Aging gracefully. Standing Amongst the Sunflowers.

Plant them and they will grow.

Reseed and they will grow. Some will grow.

Spend $20 on seed and six weeks later end up with 10 flowers.

My sunflowers almost got the best of me this year, as I showed in this silly vlog for the Ten Things of Thankful group.

Something kept eating them. Their little heads would pop up and be whittled away by wee bugs overnight.

Then to realize they had bug spittle all over them.

It was almost too much.

But this past week, my persistence paid its dividend.

Yellow petals finally withdrew from those shy brown and yellow faces.

Ten Things of Thankful that I persevered with my sunflowers.

 

sunflower4

 

10.   Every time I pull in my driveway I smile.

 

9.   Bees.

 

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It’s one thing to write about bees. Entirely another to watch them in action. Every time I look, every head has at least one bee working away.

Single-minded focus.

 

8. Yellow.

sunflower2

 

See the bee. See the yellow. See the bee buzz in the yellow.

How can you feel sad staring at this color?

(Although living in a room of it for 48 hours might have me tearing out my toenails with my incisors.)

 

7.   Tall.

Once you get the babies past the critical stage, they tower over me. And I’m tall.

A fact that I hated in seventh grade. Sunflowers have incredibly posture.

 

6.  They greet the sun every morning.

As heliotropes, their heads tilt upward and swivel all day following the sun.

Each dawn they face east, waiting expectantly for the light.

 

5.  They just do their thang.

 

Sunflowers are content. Glorious in their own imperfections.

 

sunflower1

 

4.   They relax and let others do their job.

 

The rains beat them down. Then once the sun is out, they straighten up best they can. Spewing forth pollen, they allow their estheticians — the bees —  to work away.

 

 

3.   Heads grow heavy and backs bend. Elegantly.

 

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2.  Time takes it’s toll.

 

It may only be a few days, not 50 years — but rain, those darned bees, bugs ripping their leaves into Swiss cheese, leave their mark.  Just a few weeks after blooming, those radiant heads look like hell.

 

1.   It holds fruit. Tons of fruit.

 

Shhh. Don’t tell them. But in a week or so, their heads packed with seeds will hang low facing the ground. The stalks once so green will turn as a tobacco leaf ready for rolling into a cigar.

Age does get us all.

The sunflower matures without a compliant.

Acquiesces to the ravages of time with a gentle bow.

Not I.

Pooh.

 

Linking up with . . .

Ten Things of Thankful

 

 

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Why was I holding a spoon? And other ways to unwind.

Yesterday had been one of those days.

Up early.

Race an hour away for an interview for story.

Do interview.

Race into shop there hoping to find more camp gear for daughter.

Race the hour home.

Race to appointment.

Dashed to store to pick up something for dinner.  Workout.

You know the drill. We all live it.

Summers are my favorite time of year but the house stays ransacked with three children around most days.

A friend had texted about small gathering on her porch yesterday afternoon.

I was determined to get there.

Fifteen minutes late to leave, I decided to wear my exercise wear (no time to shower) and then I saw the dishwasher still half emptied. I reached down into the racks to finish the job before I left.

Then stopped.

No.

I called a child to finish the task. And sped to my car.

When I got to my car in the drive I looked down at my hand and saw this.

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I was scratching my head as to why I had a spoon in my hand — only remembering about the dishwasher much later.

Speeding through the beautiful rolling hills of the countryside, I noticed their green brilliance after all the rain.

I gathered my items and ran in my friend’s house to find smile faces. Putting down my spoon, I picked up a glass.

And took a deep breath.

June memories

 

And thanked God for dear friends who keep me sane.

What moments have you enjoyed this summer?

Do you let yourself rest from the busy fun?

Link up with Galit and Alison and Memories Captured.

 

 

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Summer. Where are you wandering to?

I like hot.

Dripping with sweat and sticky with salty residue, I prefer to walk outdoors without worry about a sweater or mittens.

I love swimming. Especially outdoors. In oceans and lakes possible only when the air temperature is warm and heavy.

Picking a photo to link up with Galit this month, how could I not choose the water? And my non-scheduled, non-fighting in this photo, brown as berry children.

These are the images that will play in my head when pressing skies turn grey and weary. When the wind becomes cold and fussy.

Summer vacation will only last a few more weeks around here.

And yesterday with my bored children starting their Christmas wish books — their term, not mine —

It’s time.

No.

Never.

 

What is left of your summer vacay?

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Summer lovin. Top ten summer memories.

Summer is my favorite time of the year. I want to savor each minute. So Stasha’s Monday Listicles this week is perfect for me.

A list of LIST OF 10 SUMMER MEMORIES.

 

10. Blueberry snowcones.

 

image credit

 

Peering through the window of the vendor’s trailer at New Smyrna Beach while he pours blueberry syrup on a snowpile of ice.

