Monday, November 9, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
- a cool and wet spring season brought us insects we've never seen before. In great numbers. They fascinate me and I wonder where they came from, and will they stick around for next year.
- the new gardens I began building last fall and completed this spring I LOADED UP with compost, and the result was monster growth by whatever I planted there. Gotta remember that next year, and add LOADS of compost to the older gardens so I can watch the joy unfold there, too!
- a few of our older gardens got rehabilitated, so now I'm eager to do an extreme makeover next year on some of the others!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
My routine ? A drastic change. I ADORE change! Once we hit the road, this blog will no doubt gravitate to a travelog of sorts: my role as gardener will fade to the background while me-as-wanderer will be taking center stage. I expect to uncover some fresh insights stimulated by things I've never seen before!
Stay tuned for SIX MONTHS OF THE SOUTHWEST, beginning mid-September! Be sure to check out our trip site at
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
I kind of felt like an undertaker as I took these broken plants away. Then I felt like a grave-robber as I cut whatever "fresh" blooms I could for a bouquet for the office. Then I just felt really sad when I took the remains up to our compost pile.
All these feelings were negative, and I don't live well with negative feelings, so it was time to put on my Regain Perspective Hat and sit and think:
- Heck, sh*t happens -- I'm not in Paradise yet
- Don't mess with Mother Nature
- At least the office has a really cheerful vase full of flowers
- Next time, stake the darn plants before this happens
- Time to roll with the punches, go with the flow
- Suck it up and move on
- I took a deep breath, gave thanks for all the plants that didn't get flattened (the Mexican Sunflowers are awesomely strong).
- I just planted a new batch of Cosmos and Hollyhocks. They WILL be staked.
- I'm going out to buy a new supply of stakes.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
My gardening and landscaping endeavors have been, for the most part, quite successful. I bask in the daily oohs and aahs of the campers walking the various garden paths; I humbly say "thank you" a zillion times a week when I'm told how wonderful the lavish gardens are. But for all that, I can't say I have a green thumb, just a great passion. I'm no professional, just a hobby gardener who learns as she goes and who relies on internet sources for her continuing education, and who, with the help of all the garden gods, continues to create happy accidents in these gardens.
To help me believe that I do indeed have a green thumb, I'm seriously considering painting my thumb green (or having it tattooed). Sometimes a person just believes better with visual aids!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
OMG, panic in the streets of my mind! What, get me out of my comfy little rut, and make me think again? How Dare You. Now I have to learn how to winterize my trailer, something I've never done before. Now I have to find a keeper for my truck for the winter. Now I have to make lists of what to bring on this new adventure.
Remembering that the difference between a rut and a grave is that one can still climb out of a rut, I'm loving every minute of this! New Adventure is the name of the game, and this is my opportunity to join forces with this daughter in new ways, as we not only explore the great outdoors of the southwest, but also the great "indoors" of our inner truths. We're not a religious lot, but we are spiritual seekers.
Life's little side trips add such richness to the equation; the unexpected can be so delightful; each little trip gives us the opportunity to say YES! to adventure. Look out World, here we come (beginning mid-September)!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Oh, wait --- is that what I really want? With my hose, I get to seriously visit each section of the garden as I water. I get to see who needs deadheading, and who has weeds that are pretending to be flowers (and I pull them as I see them). I get to notice all the new little buds that promise continued blooming. I get to be surprised at the first hibiscus bloom, and can imagine what our "hibiscus hill" will look like when all seven plants are in bloom and look forward to getting pictures of that! Our first giant sunflower just opened fully, what a delight, and there are buds there too. I get to notice what garden insects are active, and I get to capture that darn japanese beetle who thought he was hiding in the rose.
When I water I see so much detail that I might miss if all I do is walk through the garden. This way, I'm standing in front of one section at a time. It's the difference between driving through a neighborhood and walking through a neighborhood. When you walk, you have the time to wave at people, and stop for a friendly chat.
OK so I don't want an irrigation system after all.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
This first picture taken in April is of the "naked" garden areas, ready for planting. . .
