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April Fools Day should never be on a Monday, that is just cruel. The arrival of spring has been much delayed, but there is finally some progress Ė no joke! On the drive to and from work I looked for the first forsythia that is truly and fully yellow, not just a faint suggestion of yellow, but didnít see one. With each day there are more green tinges on trees. I did see a magnolia in bloom today, down near the shore, with a great southern exposure, but I think it will still be a while before mine show color.
Every spring for about a month my attention is wholly captured by the garden, by the blooms or lack thereof. Weíve finally hit that period for 2019. This year it would seem that my tulips are not going to bloom or at least not as many as I want. I don't know if the deer got them, or the moles? Is it simply too early still for the shoots? Twenty years ago on the south shore, my few, unexpected tulips were in full bloom at this time, but thereís no tulip bud even in sight at this time
The willow trees have a slight green halo that is only really evident when I look very carefully. I can see other fringes of green on a few shrubs. I can see reddish leaflets beginning to unfurl on some trees; are they maples? There is not as of yet any real color from the forsythia, it as though they are in stasis. Daffodils are blooming and blooming and there is the upward growth of hyacinths in the front garden, and peony shoots are peeking through. Spring is still in transit, it has not yet actually arrived at the Crimson Palace.
I have plans to plant many annual flowers from seed this year: bachelors buttons, snapdragons, cosmos, love in a mist, and sweet peas. I am reminded of the year -and yes I do believe it was only one year- when I was growing up, we planted flowers along the side edge of the property that bordered the neighbor's 140 acre cornfield. I remember bachelor buttons. I don't remember the specifics of any other flowers, but it was colorful, and beautiful. Some of the flowers came back for a few years, but eventually, the weeds and grass blocked out the blooms.
Not all the forsythia have fully popped, just in corners here and there. The very pale magnolia tree across the street in the neighborís yard has opened fully, as have all those magnolias in the area. The darker magnolia magnolias are still a week or two off, and who knows when mine will open. If you donít look every single day, youíll miss the progress in early spring. The hyacinths are making progress, and each day thereís more green pushing up all over the garden. I donít want to miss any of it this year.
We almost always had snapdragons along the front porch when I was a child. Those were my favorite flowers as a young child. Grandfather rather famously took pictures of me with the snapdragons. I would entertain myself for long periods with the snapdragons, pinching the individual blossoms to watch the petals open, that look so much like a mouth. I would have the snapdragons converse with each other. About what I have no idea, but I remember playing with my friends Yes, it is a little odd that a six-year-old would consider flowers as friends, but I did.
This was not a weekend for baking. Yesterdayís Dutch baby pancake was a leaden and flat disaster, why I don't know. I can only think that perhaps the cast iron pan with a straight side was too warm and the batter could not rise. The lemon bliss cake on the other hand rose but ended up dense, not light and airy. Trying to figure out why the cake was so heavy and dense, I reread the recipe and realized that I had only used one stick of butter which is 8 tablespoons, in a recipe calls for 16 tablespoons.
A month. Three years after having her teeth removed because of stomatitis, we bought her three years at a cost of a thousand dollars a year. Yikes. Why does my mind keep track of things like this? I wonít say that we havenít noticed her being gone, but in some ways it is a relief, she had not been well for so very long. We hadnít realized just how sick she had become, because the decline was so gradual, but we have realized in the last month how much cleaner the place is without the sick kitty
After ignoring the journal for a full three weeks, I made a pathetic attempt tonight to start the April calendar and figure out goals. I have always been a listmaker, and in recent years Iíve begun keeping separate lists of things, but I never really paid attention to them on a daily basis. The journal is how I got through January Ė the organization can be very powerful. But right now, the lists Ė my four quadrant lists, are so freaking long, it really bothers me. Iím not sure how to get over this hump: I need few good days.
No journaling means I donít have a record of what I hoped to get done. So when I have a chunk of spare / unplanned / recovered time, Iím not sure what to do with it. Let me amend that: Iím not sure what to do that is productive. Not being here last spring, combined with the kitchen reno means there are tasks that didnít get done last year. Or were done in the most minimal way possible. There is always something to do Ė wiping down kitchen cabinets, continuing the post-MissLeo cleanup, hemming curtains, whatever it is.
