Sunday, May 31, 2009


irises are one of my favorite flowers- here are two of the three varieties we have in our yard


The garden is flourishing with the warmer weather. Flowers flowers everywhere! Lots of peas. Eva has eaten enough unripe peas now and she is letting them ripen again. So many strawberries to look forward to as well. I pulled up the last of the spinach and chard last night as well as some last minute kale and a few beets who were trying to bolt. Something about planting too early and their timer is off? The second batch I planted seems fine although I am definitely keeping an eye on them as I did not expect the bolting from them. There are 5 tomato plants, a cucumber plant and a watermelon plant. The scarlet runner beans are also coming up nicely. I am crossing my fingers for sunflowers this year. So strange none of them made it last year. I ask you- what is a garden without sunflowers? I love them and continue to plant them every year in honor of my grandmother. They were a special flower bond between us. No eggplant or peppers this year. I am leaving them to the CSA. And I have so much chamomile and the poppies! Wow the poppies certainly do well for themselves. These reseeded themselves from last year when Eva dumped the whole packet in the garden. They are amazing. Our whole garden is made even more festive by the bees. Bees and garden spiders and so many wolf spiders with egg sacs! I would love to get a picture of them but they run by so quickly.

roses, chamomile and poppies, calla lillies

Friday, May 29, 2009

Eva in a new dress- hey where is that barrette?

all about flow

Again with the no flow. Geez what is it with today not flowing when I want it to. I am spending a good bit of time holding space for what is today and while I don't mind doing this I guess I had sort of hoped that flow would show up at some point. So I took Eva over to buy some summer clothes and we almost- almost- got out of there without any issues and then she saw the barrettes. It never fails at this place. They sell these really cute but poorly made barrettes for just $3.00- which I will admit is better than it used to be. They used to charge something like $5.00 and I know, I know I have made handmade crafts and knit dolls and baked cakes- I know these things take time and creativity and resources but it's like this- every time I brought one of those barrettes home they broke almost immediately and then Eva was sad and wanted me to fix them and they were never worn again because the little sparkle that made the heart was gone and so then it was me with super glue and the tiniest bits of glitter imaginable...

So I said no to the barrettes. I actually remember saying no to the barrettes before we even went inside which I go back and forth on. Set it up or wait and see? I can't decide sometimes so I just go with what comes to me. This time I set it up and I thought we were fine- she loved her clothes! It went well! But they keep those barrettes right there at the check out and you know it is a small business and all and I don't fault them, except of course I do. I want them to put the barrettes somewhere else- like with the shoes or socks or something and stop putting so much pressure on the buyer with the just-one-more or the it's-just-three-dollars. Enough already, you know?

So I said no and Eva was distraught and while I enjoyed chatting with the woman helping me and learning about her son getting his driver's permit and talking about what-will-we-do-when-they-leave-home (although to be honest that issue is creeping up on her a bit more quickly than me at this point) and how my mom had a garage sale on the day I left for college (true- or at least my mind believes it, I haven't confirmed this one for years...) I also wish we could have done a drive through or speedy delivery because the longer it took the more distraught Eva became and by the time we left she was sobbing and heaving and so so sad about those barrettes. Really not all of the barrettes, but the one. The really pretty one. That one.

So we got home and she was still very sad and crying and sitting with me and she started asking me if we could go tomorrow to get the barrette she wanted? Oh no. I'm not going there. Going there means hearing about when-will-we-go-get-the-barrette every half hour until we go. No. If I'm going to get the barrette it is going to be now or not at all.

