Saturday, June 19, 2010

The weekend of chores - Updated

Friends (and all my former teachers) know that I am a terrible procrastinator. Regular readers know that I am trying to shift my habits this summer and become more productive just as a way of being nicer to myself. Ah, self care: something I have never been good at.

I am honoring my mode of being by taking breaks and not driving myself, while still pushing myself beyond the usual. In addition to this morning's yard work I have also cut up cardboard boxes until the recycling bin is filled to the brim, assembled the shelving you see on the left side of the photo above, and moved tools there. I now have an assigned place for the Skilsaw and various hand saws, electric drill and cordless drill, rotary sander, clamps, etc. These have been gathered from several locations. I put down matting in the workshop area to avoid tired feet and assembled a swivel stool for the workbench.

Moving tools to this location is enabling me better to organize garden materials on the opposite side of the garage. I was about to assert that I had swept the garage but that is an exaggeration. I have swept on both sides of the car but did not move it out. Anyway, it's a lot cleaner than it was this morning.

One load of laundry has made it to the dryer. I am about to hang up clean dry shirts (the kind one need not iron, thank you Eddie Bauer) and put dirty shirts for the cleaners into a bag. Sweaters from winter were (finally) folded and put away for the summer.

Next I need to empty the dishwasher, load it up again and run it, clean all the counters, and make potato salad for Fathers' Day.

Oh, I have read the lessons for tomorrow as it is my monthly preaching day.

Y'all may now place your bets on how many items I complete before midnight.


Mimi asked in the comments, "Do you hire yourself out as an organizer?"

No, Mimi, I do not, and with good reason.

The reason I celebrate these small steps forward is because I live like a bachelor slob and am a horrid housekeeper. Right now I have dirt and mud stains on the floor in the kitchen, dining room, and laundry room area (the path between the garden and the garage with detours into the kitchen where plants sometimes wait for planting).

This is what the sewing room / art studio looks like.

THAT is why I celebrate small pockets of victory. Also why guests are not invited upstairs.

Now I doubt anyone will want me as an organizer. Great at theory, terrible at practice.

--the BB

Stamani nel giardino

I basically ended last evening with yard work and, once my slow-moving rear was in gear, began today with a continuation thereof. I pulled out a few more dead plants and replaced them with fresh ones and did a fair chunk of pruning roses that had been badly damaged by sun and wind. I cut back bare branches, leaving the sections with new growth sprouting and pulled off lots of sunburned leaves.

Here are photos from this morning.

Circus roses

A semi-panoramic view with zucchini,
the Methley plum tree, Tournament of Roses
rose bush, and French lavender

Una vespa (not the kind you ride)

Zucchini blossoms

A newly replanted color spot pot

Closer view of Tournament of Roses and lavender

This morning's harvest (and part of my breakfast)

The photo above omitted the cherry (shown yesterday) that I plucked and just now ate. It has hidden itself when I washed the others. It was only the size of a large pea or a small chickpea but it tasted quite nice.

Now, will I really launch into cleaning, cooking, laundry, recycling, and exercise?

Friday, June 18, 2010

An evening in the yard

Here is proof that my cherry tree has borne fruit. I have eaten two of the four so far. This one is slated for tomorrow. You can tell that my cherry tree is not faring well. The leaves are crisping and falling. All the other fruit trees are lush and green.

I mostly give you close-ups - cropping out dead and dying stuff, focusing on flowers for drama. Tonight I am sharing a couple of larger views. This is a portion of the south wall that was planted later in the spring and has recently been partially replanted.

This is a view standing near the cherry tree and looking toward the grapevine. Yes, that black plastic tub holds a new rose bush. More on that momentarily.

Last year I sowed cosmos seeds everywhere and they sprung up with a vengeance, choking out other plants. This year I have some volunteers and this is the first to bloom.

White petunia and artemisia. I love the gray leaves of the artemisia.

A penstemon just about to bud.

The tomato harvest has begun on this bush.

This is a Methley plum. Much riper than the one I showed here recently, though only a few days later. It will be ready for eating soon.

Now, we all know I should step away from the rose aisle in garden centers, but allow me to tell you a story.

In my first gardening season in Albuquerque (spring to autumn 2007) the pride and joy of all my roses was a Tournament of Roses bush with its stunning pink on pink blooms. It gave me incredible joy to see it day after day. It did very little the following year and by 2009 was basically a sickly looking non-producer. When I replanted roses this year it was among those ripped up and thrown out to make way for something in healthier shape.

Tonight on the way home I saw a Tournament of Roses bush at Home Depot. There is no way I could pass it by, even though I had to find a new spot to plant it. Well, it is planted between the crookneck squash, the Methley plum, and the nearer Circus rose.

This is why I could not say no:

And that is this evening's garden tour. I had other chores on my to-do list but planting and watering (which I did not begin until around 7) took me up to nightfall. I will see how many items on my long to-do list for this weekend are accomplished. I suspect paying the gas bill will be the last accomplishment this evening (unless you count reading chapter 6 of Mark's Gospel out loud in Italian to the kids).

What can I say? When one has a priest for a daddy one gets the strangest bedtime stories.

--the BB

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I did not ride the bike tonight either and I have not yet started a load of laundry but I did rip out more dead plants and replace them this evening, did some pruning and dead heading, and watered the yard thoroughly.

