Wednesday, June 30, 2010


My friend, M, who has this sort of 'character in a novel' opinion of me -- and by that I mean, she sees my entire character and as if she's writing my story she can envision me doing all sorts of things that I'm either already doing or hope to do one day.
A while ago she wrote about my new house and said she imagined me reading while drinking green tea and sitting near a flower garden of my own making. I laughed out loud at that vision as it stretched from Japan to my email inbox.
The email came as I was sitting in my living room, which was just far enough away from the unpacked boxes of clothes and office stuff still crammed in my office but not far enough away that I was able to forget about all of the things I hadn't accomplished yet. And here's M talking about flower gardens!
The previous owners did a few awesome things while they were there. They built a flower bed, planted three perennials in that bed, secured it with a blanket meant to keep out weeds and covered it in mulch. They also planted two big day lilies near the curb, also secured with a weed blanket and covered in mulch.
Because this is my first season as a homeowner, I was forced to take a 'wait and see' approach to the flower garden. I had no idea how many perennials were in the bed so I didn't want to waste too much time or money tinkering with it until I was sure everything that was going to poke through the soil had come up. I was also forced to wait by my amazing energy drain after months of fixing up the house and packing, so it worked well.
This past weekend a friend needed an ear and a chance to get out of the house. I quickly enlisted him in manual labor and unpacked all of the clothing boxes, built a garment rack and moved into the large closet off of the office. It took hours. Now the desk must be built so I can unpack the other office boxes...until the desk exists, there is no where to put said office stuff...
In the meantime, I bought a second flower basket to balance the basket my coworkers gave me a month ago, and I bought a half-flat of flowers. I didn't think I'd need any more than that because I was under the impression that the clematis plants were covering the garden with an ivy-like plant. Then I found out it was a weed...a very insidious weed that was actually choking all of the existing perennials. As shown below:

I knew I had to get rid of the weed blanket for two reasons: 1) it's not killing any weeds 2) I needed to get under it to plant the new flowers.
So last night, over the course of nearly two hours, I worked to get rid of the weed blanket, the old mulch and the massive ivy-like weeds.

Just getting cleaning up the mulch and rolling the blanket was a bit more labor-intensive than I'd imagined.

It took a lot of work with the garden shears, a lot of tugging and finally using an actual set of scissors to disentangle this weed from all of the actual plants. The roots looked like tree roots. When I was done, the pile of weeds stood about knee-high.

Wrapping up the blanket and the old mulch and weeds was one thing, wiggling it into a garbage bag was something the drivers sure enjoyed as they passed my front yard!
After a long, hard fight, I was finally able to recapture my flower bed in the name of flowers and perennials everywhere!

Now over the next couple of days I just have to pick up some more flowers, some new mulch and find the time in my schedule to finish this project!
It's funny, but for me, I couldn't really feel like a piece of property was mine until my fingers were caked with its dirt. When the worms squiggle away from you, the hard-packed earth parts beneath your tools and your very own roots start to stretch out -- it becomes yours.
So, while there are still cardboard boxes filled to the brim in this house, in the end, M was right. I would find the right ways and the right time to turn this house into my home. And last night I sat beside my flower garden, reading and drinking -- well, I had a cold beer -- okay? It was a little warm for the green tea, but the feeling that M 'wrote' for me was definitely there.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


It's been nearly a month since I've had any blog to share. It's not that there haven't been bloggy things going on or that there have been no thoughts to contribute -- it's just a slump I guess.
When I look back over the last few weeks and try to figure out where the time has gone, the only thing I can really come up with is a list of things that my time was NOT spent on. It certainly wasn't spent cleaning my house. It most definitely wasn't spent by finishing the unpacking of the dozens of boxes in my alleged office. It sure wasn't spent by cleaning out the flower garden and adding new flowers. It wasn't spent working on that book I'm allegedly writing. Hmmm....What the heck have I been doing?
Well, one thing that has kept me a smidge busy has been building things. I had no idea I was so handy. Or allegedly handy. Since the first week of June I've built four nightstands/end tables, a treadmill, a buffet table, a curio cabinet and have attached a hose holder thingy to the exterior of my house. Once I unpack the boxes in my alleged office, I'll be building my desk.
I've turned on my air conditioning and given up on trying to keep it off all summer. I have it set to 75 degrees, hoping that will spare me some horrific bill.
I bought a bunch of hooks that you attach to walls with an adhesive that supposedly won't damage paint and will hold up to X number of pounds for things like baseball hats, keys, and towels. Nearly all of the hooks hung in my living room have of them peeled paint from my lemon ginger wall, which I thankfully I was able to quickly repaint. Those hooks stayed up for days before falling, any ideas on what made them fall or how to keep them up?
I have discovered a LOVE of frozen berries. I love, love, love berries of all kinds (except for cherries, I know it's un-American). But the problem with berries is twofold. 1) They are expensive. 2) They are expensive and come in ridiculously small quantities that, let's face it, I could eat before I arrive home from the store. Frozen berries are relatively inexpensive and come in huge quantities, relatively speaking, and you don't have to worry about them going bad. I buy strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and peaches (I know, not a berry), and I empty some of each into a Tupperware-ish container in the morning, take it to work, let it thaw and eat them plain in the afternoon.
IT'S AWESOME. I get the generic brand and there is literally nothing in the packaging except for the berry or the peach, no sugar added, no preservatives, just berries that are cheaper and frozen.
I desperately need to find some energy, clean my house and unpack my boxes. I'm going to hire a carpet cleaner to come do my house, and I'd like to do it ASAP, but I need to finish some unpacking first.
My to-do list is like an imaginary thing that I keep mentally adding to, but never really writing down because I'm afraid it will completely overwhelm me.
I'm nearing the end of "Eat, Pray, Love." Since moving into my house I've finished two books and am working the third. That's three more than I was able to finish in the previous 12 months. I knew moving would make a difference in that area for sure.
My mother and I saw Sex and the City II on Sunday afternoon. Not to give anything away, but Liza Minnelli performs "All the Single Ladies" and it's HILARIOUS.
I'm actively seeking tips on improving my energy levels. Anyone with any advice, no matter how weird, please send it my way. I just can't quite maintain any level of energy throughout the day and I have so much to do, the list gets longer and I just get drowsier. It's extremely frustrating.
Gratitude: 1) I'm grateful to be heading on a mini-camping adventure this weekend with my friends and family. 2) I'm grateful for Ginger Ale. 3) I'm extremely grateful for the first-time home buyer tax credit. Simply put, there is no way I could have done this without it. 4) I'm grateful for my job, which I still adore. 5) I'm grateful for my coworkers, whom I adore. 6) I'm grateful for things that are covered in chocolate icing.