Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Gardening post - mid May.

Here are the flowers from mid April to mid May.  These are considered smack dab in the middle of Spring.  I would say mid Spring is the Iris season.  The Aliums came in but they were there for only about a week.  There's another blue flower that grows up the stalk.  I don't know it's name.

These pictures were taken April 21st.
This one above is a white Iris.  I personally prefer my Irises with more color, especially blue/violet but I'll take these in the corner between my driveway and walkway.

The above and below picture are similar views just one is more backed up than the other. The one above, you can see the tall Alium buds - 4 of them. The pic below you can see the position of the white Irises.

The pic above has that blue climbing flower.  If you know its name, please let me know in the comments.  Below is another Alium bud, a different view on the same area.

And then there is the spot with 2 alium buds, in the above and below picture.

After this comes the next set of pictures from April 26th. More has bloomed while some flowers decided to say good bye to Spring.

The Aliums in the above picture are in full bloom.  I particularly like these flowers especially 4 of them together.  They look quite pretty.  Should I plant more of these?  Hmmm.  That would be the question.  Notice in the picture below that the blue flower on the left has bloomed upwards further.  I thought I liked it better last year.  This year, I feel like it's blooming little at a time and so you don't see full color at any given time and the bottom parts wither away taking away from the look of the flower.

The white iris above is beautiful although I personally prefer the violet ones.  In the below picture you can see at the base of the left pillar of the home, the yellow and purple iris beginning to bloom also.  The phlox are still in bloom.

Now the above flower is a beauty.  I do like it quite a bit.  Still wish for the full violet iris.  The bottom picture is of the above flower.  The top iris has already started to droop while more irises are blooming.

Bottom picture shows the phlox on the left and the lilies starting to bud on the right.  Notice 5 areas of lily buds.  This is important as in today's picture, coming up later, one of the buds were eaten by the dreaded deer!

More lilies hide behind the irises in the below picture.  They are budding also.

The picture above and below is a different view of the area with the Japanese maple.  More Aliums here, but only a couple and an individual.

Here are the lily buds.  So exciting, until the deer ate one!

The next set of pictures are from today (May 17th).  So, we are headed into late Spring.  A lot of the flowers from the earlier pictures are gone and now it's time for the budding of the Astilbe and the lilies.  Notice below the blue flowers are completely dried out.  The Aliums have lost their petals and are out of color and drooping.  They are done too.

The below picture has no phlox and the irises have all dried out.  So, not flowers.  Only the buds of the astilbes and the lilies.  No real color though.  I don't think I have any color or actual flowers in my garden right now.  So, need help with late spring flowers for next year.

Plants blooming on the side of the drive way.  Don't remember what they are.  I know there used to be lilies there, but they got eaten.  I have given up on them.  These will flower most likely in a month, so I'm guessing these are early summer bulbs.  Will continue with this post mid-June.

Also, wanted a close up picture of the astilbes before they bloom.  Are they late spring flowers?  Hmm.  I wonder.  It really depends on when they bloom.  This will be the first year they bloom, when they do.  The bottom picture has the lily pods.  Notice only 4 of them.  See the one at the bottom with no buds.   Looks nipped off, doesn't it.  Yep!  That was the one the deer ate.  My guess is that he got super sick after eating it.  Or so I hope.  If he didn't, I hate to think that he would have returned for the others.  I'm not out of the woods yet.  I need to watch them bloom and hope the blooms are not eaten. Will keep posted with this post on my gardening notes.

It has been a rainy day but I wanted to get some pictures and post and make some notes.  There are no real flowers bloomed in the garden today. So, looks like I may need more late Spring flowers?  But then again what are the lilies and Astilbes? Are they early summer?

Gotta run.  In case you are new to my blog, this blog post on gardening is more for me to take notes so I can sort my garden out with time.  This one is all for me.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Meeting up with Christopher Todd

