Thursday, May 19, 2011

what's new?

"There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.'
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster."    ~ Dalai Lama

So maybe you've been wondering where I've been? Maybe not.  Maybe you're getting used to me being gone for periods of time and don't think a thing about it?  Well.  Here I am, none the worse for wear.  It's been a long and crazy week and a half, so I'm here to update you on the goings-on around here.

I've had some time on my hands (more about that later), so we finally got this done:

The gate was done a few months ago, but we just now finished the lattice fence on each side.

Can you see the wine bottle "fence" there on the left?  We drink wine fairly regularly, but it took over a year to save up all those bottles!

The raised beds we put in for the veggie garden seem to be doing the trick - we have a stellar harvest in store for us this year:

Three tomato plants.  Right now they each have about three dozen tomatoes on them - and that doesn't include the flowers.

Swiss Chard.  Two more weeks for the first harvest, then there should be another harvest 2 months later!

Yep.  That's a baby sized zuchini right there.  I'm doing a happy dance, because this is the first year, in this house, that I've been able to get anything from my zuchini.

Peppers.  Lots of them.  Lots of different kinds.

We had a toad orgy in the pond and the first Water Lily bloom - both on the same day:

You can't see the toads in this picture and you should be happy about that.  It's pretty gross.  There are hundreds of them with  lots of 3 on 1 action, and they make a horrible racket.  I don't think the fish approve, either.

And probably most importantly, but far and away not the best thing to happen recently - I got laid off.  I guess technically I'm not laid off, because I worked freelance (under contract - therefore no unemployment - sad face), but it was completely economically driven.  The company hit a real, big bump in the road, in terms of sales, about six months ago and they haven't recovered yet.  My boss thought he'd be able to get it righted, but it will take months (maybe longer), and I can't wait that long.  Yep, it's kinda scary.  But a couple of good things have happened because of it - my friends have circled around me, filling me with love, and caring, and positive thinking.  I've always known I have these fabulous friends, but sometimes it takes something like this to remind me of just how wonderful they really are. And how lucky I am.  I got a bit of a severence package, so I have a small amount of time to find something, but it's tough out there.  Wish me luck on that, would ya?

The other good thing is I've had more time for all the things I love to do, including this:

This pose is good for self confidence.  There are times when I could definitely use more self confidence (now).

Seriously - there is nothing better than an inversion to clear your head.

So, I'm spending my mornings online, connecting with people and looking for new opportunities, then from late afternoon on I'm in the garden or on my mat in class, clearing my head.  I haven't actually looked for a job in a very long time.  Most of the jobs I've had in my lifetime have been with or through people I know.  By the way - were you all aware that 99% of jobs posted on Craigslist are scams?  I found that out quickly.

I'll keep y'all posted!

Monday, May 9, 2011

"The purpose of our lives is to be happy." ~ Dalai Lama

I trust everyone had a wonderful weekend, and for all the mom's, a beautiful Mother's Day?  This is what went down around here this weekend:

Friday Night Date Night

Dinner out at one of our favorite places, and afterwards a glass of wine and some Eric Clapton and J.J. Cale by the fire.  Perfect for chillin'.

Saturday, 7:30 am - 22nd Annual River to The Sea Bike Ride

I was a little worried when I woke up and saw all the FOG.

8:30 am and ready to take off - still foggy.

9:30 am - one hour, and 10 miles later, we made it to the beach.  No more fog!  We asked a woman nearby to get a picture of us with the tandem, but she left out the tandem.  Like my "helmet hair"?  

Shortly after that picture we started back downtown to the river, where we started.  It's a really fun ride.  We are so lucky to have a wonderful bike route that takes you safely down the 10 miles between the downtown area (the river), all the way to the beach.  As you can see from the pictures, it's a ride for everyone; kids, older people, everyone.  It's done to promote awareness of bike riders (to the car driving public), and to my delight, it gets bigger every year.

We got home in time for lunch then spent the afternoon putzing around in the garden. 

Sunday - Mother's Day:

Couldn't ask for a better day.  Not only did I get to spend time with both of my lovelies, but I actually had time to spend with each of them one on one, catching up on what's going on, what they have planned, where they're going with their lives.  The afternoon was spent walking around downtown, sharing vegan cupcakes, and lots and lots of talking.  Later, we all went out for Thai - everyone's favorite.  A perfect day.

Seriously - who could ask for more?  Thank you, girls.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

your friend beside you...

"Nothing’s better than the wind at your back, the sun in front of you and your friend beside you." – A runner’s creed (and a walker's, too!)

A few weeks ago a very dear friend of mine participated in, and completed (yay!), a half-marathon in NYC.  She asked me a few months before if I would do it with her, and I said I'd love to.  As life would have it, it turned out I wasn't able to go, for several reasons (one of them being Jack, and his health issues).  I had already spent several months training with my friend, so I was disappointed.  Well, the half-marathon is done, but we had so much fun training that we decided to continue.   After a couple of weeks off for Rose to "recover",  last weekend we were back at it.  When we last trained together we had just reached 13 miles, but after a few weeks off we thought it best to start back up with about 8 miles.  We are both over 50 now (how did that happen?!), so we do a sort of walk-run combination. More walking than running, I think.  So 8 miles takes us about an hour and 45 minutes.  Perfect amount of time to catch up on each other's news and look at and comment on some of the great houses we pass by. We are only able to spend that amount of time training on the weekend, so during the week we train separately, running/walking about 4 miles, 3 days a week.  Since we've both done that for years, I'm not sure we can really call it "training", though!

We are training with the idea that we will both be in next year's half-marathon together.  That may or may not actually happen, but either way we'll enjoy the training. And the talking.  And the house looking.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

just a few words...

"All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction." ~ Clarence Darrow (in his biography, The Story of My Life)

Apparently a slightly altered version of this is going around the internet, attributed to Mark Twain.  But from what I've read, Mr. Twain actually quoted Mr. Darrow when he said it.  Whatever - still, true words for many, I guess.  Although, honestly, I can't say I've ever wished anyone dead.  Out of my life? Yes. Definitely.  But not dead. 

I'm not saying it's wrong for anyone to feel relief or even satisfaction over another's death, or even to wish for it.  I'm just saying for me, celebrating anyone's death (even an enemy's) doesn't feel good.  While certainly not in mourning, I've made no real celebration of recent events either.  Hopefully, with the loss of one, life will be better for thousands of others.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Okay,  that's it.  Have a great day, filled with sunshine and good health!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

before and after...

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." ~ Federico Fellini


And after...

Mushrooms stuffed with Crab and Shrimp, grilled asparagus, and Angel Hair Pasta with Tomatoes and Basil in a White Wine Sauce. Yummy. Somewhere between these two pictures we moved inside - still not quite warm enough to eat on the patio.  Soon.  Very, very soon.