A Little Garden News

I came home from my weekend trip last week to find this perfect rose waiting for me! This is the Everlasting Peace rose. It has a beautiful form and a wonderful fragrance. Plus, its my favorite color of pink🙂


I bought quite a few pansies and a few other plants to fill some spots in the garden. Its supposed to be the best time to plant pansies and snapdragons for strong spring blooms. This corner bed was a mess. The creeping jenny and the never-ending violets had invaded, plus its mostly shady, plus Noah still loves to run down here and bark at cars going by. So I worked on it for quite a while, and planted the pansies, and a new heuchera in there. And then I made my little prison for it, hopefully to remind Noah that I really don’t want him in there.  After looking at this picture, I decided I need one more heuchera to round it out. Oh, and then couple of days after I did all this work, I came out to find that I had planted some of the pansies a little too close to the fence–the deer had come and completely uprooted a few of them😦


This is one of the hydrangea. I didn’t prune it yet, and the flowers have turned a lovely shade of dusty pink. Nice!


Okay. This next picture is proof that I have turned into an old lady. All week I was cleaning and prepping the house for a couple of ladies that I had invited to lunch. The last thing I did was go and pick a few little flowers for a table bouquet. When the agreed-upon arrival time came and went, I decided to give them a call. Sometimes people have a hard time finding my house. “Hello T., are you coming today?” “I thought we agreed on October 7.” oh…..yes, we did. I had even been looking at my calendar during the week to make sure I had everything right…. Well, I enjoyed my nice clean house and the bouquet anyways!


The foxgloves that I have been diligently watering over the long hot summer so that I would have new blooms next spring decided to give me an early show! So excited to see the  pink shaded one!


And, it took a LONG time, but look what finally bloomed the last week of September? The cleome that Lori sent me and that I started from seeds. One lone plant, but if Lori is right, it will re-seed itself, and maybe I’ll have a few more next year.



I have more plants to get into the ground this week, and ummm, quite a few bulbs to find places for. Damn that Costco!🙂

Healthy Habits

I still struggle with guilt and anxiety over not being able to maintain the lowest weight I had achieved. One day an email arrived with a different questionnaire from the National Weight Control Registry. As I went through the myriad questions, I noticed that there were an awful lot of questions that I was able to answer positively “all the time.” Maybe you can identify with making many of these positive changes yourself, and feel better that, although not perfect, you have chosen a whole and healthy life for yourself!


  • During the past month, I set a daily calorie goal for myself.
  • During the past month, I had several servings of fruits and/or vegetables each day.
  • During the past month, I kept a record of the type and amount of food I ate.
  • During the past month, I set exercise goals for myself.
  • During the past month, if I overate, I thought about what led up to my overeating.
  • During the past month, I kept high calorie, high fat foods (e.g., chips, cookies, cakes) out of sight so they would not tempt me.
  • During the past month, I avoided fried foods.
  • During the past month, I kept low-calorie foods (e.g., fruit, raw vegetables, unbuttered popcorn) accessible for a healthy snack.
  • During the past month, I engaged in moderate-intensity exercise like brisk walking or something similar to brisk walking for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • During the past month, I weighed and/or measured the foods I ate.
  • During the past month, I limited my intake of regular soda.
  • During the past month, I kept a record of the calories and fat in the foods I ate.
  • During the past month, I kept a record of my minutes of exercise.
  • During the past month, I ate lower-fat meats.
  • During the past month, I scheduled exercise into my day.
  • During the past month, if I had negative thoughts about my weight loss progress, I tried to catch myself and stop that kind of thinking.
  • During the past month, I chose low-calorie and/or low-fat foods to eat instead of higher calorie options.
  • During the past month, I ate high-fiber foods (e.g., whole grain breads or cereals, fruit, vegetables).