Turns out it was now. I changed my mind. I know, I know. So many head shakes and gasps. Anywhichway you look at it the barrettes were bound to come up again. I am a big believer in changing my mind, following my heart, doing what feels good right now. And right now I had to admit Eva made a compelling case for going back and plunking down the three dollars for the prettiest little white barrette without glitter you can imagine. Yep. Without glitter really sold me. I wonder at the change in circumstances if I had lowered my resistance a bit while we were in the store and looked at the one she had wanted then rather than waiting. It's tricky though. Looking while I was in the store would have totally opened things up to buying the barrette while we were there even if there were sparkles, in front of the clerk, with Samuel tapping his toes. So I waited. I didn't plan on changing my mind. I don't always. But then sometimes I do.

OK and here's the good part. Or how about another good part. The flow. The flow shows up. Samuel- after hearing we were going back to buy the barrette- shook his head and told me that he was really working on just not caring if someone else does something really dumb. As far as he is concerned, if they want to do something dumb, let them. And I said, that sounds great- a really good way to hold onto your own peace. And he said, yes! I don't need to worry about what other people are doing as long as it doesn't have anything to do with me. What a gem! (Of course I am giggling thinking about our exchange. I asked him outright- do you think what I am doing is dumb? He smiled. It's not my business to say...)

All at once he witnesses flexibility and consideration (or reconsideration?). He sees me following my heart. And he finds that holding onto his own peace is more desirable than not. Talk about a flow- and I didn't even see it coming!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


We have been out and about the last couple of days having a lovely time with friends after spending so many days at home while first one and then the other child had chicken pox. Thankfully both cases were very mild and the worst of it was staying home for too many days.

I was out in the garden checking out some new flowers and leaning down to smell them when I saw this guy, so striking against the leaves. Do I think of anything besides flowers and bugs? Well, of course- chicken pox and children and strawberries (our firsts are appearing in our patch in the back!) and yoga and now nia and salad and the meaning of life and synchronicity and unschooling and reading and creativity and hair detanglers and Moomins and which book to read next and writing and presence and trees and swinging and bike riding and knitting and...

And a lot about flowers and bugs.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


When I was a kid I took care of the peony plants in the back yard- out in the way back, out past the garden, past the raspberries, near the lilacs and almost, but not quite, to the railroad tracks. We had three big peony bushes and a bunch of rhubarb near that. I loved clearing them out and making way for new growth. I am so happy to have peonies in my yard again.

After all these years I finally looked up why ants are always on peonies and was so excited to read the response. They like the nectar secreted by the peonies and may even be helping the peonies open up their dense buds into flowers. I love that! Maybe that is where all of those large ants are heading as they meander across the patio. Their activity has certainly increased as the peonies have been blooming!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

from Eva

morning meditation

and on another note

when there is no flow

Yesterday Eva and I spent a good bit of time searching around for the green-plastic-frog-who-has-his-mouth-wide-open. I had a story all written out in my mind as we searched around and now as I sit down to write it out, the whole thing seems flat. Rather than not writing about it, I decided to try writing it out flat and see what happens. See what kind of flow I can get into when there doesn't seem to be a flow, if that makes sense.

What I marvel at right now, rather than the process of searching for the frog- or even the story behind the frog- Italics- this is the same green-plastic-frog-who-has-his-mouth-wide-open that I found a few days ago in the space behind the vegetable garden while I was pulling up unwanted plants who had been missing since at least last October, but that forgotten kind of missing, like if he never showed up again no one would remember he was missing in the first place but when he did show up everyone was excited and exclaimed things like, "I remember that frog! Let me see him!"- End Italics- is the number of other frogs that I did find-

There was the stretchy frog with the missing leg which I had super glued back on at least three times but which never seemed to stick. There was the cloth frog stuffed with sand who has a small hole on the top of his head. Sand has been slowly trickling out for years. There was the green bathtub frog and the other green bathtub frog, one a harder plastic that came in a set of other hard plastic bathtub animals and one that was more of a squirty green plastic, softer, also from a set, but a different, smaller set. And another green bathtub frog who sits like a person, not a frog. And four other frogs who are like rain forest frogs, all different colors, who did not come in a set but who could, I think, come in a set from somewhere like OMSI or some other science-y type place. And of course the first green plastic frog I had found earlier that day who I thought at first was The Green Plastic Frog but who definitely was not. Eva confirmed this immediately, even before she saw him. The one we were looking for had never been in the bathtub and this one was still there. He was in the soap dish. Plus his mouth was closed.

