Saturday, May 13, 2006

Gardening and Road Trips.

I had fully intended to have pictures to show some of my weekend activities, but I was gone for all the hours of full sun today, when pictures would have turned out best. Another time.

Picked up some more plants. I think it must be an instinctive thing that happenes as the earth dips lower and lower, and the days get longer and longer. I simply itch to get flowers planted and a garden growing. I find it nearly impossible to resist. I bought nine packs of vincas (I think) and sweet william, as well as a twenty-four pack of another perennial flower. This may also be vincas, but I don't remember. I also transplanted lavender, daisies (which I don't think will survive the transplant), columbines, an unidentified plant sending out a head of tiny white flowers, and yarrow, which will likely recover eventually. I think I also transplanted a straggly mint. I planted my wild blue flax, although it isn't where I wanted to plant it, but the herbicide sprayed throughout the yard to kill off the abundance of weeds in preparation for tilling, new soil and sod, hasn't taken effect, so I didn't want to plant it in the spot I had selected only to have them respray and kill it.

I bought a couple of overpriced small box planters stuffed with a variety of annuals, thinking that one of the boxes would make a lovely housewarming gift for our latest closing. I also bought oregano and tomato plants and 5 bags of compost to dig into the planter beds, and a huge bag of Miracle Grow potting soil for the pots I want to plant the tomatoes in.

Therein lies the problem. At Lowes there were several pots that looked good but weren't real pottery. I know, I know, that sounds snobbish or something, but I don't want Fiberglas pots or plastic pots. I want big substantial ceramic or clay pots, heavy, breakable and real.

So, with Alex in tow (he went along to do the heavy lifting), I decided to head out for one of the two shops I know carry big, ceramic pots of all descriptions and just hope I could afford something really great. I have visions of the wonderful pots in gardens along the Amalfi Coast, in their formal settings, surrounded by boxwoods or privet hedges and lovely manicured lawns. I can't manage a formal garden with it's strong forms, need for serious maintenance and hedge clipping, but I want to have the feel of outdoor rooms to walk, wisteria arbors, bougenvilia hanging over tall garden walls...

Well, in Colorado, many of those items will have to be altered, but back to the road trip.

I was close to the entrance to Hwy83, so I decided to take that road toward a neat shop I had seen many times on my way to Parker, rather than take Hwy 24 up Ute Pass to the other shop I had visited previously. (Camino Real?) Well, we drove and drove (it's been a while since I took Hwy 83), but finally got to Jackalope, where there were rows and rows of wonderful pots in all shapes, sizes and colors. Immediately I headed for the 50% off row, since I wanted to buy fairly large pots. I found two large pots with an espresso glaze (about knee height) and bought both of them for a total of $40. Yea!

After getting them home, Alex lugged them up the back stairs to the deck, where I filled them and planted tomatoes and oregano. I don't know whether to add other herbs in the pot as well. I'm thinking it could be a great idea, but I'm wondering if the tomatoes, once they are full size, would block out the sun the herbs would need. Putting plants in the back of the truck, right next to the tailgate, then taking off at 65 mph probably wasn't the smartest thing I could have done. While the plants remained in their pots, they looked windblown, like I would after riding in a convertible with the top down. Perhaps the boxes will recover in time to make a nice gift for our home buyers. I can't wait to harvest my own tomatoes and make bruschetta or pico de gallo fresh from the garden. Maybe I'll find a spot for some more tomatoes.

This morning I went to a women's function "Frugal Flirts", a group of ladies who get together once a month for food and conversation. This month the theme was European Vacation. Everyone was to bring a brunch dish from a country in Europe, and to dress for a European Vacation. I got up early and went to the store for vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil and some fresh italian bread to use for bruschetta. It cost about 7 bucks for 5 tomatoes. Yikes! I really need to plant more tomatoes! I wore the dress I had on when we walked along the Meditteranean at was it Gaeta or Formia? I don't recall. I even did my hair as I wore it on that trip. I slept in big fat pincurls through much of the trip so I could avoid buying a new hair dryer or a conversion kit. Now, I would just wash it, comb it and pull it back in a barrette. Much easier.