This was my first-ever experience at doing it all, from laying the bricks and gravel paths, to planning then digging the gardens, hauling lots of compost to amend the soil, to setting the borders, to doing the actual planting. There's color for every part of the growing season! The rest of the pictures were taken a few days ago; all planting is done for this year and there's room for more next year.
Of course we're not finished: there are more areas to be transformed. Saving that for another time; Rome wasn't built in a day, right?
And these final few pictures are of some very happy faces!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Best news of all (knock on wood) we haven't been overrun by japanese beetles. We decided to NOT put out the beetle traps this year; instead we vigilantly search for them (very few so far) and get rid of them one by one, via smashing or capturing in a baggie.
This is not to say all's been planted that will be planted. On this little piece of our planet, the campground owners continually come home from a shopping trip with "oh look what we found!" And they bring forth more perennials: several russian sage, and shrub roses that will grow to a width of ten feet, and a few other things. Here's my challenge, the one I love the best: where the heck do I put these things?? The two russian sage plants when fully grown will be about 4' tall and 3' wide -- each. Heck, there's just NO ROOM in the existing gardens! And the shrub roses? Who knows?
After studying different areas, I caved in and simply built a whole new little garden area for the russian sage. This will be a specimen garden, unlike the other gardens that dance with a wonderful mixture of flowering beauties of all colors, shapes, and sizes. As for the shrub roses: we just happen to have an appropriate area along one of our pathways that will accommodate a 10' wide shrub.
OK: I promise to take pictures this week!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I crawled into bed at 10pm tonight, with plans to repeat today's schedule. Then it happened: I lay there, sleepily musing about some good stuff in my life. One thought led to another, and yet another, things/people/events I'm so darn grateful for. I kept saying, in between these thoughts, "time to sleep now, let the healing begin" (I consider the dark sacred night a healing time while I sleep) but the thoughts continued. At 11 pm I got up, had a glass of milk, went back to bed.
At midnight I was up again. Still wide awake. Turned on my computer, did some surfing, and now it's 1:30 am, it's tomorrow, for goodness' sake! What the heck?!?
Oh, no --- can it be that FINALLY I've had enough sleep? Am I reaching the time in my life like my grandmother's, when she said she only needed four or five hours of sleep a night?? Please no, I really like sleep!
Panda, my little dog friend, dutifully followed me from the bed to the couch. She looks at me and wonders what's up. Is it morning already? It's still dark outside! I think this gratitude thing is backfiring on me, I might need to turn it down a notch? Nah, I think not. I'll just sign off here and work on my to-do list for today when the sun shines. If I'm awake then.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
All the zillion plants we bought are now in the ground or in container gardens or in hanging baskets. All are doing very well -- I think because of the rain we've had. Rainwater is SO much better, the plants tell me.
Couldn't rest on my laurels, though. The owner reminded me that in his greenhouse he has a truckload of flats, all seedlings he planted earlier, and they're ready to go. Zinnias, Giant Sunflowers (the 8' tall kind), Mexican Sunflowers, Cosmos, Daisies, Marigolds, and a number of things that are no longer labeled (labels blew away). I finally got all that stuff planted this week. The unlabeled ones were fun to plant, and it will be fun to watch them grow, and fun to discover what they are, and fun to see if I planted them in the right place! I'm hoping they want a full-sun home, because that's where I put them.
Good spring rains is a two-edged sword: the plants love it and thrive, and so do the WEEDS. Much of my time has involved weed control, as in pulling them. It's not that I love pulling weeds, it's that I love the end result; but it's like housework, it's never finished. That's OK because I guess I like being on my hands and knees --- I have the callouses to prove it. My one weeding knee (the one I'm always using to kneel on) has a marvelous callous, also known as body armor.
Even though our perennials aren't in full bloom yet, the campers here are already raving about the beauty of the gardens. They ARE lush with greenery, and the annuals we've put in give the needed color, and we have an incredible variety of plants (see the April 4th post for a list). I tell the campers, please come back in midsummer and you'll see a REAL show!