We still have not found the green plastic frog but I fall flat again each time I think of this part of the story. So how about this- I put the four rain forest frogs in another soap dish hanging from the bathtub wall but lower down and after many tears and much searching, Eva went in and discovered these frogs and took them outside to play. They are still outside, sitting in the mud, just where a frog likes to be. Actually I am thinking about going to check on them after I post this..

Still no sign of the green plastic frog, as I said, but I am determined he will show up. So many years of toys showing up in unlikely places has fostered a sort of toy optimism in me. Mostly. Except when it doesn't and I am petrified that a certain toy will be lost somewhere unthinkable, but this mainly happens over the highly coveted toys like Sliver and Titan or Chicky or Bear or Gilbert or now things like The DS. Generally, toys like the green-plastic-frog-who-has-his-mouth-wide-open show up and when they do someone is usually there to celebrate and remember and play. OK. Pretty good. Not bad for no flow.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

need i say more?

we are so smitten with our new little fellow (he however is still unsure and makes little happy noises when he goes back in his cage and rushes from his food dish into his cave as we pass by, although today was better with some happy noises while he was out of his cage on our laps. just a little bit, just a little...)
sitting in the hallway reading a book. eva comes up and says, "momma, who do you think jumps higher? a frog? a rabbit? or a fish in water?" i look up from reading. listen. ponder. smile. answer, "frog." eva says, "yeah, i think so too. it goes frog, then rabbit, then fish in water. fish in water don't even really jump at all do they." hmmm. well there are salmon who seem to jump sometimes. yes. i refrain from talking further about flying fish, et al and am mindful of following eva in this conversation. recently she told me that she is tired of everyone telling her things. she said she wants to know and believe what she knows and believes and doesn't want to be told 'how things really are'. yes. i can see this. i don't mention flying fish and i really don't mention whales and dolphins, who aren't even fish in the first place. none of that. simply frogs, rabbits, and fish in the water. she snuggles close to me and smiles. yes. connection is good. even better than pointing things out.

and in other news, our first roses bloomed today-

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I sat down initially to post a photo of yet another amazing flower currently blooming in my yard (The phrase amazing flower seems redundant at this point. It seems it would be enough to simply say flower, that the connotation of that word alone would speak for itself. I am, however, beside myself with enthusiasm as I stand in front of these flowers, all of these flowers, and words like amazing!, lovely!, magical!, gorgeous!, c'est magnifique!, kraseevaya!, oooh la la!, can you be-lieve that flower blooming over there... tend to bubble up from within. The flowers don't seem to mind the redundancy. Maybe they don't see it as redundancy per se, maybe they see it as simply the way things are. Beautiful flower. Of course.).

And then I was looking at the photos on the camera and came across this one that made me laugh out loud. He he. In a moment of wellness the kids were playing with their guinea pigs. I asked Samuel about this scene and as far as I could understand, the guinea pigs were posing to have their pictures taken in all of their finery before they marched off to war. Of course. And now looking back on the evening last night I see what the conflict was about. Samuel wanted the guinea pigs to go to war and Eva wanted them to...what? Not go to war. And that was enough. It is all clear now as I look at this photo and laugh. Beautiful flowers, laughing guinea pigs. What more? May laughter and beauty fill all our days.

one further away, one close up (that, by the way, is where the twist ties went that I was searching for when I was trying to round up the extension cord for the lawn mower earlier in the day...)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

bug quest

Eva and I have been out and about with the insects and spiders quite a bit lately. We took these together- earwig, honey bee, slug taking in some water...

