Plantaholica Incurablis

This morning my nephew, who spends some summer days here with us, came running in the door only to gather us all out front to see a broad-tailed hummingbird.  It was stunning to watch her (I know this because of my brother in-law, Seth a.k.a “Birdie” is an incredible ornithologist with Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory) dance among the golden rod and lucifer’s tongue. She stayed a few minutes as we stood in awe.

A hummingbird’s playground… not fast enough to get her in the photo.

 I thought of my friend Laurel and her girls and sent love to all who miss them terribly. Then took a moment of gratitude to be surrounded by a gang of sleepy-eyed boys who are worn out from non-stop summer play. Seth passed me an unexpected treat….. a yummy Chai he picked up on his way over. We talked about all of the transplanting and splitting we both need to do in our gardens next month. And, how some  plants were getting too much shade, the daisies were taking over, etc… and I found myself thinking of where to put in new beds and get rid of more grass and glad to have someone to talk to who gets excited about moving plants.

The daisies have taken over the roses.

This time of year means maintenance. It’s too hot and dry to plant in our high plains desert. So I happily weed bind-weed, grass and thistle from my gardens. Last week, when I drove up into the mountains to pick up the boys from camp, the thistle were in full bloom. They were gorgeous… since they weren’t in my yard. I stopped and soaked up their stunning color. Grateful for a quiet moment and pause in my excitement of seeing the boys again and hearing about their week.

Thistles, Red Feather, CO

Chris has built two beautiful vegetable gardens giving us the space to grow some of our own food. Last year he designed and lovingly built one in the front yard, where we get the most sun. I love it. It is deer and rabbit proof, has its own sprinkler system and we have managed to pack a lot into the space. The boys love to go pick raspberries and cherry tomatoes and sit right there and enjoy them. We still have a lot to learn…I can’t grow cilantro or dill and it is better to let the 5 year old plant potatoes instead of carrots!  This year he built another garden on the hill of our backyard next to the house. I can hardly wait to eat the sweet corn straight from our yard.

Our front garden… potatoes, rhubarb, raspberries, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers,
kale, arugula, spinach, carrots.. lots!, beets, radishes, and herbs
Side garden…. corn, squash, zucchini, greens, sunflowers, radishes,
watermelon..maybe, pumpkins, beans, strawberries and basil
As those sleepy boys nap this afternoon, I have just picked a huge bucket of weeds. It is nice to reflect on how we are slowly but surely taking our little bit of land and making it our own. Adding color, food, shade and special places to be outside. Hopefully, we are teaching to boys to care for it with respect. That even if it isn’t a lot, it is precious. So much can be done in little spaces with lots of love. The time I spend gardening is quiet, centering and rewarding. I am so fortunate to have the bit of earth in which to grow… and I am not just talking about the plants.

Alex’s Zinnias
You can never have too much lavender.
Sweet Woodruff from my mother’s garden in VA


My favorite spot in the yard, Ry’s Peace Pond (more on that later)

Reaching with Grace

Reaching With Grace

This morning, my two older boys are at camp, Chris has peddled his bike into work, and Chachi is sound asleep in our bed with the sunlight pouring in on his golden head. I just folded two loads of laundry, got another one going. Got some sweet affection from my dogs, who now have gone back to bed. I came to the computer to do some homework (long over due)  for my Evolve class, which is learning the business of art, while I wait for Chachi to come stumbling in for a hug and some breakfast.

A cool, gentle breeze is coming in the new window Chris put in. The sprinkler is showering our garden for a much needed water bath. And my mosquito bites from a fun time at the lake a few nights ago itch like mad. I keep staring out the window into the massive Blue Spruce wondering what the boys are doing up on top of the mountain and what is in store for their day ahead.

What I am avoiding is the fact that class last night was uncomfortable. I can’t see how these corporate, and I know necessary ideas and models, will fit into my little art world. Or rather, how I can fit into them. I feel like I am reaching far beyond my reality to try and make this work. The list of all there is to be done is getting longer. There are licenses to obtain, accounts to set up, web content to pull together, files to figure out, social media to learn, market collateral to come up with, proposal templates to make sense of and then use, and still so much more to think about, research and learn.

I miss hours on end of painting.

I often hear and have conversations with others about “finding the balance.” I can’t seem to find that place. A good friend of mine uses the word harmony instead.  I like that image. That you strive to have all the pieces of your life come together like a beautiful orchestra. Giving each instrument it’s solo and spotlight, but ultimately creating a piece that is cohesive and fills your soul. I feel like I am playing a beautiful bass, an okay clarinet, a too loud trumpet, a big, fun drum, a sweet flute and a very squeaky and out of tune violin all while trying to hold the conductor’s wand… baton?….what are those things called? and be an attentive listener in the audience. Anyone else feel this way?

I love the feeling of mountain pose in yoga. Finding strong grounding in my feet with my toes splayed and firm, balanced front to back as well as side to side. Lifting my bones with my muscles up out of the earth and reaching with my huge wing span up towards the sky. I want to feel this way in this whole manner of the business of art. Firmly grounded but reaching. Reaching with grace.