What's next on my to-do list? A bit of tree-trimming: got to raise the canopies to get more sun onto some of the gardens. I wait for the gas-powered pole saw to be fixed, because I'm so ready to trim!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
While at the nurseries, I watched the employees tending the plants and I thought, 'what a great job to have'. Reality set in and I realized MY JOB is so much more fabulous: the nursery employees nurture a billion young plants, and that's so important; but I get to selectively adopt plants, bring them home, find the right spot for them to live and grow and bring pleasure to lots of people, tend to them for years on end (the perennials, anyway), keep the beasts at bay (especially those darn japanese beetles) and grow a long-term relationship with them
Yesterday I began the planting: I put together 24 container gardens then began putting plants in the ground. I'd envisioned working until nightfall because we have SO MANY to plant! But, no matter how willing the spirit, the flesh just wouldn't last that long, so I had to give it up for the day. Ah, that's OK: I also can't eat a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting, nor have I ever been able to eat an elephant in one bite. This means, beautifully, that for the next very many days I will be planting, and planting, and planting . . .
Thursday, May 7, 2009
The following year I decided to wait until April 1st to arrive (I was remembering how cold it was the previous year and I was chicken). I arrived to find a young man had been hired to get the leaves out of the gardens, and he'd used a rake; had raked the gardens SO vigorously that some of the new young plants had been removed along with the leaves. Ah, well, life goes on, doesn't it. This particular spring was cold for a long, long time and it seemed forever before things poked their heads through the ground. Our planting season was slighty delayed due to the late-arriving spring, but the weather turned suddenly HOT and we really scurried to get new planting done quickly. Remembering how much time I'd spent watering during the last summer's drought, I laid soaker hoses in all the large gardens so that I could spend my time doing other things while the gardens were being watered. It worked well.
THIS year I returned in mid-March, wanting to be the one to do the garden cleanup. Yes, it was cold but I was being brave, and gardens were cleaned up without disturbing any plants. No trampling this year! However: the new experience is the rain! It's like living in a rain forest, I think. The ground has been thoroughly soaked down to about China. I have several new gardens in the works and I'm eager to build up the soil and get things planted in them, but the soil right now is like mud soup. No sooner does it begin to dry out and we get another four-hour deluge or all-day-and-night soaking steady rain. Temps have been cool, too -- good for tulips lasting a longer time than usual (until we had four days of freakish July weather which ended the tulip season), the nurseries have been slow in putting out their inventory due to the cool and wet, and we're behind schedule in creating our forty or so container gardens and almost as many hanging baskets. I'm just hoping for an extended spring so we can get all the work done before the really hot weather arrives for good.
Gee, I wonder what will be new and different NEXT spring!
Monday, May 4, 2009
I'm just glad I now have the freedom to be unstable. LOL.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
A real house is for domesticated folks, folks who like having roots in one place, who dote on having lots of stuff to mess with. They probably enjoy dusting and sweeping and mopping. They must feel comforted by being surrounded by family heirlooms, or fine art. Many of them have serious collections of stuff that need to be displayed. There are lots of pictures on the walls, in every room. Of course they surely enjoy entertaining their friends.
Hey, you know I like all those things too. The only difference is, I'm not so domesticated; I'm at heart a feral animal. I like my roots to be nestled comfortably in different places at different times. I enjoy the heck out of cleaning THE GREAT OUTDOORS!! I love to dig up weeds, and rake leaves, and grow and tend to plants. Pressure washing is a really fun way to clean stuff. My family heirlooms and fine art are the trees and flowers, and the sounds of nature. My alarm clock is the birds in the morning, who seem so happy for the return of daylight. My pictures hang in my heart and on my computer. My collections of stuff are planted in the ground. The one thing I've never been good at is entertaining. I never learned how to host a party. I recently learned, however, that after five glasses of wine I am apparently very funny. I guess that's a form of entertaining.
Yep, I'm sure not regretting selling that house and all that stuff, because now I'm really free to live the way I want to live. It's all so good!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Today I lay out all our soaker hoses, quick before the coming-up plants get too tall! With the temps reaching the high 80s I fully expect to break a sweat today. No matter -- I LOVE working in short sleeves and capris!!
