Wishing you courage

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow'."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


The purple butterfly bush has bloomed!

Here's a sneak peak of part of the garden ;)  I can't show off photos of the whole thing BECAUSE it is not finished and needs weeding BECAUSE I can't manage to get anything done now that I learned how to knit and crochet.

The tiny flowers are so pretty up close

The white butterfly bush should flower in a few days

I saw the purple flowers this morning and thought "there is such thing as redemption".  I don't know what that means but I do feel terrible about the whole foreclosure thing, even though it has worked out pretty well for me so far.  I don't really expect anything good to happen and I don't feel like I deserve good things to happen.  So it was lovely to see the bushes thriving after being uprooted.

Then the patio furniture from one of my landlady's other properties was delivered tonight.  It is huge and ugly, which means it probably won't be stolen :)  Despite the lack of attractiveness in the table and chairs I like it and it will be incredibly handy next weekend when we throw our first party at this house to celebrate SnuggleBunny's birthday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Smarter today

On Monday it didn't occur to me that someone would climb over the fence to enter the backyard and take the patio furniture.  We were planning on getting a lockable shed for the garden tools and in hindsight that should have been a priority.  Snugglebunny said we will get the shed this weekend and pick up a new-to-us lawnmower.  Our landlord is bringing over a plastic patio table and chairs that were left at one of her other properties and she is cutting rent for next month by 40% because of this incident and because we replaced our dryer when it didn't work in the new place and it turned out to be that the outlet was not installed correctly (and took over a month to get properly diagnosed and repaired).  So it's not a money thing because we can replace everything.  It's this feeling that it is not smart to feel safe.  And I liked that little wrought iron patio set.

It's a tall fence with sturdy locks on both gates.  The back side is surrounded by tall trees for privacy from the church behind us.  Last night when I took my hair down Snugglebunny pulled a bit of a branch out of then ends and laughed at me for having had bits of the wilderness in my hair all day long (from tramping through the treeline picking up pieces of the lawnmower, which did not survive being tossed over the fence so was left among the trees on the church side).

Also right now FB is filled with comments about someone, who I didn't personally know, who was murdered over the weekend.  It's enough to make a girl long for small town living!

Anyway, I just wanted to say that today it's not as easy to joke about getting help becoming closer to a minimalist lifestyle as it was yesterday.  Today I feel worse about it.  Today it feels like security will never be regained.  Today I don't really want to be having an existential crisis prompted by patio furniture...

Monday, May 7, 2012

FSH test

While waiting for the results of a home FSH test, which I do several times per year, I realized this song was playing in my head

Ugh!  I don't like worrying about my aging eggs!  15 minutes to go (it's normal so far and I've never had one change dramatically in the middle of the test so I think doomsday is averted for at least a little while longer).

Does anyone else do these periodically?  My doctor said that the FSH test doesn't really predict early onset of menopause (or any onset, I guess) but it lets you know when there is already a problem.  I keep doing them but I'm curious about how well the home tests compare to the medical lab tests and how both actually compare to having live babies.  The very moment that I get health insurance (which I think will happen within the next several months) I'm making an appointment with my OB/GYN.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

International Bereaved Mothers Day

That this day was created by the incredibly sweet Carly Marie eases a lot of pain about Mother's Day. 


I've been doing something that I don't feel comfortable telling most people about.  Here's how it came about... my sister is adopting a new son and they will be picking him up in Korea sometime this summer; I recently started knitting and crocheting and wanted to make a baby blanket for him.  When I showed SnuggleBunny the yarn he asked if it was for a blanket for the baby we want to conceive.  Suddenly I felt a bit of resentment and hurt because there's no baby of our own to make a blanket for.  I'm not going to sit around with the pain of wanting to make a blanket for my own child so I decided to make one for us first.  Also, it doesn't seem like a good idea to make a blanket for my nephew while having negative feelings about my situation and since I'm new to crocheting (as in I have never made anything yet) it seemed like a good idea to practice before making gifts.

So I'm summoning.  I'm seeking a soul who wants to join our family.  While planning for and working on this blanket I think about what we can offer as parents and where our struggles are.  I tell the Universe that a soul with a good sense of humor, and patience and appreciation for a slightly smothering Mother would fit in well here.  Some soul who needs a lot of love is welcome.  Some soul who can stand a non-luxurious lifestyle, since my fertility is waning faster than my financial stability is returning.

I have no expectation of this working - I'm not demanding, more like inviting.  If there's a child for us I am calling for it; if there is not one then the blanket is for Toren.

When working on it I focus on my love for Toren and for SnuggleBunny and for the love that we all have for our babies, regardless of where they are. 

For the yarn I wanted a washable black cotton that would not stretch completely out of shape.  It must be cotton because I don't care for synthetic fibers and would want my child wrapped up in natural fibers.  It must be washable since babies are messy and if this is going to be more than an item for the memory box it must be usable.  And black because I wear black and it would mean that the blanket was for *my* kid, if that makes any sense.  (The color selection is where the need for a sense of humor is worked in since it is not a "baby" color.  While I wear black, I like children in cute, colorful clothes, but the blanket just has to be this way.)