Swam a Mile


Did you wonder where the healthy lifestyle/weight loss/weight maintenance blogger went? The truth is, I think about it ALL THE TIME. I think about what I should write, about what I should tell you, about things that I’ve seen and heard, and have an opinion about. I’ve even taken notes on some podcasts, and was going to review them for you. This American Life did a Fat podcast that was excellent. I could relate to so much of what the women interviewed said. Oh, and this week I watched the beginning of a new television show “This is Us” on the recommendation of two of my blog buddies, and I couldn’t even believe how much of the inside stuff they got on the overweight character. I don’t know if I laughed or was just speechless when they showed her getting onto the scale, and then pausing to take her earrings off (I HAVE DONE THIS) and then she stepped on the scale so gingerly that she fell backwards off of it (I STILL DO THIS. well, not the falling off. at least most of the time.)

But when it comes down to it, I just don’t want to write about it anymore. The longer time goes on, the less I think I know about it, especially weight maintenance. Back in the beginning of this year, I had a little rebellion. I was just too tired of keeping track of everything I ate. What would happen if I just ate like a normal person? What would happen? I would gain weight. Yep. So then I decided that I would just track everything. I really like LoseIt, and its almost fun for me to write down my meals for the day. But I just couldn’t restrict any more. And by that, I mean, I couldn’t  restrict enough to lose weight. So I set LoseIt to 1650 calories (which they thought would allow me to lose 1/2 pound a week hahahaha.) Eating 1650 calories every day was a lot more than I’ve consciously allowed myself for a LOOOONG time. That’s been going pretty good. Occasionally I’ll think, oh, give it the old college try again–just cut back by 200 calories. And I can immediately feel the rebellion welling up inside of me. If I force the issue, I end up eating MORE than I should. I just tell you all this to say, you have to know yourself.

In the meantime, I have kept a vigorous exercise regimen going. I knew I didn’t dare cut back on that, even on the days I felt “too fat” to go to the gym. When I am home, I keep a regular routine (and you all know I love my routines) of walking the dogs early in the morning three days a week (20-30 minutes). On those days I also do my physical therapy exercises plus some core exercises (also 20-30 minutes.) And then three days a week I go to the gym. For the summer I’ve been splitting my time between the stationary bike and the pool. I like “jogging” in the pool. It feels like real exercise, and its so nice to work out hard and NOT have knee pain. Somewhere towards the middle of the summer, I started enjoying swimming more, and started swimming longer distances. I thought I might make a goal of swimming a mile again. A mile in an Olympic pool is 175 lengths, and that has taken me three hours in the past. I think its been a couple of years since I did that. Saturday morning I was talking with my brother, who was on the Swim Team in high school, and I asked him if he thought it would be better to try to swim the mile on a cooler day (73 degrees,) or wait for a warmer day. He thought it would be better on a cooler day. So that was it.

I did go ahead of time to a special bakery to get myself a treat for swimming a mile🙂 And here is how it always goes for me. The FIRST length, I think, Oh, I can’t do this. I’ll just do my 20 minutes and do some water jogging and be done with it. Then after maybe 15 minutes I think, well maybe I can make it for two hours. I’ll do the whole mile later. As two hours approached, I kept thinking about a lot of things–Shelley running her half marathons, Olympians training and training, Lori doing her 40 mile bike rides, my special treat waiting for me, AND the fact that if I stopped now I’d have to come back and swim this ridiculous amount of time AGAIN. So I just kept going.

Related to how I like counting my calories, I also like doing the math in my head–after 15 minutes, okay, one-twelfth done. Now, just five minutes later, one-nineth done. Thirty minutes in, about one-sixth done. Okay, I won’t bore you with any more of my math calculations🙂 I wear a little lap counter on my finger and keep track that way. This year it took me 3 hours and 10 minutes. I didn’t practice as much as I have in previous years. And, as my brother pointed out, I’m older. I’ll take it. I am going to be 62 years old in December. I’m still overweight, but I’m not the same person as I was twelve years ago. I have a lot of healthy habits, and I plan on keeping those.


How about a Garden Post?

I saw this rose by chance when I let the dogs out this afternoon, and couldn’t resist–a picture was needed.


Then I noticed that all the roses had decided to bloom today!


MLG was here this morning, and commented that he had heard a local garden show on the radio say that at this time of year, you should let the rose hips develop. If you cut them back, they will grow new canes, but it will get too cold for them to bloom. Anyone ever heard this before?