PS I finally found out the explanation for my calloused hands, elbows and knees: my body is making its own protective armor! Who knew I'd be growing a soft exoskeleton?!?
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
There's so much I want to do out there! So many projects, both big and small --- things to be done before it's time for serious planting (in May)! Yet here I sit, reading books; or napping; or cleaning up my house (this travel trailer takes about five minutes to clean, yes I'm not kidding); and I've surfed the internet to complete exhaustion; and I've played Solitaire a few times too many.
During all this inactivity, I've been feeling a buildup of energy. My body is hoarding it. It makes my ears pop sometimes. It's starting to make me crazy. This morning I donned my rain gear just to walk the dog, having every intention of going to work on one of my projects, the weather be damned. But I couldn't do it. I didn't have the guts to ignore the rain and get to work. So here I sit, still, conjuring up more patience, because the forecast is calling for more rain next week, possibly four days in a row. AAARRRGGGHHH.
I'm trying to comfort myself by regaining some perspective here: we need the rain. The rain is a gentle soaking one. The earth is gathering up all this rain and saving it for future dry days. Etc. Etc. Still, cabin fever is beginning to set in. Maybe I'll go shopping like I did yesterday. After all, how wet can one get going from car to store? At least I'll get some exercise walking around the stores. More patience needed, please.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
If none of this makes sense, then maybe it is puberty after all. I mean, I AM feeling a little light-headed.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
After searching the online nursery catalogs for inspiration, and looking for the new and unusual, it's time to review what we already have in the gardens:
- day lilies
- Blackeyed Susans (Maryland state flower)
- Coneflowers, several varieties
- Garden Phlox
- Four O'Clocks
- Blanket Flowers
- Coral Bells
- Hardy Geraniums
- Red Hot Pokers
- Sedum and other succulent varieties
- Bleeding Heart
- Ferns / varieties
- Lenten Rose
- Asiatic Lilies
- Hardy Hibiscus
- Lamium (Nettle)
- Goldenrod (NOT the sneeze-inducing Ragweed)
- Russian Sage
- Lavender, varieties
- Hyssop, varieties
- New England Asters
- Trumpet Vine
- Chocolate Joe Pye Weed
- Sea Oats
- Ornamental Grasses
SHRUBS & TREES
- Cleveland Pear Trees
- Magnolia and Tulip Trees
- Rose of Sharon
- Butterfly Bushes (everywhere!)
- Tree Peony
- Hydrangea Trees
- Crape Myrtles
- Smoke Tree
- Japanese Dogwood Tree
- Japanese Cherry Tree
- Dwarf Red Maple Trees
- Various Evergreen Shrubs
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I'm fast approaching my 69th birthday. What the heck? I'm not upset about this, I'm simply amazed, and curious. I don't FEEL 69, but then -- how is a 69-year-old supposed to feel, anyway? I think I stopped feeling older somewhere in my mid forties.
I think 69 says "hey, I've been here longer than you, Pal, so quit your griping." I think it says "I've paid my dues, now I no longer have to care what others think." "I'll do what I darn well please, thank you very much." I like the fact that people exclaim "oh, you can't be THAT old." I laugh when my younger friends say, "let Jeanne do it, she can still bend."
Several years ago I wrote a tribute to aging:
I tend to agree, there’s nothing to hide; the wrinkles and bags are only outside. I’ve known this truth for many years, and the inside of me laughs at all those fears.
Sometimes I sag and my old bones creak, and I wish to be kind of young and sleek, just a little while longer, I’ve sometimes said in charming sweet dreams in my old head.
The truth be known, it’s freedom I seek, and I get closer with each passing week; nail polish was tossed a long time ago, hair color rejected as frivolous show.
Debt is no friend, and I long for the end of those monthly payments I dutifully send. I’m now quite convinced I have all I need and less is more, so I’ve been freed!
Youth doesn’t leave, it just hides itself, like a mischievous imp up on a shelf waiting with glee for someone to see its delightful, insightful energy!
