

Summer Celebration

celebrate newSummer is that magical space of time to allow teachers to refresh and refuel their minds and bodies for the new school year. I wonder, how does summer feel to other professions? Other professions are allowed to take vacations at will. They are not tied to a school calendar, so they can travel when it is not peak vacation season. I’ve somewhat joined that group. I can plan my vacation during the school year, sometimes. It’s a joy to be able to do that, but summer still has an aura of it’s own.

Ruth created her list for the summer, which inspired me to create my summer list.

This summer I will:

  • Attend All-Write Conference where I will learn from experts, but also reconnect with blogging friends (which is the best part of All-Write).
  • Enjoy a summer tent theater production at our local university.
  • Meet with superintendent and principal of a new school to set up a calendar for next year.
  • Fly first class (using airline miles) to California to babysit my youngest granddaughter for about two weeks.
  • welcome my husband to join us for the second week of babysitting.
  • Perhaps visit with my California blogging friends (Kim, Julieanne, Dayna, are you going to be around in July?)
  • Spend time on the patio reading.
  • Visit farmer’s markets to find produce I don’t grow.
  • Savor the taste of home-grown tomatoes on a BLT.
  • Devour all the fruits of the summer: blackberries, peaches, pluots, watermelon, honeydew, strawberries.
  • Get a head start on the year by planning several of them in advance.
  • Learn from Laura Robb for two days.
  • Attempt to organize my piles of notebooks and papers.
  • Try some new recipes found on Pinterest.
  • Enjoy my days!

Summer will be a mix of lazy days, busy days, and working days. What does your summer look like?