Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Last Day before Leaving

I’m doing one more study of Google Maps and the atlas before leaving tomorrow. I want to be in Herkimer, N.Y., by 1 p.m. to take the Erie Canal tour. I’m nervous, scared, and excited. You would think after taking a couple of solitary trips already that I’d be an old hand at it. I’m not. 
Interstate 70 through Illinois and Missouri looks to be one huge construction zone after another. There’s not a quicker route, though, so even with all the headaches of slower and perhaps backed up traffic, it is still the better way to go.  

Yesterday morning I awoke with the realization I’m not just leaving on Wednesday, but Wednesday was in two days. Yikes! How am I going to do it all to get ready? I cranked some tunes and danced a bit as I got ready. I pulled out the box holding my two pretty dresses. Do I dare try them on? I haven’t put on a dress since the last cruise I went on in 2002. Hmmm, maybe they’re not too bad. I have a black rayon blouse I can wear over the top and leave open. Not as bad as I thought… as long as I don’t look too closely in a mirror.

I made piles on my bed; an outfit for seven days (not counting the dressy outfits). I’ll have to do laundry once while traveling. I have a routine I do with the suitcases. Most outfits go into the big suitcase. I use a smaller suitcase for items needed for the night and the next day. That way I don’t have to drag everything into the hotels each night. I will swap out dirty clothes for clean clothes for subsequent hotel stops (dirty ones are put in a plastic bag). A third smaller suitcase holds swimsuit, cover-up, and towel. That stays in the car, too, unless I’m at a hotel that has a pool. 

I couldn’t get my Tracfone to come on, so I took it to Radio Shack. I ended up buying a new phone. That went in the backpack along with recorder and spare camera lens.

I kept worrying about dressing up. I have the attitude that I’m not a dressy person; people will have to take me as I am. That’s a good stand in some aspects, but I am not comfortable about it in this instance and it really wouldn’t do for this kind of a wedding, especially as I’m family. I asked Nan McCarthy to come over and give her opinion on the dresses. I tried both on and was surprised by her reaction – she said they looked nice. OK, I’m going to wear a dress! And that meant I had to dig through my jewelry box to find something appropriate to go with the dress.

Throughout the day I plugged away and was surprised at how much I got done. I guess I’ll be ready after all… won’t I?

This morning my first thought was: Oh, my Gosh! I need to have wedding gift ready. I had an idea for that and later I ran out to the store to get wedding wrappings. 

Then there’s readying the bag of writing, drawing, reading, and work material. Another bag holds a plate, placemat, travel mugs for hot and cold beverages, and eating utensils. I do not like using Styrofoam plates, cups, and plastic knives and forks. Snacks and such go in a cooler. Do you think I over pack? I am considering taking my coffee pot and own coffee because I think hotel coffee tastes like dishwater, but I’m already taking so much. 

Tomorrow morning will be the last minute packing of laptop, journal, and anything I forgot today.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Countdown to Leaving Day Continues

Work for the week over, I am back to getting ready for the trip. I have to work hard to keep the panic down. I don’t feel ready – but I will be!

This morning I dug out the old Tracfone and a recorder I bought for my January-February 2015 trip. I haven’t used either since. The Tracfone doesn’t seem to be charging. I bet I’ll have to get a new one. I may not use a cell phone around home, but I need one while traveling. It’ll be off to Radio Shack tomorrow, I guess.

I changed the batteries in the recorder. I didn’t make good use of it on the last trip. This time I want to use it for making notes as I’m driving. I hate it when I forget something I saw. Often there are just little things like something in the scenery, a funny sign, or a place I might want to visit sometime. 

I keep looking at the atlas, but the route is pretty much decided, unless for some reason I take a detour. I love maps. Of course, it’s always a worry that I’ve missed something and I’ll mess up. I won’t.

I have a huge list of things I need to get done before I leave – and leaving is only three days away (that is if I can get out of here on Wednesday, which I’d like to). I have crossed off one item on the list of 16 as of this moment, now a second, but I added another.

Tomorrow I’ll do laundry and that’s when I’ll pack clothes. I’m not a dressy-up person and I worry about wearing a dress. Will the family be disappointed if I’m not in a dress? I don’t wear dresses well. I do have an old dress that’s really beautiful – as long as I’m not wearing it. I’ll try it on and if I don’t like it, I’ll have to stick to pants and shirt. They’ll have to take me as I am.