Older is wiser? Yes, sirree --- Older has seen life’s misery and won’t collapse on aging knee, because older knows just how to be in tune with all the ups and downs, accepting all the smiles and frowns.
In peace, in trust, in harmony, Older dances with the clowns, Happily!
Friday, March 20, 2009
I was talking to a friend about my fantasy, and found out he, too, would love to be surrounded by his own family in a similar way. Then he said "but that isn't the American way of life." Hmmm. How sad. I know it used to be, but that was "back in the day" I reckon. Time marches on. Things change. We're pulled in different directions for all kinds of different reasons. Greener grass somewhere else tugs at the restless feet of the young adults as they leave the nest, eager to strike out on their own. I don't see anything wrong with that either. I guess it just is what it is. Still, as rare as it seems to be, the extended family living and working in close proximity, is a thing of beauty.
My fantasy is probably a distant memory of one of my previous lives that was particularly enjoyable!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I’m in love with the Hagerstown Maryland part of the country. I’m in deep love with the gardens I tend in this campground that I‘m in love with, I love the owners and their kids and grandkids, I love my co-workers, I love seeing the “regular” campers that return every year, and oh, boy I really love meeting new folks that come to the campground each year.
I arrived in Maryland a few days ago. I spent delicious hours setting up my summer homestead, putting up my little fence so Panda can be outdoors but not tied up, putting out my awning, arranging my patio furniture, stocking up my empty larder, walking around and surveying my garden kingdom, making mental notes about what needs to be done and what should be done first.
The truth is, I don’t have to travel to unknown parts to see things I’ve never seen before: that happens here all the time -- my first ever sighting of an oriole; my delight seeing a birdhouse inhabited, smack in the middle of our mini golf course; a little grey bunny scurrying from our veggie garden. I take pictures of plants that are new here this year, and of gardens that have just been created, or changed. Every year brings new friendships and old friendship renewals.
Someday I will spend my time traveling to parts unknown; just not yet, because -- wow, my life is just so perfect today!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
In previous years I'd take three days to get to Richmond, stay there and visit kids, then a half day to the end destination. This year I decided to bypass Richmond and take a different route. And take it easy. I can sleep late, drive leisurely (that means let everyone in the world pass me by), stop as often as I want to for a doggie walk or food break or just because, arrive early at my overnight stop, and relax for many hours before bedtime.
When I get to my campground I'll put Willie Nelson away until next fall when I'll be on the road again.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Then I drive to northwest Maryland (Hagerstown area) and I'm smack dab in the middle of winter's end, where the lows are in the 20s or low 30s and the highs are just a bit above that; where the trees are still winter skeletons and you can actually see clear to the other side of the woods. The upside of this is that I get to experience spring all over again, and it usually lasts longer than the southern spring.
The same thing happens to my falls: first in Maryland, September through October, then in Louisiana beginning in November. This year southwest Louisiana didn't even have winter, so it was a four-month fall.
What a life!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I have some really good friends who tend toward the negative, but I love them anyway. I guess that's because, behind the apparent negativity, I see wonderful attributes that are worthy of my respect. My good-but-negative friends don't have a negative effect on me because I know and love them. So what do I do with the negative strangers?!? I really don't like to argue and I refuse to confront; I just remain pleasant and change the subject. It may be cowardly, but I sure do sleep well at night!
A lot of words to just say, my expectations are always positive, and it sure pays off!
Monday, March 2, 2009
Departure time always sneaks up on me. Wow! Only four more days! I gotta get some good red beans and rice before I leave, gotta stock up on Community Coffee, too. I have to air up my tires, check propane, wash the front of my trailer, stow/secure the loose items, pack up the truck bed, and double check my checklist so I don't forget anything.
My warm winter sojourn is always a nice change of pace from my summer work; I get lazy and enjoy the heck out of that; staying up late at night, sleeping until late morning; not so much on TV so books get read and one even gets written; my winter host feeds me 'way too much good food and I'm overall spoiled rotten.
In spite of all this, It never fails: once I'm on the road I feel exhilarated and eager to move forward. The part of me that craves hard physical activity beckons, and I'm anxious to begin again the garden renewal.