The Methley plums look a bit riper than in this photo from last weekend, but I had not noticed that they were ripening at different speeds. When I got home tonight the wind was whipping about the yard. As I got to the section where this plum tree is I noticed four plums had fallen to the ground. They were not green but sort of purple and orange washes over yellow-green. In other words, they looked almost ripe, and they certainly were not going to get any better lying there. So I washed them off with the hose and ate three and a half of them. Tart, certainly, but also sweet, yellow flesh, fruity. I had been eating cherry tomatoes at the rate of one a day. Now the plum harvest has started. The Santa Rosa plums are not ready but I see a few more on the Methley that are almost ripe, along with many that are still quite green. With weather going into the 90s this weekend ripening may speed along.

I am scratched and my shoulder aches but I got at least one form of exercise tonight. Now, on to laundry and novel research.

Ci vediamo!

--the BB

Heart thread - 06/16/2010

I ask your most fervent prayers for Kirstin:
Kirstin ... got the PET scan report back. Metastasis to lungs and bones, "several other places." Waiting for another doctor to call me back and tell me more. Prayers please.
Holy Raphael, archangel of healing, companion and guide, watch over Kirstin on her journey and intercede for before the throne of mercy.

O Christ, be present with Kirstin. May your loving arms hold her, your light shine within and around her, your peace sustain her, your grace provide all she needs in abundance.

Mary, Mother of mercy, extend the mantle of your protection over Kirstin.

All you Saints and Angels, pray for her to Christ our God.

--the BB

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Working on that checklist

Two things on the checklist were MUST-DO items for this evening:

1. Catch the first Italian class. This was quite pleasant and the instructor is very personable.

2. Order prescription refills. I was going to do this a week ago and the days were fast slipping by.

Both done.

Tomorrow: back to the yard and laundry (and bicycle?).

This is not some kind of checklist punishment; I am trying to build the practice of doing things that make my life more enjoyable and more anxiety-free. Since I have lots of bad habits, mostly related to procrastination, I would like this summer to be a period of taking action toward my own greater happiness.

While killing time between work and class I stopped in Uptown and found some shirts in my size on clearance at Eddie Bauer. The shirtaholic is very happy.

Dolci sogni.

--il BB

Heart thread - 06/15/2010

Jane R asks our prayers:
Next time you check these comments, do ask the folk to pray for our parishioner Tom, age about 80, who is having open heart surgery (bypass) tomorrow Wednesday here in Greensboro. He is a dear and we are understandably concerned. My own daddy had a triple bypass around age 85 and it went well, and he is alive and kicking at 91 and a half, but one never knows when the person is more than four score.
I ask your prayers for Elizabeth and her brother and the whole family. If you have not already, please read her moving post, "Blackbird, fly." This is an ongoing prayer request.

Likewise we remember Frank and Jim and Janet and Lolly and John Bear and all those who love them.

I ask your fervent prayers for our sister Kirstin. She shares her journey with us.

For Jonathan and the Missus.

For the Executive Council of TEC meeting in Baltimore.

For the waters, soil, and air of the Gulf of Mexico. For those who have lost their lives in the explosion. For all the creatures of earth and sea. For the people whose livelihood is in danger. For the healing of the earth, God's Body. For all who work to help the healing.

For Diane and Spirit.

For Jack and his family.

For those facing deadlines that involve a great deal of their vocation.

For the confidential prayer requests entrusted to each of us, the secret needs, the private anguish, those in their personal darkness that need us to hold them in the light.

For peace in Kyrgyzstan, for healing of ethnic strife, for those murdered.

For deliverance from drug violence in Mexico.

For an end to so-called honor killings (story).

For those killed or lost or dispossessed in torrential rains: in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and the French department of Var.

For all who, for whatever reason, find themselves beginning over again. May they find grace, strength, and courage to move forward.

Let us pray.

--the BB

Monday, June 14, 2010

A few items checked off

I had a long list of things I wanted to do this evening. Several remain undone. Nonetheless, I managed a few.

I did not ride the bike this evening.

I did not do a load or two of laundry.

I did not put up an Oremus post, though there are so many of our dear ones in need of prayer. Shoot an arrow prayer toward heaven and Godde will know who needs divine and human love.

I did fill the gas tank.

I did pick up some replacement plants and planted them this evening. I put in four new Vinca minor plants (creeping myrtle) over in the NW corner of the yard, hoping they spread and cover the ground there. I also tore out a number of plants that have died or as near as makes no never mind and replaced them with new zinnias, dwarf yellow marigolds, and pink flowering vinca. I tied a couple of rose stems to a trellis to help keep the bush growing upright. I watered everything thoroughly. By which time the sun had gone down and it was getting dark (8:40, to be exact).

I also picked up some items to further the garage organization project.

After all this I had a nice yak on the phone with my BFF who just returned from a short trip. Nice to catch up.

At lunch I worked on Italian vocabulary. First Italian class is tomorrow night (twice a week for seven weeks, a nice summer introduction).

Given the source of much of my knowledge of Italian, it is not surprising that about every fifth word in the vocabulary book suggested a snippet of opera to me. "Purchè"? Purché porti la gonnella, Voi sapete quel che fa, from Don Giovanni.

So, in retrospect, I am not going to worry about the items I did not accomplish today. Time now to read another chapter of il Vangelo secondo Marco and go to bed.

Dolci sogni, amici.

--the BB