Growing Cross Spider...she is actually quite a bit smaller than she will be in the fall but so much bigger than the babies we saw just the other day. I think this is one of the spiders whose webs I kept disturbing to open the shed door where the lawn mower is stored. She was finally frustrated enough to move her web just around the corner. I wish I could say the same for Momma Yellow Jacket who continues to build her nest, albeit slowly, in the corner of the shed. She no longer looks up whenever I enter, so used to my presence is she and confident, apparently, that I mean her no harm. Hopefully she will tell her babies as much. Our missions in this life are not so very different after all.


blooming, blooming, bloomed!
"most likely it won't be anywhere and it could be everywhere"
-Eva, on where to find the plastic lemur

tea for two

or three or four; guinea pig reads a book while the others sip tea

on cats and pee and bugs and such

So the other day I made the enchanting discovery that our cat Agnes had not only peed on a few of the stuffed animals, she had actually crawled into the bins and peed on all of the stuffed animals. That was the day that I spent a good portion of my time washing and drying stuffed animals. The day that the sun came out and it began to heat up outside. A perfect day to lay all of the freshly laundered animals outside to dry.

This turned out to be not such a bad way to spend a day (what is, after all, a bad way to spend a day, when you think about it...) and Eva and I hung out quite a bit outside, mostly checking out the different ants living around our patio area. We are all well versed in the two families, the big ants and the little ants, where they live, how they spend their time, where they go on their forays- although truth be told we have- each of us- (Eva, Samuel, and I) followed the big ants on their treks across the patio to the area by the garden hose and none of us can figure out where they are going. They go, one after the other, one at a time, maybe one or two in a long line. They return. We follow and watch. They never carry anything to or from. My guess at this point is they are going for water? It seems like a very long trek for water but who am I to judge. Their colony is large and thriving and aside from the mini skirmishes they seem to have for no apparent {to human eyes} reason with the little ants, they are very prosperous.

After the third or fourth load of stuffed animals, I laid out a second sheet and Eva and I put more animals out to dry. Around the time that I was bringing out another load Eva started noticing so many baby spiders. One here. Another one. And then strangely all over the baby giraffe. Some on the baby penguin. How odd. Another one? Where are they coming from. I started looking around. Were they on the sheet? Were they in the house? Look Momma, they are coming from over here. And sure enough they were. We found the baby spider nest/egg that had popped open very close to where the animals were drying. So many baby spiders being coaxed out to the sunshine and wind. A perfect day to crawl out from the egg and start a new life...on a stuffed giraffe's head.

Amazingly, after I went inside again, Eva began "evacuating" all of the animals from the sheet closest to the spiders until there was just the baby giraffe. When I came back outside I picked up the spiders and their tiniest webs from the giraffe's head and the wind and I relocated them to other homes, away from the animals. Away from the possibility of being closed up inside a plastic bin in my garage...

This part was actually amazing to watch. Baby spiders everywhere, jumping on the forget-me-nots, cascading down onto the plastic kitchen and as I gently shook the spiders out of the sheet, Eva and I watched as so many of them ballooned out into the wind. Do you remember the scene in Charlotte's Web where the baby spiders became ballooners? These baby spiders definitely became ballooners. And so many of them. We are finding them all over our yard now, so many spaces just right for a baby spider web. These spiders will grow up to be garden spiders, spinning large orb webs across doorways and between tomato plants in the fall. For now I am enjoying their tiniest of orb webs in the rose bushes and among the chamomile as they gobble up an amazing number of aphids. Aphids! Who knew? They did apparently. Spiders always know right where to go.

So many stuffed animals drying in the many aphids loving the roses. If I were a spider that is definitely where I would build my web.

Can you see the baby spiders on baby giraffe's ear?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

samuel took this movie of me at the park (unbeknownst to me at the time)-

Eva still has Easter candy left- imagine that!