But I think they know that by now.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tidal Wave

This is what it’s like when a poem comes to me…

Tidal Wave

Something within opens wide 
and I am slammed
words and passion
pour into my soul
with tidal-wave force

I can’t catch my breath
I have to get it down
have to release the words
that are churning inside
that threaten to explode

But my hand  
can’t move fast enough
the pen skips
I struggle to get
the words on the page

My mind is drowning
I write quickly
to channel this flood
before the waters recede
before it abandons me

Suddenly it’s over
leaving me 
gasping for breath
on the drying shore
spent, but relieved

I relax in the sun
excited I’ve been given
another poem.
    ---Sasha Wolfe ‘16

There’s an immense in-pouring that needs to immediately be released. There’s a definite feeling of being a channel. The words pour in and through me.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Traveling to Wichita


My oldest grandson, Soren, is getting married. I’ve known about this for months because he called from Wichita in March to personally invite me. I was excited. Of course, I’ll come and I’ll drive out!  But once the initial excitement waned, I began to have second thoughts. What was I thinking! Drive to Wichita, Kansas by myself?

I perused Google Maps and a 2013 atlas checking the best routes. I figured the way I drive (only good for about five hours) that it will take five days to get out there. I’ll allow myself seven so I don’t have to hurry and can take time to sight see.

Interstate 90 will be the initial main route through New York and that goes near Niagara Falls. This might be my one chance to see those spectacular sites and I checked hotels in the area. My fear of crowds set in and I decided not to go to Niagara. I did book hotel rooms in Kansas City, Mo., and Wichita as I’m meeting up with family. Check-in date in KC is Sept. 1. 

Then I let a couple months go by. I’d mention to people that I would be traveling, but I didn’t do any further planning. Yesterday it hit me, “Oh, my Gosh, if I’m going to be in KC Sept. 1, I have to leave next week! Yikes!” I don’t have anything ready. Panic set it. I need to put together check lists, figure what I need to pack, and make room for my work which will come with me. Do I have to bring a dress for the wedding? I’m not a dress person. How am I going to get ready in time?

No, don’t panic, I keep telling myself. If worse comes to worse, I can throw some stuff in the car and just head out. I’ll be OK. I’ll make it. It will be a great adventure.

I spent a couple hours, well, four hours, on Google Maps and the atlas again studying the routes and time frames and taking notes. As with my other two solo driving trips, I’m making few solid plans. I want to be as spontaneous as possible. 

Initially I was thinking that I’d come home a different way, but I’ll probably return along the same routes. This way, if I see something interesting and don’t have time to stop on the way out, I can do so on the way back. Nothing is set in stone except I have to be home before Sept. 17. I’ll be home before then. I am thinking maybe I’ll be gone around two weeks.

New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indianapolis, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas will be the states I travel in or through. I plan on doing my first over night in New York. It would be nice to do an Eric Canal tour. Will I be able to see Lake Erie from the thruway? I can’t think and although I’ve looked up a couple sites online, I’ll stop at rest stops for brochures or get them from a hotel.

I found one exciting site I’m hoping to visit. It’s called the Chain of Rocks Bridge and it spans the Mississippi River between Madison, Ill., and St. Louis, Mo. At one time, it was part of Route 66 and what’s really unique about this bridge is that there is a 30 degree bend in it. They had to build it that way because of the river and boat navigation. Today it’s part of a 300 mile network of hiking and biking trails. Parking is on the Illinois side. I hope I have the stamina to be able to walk at least a little ways out onto the bridge. Imagine the photographs! I’ll have to double up on Tylenol that day and hope I can walk that far.

Nan will take care of my precious puss, Pele, while I’m gone and today I went to Shaws to make sure there is plenty of food and kitty litter. I’m having a hard time getting my head around what I need to pack. 

The countdown is on. There is still much I need to do around the house and with the gardens. I don’t need to do it all before I leave. I really need to concentrate on my check list and making sure I have everything I need for the trip.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Time to Garden – Part 6

My beautiful hollyhocks, Spring Celebration Crimson and Spring Celebration Pink, which I bought on July 24 are not looking so good. I planted as directed, full sun in a sheltered corner of the house, but they are withering and looking like they are burning up.