In an almost awkward turn of events, I actually got stuff done at work. Of course, it wasnít what Iíd planned to get done, but nevertheless, I got some stuff done. And some of it might actually make life easier moving forward. Or at least more productive? But Iím still not getting the actual three things done that need doing. And I have enough meetings scheduled tomorrow that nothing will happen tomorrow. I miss the isolation box I had. I was able to go head-down, no distractions. I can't do that now at work or home.
These hour chats are temporary bonds that keep us together. The last time we saw each other was December 2017, I was in Nashville for a conference. It seems like it was just yesterday, but then I realize there has been a year of turmoil on her side and so my memories begin to dim. I am beyond excited at the prospect of taking a day off work to go visit her in the city next month Ė a long evening with dinner and wine hasnít happened sinceÖ 2013? Earlier? And we both had early wakeup calls the next day.
News reporters these days all seem to have the annoying habit of infusing their delivery of "news" with their own personal commentary, with inflections that are full of emphasis, meaningful pauses and other judgement that Iím pretty sure is not in the written copy they receive. What happened to the practice of simply conveying the facts without prejudice or implication? The local news teams are the worst and I canít consider them professional journalists. Particularly when the management has fired almost everyone with any experience, replacing them with recent graduates Ė but from what institutions, I canít say.
As a child, I never much cared for hot cross buns Ė I didnít like the raisins or citron-y bits. I have a very vague memory, which may not be accurate, of taking a big bite of a bun at the restaurant in Berea, and being bitterly disappointed by the appearance of the sweet, sticky, chewy bits. I made them today for himself, because he does so enjoy them, but I subbed dried fruit bits in the hopes that I would be able to eat them. Oh, yes, please! I will be making these every spring from now on.
Has it been 24 or 25 years since Rae died? In 1995 I moved to Astoria Ė and in 1994 she would have turned 50, so it must be 24 years ago now. I am pretty sure it was Easter 1995 then, Spill and I having the orphans and oddballs Easter dinner (to which no one actually came. I think that was also the day I met the kitten who would become Merlin. Finding a two dollar bill in my change on Friday had me wondering what message it was that grandfather was trying to send me, maybe this is it?
I have been avoiding the task for months. I know that actually dwelling on it, thinking about the details of the kitchen renovations will enrage me to the point of being sick. However, as himself pointed out today, thereís a new issue with a cabinet: at the top the inside door is rubbing against the cabinet frame and has worn the finish off, so there is no choice now but to revisit it. I need to sit down with a cup of tea and write it out a timeline narrative of all the crap that went wrong last year.
Spring is close enough to me now that I can hear it whispering to me. This morning the green fringe on trees is unmistakable. Last night the cherry trees down by the Baptist Church were covered in a whispy, delicate pink cloud. And this morning, the cherry blossoms were there, the cloud gathered substance. In a few days, individual petals from the blossoms will start to fall, creating the beautiful swirling. I don't even know how to describe it, but it is landscape you want to just live in, with pink petals on the ground and gently swirling from above.
I planted peas a few weeks ago. After taking a while to germinate, they shot up four or more inches during one day. I need to get them in the ground now but I really wish I could have filmed them grow at a rate of half an inch an hour or whatever the actual rate was. In the morning they were just little shoots rising up, and when I came home in the afternoon it was a half foot stem. How does anything grow that fast? It never fails to astonish me, the ability of mother nature to dazzle.
This morning is the pink full moon. And I did get to see it, thanks to a very unusual (for me) bout of insomnia - I was up at 2:30 AM and there was no getting back to sleep. After tossing and turning for an hour or so, I finally got up. Early mornings are a great time to think clearly, and so I began building up the current list of things for the journal. There was also some distraction on Ravelry (love the worldwide community Ė someone is always awake!) before I finally crawled back into bed at 6 AM.
Growing up, Easter was often spent in Gatlinburg with my dadís parents, and like every other holiday and vacation, food was a central part of the whole experience: eating at the fancy hotel restaurant in Berea, sausage at Bob Evans on the long drive, grits at the little family restaurant on the main street. It would be nice to have family close enough (in every sense of the word) to do a family dinner, or an afternoon of celebrations. That is my only regret - if I could even call it a regret - about the circumstances of my adult life.