It's going to take me exactly seven days to get where I'm going because I'm making a stop along the way to visit my son. If I'm lucky, in those seven days winter will be magically whisked away by the time I arrive in Maryland. Hah! It hasn't happened yet, but that doesn't mean it can't happen, right?
Sunday, March 1, 2009
The others appear to be "motel" campers. They're expecting maid service to clean up after them, so they make no effort to that end. Their campsite is littered and the campground becomes the babysitter: kids are sent to the pool or the game room or the playground or just away. Then the parents can get out the beer and just relax, because that's what camping's all about, right? One 12-year-old was overheard saying (about some playground equipment) "so what if I break it? It's not mine!" When night rolls around, these campers party into the wee hours, some drinking too much and playing really loud music -- even though the rules specify quiet time, usually around 10pm or so.
There are lots of "motel" campers that don't have kids, they have dogs. Some of these dogs aren't leashed because "oh, he doesn't wander. . . wouldn't hurt a flea". When these campers walk their dog, they never, ever notice that Fido has deposited a large, nasty pile, so the pile remains for someone to walk through. These campers will leave the dog at the campsite, tied up and barking for many hours, while they go sightseeing.
When these campers are reminded of the rules, their indignation is surpassed only by their incredible response: "Rules? What rules?" Duh, the ones prominently posted in our office, or in the brochure you were given when you registered.
However happy we might be to see our motel campers leave, we heave a big sigh because we know what's in store for us at their campsite: cigarette butts, candy wrappers, chicken bones, beer can tabs, and last night's leftovers in the firepit.
I worship the ground walked upon by the first kind of camper.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
I guess for that listener, the end of the world would have been good news.
We look at newscasts, both local and national, and we notice the predominance of bad news; it always takes center stage. Sometimes the newscast will end with a very short "good news" story, I guess to leave us feeling not quite so doomed.
What would happen if all news media, everywhere, would simultaneously declare a moratorium, for one solid week, on bad news? What if they all agreed to report only good news? Would it be possible to speak for 30 minutes, minus commercial time, on only the good stuff that happens in our world? Or would they just sit there and twiddle their thumbs with an embarrassed smile on their empty faces?
I know it's a silly thought. First of all, they'd never unanimously agree to something so outrageous, because let's face it, if they don't report the bad news we won't be able to get to sleep wondering what happened that we don't know about. Secondly, the sponsors would be in an uproar because good news is boring and we'd all turn off tv, and wouldn't see the commercials which get us out spending our money (those few of us who might still have some). Thirdly, there's a slight (ever so slight) chance that the viewing public might actually like hearing more good than bad news, and that would certainly cause an uproar, then a panic, and perhaps the demise of the entire concept of reporting. (can you see the reporters scrambling all over the world looking for good news?) And the viewers would have to turn to NASCAR for the excitement of wrecks and injuries. And where the heck would Law & Order get new ideas for their episodes?
I guess it was a stupid thought. . .
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Well, I got off the corporate treadmill, with gusto sold my home and now my living area is roughly 8' by 18' -- translates to about 144 square feet. Heck, this would fit inside the bedroom I used to have! And in this tiny space I have a U-shaped couch/dinette combo, a refrigerator, stove, oven, double sink, pantry, double bed, two clothes closets, a single bunk above my bed, and a bath with shower and all the other necessities. When I'm parked in a campground I have a 8' by 14' covered patio.
As for the 'work till I die' part of this scenario: I must be part cowpoke, because I expect to die with my boots on, so to speak. And the work? I'd never have believed I could find a full-time job as a gardener! And in a campground where I get to live! What's this, earning money doing what I love doing more than anything else in the world, in a setting surrounded by nature? Doing work that keeps my muscles toned and my joints agile and my belly fat under control? Every day getting dirt under my nails, every evening trying to scrub off the callouses on my knees? Participating in the coming-to-life of the earth every single spring, and nurturing all this new life until fall, and having our campers comment every day on how wonderful the gardens are?
And in the fall, returning to southwest Louisiana for four months of weather that doesn't even qualify as winter!