This morning I was going to move them to the side of the house, but when I checked them, it dawned on me that the problem is what is known as rust. Rust on hollyhocks is a fungus and starts as lemon-yellow to orange spots. The spores can easily travel in their air from other gardens. 

The disease starts on the lower leaves, but if not taken care of, it will spread to upper leaves, stems, and calyx (the outer part of the flower). The leaves shrivel and mine are turning a grayish-brown which was why I thought they weren’t getting enough water. And now the plants are full of those orange spots now.

Some websites say it is prevalent this year and to treat with a fungicide and another site says the fungicides don’t work. The sites also say to destroy the plants if heavily affected. My plants are only a couple weeks old, so before I do that, I headed off to Agway to talk to the gardener there. 

Melissa is great and has given me great advice on purchasing flowers this year. She wasn’t surprised. She said it’s because of the extreme humidity we’ve been having. She said to definitely not destroy the plants and the fungicide (a sulphur product) will save the plants. They will look awful for the rest of this season, but next spring they should come back fine.

I gave my hollyhocks a heavy dose of powder and planted the new hibiscus. Later, I looked up the information again to include it in the reference book I’m putting together on the plants in my yard. Now I see that hibiscus are also susceptible to rust. Luckily my hibiscus look good right now, but I will keep an eye out. 

I’ve been lucky so far with the gardening this year. This is the first major problem with the beautiful flowers. Yes, I do have Japanese beetles, too. 

My mother used to grow hollyhocks. I remember them growing up the side of the house near the chimney where I used to play ball. Now that I think about it, I remember her plants getting those orange spots sometimes.

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Major Project

Gardening is on hold for now with the heat and lack of water. It’s time to get back to being an artist. The lack of focus and organization in my artist’s life is causing my mind to spin ‘round and ‘round without anything getting resolved. I’ve never been good with set schedules since I quit working full time years ago. 

I’ve been working on this. I do have some routine to my life: journaling every morning, taking time to get some exercise be it on the air walker or gardening, and a couple other things. The gardening gets me out of this chair and outside. The other day I actually scheduled in a few tasks on my calendar – only a couple. I don’t want to go overboard and then not do it. I only set four jobs, two at two-hour intervals and two at one-hour.

Two of these jobs are huge tasks. One is to organize all the writing I’ve done and figure out categories and folders. Currently they are all over the place in various files on the computer, sometimes duplicated, and some are hard-copy prints. I need to have order to these writings to figure out what will go in the next book and to what type of book.

The second task will be even bigger – go through the past 10 years of photographs (since going digital) and delete everything but the few absolutely best pictures. This means thousands of photos and some will be harder to access because I’ve upgraded computers twice since starting. The photos are somewhere.

Today is day one for the first task and I’ve already not followed the schedule. I was busy doing some gardening project at the scheduled time, however, I did start tackling the task after lunch, and I actually worked over the two-hour limit. I managed to move all my writings from Dropbox main file and put them into folders: Book (I am getting ready to do a poetry one), Poems (which there are folders in folders), and Writings (which includes letters, stories, and miscellaneous writings). I also printed copies.

My goal is to get some kind of semblance as to what type of book my writings will fit into. The poetry book will be exciting, but I have to find all the poems I’ve written on this particular topic. Unfortunately, being a spontaneous writer, I write to the moment, to whatever subject is filling my mind. I’ll start a theme, but something will come along to pull my thoughts elsewhere. 

This writing is drivel compared to what I’ve been working with this afternoon. I’ve done some pretty fine pieces. They need to be shared.

This is a sample of what I do when the words are flowing well:

Drunk on Joy

My eyes drink in
a landscape serene
causing my heart
to explode with wonder

I cannot hold this joy
there are no words
to express the intensity
in my soul

How can I shake 
this passion
I cannot describe?

Who will feel 
this amazement
that fills all my crevices?

I stagger home
my heart leaking
tears of joy.

---- Sasha Wolfe

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Searching for Direction and Purpose

For someone who writes all the time, I feel like the loose end of a rope in hurricane winds. I’m just flopping around going every which way. I’m very passionate about my writing, but my topics are all over the place. I can’t seem to find one clear direction or purpose. It bothers me because how can I ever develop a solid audience if I’m not focused.

I am ruled by my emotions and most of my writing comes from whatever emotion is stirring me at the moment. Today might be something I read that ignites the spark in my mind, tomorrow could be about gardening or an adventure I go on (even if it’s something that strikes me while running errands), and the day after that, my mind could be on fire writing about a comment someone made.