I remember hunting for eggs by the stream at the campground we stayed at outside Gatlinburg. There was a huge water slide that could be open, if Easter was in April. Some years, my cousin joined us, and he spent his time and money with the video games. I would spend hours starting at, and listening to the stream. That is, when we werenít ambling about the sights and sounds (bluegrass! musicians on the street! Ole Smokey Kitchen taffy being pulled! Pancake pantry! Handpainted candles!) of Gatlinburg, looking at pottery in Pigeon Forge or driving through the Smokey Mountains.
As the forsythia is now beginning to wane, I have noticed something new this year. I donít know if it is truly new, or merely memory that isnít accurate, but I am curious about it. This year all of the yellow in the forsythia seems to be the same color yellow. My memory says there were different colors of yellow in past years, including the fire acid greenish yellow that I love, but I have not seen it anywhere this year. Is it possible that forsythia changes color based on conditions? How could I have missed this before?
Driving to work on the day after Earth Day, with a nearly full moon hangig low in the western morning sky, I wish I could take the time to truly enjoy it. Instead I am moving, driving, waking up to go to work. There is a certain question of why boss lady is leaving me alone so much at the moment. I think it because (thankfully) she has too much on her plate. She seems oblivious to the casual apathy from my former office mate, who I know she is hanging on for dear life with two kids in college.
There are actual leaves on some of the trees today. Most of the trees have at least some sort of fringe or halo at this point. Forsythia is hanging on with yellow, although it is beginning to turn green in many places. Lilac buds can be seen getting full, showing some indication of their true color. Daffodils are still in evidence, periwinkle peeks through, and tulips are bursting out all over. Well, except in my yard, where my amazing display from several years ago will not be repeated, whether due to voles, deer or aging buls, I donít know.
In the theoretical future, I no longer work a daily job that I find at best slightly depressing. I would like to change that, retire sooner rather than later. I want to do those things that I always imagined living here: spend time with himself, walk to and from the library, walk around the Avalon park. Weekends now are so tightly packed with things to do that I hardly have a moment to sit and relax until after dinner. Gardening is by choice, but renovation cleanup continues along with new stuff, following up with my parents, it all takes time.
The pinky purple azaleas that are about the same color as my Redbud are beginning to bloom everywhere in the neighborhood, but I'm still hoping to find a yellow or orange one to make himself happy, and one that will survive. The deer seem to have already destroyed half of my very few remaining tulips and my elderflower shrub. I do want to get many, many more tulips planted in various places this fall, to bring back the early spring time show. In other news it must be spring because Frank and Amelia have returned to the Crimson Palace pond.
It is much easier to identify the most critical stuff that needs doing with my journal. The journal list itself is somewhat terrifying but I get that is a typical reaction to identifying everything and having it in one place. There's just too much stuff on the list for the available time after work / weekends. Thirty years ago I worked full-time and went to grad school full-time and it was OK because I wanted grad school. I donít want the To Do list and to have it be nearly a second job at this stage seems wrong.
The blueberry buttermilk breakfast cake wasn't the easy ďmake it that morningĒ kind of recipe that she promised. It took a lot longer to bake than indicated, partially because I used the smaller pan. This isn't the first time that her recipe has not turned out as anticipated. Maybe I used too many blueberries, because in the end, it was a mass of baked blueberries held together with some cake. It tasted pretty damn good, so I will probably make it again, but I will likely prep it the night before so that breakfast is ready at a reasonable time.
Iíve sown seeds for poppies, bachelors buttons, love in a mist, and snapdragons. In the new raised beds in the backyard and the flower beds in the front, filling in the edges here and there. it was something else to miscarry are up in my front walkway they're very pretty and you said you drive back to almost nothing. It has been such a cool spring this year, I hope that the weather doesnít immediately turn too warm for them to grow and blossom and put on a show. The front flower beds have suffered losses this year.
Here it is, end of the month and for the last week I have been completely in the hole. I was doing fairly well earlier this month, with a combination of note taking and recording my entries during my morning commute in the car. But the last week, Iíve not managed any of that. I am going to have to backfill, from memory, from my calendar, from any source. Iím not doing it tonight, because it is Beltane and even if Iím not going to have a libation, Iím going to knit and watch something girly.
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