Eva just said to me, "You're my mom. I'm supposed to share things with you. It is what means the most in this life." So so sweet this daughter of mine who dreams of birds and treasures and sings out loud while she swings and jumps off couches and picks flower after flower to fill up bowls and jars and vases on the table for me, for herself, for the love of life.

The other day I was picking up the house and I came across several of Eva's games, little scenes of love left throughout the house during her play-

gumdrop family in their hats, twitlets riding on a swan, baby chipmunk nestled in her basket

And then the next day while I was mowing the lawn I came across these-

bunnies nestled in the grass, small fury nest

enjoying time with friends

Eva dressed up in my clothes!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today."
~Indian proverb

So what is going on in the garden these days? Today I noticed the first aphids munching away on one of the kale plants. This particular plant seems closest to bolting of all the kale plants and is not getting quite enough sunlight now that the cardoon is taking off and shading that part of the garden. I was, however, able to gather enough kale for dinner and then some without bringing in a single aphid by simply leaving that plant alone. I prefer to leave the aphids outside if I can help it and I think the aphids are in agreement with me on this one.

I saw the first chamomile flower today, the first calendula flower two days ago, the first green strawberries yesterday and today, the first pea flowers yesterday and today, the first sweet pea (white!) today.

The mesclun is officially gone and the tomatoes have been planted in their place. The beets are thriving; there are literally dozens of carrots and poppies and borage plants. Oh! And there are some potatoes coming up that I was unaware of. Always fun to find potatoes where you didn't expect them. Eva and I planted sunflowers in several places and are crossing our fingers. None of the seeds I planted last year grew into sunflowers. We also planted scarlet runner beans. I am hoping to plant more of those once I figure out where to put the cucumbers I hope to buy this weekend at the market. It is a busy and vibrant garden and an inspiration to me in its optimism.

I am very simply in love with the plants and flowers this time of year and am looking forward to the first irises whose buds are now visible. Peonies too! For now, there are bleeding hearts and especially columbine-

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Eva took this photo of the paints all lined up and ready to paint. It's challenging to get them all in one place at the same time...

all grown up

Sometimes no matter what you do, things happen anyway. The mesclun bolted when I wasn't looking. I went out to the garden today and was amazed to see lovely yellow flowers on several of the mesclun plants. I had thought that the slightly chillier, rainy weather would slow the bolting process. I am so glad I harvested all the mesclun that I did the other day when I suspected bolting. On the up side there is now a lovely spot for the tomatoes I plan to buy for Mother's Day this weekend at the Farmers Market. I was wondering where they would go, what with all of the kale and mesclun and spinach and peas. Peas! Wow have I got peas! And I am happy to say there are mainly sweet peas and shelling peas this year with a spattering of sugar snap peas thrown in for good measure. Every year I plant a ton of sugar snap peas and there are just too many for me to eat. I prefer shelling peas and love to freeze some of those for later as well. And of course my love for sweet peas is well documented in photos on this blog and elsewhere. Surely they are one of the prettiest and most fragrant flowers out there?

Tonight I had spinach and chard and onions straight from the garden. I feel squeaky clean with the freshness of the food!

mesclun blooming

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Eva said today while she painted outside on the patio in the sunshine that there is nothing so wonderful as painting when you are very very sick because painting is soothing and relaxing. Here she is feeling very very sick and mixing colors and painting. I was happy there was enough warmth out on the patio today that she could spend some time outside while sick.

Here is Samuel simultaneously playing Super Mario Galaxy on the wii and talking to his friend Jack on the phone (note headset, a birthday gift from Jack for said purpose) and giving me a very silly look presumably for taking his picture at this time. I can only guess what he is thinking about but know that look well. It suggests good-natured humor and something to do with me being a huge nut, again.

Yesterday Samuel asked me if there is anything that is truly silly or if everything people call silly is just a matter of opinion. Yep, all pretty much a matter of opinion and perspective. He walked away nodding his head in agreement. Yep, just what he thought.