Each little bit helps!

This morning, Sarah and I went on an adventure. I had two quick errands to run and she loves to ride in the car. At 60 F. and overcast, it’s still cool enough for her to wait 10 minutes in a car with the windows down about four inches.

We ushered Phoebe and Luther out to the deck with a big bowl of water and a variety of rope toys. Sarah was delighted to go with me.

I went looking for provisions from my favorite butcher and a few more veg to pop into an already magnificent pot of soup. I found more!

All the spring flowering trees are in bloom!

The dogwoods are just getting started. The redbuds are stunning. There are some purple ones that look like wisteria but I’m not sure about that. Gorgeous, in any event. And brilliant, crimson Japanese maples which aren’t blooming but look like they are.

Our pinky-purple Loropetalum is dripping with blooms and, one by one, the azalea bushes are popping, too.

While Sarah was snuffling the breeze, I was on a sight-seeing tour for gardeners!

When we got home, I saw some early season bees, happily buzzing among the blooms I left on a few of the collard greens, and I actually felt tears in my eyes.

I have a history with bees.

I’m desperately allergic to stings. Bees, wasps, yellow jackets. You name it.

One day, years and years ago, I got stung on the knuckle of my ring finger in the parking lot of a grocery store. Within 20 minutes, my arm was swollen to my shoulder and I was having trouble breathing.

Enter my close relationship with Epi-pens!

Dave is allergic, too. I try to pretend not to know that he keeps his Epi-pen at home in the closet where the first aid stuff lives.

For a long time, I was pretty phobic about bees. Especially the buzzing. The usual anxiety symptoms. Avoiding anything with flowers. And then, one day, my phobia was gone.

It happened at a training session in Ericksonian Hypnosis. We were watching an ancient, scratchy video of Milton Erickson working with a client about her bee phobia. Somehow, I dropped into the trance experience of that moment and, when the video was over, my phobia was gone.

I’m still appropriately cautious. No floral or fruity perfume. Ditto, scented shampoos. No hairspray. I carry my Epi-pen, especially when eating outside.

Now, though, I can appreciate bees for the aerodynamically improbable, life-giving miracles that they are. I speak kindly to them in the garden. I plant things for their pleasure.

Sage and lamb’s ears are favorites with the local gang. Just about anything with purple flowers. And the funnel-shaped flowers. Check for recommendations in your area. Hummingbirds will like them, too. And butterflies.

It’s a chance to nurture our mother, the Earth. To feed the generations that follow us. To learn new things.

Like no GMO’s. No neonicotinoids. You really can grow a garden without chemical fertilizers and herbicides and insecticides!

And early indications are that feeding Phoebe small doses of very local honey is helping with her severe allergies. (And my sanity!)

Our garden starts with organic, heirloom seeds. And lots of compost. And barrels planted full of leafy green stuff,  right in the front yard, because that’s what I eat.

Or, if you don’t have the room, some potted herbs. This is one place where each little bit actually does help. Which is an encouraging thing to realize on a day when you’re juggling dogs and running errands or whatever it is you’re doing.

And then there’s the whole thing about the power within us to be healed of our fears and phobias. That’s pretty encouraging, too!

For the moment, though, time to dry-brine a perfect chicken for dinner. (Just click for the recipe!)

“May I ask you a question?”

I was wandering around Kudzu the other day. My favorite neighborhood vintage, antiques, collectibles, artwork, industrial, and so forth kind of place. I went for a much needed mental health break.

Bill was home with the dogs. (The new kid still needs quite a bit of supervision.) It was too cold and damp for a walk outside, at least for someone with vivid memories of chronic pain.

Kudzu is perfect. Heat, but not too much. Sirius 60’s on Six radio. (Yes, I sing along!) A few slopes and ramps in the floor but no potholes. Or traffic. And enough eye candy to forget that I’m actually exercising. I try to go twice around, faster, rather than once, slowly.

If you discount, for the moment, the trendy decorators and movie set designers, the majority of the shoppers are people like me. Local. Somewhere between nostalgic and out of the box. Environmentally concerned. Not fans of matching. I often wind up chatting with new friends.

On this particular trip, a woman asked if she might ask me a question.

Neverminding the old joke about, “You just did,” I said that she might, indeed.

(This happens to me a lot. Farmers’ Market. The paint department at my favorite Ace Hardware. Or Lowe’s. PineStreet Market. Intown Quilters.)

Bill thinks I have one of those old hobo signs that translates into ask this woman!

In any event, her question was, “What would you call your decorating style?”

It’s a good question. One I’ve been trying to answer for a few years now myself.

First of all, it changes a lot. At least the expression of it changes. Needs change. We move furniture. We re-designate the funtions of rooms. I need new colors.

If you visited just now, you might assume that my style was something pretty close to early Kennel Club. Or campy dog furniture showroom!

Or, contemporary quilt store.

Or, library wanna-be.

Or, folk art fanatic.

Not too long ago, I hatched up a label that works for me.

Eclectic Urban Nest.