A shift at the mall, and as I was finishing up, I talked to my friend Evelyn on the phone and was invited to come to join her and another friend, Beth W. at The Silent Woman, an absolutely wonderful boutique with furnishings, decor and gifts of a truly special variety. How could I resist a wonderful smelling Italian hand lotion. My hands have been really rough, dry and sore from gardening without my gloves on. I own them, I just forget to wear them. Oh well, even when I have them on, I often pull them off to feel the soil. You can't really garden without dirt under your fingernails, can you?

Now that I have this lovely bottle of lotion, I'll have to scrub the bathroom so that the bottle isn't lost amidst dirt and clutter.

Does spring make you feel like planting things? Like camping? Like hiking through Garden of the Gods? Like... I'd love to know.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Logos, Range Riders, and lost in the mountains, not necessarily in that order.

[This section has been deleted by author.]

I spent some time this week doing a mailing for guest night with the Pikes Peak Range Riders. In appreciation for my efforts, I'm invited as well. When I was a kid we used to go to the street breakfast in downtown Colorado Springs, eating pancakes and eggs on a plate balanced in your lap while sitting on hay bales in the middle of streets that have been closed to traffic for the event. It was always a lot of fun. Toward the end of the street breakfast, the Range Riders would mount up and ride off, several dozen of them riding off into the mountains for a week long range ride. I always wanted to go. Probably the only time in my life when I was seriously upset that God had made me female was when I found out that I could never be a Range Rider since I'm not a man.

Since then, I've always thought of the Range Ride with longing. Now that I'm older, I will admit that part of the appeal is guys in hats on horses. There is something decidedly old world about it. Virile. Male. Natural. Reminiscent of the old west. I think the guys feel it too, because they are courteous, gentlemanly, and solicitious in all the best ways. Men who are men make women glad of it. Plus, a man can look like the backside of a bus, can be old, bald, wrinkled, pot-bellied, you name it--but put him in a hat, boots, Wranglers and set him on a horse, and he becomes attractive. Maybe that's how what's-his-name got Anna Nicole Smith.

I drove to Golden today to pick up Alex's motorcycle as he is coming home from college for the summer. On the way back I decided to take a side trip through Kittridge, Evergreen and Morrison, checking out roadside shops along the way. I never did find any antique stores that were open, no thrift stores hawking their wares, but I did find a great store in Kittridge just right for wandering through if you're interested in home decor items as I am. Neat furniture, great dishes, wall art, linens and I picked up another book by Frances Meyers about her life and home in Tuscany.

Coming out of Evergreen, I didn't see a sign telling me which direction to go to get back to C-470. I should have turned left. After meandering for a while, I just had the feeling that the sun was in the wrong position. I had that feeling long before I found a sign mentioning Breckenridge, a great town, but many, many miles out of my way on this trip. Turning around, I found the right way back, but spent an extra hour or two in the hills. If you've driven the back roads of Colorado, you know that it wasn't a trial at all.

But I had to get back to Monument to pick up our latest commission check and get it into the bank.

Anyway, I'm home. The bike is a little worse for the wear as I didn't strap it down properly and it shifted, damaging a reflector on the back. I'm grouchy and tired though as if I did a hard day's manual labor. Makes no sense at all.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Trumpet Sound...

Third grade. My dad played the trumpet beautifully. I've rarely heard anyone I thought came close, and only a few who were his equal or better. Anyway, we were attending Temple Baptist Church and they asked dad to accompany them on a special number. He was to come in midway through the song, but they didn't want him seen, so they had him play from the baptistry.

The moment the trumpet sounded, Dr. Barnard, an elderly widower, stood to his feet in horror that we all had not been raptured at the sound of the trump. He was so mindful of the second coming of Christ, that it was his first thought upon hearing the sound. (I Thess. 4:16-17) I'll never forget it. I wish I were as mindful. What small annoyances would we overlook if we were constantly thinking of and looking for the Lord's soon return.

He is risen. He is risen indeed. He is coming again. No man knows the time. Watch and wait.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

So I'm driving down the road...

