Friday, June 06, 2008

Birthday Surprises

A middle-aged single woman with no kids and a fairly quiet and unexciting life doesn't really expect much of any significance to happen on her birthday. It's the side effect of being "Happy Birthday Mommy" to follow you for the rest of your life. My Mom always remembers and celebrates with food (dinner out, cake, etc.) and a modest present/treat of some not usually wrapped up in paper and ribbons but always wonderful. If any one else remembers or acknowledges my birthday it's a treat - much appreciated but never anticipated nor expected. I think that's why I am so stunned tonight. Let me explain.

I slept in this morning like usual. So when I did get out of bed I headed over and turned on my computer so it could do it's thing and be ready when I am.It's an old computer now and has way too much stuff on it, so it's moves excruciatingly slow at times. While I waited on the 'puter I peered out my window to look at my garden and check the weather. Surprise number one was the little critter in the first photo. Yup, a baby chipmunk was feasting on sunflower seeds from the bird feeder. They're cute so as long as they don't munch on the wrong things (ie. my flowers) I let them stick around. Besides, Miss Emme my dachsy just loves chasing them! Now that's fun to watch! Of course Emme never catches the chippers or the squirrels tho' she almost caught a skink yesterday before I snatched her away. Poor critter scooted for his/her very life! Mother and I just hooted over that chase until it became clear Emme was going to win! But I digress....

Now awake, medicated, and DietCoked up, I sat down to read my email. Jiminy Crickets!!! All my emailboxes were loaded....with kind wishes for my birthday! Well I never in my life have seen so many folks take the time to drop a quick line to wish *me* and Happy Birthday. It was already amazed by the time I got through the email, but Ravelry put me over the top. Apparently Ravelry adds a little birthday icon to your Ravatar on your big day letting everyone know it's your birthday. Ohmigosh! I still haven't read all the private messages. There were numerous kind words on several of the forums I frequent in addition to the private messages. You know, it's pretty cool to have lace knitting friends across the globe offering cheery birthday greetings. These are such great people! I mean I knew that before today, but today affirmed it. Thanks ya'll! you're the best!!!

While still stunned by the email birthday messages (before I saw Ravelry) I went out to do my morning walk around the garden. Even before noon it was unusually hot and humid today. The roses are fading from their first wave of blooms, but the calla lilies, daisies, veronica, and balloonflowers are coming on strong. in addition, I have a hedge of Stella D'Oro daylilies the like of which I've never seen anywhere before! Massive waves of golden yellow flowers! And to think it all started with one measly plant purchased oh, say 6 years ago? They will have to be dug and divided this fall. Right now I am most smitten by a intensely saturated pink hydrangea in the front bed. Called Forever Pink, it is a repeat blooming hydrangea that is always supposed to be pink, regardless of soil pH. I bought 2 small plants 2 years ago, but they have never had a serious bloom since the Easter Freeze last year zapped all the hydrangeas. I was lucky any even survived.

Fueled by Martha Stewart Living, Victoria, and Southern Living magazines, I am now hydrangea crazy. I just can't seem to get enough of these amazing flowering shrubs! And since I have a barren back fence line that needs to be filled with sun loving things, I now have a place to put new plants that will grow to be fairly large. I bought myself 2 hydrangeas on clearance for Valentines Day, and they are settling in nicely along the north fence, but I want more! So when mother and I went to Lowe's for peat moss and compost/manure mix today I just couldn't help but lust over all the hydrangeas the vendors were hauling in off the trucks this afternoon. My lust was satisfied when mother spied the blue flower shown the above photo. I get to buy what Mother sees and likes :-) this time it's a Forever and Ever Hydrangea...also a repeat bloomer but one that is blue or pink depending on the soil pH. For now it is blue, tho' I suspect it might change when it gets planted in the ground where the pines once lived. We'll see!

Although the blue hydrangea wasn't on sale, I did stroll past the Stressed Plants table to see if I could find any bargains. I struck paydirt! Yup, for a whopping $2.99 each I toted home 2 everblooming white gardenias. The tag says they'll grow to be 2-3' tall and bloom all year round. We all know how yummy gardenias smell, so I am excited! I almost wish I had grabbed one or two more while I was at it. Heck, I may go back tomorrow and see if any are still there.(there were lots today). Now I have lavender and tuberose and gardenias and roses all growing in my garden...that's what I call a fragrant garden! Yum! Happy Birthday to me!!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Don't be delinquent

in posting to your blog or you too could be tagged into writing messages you never even considered writing. Gee, thanks Goddess Di! The Di insists she and others want to know trivial things such as the following:

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? Well, I was living in Salt Lake City and working as an Advance Practice RN at the Univ. of Utah Hospital Newborn ICU...and trying to survive. My health was failing fast due to fibromyalgia and I had just made the gut-wrenching decision to resign my job and move back to Tennessee where I could stay with my folks, not work, and go back to grad school. I was stressed, depressed, in great pain, and exhausted beyond words. Yikes! (you had to ask, didn't you?)

2. What are 5 things on my To-Do list today (in no particular order)?
- Get out of bed, get dressed, and do something useful (I'm serious!)
- Check out the South West Trading Co. Trunk Show at Loopville and see what Jinka (shop owner) has been up to ("trunk show" was an exaggeration, at best there were a few shop samples featuring SWTC yarns with free patterns for the saking--same ones already on the website..nothing I didn't already know about...but Jinka seemed her usual self)
- Run past Barnes & Noble and see if they have the current issue of PieceWork that I haven't been able to locate elsewhere (bonus...they had the new issue and an overlooked copy of the previous issue...both with great knitting and lace patterns!)
- Check on my garden: talk to roses and lavender, deadhead petunias and daylilies, check squash plants rescued from veggie bed that neighbor's maple tree fell on yesterday (grrr), check on germinating seedlings: marigolds, zucchini, cukes, cosmos
- Prewash fabric bought on sale yesterday and dig through stash for perfect pattern for cute summer outfit that *fits*

Oh, and KNIT!!!

3. Snacks I enjoy: If it's sweet or fattening, then I probably like it...from the ridiculous to the divine. Simple stuff: chex mix, saltine crackers, Pop-tarts, brownies, blondies, asorted cookies; the good stuff: great pastry ie. eclairs, napoleons, lemon tarts, croissants (the real kind..not purchased in multi-packs at Sam's Club), cherry pie, creme brulee', Dolce de Luce Ice Cream, Almond-raspberry torte, rich airy buttercream frosting on a feather light genoise cake, ..... shall I go on???? Nah, you get the idea :-)

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Oh gosh, I can hardly imagine... Let's see, 2 modest, comfortable homes: one in the Smokies, the other in the Carolina Low Country (Hilton Head). Traveling: there are so many places I would love to go see, esp. in Europe, NZ & Australia. Philanthropy: I'd try and do a little something for a couple of my pet charities. Future planning: most would be carefully invested so I would never have to worry about income or health care/living expenses ever again. And I could buy whatever yarn I wanted without having to scrutinize the price of each ball and calculate whether or not I can afford to buy it...I'd just buy it and be grateful.

5. Places I have lived: Salt Lake City, UT; Forest Grove, OR (don't ask...I don't remember a thing!); Reno, NV; Nashville, TN; Knoxville, TN

OK Di, that's it. Oh please don't tell me I'm supposed to tag more people? (whine, I don't wanna, no!)