I think one can see the true character of a person when you put them in difficulty.  In Chris' case, using the word "difficulty" is putting it mildly.  He cannot walk for 3 month.  His legs should not be weight bearing and so, he adjusts himself in his bed, best he can.  With 2 hands in a cast and barely being able to move his fingers, it's a tough situation really.  Oh and the doctors keep finding a new bone broken every time he goes into surgery.  It's one of those, "by the way, we noticed during surgery that his heel is broken also and we need a CAT scan" type "oops" story.  Seriously?
Is it OK to be angry with something like this?  Sure.  It takes a lot more than that to make Chris upset.  It's the repetitive mistakes made in diagnosis and or his caregivers that wears Chris out.
Yet, meeting him after the injury gives me a perspective on life and on Chris that I did not expect.  I don't know what I expected, but I most certainly did not express Chris to diminish his issues to hear that of someone else's.  My meager problems were worth hearing about, when I think that it's almost sinful for me to share.  How does one eat a hearty meal while watching someone else go hungry?  That's how it felt for me to watch Chris hear and engage others and their life situations of break ups or otherwise, when I look at perspective and think that either Chris is crazy, or he's just the most genuine man I'll ever know.  I get upset with myself for sharing of my minimal situations in my work, for it's all minimal compared to the fight that Chris has had to put up so far and continues to put up on a daily basis.

I abandoned this blog post after my return because at that time I felt it didn't say much.  Now is 3 months later and I'm going through my posts and I find this one in the draft pile.  I wasn't sure how much I put in here, but that paragraph alone is worth posting.  Don't you agree?

My husband and I plan to visit him again next week.  Perhaps it's good to note that in these 3 months, Chris is now able to stand.  He began last week.  It's been a long road to recovery but when you pray for someone and wish for their best, watching a video of them stand for the first time after several months, can feel emotionally taxing.  I'm happy for his improvements.  Soon, there'll be the day he can get up on his own and walk without having to think about it.  I do not think he can change as a person.  He's hit his pretty amazing spot already!  He has shown so much strength and kindness through these trying times.  What an inspiration!

Signing out,

Friday, May 6, 2016

Finding God

This post is a long time coming;  March of 2015 to be accurate.  Unfortunately, life got busy and there were a lot of posts that I've worked on in the meanwhile, while this one simmered at the recesses of my mind.  Some posts, I've thought about and forgotten.  This post is interesting because it's one that kept returning to me.  What do I mean by that?  In life, a certain event may trigger me to write a post.  Maybe meeting a friend or going through the stresses of the office or a trip, or just something.  I would think about writing it and then maybe write parts of it and leave it as a draft.  Sometimes, I'll completely forget about it.  Yesterday, I was driving and had the most amazing post and title on my mind.  Posts narrate themselves to me and that post just narrated itself and once the narration was done, the post dissolved magically as it had appeared.  I've lost a lot of posts that way.  Sometimes, I'll get it back in a different form.  Sometimes, I won't.

So, this post about finding God, is one that never left me.  It would narrate itself to me, in different forms, many random times, but it never left me.  It's one of those posts that persisted past what I could control.  Someone once asked me why I write.  I replied, "Because I don't have a choice."  This is one such post.  I do not have a choice.  I've considered not writing it several times.  I've thought about how presumptuous I may sound writing about finding God.  What makes me so special?  Or the alternative, that I was being sacrilegious.  The post itself, has fallacies.  I make a hypothesis about finding God, but then I don't know how to bridge this idea for everyone, because of life and how it's structured.

Anyway, the reason I'm writing this now is because I get these three day left sided headaches.  Yesterday, was day one.  Sadly, day one was far worse than any first day of this headache I can remember and today, day two as I was driving back from clinic, holding on to the left side of my face, I was seeking answers to why my day two felt like a day one and how I would feel tomorrow at my cousin's engagement.  So, I go back to the days I found God.

When I was 18, one of my biology lectures was about the Galapagos Islands - Darwin's finches, the survival of the fittest, the unique birds indigenous only to the islands and it's been a dream of mine for years since to visit.  Years.  I would constantly look at tours and information about the islands and due to circumstances in life, both personal and financial, I couldn't make it there until March of 2015.

The tickets and the tour was all booked and I was ready.  This was going to be phenomenal.  I imagined beauty and wonder that would blow my mind.  I imaged a world more beautiful than the mountains near Machu Picchu - my most breathtaking experience so far.  I'm going to skip my first day in Quito; I'm moving ahead to the day we got off the plane after it landed on one of the Islands of the Galapagos archipelago.

We had to take a bus to the boat that would lead us to another island that would lead us to another boat to our final boat, the Anahi.  On the way, if I were being totally honest, I wondered why this was my dream place to visit.  It wasn't as green as I expected.  It wasn't as beautiful as I had imagined.  There was vegetation, there were sea lions on the port, but nothing to captivate me beyond wonder.  I thought to myself that I was just tired from traveling.

A little about myself.  I do not like schedules because I feel restricted.  However, our tour was based on a schedule.  We were hiking or snorkeling at certain times, every morning and every afternoon and breakfast, lunch and dinner were also planned and that was it.  That was life on the Anahi.  There was no wifi, so we weren't connected to the outside world, and the only thing we had was a schedule of events.

