Month: April 2019

And the Rain Comes Down

It is raining this evening and it feels like the sky is matching my heart a bit. Just two days ago I was reveling in blooms and speaking philosophically about how growth comes in cycles. Today is one of the days when I have to step up and believe my fine words when the hard things have shown up again. As I knew they would. They always do. But they will also get better again. As they do.

Even as I’m feeling like the weather matches my emotional landscape, I am also enjoying the sound of the rain as it hits the roof. There is something soothing about being sheltered and warm while listening to the water fall. I can look out my window and watch it accumulate in puddles and flow along the gutters. Rain lands on my flowers and nourishes them so that their next blooming will also be beautiful. Life requires rain. Growth requires hard days.

And truthfully, this day isn’t so hard, not compared to others that I’ve gone through. This one is just a little blue and tired. I can sit with that and trust tomorrow will be better.


My garden of spring bulbs is exceptionally beautiful this year.

I keep wandering outside to just walk along the bed and admire them. The thing is, I haven’t planted any bulbs for years. Common gardening practice is to plant bulbs in the fall, tear them out in the spring, plant annuals for the summer, then tear them out in the fall to plant bulbs for next spring. The reasoning behind this is that tulip bulbs don’t thrive year to year. If you leave them in the ground you get a giant tulip the first year, a smaller one the following year, and by the third year you may not get a tulip at all, just leaves.

Yet here in my garden, my tulips are multiplying. In this spot I planted three bulbs several years ago.

The truth is, I don’t have the patience to rip everything out twice per year. I need my plants to thrive with only sporadic attention from me. I also know that I’m far more likely to give that attention in the spring when I’m craving flowers and green things after the winter, rather than in fall when I’ve spent all summer feeling guilty about the gardening I meant to do, but didn’t. So in the spring, I buy granulated bulb food. I scatter it across the garden beds when the bulbs first begin coming up, which encourages them to grow large. Then I scatter it again as the blooms are fading so that the bulbs have extra nutrition as they’re stocking away energy for the next year. The only other thing I do with regularity is make sure the bulbs get water in the spring even before the sprinkler system is turned on.

I’ve been following this process for about three years now, and all my spring bulbs are thriving. But it took a while for that to happen. This is the thing about bulbs, you hide them in the ground months before you see anything that looks like growth. Then they bloom and are gone. But if I feed them, they hide away for an entire year to re-emerge again.

This spring my children are also blooming. It has been a long series of seasons full of dormancy, hiding, and darkness. Yet this year, all of the quiet tending and feeding has given them the resources they need to roll out green leaves and even a few tentative blooms. I know that the future may hold more struggles, but the growth they are doing now gives them strength to grow even more.

To be a gardener is to feed, weed, and tend with no guarantee that the plant will thrive. I can work to create optimal conditions for my plants, but it is their own internal process that drive the growth. Parenting teens and young adults is much the same. I’ve done a lot of throwing nutrients around and then waiting. Waiting can be hard and discouraging, but in spring I am reminded that many things grow again after looking dead for a season or two.

Long Slow Remodel: Weeks 5-7

Week five was the eventful week, we got the cupboards onto the wall. Because of the way we wanted the cupboards arranged and where the wall studs were placed, we started by putting up planks and then mounted the cupboards to the planks.

Milo was very interested in this process and helped out by inspecting things. Also by pretending to be a gargoyle.

Here are the cabinets completely mounted. Not yet installed: the knobs on the cupboards and more hooks for hanging jackets underneath the cupboards.

Things slowed down quite a lot in weeks 6 & 7. We were kind of taking a breather between projects. Also there were a lot of family events and business tasks which needed our attention. However we did order the final piece that will help complete the entry area: a bench.

We ordered it unfinished so that we could make it match the cabinets. We intend to cut it shorter so that it is a low bench intended to allow people to easily sit and put on their shoes. Loose shoes will live underneath the bench since I’m a person who kicks off her shoes when entering the house. (Howard is a shoes-on person.)

The next phase of the project will be building a pantry wall across from the cooking area. It will be on this big blank wall.

We’ve drawn up a rough plan for what we want to do. There will still be some shuffling around of cupboards, but this is the general idea.

Bit by bit we’ll get this done. Current focus, shuffling funds around to enable us to pay for the next purchase of cupboards.

Thing After Thing

Life has been busy and I haven’t had a lot of time free for thinking. I’ve been spending time assisting one of my kids through college orientation and registration along with the cloud of related adulting tasks. Another child acquired a boyfriend, which is a first for any of my kids and so it has sparked a lot of conversations while we all adjust. (We all like the boyfriend, so that is good.) A third child made a course shift in his life plan for the future (equivalent to changing majors), a good one, but needed help processing the decision. The fourth kid once again needs help rescuing classes from failure, and larger help figuring out why he shuts down so completely that he ends up not doing simple tasks that would keep him on track. I acquired a writing support group that looks like it will be amazing for me, but it means new friendships to build foundations for, and that takes thought. Also, because of the new group, I’ve been diving back into work on my middle grade novel, which takes lots of brain time. Several friends had need of support, so I put time and emotion into that. And I was knocked flat by flu for several days.

The vast majority of Things Going On have been good things, but it has me falling behind on business tasks and blogging. Here are the things I haven’t blogged yet, but mean to:

Our bus day. During spring break I declared a Bus Day. I’ve got a kid who intends to live at home while attending college, but doesn’t have a driver’s license. They need a way to transport themselves to school. So we did a family outing where the whole point was to ride the public transit system. I picked a destination in the next town over. (The Good Move Cafe in downtown Provo, which was a delight.) Then we walked ourselves to the nearest bus stop and rode until we got there. It was a fun adventure during which we all learned that local public transit is safe, clean, and more convenient than we expected. We’ll likely have multiple more bus riding adventures to acclimate college-bound kid to the whole system long before the first day of classes in August. This is how we break down the barriers into tiny little steps so that anxiety doesn’t make college crash and burn.

Long Slow Remodel weeks 5 and 6. The cupboards are on the wall. They have been for nearly two weeks now. We love them. There are still finishing touches to put up, but the remodel is beginning to shift into it’s next phase. I want to write it all up with pictures.

Between me and focused blogging are:
a dentist appointment to get some teeth filled, one of which has developed a sharp pain at food temperature differentials.
The very last bit of shipping for the Kickstarter on Schlock Books 14 & 15. Thirty-six packages and it is done.
A day trip (using public transit) up to Salt Lake City for FanX. I’m on one panel Friday afternoon and I’m taking college-bound kid with me for public transit experience and for cosplay squee.
Relatives in town and staying at my house for a family event.
Attending the family event.
A pile of smaller To Do items, appointments to keep, appointments to make, etc.

Once again, the list is full of good things. Life is mostly good. The harder bits seem spaced further apart and don’t seem to sink quite as deep as they used to.

And now that I’ve written all of that down, perhaps I’ve emptied my brain enough that I can go back to sleep. Being awake thinking about all the things is not my favorite activity for 2:30 am.

Spring Break Week

I’m lost in the middle of Spring Break week and every day feels like Saturday, but there is a lot of work I’m supposed to be doing for business things. Also I think we’ve reached peak disruption with the front room cupboard project, so everything feels messy and out of control. Some years I use spring break as practice for summer schedule. This year not so much. Oh well. Tomorrow is outing day. We’ll see how that goes.