Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oh Canada

Elle's had a visitor for the past 5 nights, a French Canadian friend from her year abroad in Canada.

When they're not out touring the Capitol, the Library of Congress or visiting the cherry blossoms, they're here filling the house with fruity scented shampoos, cooking turkey burgers on the grill, drinking endless bottles of white wine and talking in a polyglot of tongues. I walked in the other night and they were both sitting on the sofa listening to and singing along to Abba"s Dancing Queen.

 And French or French Canadian they both make those poufy faces when displeased.

What"s not to love.

Tonight they grilled hot dogs, I had a kale salad. We met in the middle with smores.

I have to thank S-man for opening up my eyes to the joy of actually engaging with not just living with "The Renter".

If you're gonna live with someone, live with them, he said.

Elle has been a ginormous help during these 7 weeks of recovery. Perfectly coiffed she takes out the trash on her way to work, insists on scrubbing any pots or pans I may have used in my stabs at cooking. She puts the cover on my duvet and shakes, shakes, shakes it up in a very bonne femme manner.

She is the keeper of the gate for the cats, letting them in and out and in and out.

She is in charge of the dishwasher and scolds me roundly if I dare to empty it.

We're a good team, she says.


My friends love her. She's been invited to Cape Cod to visit Susan and as I sit here typing, she and My friend Nelda are on line buying tickets for a soccer game.

This time last year my heart was cold and empty. Now my heart and home are filled again with friendship, cooking and laughter.

Glass filled to the brim. Thank you Universe.

xo J

Monday, April 7, 2014

Flowers In The House Of Spring: April 2014

True spring today. Sunshine, birds chirping, neighbors busily working in their yards, then taking a turn in my mine.

One mowed my lawn, another brought me pansies and as she proceeded to chop down a few of my perennials and shrubs, I planted the pansies.

You've heard of slow food? Today I practiced slow gardening. Dig with the left hand, carefully pat into place with the right. Pull a few weeds with the left, carefully smooth dirt back in place with the right. Bird by bird.

Elle bought the chairs out from the basement and basked in the sun.

Gus ran from yard to yard, chasing squirrels, climbing trees and hiding from strolling dogs who came by to visit.

In between visiting and watching people garden my homestead, I decorated the house.

A small collection of flowers from the yard. Hellebores, daffs and a few, help me out here, little orange what? I remembered, epimedium, that's what they are. It also took me a while to figure how to spell it. Whew.

 And this just in from California, a promise of May in Virginia: Yellow foxglove and tree peony, uber fragrant lilac, budding double pink cherry branches and a arching allium.

 Same theme, different colors: coral charm peony, pink foxglove, a wisp of Queen Annes lace, pink lisanthus and bells of Ireland.


And what was Lucy doing while we were bustling about in the house and garden?

Folding laundry.

How was your Sunday?

Pick any flowers?

We'd love to see.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Doctors Orders

The good news: today I saw a star magnolia in full bloom. Early cherry and redbud are showing color.

The snow moved on, To Massachusetts I hear, and indeed, the sun shone.

GG and Tini picked me up after my Dr.'s appointment and we drove straight to our comfort food:Vietnamese.

There's nothing that a few rice noodles and grilled pork won't cure.

Maybe not the common cold but for that there's always Pho.

GG's best rest spot is in the passenger seat of her sister's car. Firm leather seat back to keep her upright, heated seat to keep her warm and the peace and quiet you can only find sleeping while on the road or in a driveway.

Ah, post op.

The bad news for me: no Zumba, no gardening, no pulling or pushing, continue sleeping with cast (and 2 cats) on for another month, Advil as needed.

I can't say I'm surprised but I hoped for a nod to gentle weeding. Wait, didn't I give myself tendonitis several years ago from too vigorous weeding?  Do you think my surgeon reads the blog?

He casually mentioned that men tend to get 100% of their rotation back, "gals" not so much.

Don't know why, says there is a study on this matter.

This "gal" hope to be an exception to the norm.

But I guess that means no weeding, no Zumba, no pulling or pushing, no carry anything over 3 lbs in my right hand.

Just get through 3 months without tearing it he begged me.

What? Do I give the impression I would overdo things?

It's like my first day at boarding school when my parents and I walked into the large room full of single beds with a chest next to them and a white curtain that pulled around for privacy.

We met the nun who supervised the floor.

She'll sleep in the bed next to mine she announced, might need to keep an eye  on her.

What? She'd just met me. What possible trouble vibe did I and do I apparently still give off?

Though I must admit by Thanksgiving of that year I was expelled....

But then I didn't have all of you keeping an eye on me.

No Zumba.

No gardening.

No pushing.

No pulling.

No yoga.

 No kidding.

xo J

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Noah: Coming Soon To A Backyard near You

Or near me, I hope. I'm flooded.

We've gone from rain to sleet to snow to more rain, and this is all since yesterday.

I've been trying to get out to Maryland to visit GG for two days now and the weather has consistently gotten in my way.

Tomorrow? The sun will come out tomorrow, or so they tell us. And GG will come to Virginia for lunch.

The mountain comes to Mohammed.

Thank you all for reading and responding with such love and support to my last post.

She is indeed a warrior woman.

And if she still read the blog, I know your comments would fill her with gratitude and resolve.

Though, come to think of it, she's got plenty of that.

But I'll pass on your good wishes, I bet secretly she misses all of you.

I would. I have.

I feel vaguely Catholic school girl guilty about the turn this blog has taken.

Where have all the flowers gone?

Not to mention the food and the parties and the dogs and babies?