Last night in class, I so very ungracefully fell off my mat and wanted to curl up into child’s pose and fall asleep. I felt like I was in eagle’s pose, all twisted up, trying to balance on one foot and just fell over on my face. I couldn’t begin to see the answers to the questions that were being asked. My classmates sat quietly writing, focused and in a flow. I just stared.. doodling on my worksheets and writing profanity that I really wanted to scream at the top of my lungs.  I wanted nothing more than to go home. The instructor and my friend noticed and I gave her a pleading look that I was totally stuck. She was helpful and calming and I stayed the duration but still feeling like a poser. A Ted talk was shown about the power of body language. I had seen it before. Can you use strong body language called power poses to change your mind set and get different results? Can you fake it until you make it? or rather fake it until you become it? hmmmmmm?????

Exhausted, I drove home under a beautiful full moon, climbed into bed where Chachi was curled up in Chris’s arms and snuggled in. Ahh….. rest.

Chachi is now here. He sits on my lap slowly waking up. I can find some grounding in this. Today will be about finding footing again and growing some roots before I stretch again. And that is enough.

Wobbly Wheels

Do you remember that feeling when you were little and when riding your bike so fast, your wheels felt like they might come right off? As they wobbled and wove across the road, I would get a pit in my stomach knowing that if I hit a rock or the brakes wrong, I was in for a big crash. But, at the same time the wind on my face and the blurring of the trees was just too tempting. Sometimes I would make it down the hill, managing to avoid ending upside down in a ditch. But there were times when my wobbly wheels would throw me right off. I have scars to prove it.

My life feels like it is going so fast right now that my wobbly wheels are about to throw me over the handle bars. The pit in my stomach is constant and I can’t figure out how to put the brakes on in way that will slow me down without crashing. I am hitting bumps left and right in the forms of letting friends down, being spread so thin that I am not really present with anyone (including myself), crossing boundaries with people I shouldn’t.. pushing, pushing, pushing.
I am going so fast I can’t even pedal anymore, but yet I still try and the pedals do that wonky thing that say, “Don’t even try! We can’t go any faster!” I have friends saying, “Please stop! Not appropriate!” with a look of desperation and anger in their eyes.

I am not thinking.

I am just letting it fly.

I am feeling like a reckless adolescent spinning out of control and putting scars on my heart instead.

I know a big crash is coming at the bottom of the hill. Hopefully, I won’t do too much damage and hurt anyone else.

I have to find a way to stop.

I need to remember that I no longer fit on that banana seat bike. I now own a big yellow cruiser with sunflowers all over it. It has a big wide seat, no gears and is comfortable. It won’t let me go too fast. I think I need to take it out for a long spin… to remember where I am going and gently wave as I pass people by. I need to feel the big sturdy wheels and listen to the whirrrrr as they pass over the pavement. Listen to the whirrr of good friends who are telling me to slow down, pay attention and be better. For them, I am ever grateful.

My bike… time for a cruise!

In a few weeks, my family is traveling to Virginia. Chris has a conference and the boys are going to visit grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles. I am staying here this time. It will be the first time in 12 1/2 years that I will spend a night… actually 7 of them in my house alone. I am putting a big red X through the week and going into hibernation. I am putting myself in time out. I am not going to commit to a thing, unplug from the world and let each day unfold. I feel anxious about it, but also know I need this more than ever.


Insomnia 3- Stars…. home again.

Yesterday I “took the day off.” It was great. I managed to talk myself into not feeling guilty for not getting much of anything accomplished (but that in itself is a big accomplishment).

 I wandered around the yard, read a bit, did a few loads of laundry (which is now a heaping mountain on my dining room table waiting for me), played on some canvases in the studio, took TWO naps, watched a movie, took a bath,  meandered to the grocery store for Chris (and bought myself a chocolate bar of which I ate half on the way home and then tucked the other half in my desk….. shhhh.. don’t tell the boys), sent some emails, watched a Ted talk, flipped through a magazine and called it a day. A much needed day off. I should do this every Sunday.

On Saturday, Chris put a new window in our bedroom above our bed where there had just been a wall.

Chris working to frame in the space for the new window!

The light that now pours in is wonderful… hence the naps. Our bed, now bathed in that glorious sunlight was just so inviting. I couldn’t resist. So Zander and I had a good snuggle. After my multiple naps it was no surprise that I wouldn’t be able to sleep well last night. But what startled me is that I woke suddenly from a dream that was more of a memory/snapshot of hiding places from my childhood.  The sacred crevices of the farmhouse were so clear in my mind and heart. I could see every detail from those spaces that I would tuck away during a game of hide and seek. These games went on for what seemed like hours. I loved it. It gave me a time out to just sit and be quiet and not have to do a thing. One of my favorite spots was under an overhang where my Old English Sheepdog would sleep. She had made a little den and I would crawl in behind her and lay in the cool dirt with her. A feeling of knowing exactly who I am hit me. I need to listen to that young girl more often. She was confident, strong, clever and spent a lot more time alone. I need these time outs. I felt so grateful for remembering. A feeling of home washed over me and it didn’t have to do with a place. It was myself.

Now wide awake, I looked above my head and out the new window. I could see stars! The last time I had a window that I could watch the stars from my bed was in that same farmhouse. I have been an insomniac my whole life. So when I couldn’t sleep and it was a clear night, I would watch the stars. I can’t believe that I get this gift again. I have missed this space and how I feel in it. I feel home again.

* A good friend of mine recently told me when she feels overwhelmed she looks at the stars to get perspective and centered again. She is right. I had forgotten what a comfort they are at 3 am.