If I can’t feel what I’m writing, the words and stories mean nothing to me. Even the news articles I write for the paper or a magazine must stir my emotions and be a subject of interests. 

I have to admit that I purposely work emotionally. That’s what fuels my passion to write. I take topics and explore them with words and feelings. I consider hows and whys. But the issue comes down to publishing. How can I write more books when I operate with a lack of specific purpose?

I wrote “Too Cold for Alligators” and when it was time to publish, I had to choose a category. It was disheartening to realize that how and what I write does not fit into one category. And yet, it’s very exciting to me to write this way. I don’t want to be put in a box. I want to add poems, pictures, segments of history, maps, and such to my stories. Why does that have to be a no, no?

I wrote the second travel book – well, partly travel, but including the above parts, too. And this is where I… fumbled. I don’t want to spend the hundreds of dollars to have the book not be successful. I put it in the travel category and travel readers are disappointed because it’s not a normal travel-writing book. If I mention poetry then people who don’t like poetry won’t read it. I can’t refer to self-help because I won’t tell people what to do (if something in my story stirs them in a direction or helps them deal with a situation then I’ve done my job). 

I can’t even fully explain why and how I’m road blocked – because I absolutely refuse to do what every other author does. Am I a failure? No, I’m sticking up for what I believe. I’m sticking up for me! I am not a cookie-cutter writer.

I continue to journal daily and I write an occasional blog. I write emails to friends and I write some stories for the newspaper. I have thousands of pages of various other writings that mean something. My mind has been stuck on how to organize it all into cohesive subjects to put together books. I remain stuck. The task is daunting.

There is something within me that is driven, though. I feel pushed to make this happen. I 100 percent believe my writing serves a purpose. I may not be able to state exactly what that purpose is, but the desire to do it pulls me apart because I’m not getting it all together. I have hard copies of some filed in various folders. There are hundreds of writings in various places on the computer. And I’m writing new things.
Last night’s reading of “The Courage to Create” by Doreen Virtue stirred something within. She wrote, “You can’t water down your original idea to make it conform to normal.” I’ve never been “normal.” I’ve never wanted to do exactly what everyone else was doing (and maybe why I had few friends in school). For me, to “water down” my creativity to be “normal,” is like chopping off one of my hands. 

This insight has not solved my issue with direction and purpose with my writing because I still don’t have a specific category to fit my writing into. But getting an affirmation to be true to my own style of creativity has ignited the spark again. The door is open.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Time to Garden – Part 5

When, where, and how to build a rock garden

I am a bit of a rock hound. I’ve been collecting rocks for years -- from gem stones, minerals, beach rocks, and ones that just catch my fancy. I have pieces from Arizona, coral from the Caribbean, minerals from Ruggles Mine, and stones from other places I’ve traveled. There are glass bowls and small pine needle baskets inside the house holding pretty stones and outside I have small buckets and other containers full of various rocks (some I’ve actually paid for).

My plan outside is to build a rock garden. Now these are not the big rocks that make entire walls, these are mostly pocket-sized and smaller. (Hey, when I’m out for a walk with camera, notebook, and walking stick, what I pick up has to fit in my pocket!) 

A rock garden keeps coming to mind when I think about all these stones, but I can’t quite figure out in my head how to go about it. Do I build an entirely new area; a complete rock garden? And figure out how and what flowers to plant there? Or do I use them in the existing gardens to try to highlight the various plants? Do I line up all the stones so they can be seen or do I make piles? Also, do I try to choose the color of the stones to match or compliment the flowers around them?

Oh, so many choices. I’m kinda (love the not-real-word, kinda) leaning towards its own garden, but I’m not sure where to put it. Perhaps I should choose flowers for it first and do a real design instead of just throwing the flowers in the ground. However, I can’t even begin to imagine which flowers would look great with colorful and interesting rocks.

Still thinking and although I wanted to do it this year, it may not happen until next spring.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Living Together in a Community

I’m making my comments in my blog because what I have to say is too long for a Facebook (FB) page. The need for good discussions is important. Yes, sometimes it’s hard to keep calm when you’re passionate about a topic, but talking together (calmly and respectfully) is what will make this a better community and earn us respect from the rest of the town.