So…my favorite lantana… a couple of years ago a reader from Australia commented that they consider lantana invasive plants. I think the reason they aren’t invasive where I live is that they only last a year. This year I bought a larger lantana at a nursery, and I think it was  one that had wintered over. So it stopped blooming soon after I brought it home, and it just grew and grew all summer.


See? It just took over the whole front of this bed. Just this week it has finally given me some blooms. And then it will be gone. Those plants with the heart-shaped leaves?–those are “money plants” that I grew from seed. They don’t bloom until the second year, so I am really looking forward to seeing them in the spring!


The “giant zinnia” in front of the vanilla marigolds.




The dwarf red abutilon has done well, blooming all summer long.


Close-up. Hmmm. I don’t know what those white specks are. I didn’t see them until I saw this photo.


Sophie says, “oops. not pink.”


MLG was trying to compliment me, and exclaimed, “wow! It looks like a forest.” Umm, yeah. But I live in the forest. This is supposed to look like a garden🙂 I have a plan. It involves some aggressive pruning. Part of me is still pleased that I have plants growing so well after so many years of coaxing minimal growth in my pots.


And some special visitors in the garden! I don’t really like bugs. But these guys move so slowly, and even though it looks like they don’t have eyes, they turn their head like they are really watching you or the water. I don’t know if there’s a whole herd of them, or just two that move from place to place, but I’ve enjoyed seeing them.


And! something new. How and where to stack the firewood is always a problem. And then the stacks fall over or get messy. And then there’s the tarps. Anyway, MLG started suggesting some things we could do to make it better, and pretty soon I said, “it sounds like maybe I need to ask J. the contractor about doing this.” MLG shook his head enthusiastically in agreement. So here is my new fancy wood shed. J. the contractor mills his own wood, and the outside boards are actually made from a sugar pine that my neighbor had to take down–isn’t that fun?



And that’s the garden report for this week.

Senior Citizen???

I recently had to write a small piece about myself for my church newsletter. In case there are any readers who do not know everything there is to know about me, I thought I’d share that here.

I was surprised when I received R’s request to be interviewed for the “Senior Connection” in the (church) newsletter. Wasn’t that for old people??? And then I remembered that I had gleefully applied for Social Security just a few days prior. And of course, I’m always very happy to take advantage of senior discounts. But I’m not really a senior. Isn’t that how most of us view ourselves?

Anyway, for what its worth, here it is. I was lucky to be born to two really great parents. My dad was enamored of God’s word and studied it voraciously his entire life. My mom told me “I could do anything I really wanted to,” which gave me the courage to try things I didn’t think were possible.

I always loved dogs, and I loved handwork. And that is where I have ended up—with five rescue dogs and working as a studio artist. Along the way, when I listened to God and followed his lead, I have had some amazing adventures. I was a neonatal intensive care nurse for 25 years, despite the fact that I only passed high school biology by being the teacher’s pet and taking care of the classroom animals. Science did not come naturally to me, but I felt God’s leading and was moved to work with the tiniest and sickest babies. It was a great privilege.

I came to Grace Fellowship (my home church) shortly after it started, and it was through Grace that God impressed upon me the importance of helping children in third world countries. Going to a foreign country was for sure something that was not in my comfort zone, but I have traveled to Africa with Vapor Ministries, and have been to Haiti twice to visit “our” kids in Carre Four Poy. It has changed my outlook on life, and has changed the choices I have made in my daily life. I believe that it is only through visiting the poorest of the poor in person that you can truly understand the need. I saw this happen with my brother when we visited Haiti together.

When it came time for me to retire, people always asked what I was going to do. I wasn’t sure how it would work out, but I would say that I was going to be a quilt artist. When I was inspired to put Scripture into my quilts, that is when I found my passion. It is a way for me to share my faith with others. I will see a verse in a new way, and bring that to life in a quilt. Its very meditative to sit and stitch the words and think about them. Recently I finished a series of 18 small quilts, titled “what they said.” It is what different people said when they encountered Jesus. No matter whether they liked him or hated him, the response to Jesus was never static. It was very moving to me to try to illuminate the emotion behind the words and to spend so much time stitching these words. I am now working on a quilt of The Hallelujah Chorus. Listening to Handel’s Messiah was my dad’s favorite thing at Christmas, and in recent years, it has been the most important thing I want to do at Christmas. Years ago, I had the opportunity to sing the Hallelujah Chorus in my church choir, and so it holds great meaning for me.