I searched for about 2 weeks before finding the perfect yarn: black cotton that is washable AND can be machine dried on low.  And one of the ladies at the store where I found the yarn had recently made place mats with the yarn (in different colors) and said it was very easy to work with and didn't stretch out.

I like everything about it and enjoy rolling it up by hand into tight balls

The yarn was not inexpensive.  Sometimes I feel silly making a blanket for a baby that doesn't yet exist (or may never exist) so it's really not a good project to talk about with many people.  But it brings me a lot of comfort and I think I will be able to joyfully make stuff for other people's babies because I got to make something for my own.

Anyway, here's the progress so far.  It is a double crochet stitch using just the back loop to create the ridges.  The pattern is available through Ravelry (I'm AnnaLaFae if you want to be Ravelry friends!)

Here's Sammy kitty working his modeling - so handsome!

Chatter about yarn is happening at my directionless, fun-things blog.  I'm off to work on the blanket.


You are all in my heart today.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Creating a garden, part 1

There are many exciting things happening in the new butterfly garden but I want to show how it came together to perhaps provide inspiration to anyone who would like to create a garden, memorial or otherwise, but may feel a little intimidated.

In preparing to make this little series of tutorials, I have been giving some thought to all of the different types of gardens there are and how you really don't need a lot of space, money, or a green thumb.  Plants aren't even really required in a garden!  So I've been contemplating what the intrinsic qualities of a garden are.  I think of a garden as being of or inspired by nature and purposeful.  Prompting contemplation is a good thing too and while my gardens have always provided space for contemplation while tending to or viewing them, I'm not sure that I consider that a necessary quality.  Perhaps it's just bound to happen.

Now, I'm just an amateur gardener but if I can make something even somewhat pretty out of nature-y stuff so can you! 

I suggest beginning with assessing what you have to work with.  Maybe you have a yard or access to some dirt to plant in but again those are not required.  Beautiful gardens can be made in pots, terrariums or with air plants.  Even if you have a yard you may opt to do a smaller project that will take less time to maintain; this could be a very good idea if you are struggling with grief, which can be so exhausting. Some cemeteries allow for planting at grave sites, which is a lovely way to honor the memory of your loved one and add the atmosphere of an already contemplative location.  You would just want to keep in mind how often you want to visit the cemetery to tend your garden and choosing plants that don't need much upkeep would be a good idea.


So here are some photos from several days after we moved into the new house in March when I explored the yard with the cats to see what we have to work with.  Remember the place I'm renting is in a very inexpensive area of town so fancy landscaping is not included (bars on all windows are!) but this yard is slightly quirky and charming which makes it very amenable to a whimsical garden! 

Here's the back patio, with outdoor items and stuff that hadn't yet made it into the house unceremoniously tossed from the moving truck to here and there.  I decided to put the butterfly garden by the fence at the upper right corner of the patio so it would be easily accessible.

Here's a different view of the fence and edge of the patio.  All of those vines along the fence turned out to be honeysuckle!  They have been blooming for weeks and the entire yard smells divine!

 What else did we find?  An old tire and cinder block next to an azalea bush that Sasha Kitty investigated well.

A pile of old bricks which made me squeal with delight - so much potential!

 The yard is quite weedy...

 These clumps of grass must be dug out, which has definitely slowed down progress.  This is where having some anger and passion behind what you are doing really helps!  The first time I made this garden was about 6 months after Toren died and I was going through an angry phase.  Seething.  Boiling.  Burning.  And that energy was directed towards an ugly patch of dirt that didn't really grow anything.  I stabbed the ground with spades for weeks, turning the hard clay and dirt.  I've calmed down over the past several years so digging up these weeds is pretty tiring!

So here's the first result photo.  Pretty ugly!  But it's a good way to illustrate that a garden can take a lot of work and time to become attractive.  It's really hard to see what is going on here with the fence and neighbors yard in the background but this photo represents a triumphant moment!  The main plants from the old garden are in the ground here.  The two butterfly bushes (the things that look like sticks in the dirt) had been pruned to at least half of their size so that they could be moved and what few leaves are present are wilty and sad looking.  It was a big risk to move them and on this day I didn't know if they would survive (they did though!).  The trellis with the antique metal butterfly tied on sits above two clematis vines brought over from the old garden.  The clematis plants got pretty beat up during the move so they are basically just roots with dry, broken vines attached at this point.

So at this point I had a vague idea of the shape of the garden in mind, but that's it.  Don't let a lack of a plan stop you!  Each plant of mine is carefully and purposefully placed but they are almost done one at a time rather than as part of a predetermined overall design.

Ok, that's all for tonight.  I really look forward to sharing the next set of photos.


What do you think are necessary elements for a garden? 


Here's a recommendation for music to dig up stubborn weeds to :)  Set it to repeat and grab a shovel!