...practicing my comedy routine out loud. At a light I look over and a guy is looking at me like I'm crazy. So I pull out my cell phone and hold it up so it looks like I'm on speaker phone.

Nobody seems to think it's crazy to talk out loud as long as it's on the phone.

Sunday, May 7, 2006. A really good day.

I am not a morning person. Never have been, and despite my best efforts, whether I arise early or not, I will never be one. When I have to be somewhere early I have trouble getting to sleep the night before. I don't know whether I'm afraid I'll oversleep, or what, but I just can't relax into that blessed state of slumber. So last night, despite attempting to get to sleep by 9, I finally fell asleep after one. My alarm was set for 5:00. I tried. Seriously I did. But, I wound up getting up at about 5:45, needing to leave by 6:10. I know myself well enough that I had planned my wardrobe and done my hair before going to bed. Bleary-eyed and grooming are not a good mix.

I woke with the songs from the worship set running through my mind. I woke singing "You were. You are. You will always be." What a great way to start the day. I began praying for the morning and the people who would be there on a difficult morning, when the sermon was on divorce.

Anyway, I arrived at church at the appointed hour--6:30am, mocha latte protein drink in hand. The morning went well. We had Sean and John step in from New Life School of Worship (?) on electric guitar and bass. They were amazing! With a shortened worship set of three numbers, Unchanged, You Said and Give Thanks to the Lord, it was a beautiful and wonderful message in music. The message leading into the sermon was that God is the same yesterday today and tomorrow, he has promised that he will answer when we call and that he is a God of healing, and that we can thank and praise him for that. A great way to lead into a message telling folks that no matter how difficult your marriage, barring physical abuse and serial adultery, you need to make whatever effort it takes to work out your marriage, because God hates divorce, he blessed faithfulness and keeping your vow, it is a legacy you leave to your children and builds character--in you.

When you are in pain, it is tough to hear "stick it out", and "work harder". It seems so much easier to walk away, to ease a weary and wounded heart. We tell ourselves that the kids will be fine, but studies show they bear lasting scars. And we do too. I've seen it over and over, women, men, children--devastated due to divorce. It rends the fabric of self apart.

I don't mean to sound self-righteous, because I certainly am not. I left Steve--twice. I didn't believe in divorce, but prayed for his death or mine to release me from this painful state. I can only tell you that God honored my feeble prayers, when I would add, don't do what I want, do what you want and help me to want the same thing. I used to pray, God help me to Want to want what you want.

The separations tore the kids up. I believe they have lasting scars, lasting insecurities. Oh how I wish I had found another way. I wish someone had come along side me with wisdom and discernement early on.

It wasn't until Alex was 4 or 5 that we were flooded out, taken in by our friends Craig and Kathi (we didn't even know them at the time), and they began to show me how a marriage could look, and I began to see what was wrong with ME, not Steve. They were gentle with me, because I was the walking wounded and could only hear so much.

It took many difficult years. I tell people that the first seventeen years were rough, but since then they've been pretty good. I occasionally get really irritated, and am occasionally really irritating, but we work it out. Some things will never change.

Back to this morning. Practice, Run through and two services later, I believe there were people who were hit between the eyes. I only hope that they reach out for help through the tough times. The church wants to be there for them.

After church was the small group leaders meeting. Lunch, talking, a challenge, discussion and prayer. Then (after eating fried chicken and getting really sick) home to sleep for the next 4.5 - 5 hours. So now I am awake, having had a delightful video conference with my parents. What a time we live in.

Mom and Dad have been married for... is it 49 years? Steve and I just passed our 24th anniversary in December. Grandma and Grandpa Carlson must have been married for around 50 years. It is an accomplishment that two people from such disparate backgrounds, different personalities and hot spots can work through the tough times and stay married.

Having gone through the tough times together gives us a shared history that I would never have with another person. Plus, as I like to say, Steve remembers me skinny, and I remember him with hair. We could never have that with anyone else.

A really good day. Steve and I have gotten over our quarreling and ugliness earlier this week and I managed to keep down some beef and brocolli. It doesn't take much for me to be pleased.