My intent in life is to be a good community neighbor, a friend; to be respectful of others, be courteous. I moved to the Emerald Lake District last August partly because of timing and necessity and partly because I couldn’t find another home that was within my budget and where I wanted to live. I settled for what I felt was a less-than-par house because my other home sold and I had to get out. 

It has been a huge change. My previous house was 3,300 SF with a full partially-finished basement, 2-car garage, large shed, on 3 acres surrounded by fields and woods. I’m used to lots of quiet and space, and here, with neighbors fairly close, I have to get used to more noise and traffic on a dirt road along with a much smaller house and hardly any land. But I’m working hard to Sasha-fy my house and yard, to make it my home.

I already have two good friends who live here, but I have to admit, I hated moving here. However, neighbors have been very nice and their friendliness has really helped me feel more at home here, and I am very thankful. I no longer hate living here. This is my home, my forever home.

I’ve been participating in some conversations on the ELVD FB page and I’ve made comments of my own. For two days I’ve been mulling over what’s been said. At first I just wanted to say the heck with it all and crawl into a hole. I don’t like dissension or confrontation. (I’m always joking that I want to build a moat around my house and become a hermit, drop off the grid – however I can’t do that considering I’m editor of the InterTown Record Newspaper for the Kearsarge/Sunapee region, freelance writer-photographer, and artist). Plus, I am now part of this community and it’s important to work out issues and get along.

I’ve been talking to people and looking at various situations: The terrible drought this year, ATVs and other nonregistered vehicles on the roads, and litter situations along the roads and at the beaches. I realize that people can’t always agree. It’s easy to say, “Agree to disagree,” but not easy to do. I am learning about the district and what it all means to live here.

ELVD has undergone many changes. Heck, everything has undergone changes. People have commented that they’d like to see improvement in the image of how the district has been perceived by other residents and business owners in Hillsborough. I thought that perhaps a few articles in The Villager talking about what a great area we are would help. I decided to start with the water issue.

But over the weekend, an issue with ATVs zooming up and down the dirt roads and raising dust took forefront. I commented on FB and there were a lot of feedback on both sides. My point is that I don’t have an issue if they are going from Point A to Point B (like getting to a trailhead), drive safely, slowly, quietly, and respectfully (and some do), but those that just joy ride up and down the street over and over are annoying and a danger.

There are those who want that right to ride like that; those who say they moved here to have that freedom. 

I’ve thought about this. Maybe at one time that was OK. Now, however, times have changed. The district is more developed. There are more full-time residents who live here year-round. The streets are busier with people walking and biking. There are kids out playing. Some are spending a lot of money to make their homes look nice. And while we can appreciate and welcome vacationers and weekenders, we don’t want to be seen as a “campy” area.

To have vehicles joyriding up and down the streets, raising huge dust clouds on these dry roads, and creating excess noise is a concern. And they tend to drive fast on the streets that are fairly straight. In areas where there are many residents, we need to be respectful of one another. Heck, I don’t even dare play my Native American flute outside for fear of disturbing the neighbors. The one day I did, people heard it one street over. They said it was nice, but I don’t want to be bothering others. And I would never think about bringing my big drum outside and wailing away on it. (I just hope the neighbors can’t hear it from inside the house.)

So, I’m trying to think of how we can have discussions to make our community a great place to live for us all. How can we be respectful of each other and protect our properties? 

What do you think?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Time to Garden – Part 4

July was a crazy month and although I didn’t make time to write about the gardens, I’ve been out there working almost every day. I usually go out about 8-9 a.m. while it’s still shady out front, then again at 5:30 p.m. when the shade returns. Yes, I regret not keeping up with this as so much has gone on.

The front gardens were finally weeded and I got all the new plants in the ground or in flower boxes. I haven’t made up my mind if I want the big boxes attached to the house again. Window boxes look cute, but I would have to walk through the garden to water and deadhead the plants. That could lead to accidently crushing or breaking the flowers planted in the ground. Plus, rain in the window boxes causes soil to splash against the house.

Right now the boxes are sitting along the edge of the garden. Those front edges are on hold until I get the walkway put in as I’m not sure yet how the design will go. There’s a decision to be made with this, too. Do I want stepping stones or go for a more expensive “real” walkway. My preference is a real walkway. I want to make my house inviting and a good walkway will make people feel more comfortable coming to the door. (Of course I always tell everyone that if the garage door is open, they are welcome to come in that way.)

