Friday, August 28, 2015

Starting with a small change


About a month ago, I had a Monday off of work. Before I got out of bed, I had decided I would rearrange my bedroom that day. And I did - almost everything found a new place: the bookcase, one dresser, the bed. I removed a lot of the extraneous clutter from the room (just,,,don't look in the guest room yet). It felt good. I needed a change. This new arrangement of furniture resulted in a nice chunk of open floor space.

The change in the room itself is most important in that it has been a catalyst for other, better, changes in my life. I had fallen into some bad habits. Waking up and going straight to the computer to check Facebook was the worst offender. I wanted to create new habits. So, I told myself I would make up the bed every morning. Before I did anything else (morning trip to the restroom excluded), I would make up my bed. And I have, never to perfection, but done. I also made a place for a hamper, a place for dirty cloths to live. I know - as an adult of my age, these are things that I should have already been doing. But, the past couple of years have been tough, and the events of those years drug me down to a dark place. In that place, I didn't care about things like made-up bed and dirty clothes in a hamper. In that place, getting out of bed and putting clothes on my body felt like a Herculean accomplishment on some days.

Without the covers  and dirty clothes all over the floor, the open floor remained open. I decided that I would make good use of that space. I would start a morning yoga practice. Right there in my bedroom, in that open space. I had begun to have an inner image of my self as a gnarled, squat oak tree. My muscles felt tight, my joints ached. I felt like I was folding in on myself, unable to stretch out into the world.

So, after making my bed, I would turn on Pandora, get out my Yoga mat, and do yoga stretches for 5 songs. Just 5 songs. That seemed more doable than focusing on getting a certain number of poses done or setting a timer. And for the last 31 days, I have done so for 24 of them. Even when visiting my Mom. Even at Cattle Raids. A couple of days lost when I had an infected tooth, when on my period, when traveling in the morning.

And I have seen changes. I have gone from 18 - 20 minutes in the morning to 27 - 30 minutes. There have been concrete physical achievements - my fingertips on the ground in triangle pose, my head to the ground in wide-legged forward bend, deeper twists, getting past the point when it is my hamstrings that are the barrier for most poses.

There have been intangible changes as well -more energy throughout the day, feeling stronger, laughing more. That inner image of the gnarled,squat oak - well the oak is beginning to straighten and stretch into the light.



Monday, June 1, 2015

Garden 2015 - The Plant in the Mug

Senecio vitalis - Blue Chalk Fingers

A succulent. I planted it in Pepin's broken Huscarl Mug. It seemed appropriate somehow. I am looking forward to seeing how this plant grows.


In the sun.
On a cloudy day, 
The Stem 


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Garden 2015 - Caladiums

Since my balcony is so shady, I am focused on plants with interesting leaves for this year's garden. Caladiums, to me, impart a feeling of shade and cool. I also love how water beads up on their leaves. This variety is called Gingerland, and I have planted it in the same pot as my Bedstraw. So far, it seems to be doing well. I may need to acquire some other varieties.



Friday, May 22, 2015

My Garden 2015 - Dogwood

This past Mother's Day hit me hard. It would have been my first Mother's Day as a mom, if I hadn't miscarried last April. I shouldn't have been surprised, but the degree of sadness, the degree of longing, the degree of hurt took me aback. 

I had to work that day. The mothers and the children enjoying the day together was painful to watch. I was very glad with the heavy rain rolled, driving the customers away .


That day, I bought this little Dogwood tree (Cornus alba var Ivory Halo). I had admired it since I first started working there.




 I love the delicacy of the leaves, how they trembled in the wind. 



I love the red stems, their contrast against the variegated leaves. 


I hope this little tree is happy on my mostly shady balcony until I have a place where I can give it a permanent home. 






Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Garden 2015 - Second Chances

Three pansies, which I saved from the dumpster, and brought back to life. Pansies are cool weather plants, wilting and withering in the summer heat. However, it has been cool this spring, and my balcony garden is cool and shady. I shall see how long I can keep them looking nice.



A plantlet from a spider plant. I must admit, over the winter I neglected this little plant. It ended up in a spot where it lacked both light and water. The leaves where elongate and chlorotic due to lack of sunlight, flaccid and thin due to lack of water. I put it out on the balcony in a last ditch effort to save it. In a matter of days, the leaves began producing chlorophyll again as they greened up. I only wish I had taken before picture of the ghostly leaves.


Monday, May 18, 2015

My Garden 2015 - Sweet Woodruff



Galium odoratum - I love it for its whorled leaf arrangement (3 or more leaves coming from a single point on the stem). A favorite herb throughout the centuries for the sweet hay smell it releases when it is dried. It has been used to stuff mattresses and pillow, and as a strewing herb. It is also said to "make men happy" when added to ales and wines. Perhaps my little plant will grow enough that I can harvest some of it to experiment with. It has already grown a lot since I planted it last week. The plant should be happy on my porch of filtered and dappled light. I want to try to overwinter it inside this year. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

My Garden 2015 - Stainless Steel

Originally, I was going to entitle this post "The plant I fell in love with", but then realized that is true of many of the plants I have obtained this summer for my balcony garden. 

But this was my first love of the summer. A plant I admired for weeks. A plant I thought about and considered, and finally, decided to purchase.  I give you - Stainless Steel. A variety of Coral Bells (Heuchara). 

The leaves, start off this beautiful silvery gray, with dark green veins, which, as they get older turn a silvery, purple green. The slightest breeze will set them to trembling. 



When I adopted the plant, she wasn't blooming, so the delicate flowers, white tinged with pink, are a pleasant surprise. Here, they have not yet opened.