I don't know when it hit me.  One day, I realized that despite hiking in desert type volcanic terrain, I looked around at 360 degrees of nothingness but nature.  I didn't think about the 'schedule'.  This was hiking time.  Time dilation became a strange experience.  I let myself go and I think the day we walked on sharp volcanic rocks, and Galo, our tour guide, pointed to the first signs of life, the first cactus that made its way through, I looked around at the black heated sharp edged rocks beneath me and around me.  I felt the heat of the island drain my energy as I tried to hydrate myself with the water bottle I carried at all times.  I turned and looked at the other guests trying to make their way behind me, in a designated path as the wrong footing could cause a serious injury.  I looked ahead at our tour guide and the others following him.  I wondered.  What would happen if the boat that left us at the dock, never returned?  We were the only ones there.  16 guests, one tour guide, 17 bottles of water, one per person.  The water wouldn't last us another hour, it was that hot.  I think it was somewhere there, I was finding myself in relation to the Universe.  I am a part of this Universe as all other creatures are.  We all have our place and at that moment, my place was just to be there.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  It was to appreciate one of God's creations.  I dotted the landscape for that morning.

Somewhere, I was losing what I have always considered as normal and grounding factors.  I think I was finding God in those Islands.  One of the first few days of snorkeling, I lost track of the time.  I didn't realize that most of the other guests had already made it back up to the boat.  I was just floating there on the ocean and a few feet from me a flightless cormorant was swimming.  It dove into the water and I immediately put my head in to watch this bird swim deep and peck at the rocks.  A few minutes later, the bird was bobbing back up to the surface.  It was so close to me.  I noticed one other guest there and we both smiled wide as we eyed this bird, that can only be seen in the Galapagos dive again and again.  Time.  What is that?  Schedule?  Where was anyone?  My only grounding force here, the guest, made me realize that I wasn't lost.  I think we had to be called back onto the boat.

Through the hikes and the snorkeling, I forgot my entire existence.  Who was I?  What was I?  Did I have a job or home?  Where was I from?  What was my life like before this?  I know this all sounds surreal and almost existential but it was crazy.  See, I wasn't finding extraordinary physical beauty although, some of the birds were gorgeous.  Swimming with the turtles and the sea lion cubs and the marine iguanas, I think I was finding a sense of myself and my connection to this world.  The moment it all came together was one of our last days of snorkeling.  I was in the water, floating and beneath me, a shark swam the other way, a penguin swam towards me and I found myself surrounded by a school of fish and that was the moment it clicked.  This was the moment I found God, because through him, I found myself.  I found my place in this world.  I lost my struggles from back home; the struggles to work and make a living and to live life in a complicated world.  Here I was, and I lost every thought of my being.  I felt connected to God and it hit me.  My place in this Universe - our place in this universe is to just be.  We struggle everyday in this life and I know in those islands I found God and He made me realize that my place was just my place.  I am not meant to struggle.  I'm meant to float and meant to be and be part of the great Universe that He created.  My place is not to make something of myself with a degree or to show off my new car or to build a new home bigger and better than my friends.  It's not about comparison.  It's about living and being.  I had to go to the equator to find that.  I know I left a part of myself there permanently because my heart seeks those islands again.

I travel to all inclusive resorts every year and every thing is taken care of, but I am constantly looking for my heart that I left back at the Galapagos.  That sense of complete stillness.  The sense of being cradled in God's arms and to just be.  Recently I spent a week down in Arizona, horseback riding everyday - finding the quiet.  It was nice, but my eyes look out into the horizon.  Oh Galapagos Islands, you have stolen from me.  You have stolen my stillness, my heart and my Healer.

The miracles of life are not what we imagine it to be.  We put boundaries on ourselves.  This country builds walls between ourselves and God.  It's all about how we dress and what we look like and how much money we make or the other person makes.  Really?  Is it all about that?  How can we be so much further from the truth, but alas if we push it aside and throw God out of our lives, how can we expect Him to be with us?

The fallacy of this post?  How can we afford to visit the islands to find God without making money, and saving money as a priority to be fortunate enough to experience this.  I have to work everyday and keep ploughing on.  I can't just be as is our purpose.  Perhaps, somewhere I will find the balance. For now, I seek "being" in this complicated world and I seek the truth in the simple uncomplicated world somewhere near the equator.

Best to you all,