The garage was finished and this opened the opportunity for more gardening. The garage is attached to the house and there’s the section under a window which opened an area to add new plants between the old side of the house and the driveway. The garage sits back 5 feet from the front edge of the house which makes that section of garden deeper than that along the front of the house.

The house and garage sit on a raised area which means there’s an embankment on all four sides (close to being able to have that moat I’m always joking about). The builder suggested I grass in the flat area around the outside of the garage, but I’m not a lawn person. I couldn’t make up my mind what I wanted to do with that sandy area that leads around to the back of the garage and deck.

The area to the far side of the garage and down over the embankment had purple cone flowers. He suggested I move them, but Echinacea doesn’t like to be moved and I like that they were planted near rocks. I weeded and mulched the area after cutting back the blackberry briars. I planted rudbeckia (another type of cone flower) in front of rocks nearby and mulched that in.

I worked on the garden manual in between the physical aspects of playing in the dirt. I am gathering information on all the flowers and plants in my yard and creating my own book complete with photos from the yard. I’ve been waiting for the plants that came with the property to bloom so I could identify those and add them to the manual, too. 

I stopped at The Lily Lady in Sutton on July 17 and purchased eight different kinds of daylilies. Yeah, I get carried away. Marge Davison is wonderful and gives all kinds of advice and tips on how to care for these beauties. She carefully dug up the ones I chose and put them in a big trash bag with a little water. They sat in my garage for a couple of days while I prepared the area I’d chosen for the lily garden.

The one issue with my yard is that every rock I turn over, every clump of weed I pull, and every place dug in the ground, thousands of ants swarm. I can’t even stay still for a few moments and they are crawling on me. They are even all over the plants so when I am deadheading the spent blossoms, I have ants crawling up my arms. Arrgggh! I may have to get an exterminator next year.

It took two days to get the area ready for the lilies (two days because I only work while the area is shady). I wished for a second opinion in the garden design, but, alas, it’s just me. I went to sleep at night thinking about the lily bed design, woke in the night thinking about it, and it was on my mind in the morning. 

Marge had told me I needed nine holes for the lilies, but I found I could divide the plants even further. She had said it they come apart easily, they are ready to divide. I worked on one or two holes at a time, mixing two different potting soils, adding water to make a much, then choosing the lily to put in the hole. I built a moat around each plant and watered.

The sun came out and I roasted, but I wanted to get it all done. Sweat dripped off my brow and ran down my nose. My body was screaming in pain from the bending over. I had five lilies to go when my area was filled. Now what? I took a break until after 5:30 when the area shaded again. I put the last five lilies in on the higher level beside the garage not sure if that’s where I’d keep them. Uh, oh, I had one tag left over. I got mixed up in the dividing of plants. I had to wait until the other lilies bloomed to match that tag. I mulched the new garden areas the next day.

The affects of the drought hit and the district posted a strict water ban – no watering of grass or flowers were on the list. I was upset. After spending a lot of money on beautiful flowers to make my place look great, now I can’t water them? Yes, I have the brook out back, but I can’t get down to the little bit of water, and if I could, I’d never get the heavy bucket up the embankment.

I posted my issue on Facebook. Someone offered to help me set up a sump pump to get water from the brook and I picked one up at Aubuchon’s. In the meantime, others suggested a rain barrel. But what’s the sense of a rain barrel if there’s no rain?

A water angel came through. “Take the sump pump back,” she said, “and I’ll come fill your barrel every few days.” Wow! How nice is that! My heart was overflowing with joy that two people offered to help me.

A couple days later I came home from an assignment and there were jugs of water beside the garage door along with 10 more lily plants. I was so happy, but where to put these new plants? But before I could plant them, I had to make an Agway run for more potting soil. I couldn’t help getting a couple more flowering plants.

I read that lilies don’t mind sand. The back and side area of the garage is all sand, so I built a terrace in the embankment and planted the lilies mixing the potting soil with sand. I wasn’t sure how it would work. If we got a good rain, would the mulch and sand all slough off down the hill? (It hasn’t yet).

I planted hollyhocks and the balloon flower next then I tackled the area below the railroad tie retaining wall that Michael had built behind the garage. I had previously planted a couple of hostas that Nan had given me and I wanted to weed that area between the wall and a couple of big rocks.

