Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Friendship Quilt

While I have been hard at work in PT,  (yesterday with my therapist "gently" pulling my arm over my head I achieved 172degrees out of 180degree rotation,) a friend has been equally hard at work creating a get well gift for me.

With every carefully selected pattern : dandelions, hedgehogs, leaves, a trellis, pears and countless stitches Gwen created an indoor garden to not only keep me warm but to bring the outside in, thus (hopefully) keeping me away from digging and cutting down bushes and all the other forbidden pleasures.

This was only her second quilt and it took her longer than she expected. She carefully monitored my progress on the blog hoping for a speedy recovery but not too speedy.

She sent encouraging text messages and vaguely alluded to a present she was working on but was having technical difficulties with.

I was having my own technical difficulties so gave it no mind.

I just wanted to be able to wash my face with both hands, clean the litter box with my dominant hand so I wasn't constantly slinging sifter litter about the mud room with my left hand and get that baseball size clump of shampoo out of my hair.

Now my hair is clean, right shoulder achy but working and I am the overwhelmed owner of this piece of loveliness.

We had a long, cold and snowy winter but spring continues to arrive daily with flowers and sunshine and waving dragonflies and and gifts filled with love and hard work.

Thank you Gwen. I thanked you privately and now I'm taking it public. I'm so touched by your generosity and creativity.

My bed is more inviting than ever. Now if only you could have stitched a magic spell that would keep Gus sleeping past sun up.

xo J

Monday, April 21, 2014

Comeon Baby Light My Fire

How many women does it take to light a propane grill?

In this house it takes three.  Elle, myself and finally our neighbor Nelda.

S-man left me a lovely grill but I never learned how to use it.

I never had to, he did all the grilling.

And while I can fire up a charcoal grill with the best of them, the power of gas put both Elle and myself in a tizzy.

We huffed and we puffed and just as we were about to blow the house down, Nelda appeared at the door and lit our fire.

I do know how to marinate a leg of lamb however. Parsley and rosemary from the garden were whizzed up with the juice of a couple lemons, some olive oil and 4 cloves of garlic, massaged into the meat and left to marinate at room temperature for 4 hours.

  Elle sauteed potatoes and Nelda made a salad.

Together we tore the winter covering off the table, set up the umbrella, and dragged out the chairs.

The sun shone, neighbors walked their dogs and wished us Happy Easter, the cats were strangely missing and later found locked in the basement for the 2 hours we sat outside eating, talking and celebrating the day.

Poor little lambs, they missed Elle's desert, little chocolate cakes, crusty on the outside, all melty chocolate goodness inside.

 The cats who missed Easter. A sad but true cautionary tale.

I hope you all enjoyed your Sunday and weren't  locked away due to your own mischievousness.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Oh Sweet Mystery Of Life

Last night, after a long and tiring day that started at Physical Therapy, ouch, and ended with a bus ride home from a day of Easter madness at the shop, I walked down the street and stared at my garden in disbelief.

The lawn was mowed, the beds edged and all the cuttings my neighbor and I had piled at the curb for the county's spring pickup were neatly bundled.

While the weeds are still running wild and the liriope needs a buzzcut, the bones of the garden are back.

I've talked to so many different people about garden help, I've no idea who showed up and got to work.

No invoice in the mailbox, none of my neighbors saw anything.

Gus and Lucy must have a clue but they're not telling.

Some of us dream of idyls on Caribbean Islands, others of a new spring wardrobe or a day spenk hiking in the Sierras.

Me? I just wanted my garden back.

And here it is. Lily of the valley greens popping up everywhere, tulips and muscari blooming, the plum blossoms have a day or two left to dazzle and the phlox is scenting the air.

I planted some seeds in the vegetable garden on Sunday and I see some tiny strawberries growing on the plants.

This is Resurrection week? I'm a believer.

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)