 

9.  The sound of a Honda motor scooter.

The buzzzz of those rental motorbikes going back and forth on the beach all day long was almost as much part of the day as the roar of the waves.

 

8.  Staying up late watching Johnny Carson.

When home from college, all I would have to do was wake up in time to roll into some job. I’d stay up late, sitting in bed watching Johnny and Ed.

How fun if I could do that tonight.

 

7.  Summer Tennis Camp.

Which I actually hated. Not that I hate tennis but whole lining up and hitting the ball only to be made to play games at end of week. No thank you.

But I did it every year. Azalea Lane or Rollins College. Usually riding my bike there with my friend. She didn’t seem to mind it. Ugh.

 

6. Fireflies.

Fireflies don’t exist in Central Florida. I held my breath every summer visiting my Georgia grandmother as darkness descended and the light fairies began twinkling over her snapdragons.

 

5. Popsicles.

 

4. Tomato sandwiches with lots of mayo.

 

3.  Being bored.

 

2.  Fishing, fishing, fishing

I was definitely a tomboy and grew up with white lake sand and stinky sulfur -smelling lake water between my toes. As a girl, I would spend most summer days fishing in the little lake in front our house.

 

1. Trying to capture a bit of all that with my children.

Each summer, I do try and travel back down the bumpy road of the last few decades and experience the carefree, sleeping in, tennis camp, Johnny Carson-watching summer days of yore.

And every now and then…usually when I smell the tomato leaves in my garden or see the blinking firefly I take a deep breath and I am there.

What about you?

 

 

 

 

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Summer ended a day or so ago. Musing on goodbye.

Most people are relieved when fall arrives.

I like fall. I love the change of seasons but happy about ever-increasing gray skies, shorter days and cooler temperatures?

Deep down in my footie-pajamas, not one bitty-bit.

Today was a wonderful goodbye to summer. The sun shone bright; the clouds stayed where they should — far, far away.

Plenty of beach, blue water and blue sky.

 I tried to flag them down for a ride…

They didn’t hear me.

I brought some things to read. Notice the top book. How to Write a Book Proposal.

That didn’t get opened last day of summer.

It was a day for me and my trusty hat to sit in the sun.

There were some other girls who chose to sit in the shade.

Only babies sit in the shade the last day of summer.

Decided to take one last walk.

It was a great long one. Long enough that my tender girly feet feel a little scraped which is okay, since it’s the last-time-it-can-happen-this-summer feeling scraped.

Took one last swim. The water was extremely warm.

But the tide pulled.

And kept pulling. Just like those fellows wearing the red helmets in Tuscaloosa, it rolled on in…

And took my beach away.

So for another year, I bid the sand and salt and water — adieu.

How about you? Have you said goodbye to summer?

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Musing on Disposable Summers.

Diapers (thank God), dinnerware, flip-flops.

Today we consume and throw away things 30 years ago we never would have thought to.

Televisions, microwaves break —  we toss them.

* * *

Just finished an Anne Rivers Siddons novel, Off Season.

Completely engrossed in the last third of the book, of all Lilly Constable McCall’s life story, only one line stayed with me. It stamped into my emotional well with an unwieldy metal embossing seal.

Lilly’s father was talking to her after a tragedy had drawn the 11 year old up to her room removing her from the world.

“You may not think so now, but you can’t afford to waste a summer. Nobody can, not even somebody as young as you. I remember how it felt, thinking you had all the time in the world left, but that’s not always true. You know that. Don’t throw these summers away, darling.” (emphasis mine.)

Don’t throw these summers away.

Don’t throw these remaining days of summer away — that’s what called to me. Don’t bemoan hot, dry, no rain. Don’t complain hot and sticky when it does.

Swim, lie in the sun.

Don’t curse car seats burns my ample rear. Thank God I’m wearing shorts rather than layers of clothing. (People would think me mad if I left the house half-dressed anyway.)

Breathe deeply of tomatoes fresh from the garden and dust and walking in the bright light after 7:30 p.m.

Choose grateful acceptance of heat, sun and salt over emotional lies rehearsed for decades.

Summer in all it’s imperfection should be spilled out and enjoyed.

What are you going to do with this summer day?

 

 

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Musing on How Does Your Okra Grow?

My babies.

Gardens are funny.

You think you know what’s planted —  then once everything starts to mature, it becomes obvious some things are missing.

Okra.

Now if you told me last September I’d be to this point in the summer of 2011 without any okra in my garden I would have REJOICED.

Last summer okra was squeezing out my eye sockets and growing out from under my toenails.

But this year as everything got big enough to identify, I realized none of the okra transplants made it. The drought was hard on everything. We replanted or reseeded quite a few things.

Suddenly, I couldn’t bear a summer without frying, stewing or eating any stripped off the plant right in the garden. Then there was the pickling I planned on.

So yesterday I searched.