That’s me!

Quilts and books and folk art angels. Dog beds, for sure. (And dog hair!)

Furniture I’ve built. (And some I’ve un-built!) Heirloom furniture. Vintage stuff. Rustic stuff. And an old stainless back table from the operating room at a local hospital!

Colors. Lots of them.

Light. As much as possible.

And wall outlets. More than the guy who built my house in 1962 ever imagined!

Someplace handy for a Sunflower yellow Fiestaware mug of hot water with lemon.

An improbable combination of memory, function, and hope.

Hope for a future unfolding even now.

Breathing. Snoring. WholeTones music. Aromatherapy.

(The new kid is still a bit anxious.)

Comfort in service of the future. Hope.

And room for my family.

Just like a nest.

There is a nest, by the way, in the fountain on the front porch. There was one a couple of years ago, too.

We’ll go around, again. And resist the urge to peek, trying hard not to disturb the mama, while praying that the babies are not too early given the wild swings in weather.

Nesting is an odd combination of comfort and risk. Of faith in the future despite the immediate experience of vulnerability.

Of flight, as it were, to a new land. Hoping against hope that someone has swept a heap of dog hair and a few scraps of yarn and a bit of cotton quilt batting out the door in a gesture of welcome, rather than a mundane task to be forgotten as soon as it’s complete.

Perhaps we are called to be an eclectic urban nest for the world. In any event, I’ll be back at Kudzu soon, eager to find out what the next question might be.

 

One (big) change and an invitation!

If you’ve been reading along for a bit, you’ve heard me tell the story about my high school biology class and the project that involved trips to the beach and setting up, balancing, and maintaining aquariums. The big thing I learned was that one change in a system changes everything.

This is my life at the moment!

Luther is our one change. Our newest rescue Newfie. Young. Shy with moments of boisterousness. Clueless in many ways. Increasingly mouthy. Omnivorous. (Inhaling what falls in his bowl. Treats. Gnawing on toys. Pillows. A couple of attempts on quilts, which is a non-starter around here. The metal legs on a table near my chair.)

Phoebe is still recovering from surgery and doing really well on the four-footed injured-reserved list.

Sarah, on the other hand, is our everything changes girl. Explanation to follow. First a memory.

Twenty-seven years and two weeks ago, I preached my senior sermon in the chapel at Columbia Theological Seminary. It was quite a day.

The morning began with tornadoes in the area. Dave, who was 10 at the time, had to go to school dressed as his favorite book character. Being a bib overall kind of mom, I was hoping for Tom Sawyer. Or Huck Finn. 

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Life is for learning!

At least that’s what Mom says. If she’s right, I must be doing a good job!

Oh, sorry!  You don’t know me, yet. I’m Phoebe. Sarah is my sister. She says I’ll be good at blogging like she is. I’m supposed to start by telling you my story.

I’ve been here about eight weeks. Here is really good. I was in a couple of places for just a little while on my way here and they helped me, too. I guess I needed a lot of help.

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Newfies Are Good At Helping!

Hi! It’s me, Sarah!!!

Mom’s doing that thing she calls writing again. It must be fun because she sure does a lot of it.

Sometimes I kind of wish she’d do a little less. She doesn’t really want to play football with me when she’s writing and she says, “Wait, please,” a lot. I know those words!

Right now she’s writing about soup. She says that’s why the house smells so good. I like soup. Sometimes she makes me some of my very own. It has things I’m not allergic to in it. (Whatever that means!) And it’s supposed to help my back and hips feel better. Mom said she’d even put the recipe for my soup in her book. Maybe I’ll be famous!

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All I’ve Got…

I would imagine you’ve noticed that it’s been a crazy week in the world. Well, many weeks and months, I guess. Years, even…

There are all the routine attention grabbing things in life. New ways of eating. A lot more shopping. Sarah, our Newfie, got stung by a bee, right in the corner of her eye. She’s fine now. (Really!) Things to write. Things to edit. Things to plan. Things to read. Things to wash and water and fix. A new mailbox to install. (The door fell off the old one.) And a different door that suddenly doesn’t close right. Soup to make. Appointments to keep. Travel schedules. Well, you get the point.

Then there are the big things for so many of us. The truck bombing in Nice. The racial issues we face as a nation of human beings. The political chaos that is running rampant in America. Hunger. Violence. Homelessness. Bigotry of all kinds. Climate change. This morning, Baton Rouge, again. And on and on and on.

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The Dog Show Came Again!

Hi, Everybody!

It’s me, again. Sarah. I was so excited about the dog show, Mom said I could tell about it this year!

I’ve lived here almost 2 years, now, and this is my second time for the dog show. Mom says there are lots of them but this one is the big one. The Westminster Kennel Club show. It happens right about Valentine’s Day every year. I thought Valentine’s Day was cool because Mom made her fancy new chocolate chip cookies for Dad. Maybe the dog show is even better, though. We had dinner early both nights and all sat on the couch together, which really works for me! (Besides, no chocolate for dogs!)

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