Geez. No wonder I'm so crazy happy!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
For the record, I attended several Mardi Gras events this year, including the 12,000-strong Endymion ball at the Superdome on Saturday night (completely insane - fireworks inside the Dome) and the Zulu parade today (aka Black Face at the Ass Crack of Dawn). I have lived here in LA for 20 years now and have been to many Mardi Gras (though only a couple in the Quarter 'cause that freaks me out), but not for a while. I thought I was pretty much over it and typically blow town for this weekend.
To my great surprise, I loved it! In the interest of full disclosure, that may have a lot to do with the fact that I'm staying in a bitchin' 2-room suite at Harrah's, 17 floors above the madness, with access to 24-hour room service and still-in-theatre movies on television and valet parking and have it all FREE...but really? As I read through your blogs I was thinking about the statement you made about change and how one sees things and it really applied here. I think what I saw in a way I hadn't before was not only the rich tradition at work, but my feeling of ownership / attachment to those traditions. Could it be that after living here for 2 of my 4+ decades I am feeling proprietary about our crazy Banana Republic?!
Believe it or not, after too many days with not enough sleep (a behavior for which frankly I am way too old), I am leaving tomorrow considering starting a savings account set aside to buy a seat on a float next year (Orpheus I'm thinkin...).
Thanks, Tracey -- good memories!
Monday, February 23, 2009
I grew up in New Orleans, so I grew up with Mardi Gras as well. We oldsters talk about 'back in the day' a lot, and the Mardi Gras I knew back then was much more family-friendly and not so scary.
I lived out-of-state for about seven years, and when I returned home as an adult I couldn't wait for Mardi Gras! I went to Bourbon Street the night before and experienced a terrifying fear of being swept along in a tightly-scrunched shoulder-to-shoulder crowd of partygoers that extended from the buildings on one side of the street to the buildings on the other side of the street. Lucky for me, I only encountered the friendly types -- we were all, strangers and friends alike, clinging to each other's arms or shoulders to keep from losing our balance as we were swept along in the undertow of the crowd. 'Okay', I kept saying to myself, 'there's an escape somewhere, I just hang on until I see it. This can't last forever.'
The escape was only two blocks away, and as far as I know everyone made it through without incident. As soon as we were free, we laughed somewhat hysterically, popped open our beers and continued with the partying.
I guess I answered my question: Mardi Gras, for me, will remain a distant memory. Now I tend to avoid dense crowds, especially crowds where insanity is legal.
I listened again to the aggravating noise, and thought about those kids outdoors playing their games, getting along with one another, immersed in their imaginations, being physical, running and laughing -- instead of being zombies in front of a television or video game or doing drugs. I thought about how fortunate those kids were for some time out in the country, their families around the campfire. I remember them in the pool earlier, more laughter; on the hayride, more laughter. The noise they were now making seemed suddenly refreshing to hear.
Heck, I remembered playing outdoors in the evenings with my own childhood friends, running around and funning around. No longer irate at the noise, I was just glad that kids still have that in them. My reward? An hour later the noise stopped.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I've continued my daydreams into my adult life -- and since I was born when God was still a little boy, it's been a long time! Not so long ago I thought more about it, and I discovered how useful my daydreaming has been.
It's been a decision-making tool for me. When faced with a decision to make, instead of heavily pondering the pros and cons, I just daydream about the what-ifs: if I decide to go in the direction of one choice, then what can I expect? I'll flesh out the possibilities with my imagination and live with that idea; kind of like trying on a new dress. How do I look? How do I feel? How do others respond? Then I'll imagine the same things with a different kind of decision. This is so much more fun, and certainly less traumatic, than agonizing with an intellectual weigh-in of each alternative. I find it true for both large and small decisions.
None of us knows what's down the road, or around the next bend in our life, and we think we can't predict future events. Hindsight, however, has taught me that I can sometimes make predictions; I've learned that there is such a thing as self-fulfilling prophecy when I engage my imagination passionately toward an outcome I want. It's happened for me far too many times for me to doubt anymore. Ah, the journey through my daydreaming is delightful, and I wouldn't give it up for anything!