Well I can't offer you a baby but I can bring a flower of two home next Monday and we can do an April Flowers In The House.

Even Design*Sponge seems to miss us. They did their own FITH last Monday. Geez.

So April 6th, let's get it on.

GG told me today that when she got her arrangements in the hospital last week, one from her family, one from me, they made her cry.

Sometimes I forget the power of a petal.

But never of the written word.

Thank you for yours.

( and yes, my recovery is coming along beautifully, at least I think it is, I'll tell you more after I see the doctor tomorrow)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Okay, so this is not my story.

But it's a story that has affected me deeply.

And where else do I process my feelings but right here...

GG, remember GG, comes from a family with a long history of cancer.

Months ago she tested positive for BRAC2.

Today she had a double mastectomy.

She has come through the surgery well and Mr. B's mother just text she was off to get her some food.

An appetite is a good sign says the woman who subsided on saltines and ginger ale  for 3 days after her own surgery.

Luckily I had a steady stream of information coming my way all day and a visit from her father and sister at the shop this afternoon.

I wished I could have been part of the hospital waiting game this morning.

But we all had a good cry when we got together.

It's been over a year now since we "conscientiously uncoupled"  but my heart doesn't let go so easily after 8 years together.

We've had many sad, angry, and awkward moments to get to a place where we have dinners together, watch movies, go shopping and help each other prepare for our respective surgeries.

In AA meetings it is suggested we take what we need and leave the rest.

I guess I need a friend who knows me inside out, upside down and shows us all how big her brave is.

Now that I've shared this maybe I can resume my normal blogging.....

I've had a stone  lodged in my chest for the last week.

Tonight I hand it over to you all.

With every word I have (and haven't) typed I've felt the stone splinter into small and smaller pieces.

Soon I hope to breathe free.

And see a little damn spring.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Don't Let The Sound Of Your Own Wheels Drive You Crazy

Complete radio silence for over a week? Totally not me you're thinking.

But really, can you stand to read one more post about recovery?

Cause that's all I've got. Oh and my first week back at the shop.

Work was, well work. Lattes, laughs and a bit of anxiety on all our parts. What would I be able to do?

I can design as long as the container is no taller than 6", luckily we do lots of compact arrangements.

I can design as long as my coworkers fill the containers with water, place them in front of me and then take them away when I'm finished. Takes a village.

The first day, I took a 4x4 cube, taped it and started to add flowers. Suddenly I had an arrangement.

This was so exciting I filled as many orders as I could get my hands on. One might say I did too many.

My co workers did. As did Shelley who sweetly called me to see how my day was going and suggested I might want to go home soon. I thought longingly of my bed and my ice machine pumping freezing cold water around my shoulder. It seemed like paradise.

The rest of the week I tried to take it easy.

6 hours would be optimum. 7 is a stretch and 8 is a psycho killer. I take time out to stretch and sometimes just sit. I like to call it spring break.

Seems like the only spring we're getting in these parts.

Today we had our usual Monday winter storm so both Doctor and Physical Therapy appointments were rescheduled.

A friend came to visit and do some shoveling. She said I must be going crazy at home.

No way, I'm crazy about being home. Yesterday I went out to a movie, Saturday night out to dinner.

Both days included  books and baths,naps and long nights sleeps. How could this be boring?

Some days I feel I should be further along, other I'm flooded with gratitude for all I can accomplish.

I can finally put on a bra, jeans, lace up my trainers, put on eyeliner, sweep a floor, change my own sheets, roughly chop an onion, do flowers.

I'm 3 weeks out ,as medical parlance goes , and everyone seems pleased with my progress except me.

Unlike Alicia Keyes, I am not Super Woman, nor does anyone expect me to be but me.

Take it easy, trying to make that my new motto.

Remind me, would you?

Monday, March 10, 2014

I'll Miss My Clean White Linens And My Fancy French Cologne

Tomorrow is back to work day. I don't know how long I'll be there and I have no idea what I'm fit to do but I'm very excited to be climbing back on the crazy train, as we call a day in the shop. And to bring home some fresh flowers and new to me stories.

They totally worked me over, and out, in PT today so I know I'll be sore as hell.I'm trying to imagine getting my bus pass out of, what, my pocket, the little passport bag I carry on my good shoulder,  or just carry it clenched in my teeth?

I'm going to wear a sling in the hopes the bus driver will have a moment of compassion and let me sit down before he speeds away.....

I''d better stop this, I'm scaring myself.

In PT I'm told to let my therapist know when the pain level gets to an 8. I am my father's daughter so these words don't spring quickly to my lips.

I tell her when my knees knock together and my eyes roll around in my head I've hit 10, Code Red, time to back it up a tetch. But this only seems to encourage her to try one more, just a little bit further. And whenever I think we're done, I'm wrong, there's another even more challenging exercise to get through.

And yet I love it all, the movement, the stretching, the idea that one day I may be able to shave under my arms again. Maybe chop an onion, plant a pansy, fluff my duvet.

It is with a great sense of relief that I can tell you Gus is in da house. Last Lucy and I saw he took off after a long haired smokey gray cat twice his size.

And I don't think they were going out for a drink.

So as I've been typing I've been nervously glancing over to the storm door hoping to see his furry face peering in at us wanting some dinner. Lucy just kept watch at the door, tail twitching.
Finally I found him at the back door, hale, hearty and hungry.

I can now relax and have a cup of tea.

Enough of my ramblings. 

Tea, Advil and an Epsom Salt soak, in that order.

 More will be revealed.

xo J