One question I am asked frequently is “do you have children?” And my answer is always the same—“No, I’ve never been married.” R. asked for a favorite verse. There are way too many to choose just one. But one that has stayed with me since I was a very young woman, and has stood the test of time is Phil. 4:11-12 “…I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.”


Of course, there are other parts of my daily life that I didn’t even mention in this little article–like gardening and exercise and the fact that I’ve been on a diet for TWELVE YEARS. But you all know that🙂

The Garden’s Supporting Cast

There’s lots of plants in the garden that don’t get a lot of press. Because they are not big and fancy and colorful, the way I like things. But all these little plants add to the look of the garden. I decided they needed a feature of their own.

This creeping wire vine is all over the shade garden. I really like the look of it. It will take over (the bunny is just about buried here,) but its easy to keep under control too.


There’s a button fern in there. I need to trim the wiry plant to give it more room to grow.


Creeping Jenny, along with some violets.


Licorice Lemon plant. I really like this plant. I thought it played well against the dark red petunias.


These little pink begonias do well for me. And sometimes they come back year after year.


The violets….This variety has dark green fairly glossy leaves, and so they are attractive even when they’re not blooming. But they are pretty insistent on spreading, so they are a two-edged sword. I am using them to fill in the spaces of one of the stone pathways.


I don’t know what this plant is. But its doing just what MLG wanted it to do–climbing over those big rocks. I had it in a container in the shade garden, and it just about took over the whole garden. So I was going to toss the whole container, and MLG saved its life, by suggesting planting it in the back of the garden. Its doing very well, and it is better than bare dirt!


Another plant I don’t know the name of. But these tiny blue flowers bloom all summer, and the bees LOVE them. I like their intense color.dscn4518

Hollyhocks!! I’m pretty excited about these. I grew them from seeds (from a packet that was a couple of years old!) and I’m looking forward to seeing them bloom next year.


Mondo grass. Another plant I had in a container. It did so well in that container that it almost choked the life out of the Japanese Maple that was in the same container. So When I put that maple in the ground, I saved a couple of clumps of the mondo grass to plant along the front fence line. It has been very slow, but I’m glad to see a few new sprouts coming up.


And I couldn’t resist some pretty pictures! The geranium with the salvia.


My favorite lantana. This is a little plant that Noah almost destroyed when I first planted it. So I moved it over next to the fence to give it a chance to live. The ground there is not that good, but it is really doing well now.





And that’s the garden report for this week. I hope you are enjoying your weekend🙂

Outside the Garden

Yesterday, Noah spent most of the day sleeping in the house. Very unusual for him (I later discovered it was because his beloved bed had been propped up against the house and was unavailable to him. oops.) Anyway, I guess since he wasn’t in the yard, some visitors felt more comfortable about helping out with some pruning activities.


After the first picture I remembered to move the camera away from the window cross-hatches.


There was a pair of twins.


And a really little baby.


Of course, now they had seen me, and were thinking about their next move.


“But dang, that stuff tasted good!”


The littlest fawn was a really pale color. Later I figured out that her mother was also a paler color.


One of the older fawns.


And now I’ve gone out the door, and they are  seriously saying their goodbyes.



They split up, and the mom with two fawns went in one direction, while the mom with the pale fawn went in the opposite direction.



Of course, I don’t want them to eat all my plants (thus the deer fencing.) But I sure do enjoy seeing them close up once in a while, especially the babies.

In other news, I completely forgot to blog about my visit with Shelley!! It has been so great that we have this California/Texas connection, and that we have gotten to visit in person occasionally. I grew up in the Bay Area, and so driving “over the hill” to Santa Cruz was something we did quite often. It brings back great memories when I go down to visit Shelley in Santa Cruz, and now we are creating memories of our own, with our visits to Pacific Grove and fun eating and knitting and talking together. Shelley wrote all about our visit, complete with some pictures–visit her blog for the whole story!