First I had to build steps down the soft, sandy embankment. I used a few leftover planks that Michael had cut from the deck when doing the garage. It’s not the sturdiest construction setting the planks into the sand, but they served the purpose for the moment and I finished the weeding and mulching.

My water angel has been bringing me water. I set out two big plastic trash buckets which she is filling. We were lucky to get a little rain, too which perked things up. I want more flower gardens.

There is one forsythia bush bordering the road and the driveway and another on the opposite side of the property behind the dumpster. There were indentations in the lawn which looked like other plants might have been put in there at one time, but now were grassed in. I dug out the grass and two are forsythia and one looks to be a lilac. I made little beds with mulch and put up little white fences to protect them. I’ll see what happens in the next couple of years (I know lilacs take a long time whereas forsythia is fast growing.)

This morning I put the planter full of catmint and the one with regular mint and chocolate mint on little glass garden tables. I dug up (what I think is) a butterfly bush that was growing too close to the rose bush and moved that to the garden area that has more open space. 

Little steps and I’ll be a gardener yet.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Moving Forward with My Creative Life

Last night I got out markers and 3X5 colored index cards and while watching TV, I wrote up some new affirmation cards based on the reading done earlier. (See the July 31 posting). I place these cards around the house to put in my face what I want to hear. And I decided that I should read these cards aloud every day, at least once.

One of the sayings that really struck me was “Think ONLY thoughts of love and success and that’s what I’ll get.” I repeated the words “love and success” over and over throughout the night; every time my thoughts started to spiral downward. I included the words in my gratitude prayers at bedtime and I repeated them when I got up during the night, and I was able to fall back to sleep quickly without mulling over negative thoughts. 

I began the love and success mantra again upon waking and getting ready for the day. I project love and success outward and take in love and success returning. I feel better today (mentally) than I have for awhile. I’m not allowing myself to get stressed.

I was even able to journal about yesterday’s issues with objectivity and I began planning where I intend to go from here. My art career has been on hold for over a year as I’ve been distracted by the house, garden, and getting to know my new community. Time is flying by. When am I going to get back to doing my real art?

It dawned on me that I’ve been spending too much time on Facebook. Those seconds or minutes it takes to read and respond add up and take up a lot of time; time I could be doing something more constructive, and now that my studio is cleaner, I am eager to get to the easel and begin drawing again.

“My creative passion is so strong I don’t want to do anything else.” What an awesome statement. But what IS my creative passion at this point? When was the last time I felt that? Distractions and other projects have taken over my life. I am pleased with how I’ve Sasha-fied my house and the flower gardens and yard are looking amazing and while there are creative endeavors there, that’s not my true passion.

I am a writer foremost and that’s a driving force, but there are different kinds of writing. I write stories for the newspaper, I write up interviews, and I put together and write a weekly column. I write letters and emails. The editing and calendar work with the newspaper also has to do with words. Half the time when I’m talking to people now I am thinking that would be a great story.

“My work must be a natural extension of myself.” The type of writing mentioned above, while I enjoy it, is not the passion of my personal writing; when I write for me. The writing above has to be done without emotion. My writing passion is all on an emotional level. Feelings drive me. The emotions behind thought patterns drive me. My goal through my writing is not only for self-healing, but that perhaps some of what I experience may help others, too.

When was the last time I had one of those emotional, creative, in-flow of words that pour out onto the page? March or was it February, and then it was just a couple of days. What about finishing the two in-process books? The distractions of the house and other work blocked that spontaneous creative flow along with the stress that rose within.

I have kept to photography by participating in a photo-a-day project which keeps me using the camera. Plus I’ve been taking pictures of the gardens and house as I make changes. But still, these are not photography as art. I haven’t used the photo printers in almost a year (and that means I’ll probably have to replace all the ink cartridges – well over $100 for all).

And there’s the drawing. I now have space at the easel and every day when I’m on my air walker I’m looking at the half finished piece taped to the drawing board. There’s a strong desire to draw, but where am I going with it? What do I want to do; where do I want it to go? Will it sit in the back room in a foam wrapper? Will I just hang it on my walls? 

But I have to do art! I have to.

So while some of the verdict as to my art direction is still wavering a bit, I am feeling more confident in what I want to do. And what’s funny is that it is always what I want to do. Sometimes I just let those distractions distract me.