Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jade People






It was an exciting time twenty years ago when we moved into our house.  It was our first house, purchased from an older couple we had gotten to know over the buying process.  They left behind their refrigerator, their gardening tools, and a few assorted plants.  We moved our possessions in and started our family life. 

I was so busy with school, kids, and work in those next few years, I barely even noticed the jade plant the former owners had left on the back patio.  Since it was a succulent, I figured it didn’t really require much attention.  Even when its pot broke, the victim of a speeding soccer ball, I didn’t do anything and the plant still survived.

Over the years, life got even more active.  I like to muse about all the action the jade plant saw from its post on the patio.  I scurried about, taking care of kids, going to meetings, working full-time, entertaining when I could, trying to keep the house in order and my sanity somewhere in the vicinity too.  From its vantage point on the patio, it witnessed all those years, saw all the birthday parties happening on the other side of the glass, watched the children get older each year, and witnessed as our family meals went from four people, to three, to two, to one.

About a year ago, I was over at a friend’s house and I saw her jade plant, a towering, healthy beast of a plant in a beautiful planter.  I noticed she had an automatic watering system running through pot.  I felt the leaves that were glossy and fat. 

I went home and considered my small, neglected jade plant. I fell to my knees and apologized to it.  Then, I repotted it, fed it, and watered it. Within a week, it responded.  The leaves fattened up and took on a rosy glow.  The branches reached out to the sun.  It started to live, not just exist.  Now, it gets a weekly watering and is absolutely thriving.

The other day a friend noticed how beautiful my jade plant was and I told her the story of the plant and how I had finally started to take care of it.  She cited the drought in California and said, “Ah, yes, those jade plants are really seeing us through the drought, aren’t they?  They are still green and hanging in there despite the lack of water.”

I think about the people in our lives who are just like these plants, standing close by, ever-present in our lives.  We take them for granted, doing little to nourish them.  They don’t ask for attention and because they look and act fine we forget to give them the care they deserve.  They do indeed see us through some of the droughts of our lives.

I think about how I was so busy raising my own kids that I sometimes forgot to call my mom.  Now, as a mother with grown children, I know how much a call from one of my sons means.   I think about the brilliant teachers I took for granted.  Didn’t they know they were great?   Now, as a teacher, I know the power of a card with a few words of thanks.  I think of how many times old friends crossed my mind and I thought of them with love.  Now, as I start to lose friends to illness and age, I know I should have let them know how much they meant to me. 

So, I hope you’ll look around and see those people in your life who have always been a part of the landscape.  Maybe you’ve underestimated how much care they need.  It could be your parents, your spouse, your friend, or maybe just that neighbor who always brings in your newspaper when you forget to.

These jade people give us their steadfastness without asking anything in return.  It is up to us to recognize them.   We need to give them space to grow, and an abundance of gratitude and appreciation.  A little sunshine and nourishment from you could be all they need to start thriving.  

Chances are you’ll both flourish and grow.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gardening With Betty


I have never grown a garden, but decided I would give it a try this year!

I decided to do a raised bed garden because there is something appealing to me about gardening in a box. 

Perhaps I am part cat because as you can see, the first thing I did after building the box was to get inside of it.


Ah!  Beat you to it, Zelda!



Then it was time for Brian and Kia to have a turn at sitting in the box.



OK, OK, time to get to work!  We filled up the box with dirt.



Ohhhhh...Ahhhh!  



Here it is with all the plants!  Yes, I think we did go overboard.  We have tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, basil, and three varieties of squash.  Yowza!

We put chicken wire down before planting so Zelda and Mabel would not think we created a litter box just for them.

We had a lot of fun planting our garden!  Just wait until we get some veggies showing up.  You'd better believe you'll see it here! 

 Can you handle the excitement?


Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Morning Flowers

Ah yes!  

It's Monday again and time for your weekly flower delivery.



How was your weekend, my darlings?  




Are you ready for the week ahead?




It's going to be a good one!  

Eat some fruit today and be of good cheer.  Life is awesome, isn't it?


‎Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.

                                                                      -- Charles F. Kettering

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Looking Down


Just a few pictures from our recent travels.



The National Museum of New Zealand in Wellington.



Tourists in Sydney.



Waiting for a bus in Sydney.


Hope your day is a good one, no matter your vantage point!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Spoiled Betty


Call me spoiled.  

Go ahead.

  It won't be the first time I've been called that and normally, I would disagree just because I am programmed to, but in the case of produce, I truly am.  I live in California, in one of the most highly productive areas of the country and organic is starting to catch on with a lot of farmers.  

So, Brian and I started subscribing to a service that provides a box of organic produce every two weeks.  You don't get to choose what you get, but you get whatever is fresh and in season.  The price is $25.00 and we pick up our box at a local gym.  

Today we got our first box!

Let's see what's inside, shall we?



 Ohhhhhh!  Sugar snap peas and black kale!

                                                                    
                                                                     Let's dig deeper.


Lemons!  Romaine!  Rainbow Chard!  But wait!  There's more!



More kinds of lettuce and radishes too!



Onions!  Strawberries! Oh My! 

I can't wait to make some great salads! 

What beautiful surprises will our next box hold?  

Stay tuned!






Thursday, April 3, 2014

Betty's Bookcase Bonanza


Hi everybody!

Finally, I can have the big reveal of what I have been working on for a couple of weeks.

My living room has always been a bit of a problem.  It was dark and long and nobody hung out it in very long.  Really, the only reason we went in it was to get to the TV room.  (I did take before pictures, but I can't find them now!  Arrrrghhhh.....)

Since Brian will be moving in soon and we both love books, we decided to make the living room a library. 

The cost of built-in bookshelves was rather daunting, so I went searching in Blogland for an answer.  I found lots of brave souls who had done "Built-In Billies."  Billy is a rather inexpensive bookcase from Ikea.  The idea is to make them look like they are built-ins by using molding.

I thought I would just do a short row that would anchor the couches, but as with all of Betty's projects, this one grew a bit.  Brian lives near an Ikea so the poor man was contacted on a daily basis to get more Billies.  More Billies, man.  I need them. I decided to go with both 15 inchers and 30 inchers and we put extensions on the top.  Evan was home for Spring Break and was thrilled to help his Mama build the bookcases!

Here they are, lined up like the homely girls at a dance about to be given extreme makeovers.





Thinking ahead, Brian wired the top shelves for speakers to be added later.



We had to put the shelves on one inch boards to make the molding fit just right.



Here are the boards that are at the top of each bookcase so the crown molding could be attached.




Here is Mr. Craftsman working on the moldings that will go over the edges of the shelves.

My friend Cathie and I used spackle on all the unused holes for the shelves.  It was a big job but really made a difference. 




Because we live in California, you can bet these suckers are bolted to the wall!

I had so much fun filling the shelves with our books and lots of other treasures. I am still not finished, but this gives you a good idea of what the shelves look like.



Ah!  A library at last!  I LOVE this room now!  

There are a lot of great tutorials on-line about how to do this kind of project.  I didn't give a lot of details here, but if you have specific questions, just shoot me an e-mail.  

Now I really must go.  If you need me, I'll be reading in the library.



Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Morning Flowers!!

 It's Spring, My People!

Bring on the fields of flowers!







Hope you have a wonderful day!


In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
                          --Margaret Atwood