Went to Wal*Mart and Lowe’s — and every tomato, pepper, watermelon was gasping for water — but no okra. Even dried up, hurting okra. Everybody already had their okra.

Everybody but me.

And what’s in my garden destined for my frying pan is all that matters.

Then I remembered Southern States.

At Southern States, I looked up and over, down and under the shelves on their front porch. I unearthed about six plants. I took home the three healthiest.

Well, two of the healthiest. One’s puny but I’m hoping to rebuild him a la Steve Austin.



My Charlie Brown okra plant. Any weeds appearing in picture are photoshopped for authenticity.

 

A healthy specimen.

So there’s okra in the garden. 

I’m happy.

If it would only rain, I would be ecstatic.

How does your okra grow?

 

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Dear Diary, to experience one dog day of summer.

I came across this journal entry from January. I think it was a Friday, though not sure. Some days I write the day of the week along with the date, sometimes I don’t. On that day five months ago I wrote:

“Transport me in time to early June, when I can rise early to walk the dog surrounded by warm air as a fish swims through water. No need to roll out of bed in the black of night, pulling on jeans, shirt, sweatshirt, coat, hat, gloves – along with socks and shoes — while trying to stay square on the heating grate.

I wish for tea with crushed ice, lemon slice and two Sweet’N Lows. All served in a tumbler with sweat rolling down its sides sinking into the paper napkin on which it rests. Iced tea to drink instead of the coffee cup that stays within three inches of my right hand. 

 Did I mention not having to tug on sweatshirt, jeans and an overcoat to walk the dog in freezing black?

I long to unhook the wire fence to the garden and rub a tomato vine between my fingers, inhaling deeply, becoming intoxicated on the scent of summer.

Dear God if a trip to the beach was only a few days away and not after enduring months of doom. To know that salt on my lips from a body of water rather than the rim of a glass was just a four hour drive. The car parked, I’d run toward the ocean picking my way through toddlers with purple sand scoops, teenage girls with wet braided hair wearing string bikinis and figures they will never have again in their lifetimes and mothers who occasionally look up from sandy, crumbing paperback copies of “Valley of the Dolls” unearthed from shelves in their rented condos to scan the ocean for a bobbing child’s head.

I could enter the water unnoticed…not like now, in the depth of gray cruel frozen January. When out on the windswept frigid beach, alone save the call of a few gulls – I’d appear as the climactic scene of some romance novel in which the heroine just found out everyone and everything she once thought true was false; a women in the throes of midlife who was holding it all together until they took Intercession from her.

If it was June instead of January, the children would chase fireflies late into the evening. And the crawl from the bed every morning would be greeted with the first rays of a sun that set only hours before, instead of the eternal night of January where no one cheers except for those remotely interested in watching the Flyers and Penguins whip about on ice. Ice, ice and more ice.

Each day would hold promise of something wonderful – and even if nothing special happened – I still could go outside early and walk the dog in flip flops, t-shirt and shorts.” 

After reading those thoughts again, no rain, 100 degrees and brown is the new green in lawn color doesn’t seem so bad.

Well, maybe it is. But I can still walk the dog….

           

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Musing on shopping for sunglasses.

I LOVE shopping for sunglasses.

Nothing so cheaply bought can make me so happy.

Well, nothing I can think of at present.

They must have recently stocked the walls at Target.

I did have the children with me — so that cut down on how many different pairs I could try.

Gray, gold, shell, metal. white, pink.

Round, square, dinner plate sized or tapas. The only thing I’m not too keen about on me is anything cat-like. The ones that pull your eye upward.

Ick.

But after trying on lots, I got down to two pair.

And today I let my children pick the winner.

They’re perfect.

Until I lose them 10 3/4 days from now and have to go through the entire process again.

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Musing on Memorial Day. And Coleslaw.

Summer is here!

Okay not officially here for 24 or so days.

(I did that really quickly for those of you mathematicians who are now thinking how did she get 24?)

This is the start of my favorite time of year.

It’s a beautiful day. All my beautiful baby bird friends are off with the families…THANK GOD.

And thank God for all the service men and women who have fought for our country — since it became a country.

We have it so good.

We are the most clueless bunch of people (for the most part) about appreciating how blessed we are to live in this country.

I’m going to make the most awesome batch of cole slaw from a Kim Sitzman’s recipe — Kim gave it to me saying who she recieved it from. For me the chain of credit stops with her.

Easy and good. I’ve made it so much and it’s fairly simple. Surprising I have to look it up.

I guess with me that’s not so shocking….

YUMMY ———–>>>> EASY Cole Slaw

Mix together

* 1 cup mayo

* 1 tab vinegar

* juice from 1/2 lemon

* 1/2 onion chopped, sliced — whatever.

* salt n pepa

Add —

* Package Cole Slaw.  (That’s the surprise ingredient.)

 

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