A Time to Plant (Ecc. 3:2)

April 28, 2010 § 4 Comments

There are three little leafy pale green shoots poking up from a cup of dirt on my desk.  They are sunflowers and they’re reaching toward the ceiling, where the fluorescent lighting in my office has been tricking them into believing it is sunlight.  They stretch and grow a little more every day and I can’t describe the joy I feel every morning when I come into work and see their tender little heads are taller than the evening before.  Man, if this is how I feel about plants, I’m going to end up being one crazy mother.  

Honestly, though, I’ve enjoyed gardening since I first started at 15.  My uncle Bob gave me two little strawberry plants and I fell in love then and haven’t looked back.  My strawberry plants led me into planting flowers, and then tomatoes and green peppers, and maybe some herbs this year.  Not a very large or ornate garden, I know, but when you have a multitude of children and teenagers careening around your backyard, you make do with the space you have.  My little garden is not much compared to some, but I treat it with the care and tenderness of a true farmer.  I even defy my hatred of worms and slugs to attend my garden properly.  UGH I hate worms and slugs.  UGH ugh ugh.  (That is the sentence of someone who just shuddered involuntarily.) 

The worst gardening moment I ever had was when I grabbed a weed and there was a slug on it and my finger popped that slug like a bubble on a sheet of bubble wrap and its guts were BRIGHT ORANGE.  Orange drippy slug guts on my hand.  Oh how it disgusted me.  Oh how it repulsed.  I cannot even remember it without shuddering.  I am not embarrassed to admit I shrieked out loud, jumped up and flung my hand around in the manner of a person having a seizure and also maybe tripping on drugs at a concert and experiencing some electrocution too for good measure.  However, anyone who has ever encountered slugs before is absolutely aware of the fact that slugs, they are sticky.  And these guts, man, they were sticky too.  Sticky, bright orange, and on my hand.  Not coming off either, despite the aforementioned electrocution/drugs/seizure dance.  (I’ve since patented it under the term Eds dance and have lied about its origin, claiming that I invented it in honor of Edward Cullen.)  My vain attempts at shaking the guts off ended swiftly (the Eds dance is short but fun) and I ran faster than Usain Bolt into the house.  I scrubbed my hand very hard under hot water, with two different kinds of soap (hand and dish) and a washcloth, and finally felt clean.  Oh the horror of those slug guts.  I shake.  You’ll be proud to know, though, that I promptly returned to my garden and continued weeding.  That is how much I love my garden. 

Right now all the strawberry plants are blooming, blossoming with little white flowers and arching their leaves up to the sun.  Oh, and I will need to transplant these three sunflower plants soon enough.  They are outgrowing my little cup and I know sooner or later, they’ll realize fluorescent lighting doesn’t hold a candle to the real thing.  Sunlight is one of the reasons I love gardening.  Maybe not sunlight in the sweltering, humid days of July and August, when I wipe my brow with my arm and smudge dirt straight across my forehead like a slash of tribal paint; but sunlight in May and early June, when it’s still windy enough that the sun falls across my shoulders like a blanket, settling on my back and warming me.  Sunlight that streams down and through the vibrant green leaves, turning them thin and transparent as paper, and keeps the bumblebees buzzing and the grass warm and lush beneath my bare feet.  Sunlight so clear and bright it’s like seeing the world through crystal. 

Gardening is a riotous, joyful world of the senses.  Packed wet dirt on my hands, grimy and delightful, sunlight on my back and neck, scents of peppers and basil sharp in my nose, that first strawberry that I pick and eat right from the plant, bursting with juice and so warm and sweet it’s like candy, the kids cavorting in the backyard, the colony of birds all chattering in the pine tree, just enough wind to push wisps of hair in my eyes and rustle the leaves.  And soon enough, those three sunflowers will be there too, nodding their great golden heads in agreement with me.  Gardening is a gift from God.



April 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

“When I was driving just this day, I saw a plane lift and fly.  It winked at me and seemed to say, I can carry you away.  And I wondered when it disappeared, into the starry dark of night, if the words I clearly heard were words I loved or words I feared.  Has there ever been such a song, that changed your mind and swept you fast along and kept you right or led you wrong?  A day or year or life ago, I saw a bird on wing, over my head and I don’t know, why it felt compelled to fly so low.  The saddest part was the yearning sky, above the span of soaring wings, so open and empty it seemed to cry because the bird would not wind that high.  The very taste of air was missed, the bird stayed low and strong, the feathers and the earth had kissed, and the whole wide world was dismissed.  (When words are hollow and start to dim, when like arrows they find a mark, when they starve and grow so thin, then I start to wonder what’s within.)  But that bird and I, we have found, when your feet are planted firm, that there is safety on the ground and there is no fear of crashing down.  There are ties that bind and cling, and there will always be another way; there will always be that bird on wing, there will always be a next best thing.  I could pause and try to breathe; I could chance it all away; I could gasp and try to leave.  Or I could keep my heart with me.”

We Got Her to the Church on Time

April 13, 2010 § 2 Comments

        The Solemn Rite of Marriage between Juliana and Daniel has officially occurred.  They are married!  The wedding, in fact the whole weekend, was wonderful.  There were too many happy times to relate in totality, but I’ll try my best to give a little summary of the weekend.

        The drive out on Thursday with Veronica was very good fun!  We even listened to some Michigan football clips when we were in Ohio, to dishearten the Buckeyes and let them know how we felt about them (re: hate them!).  I drove the whole way because I was so excited.  The iced vanilla latte from Starbucks helped as well!  You should have seen Vee and I getting ready to leave.  Through the first half of PA, I think we were bouncing in our seats.   Good times!!!  We arrived late afternoon on Thursday and Juliana and Tara welcomed us grandly.  I also had my first shopping trip to Meijer.  Everyone there calls soda ‘pop’ and also they sell wine and Hennessey right in the aisles.  I was a wide-eyed innocent wandering through that store.  Natalie brought over some pizza and we had a great time that evening, just us girls.  Friday was crazy busy!  We decorated the reception hall most of the day and went to the rehearsal at the church at 5:30.  I wore my 4 inch heels, don’t worry!  After the rehearsal, it was off to the dinner, which was delicious, and Tara and I finally herded Jul home around 10pm.  She needed rest!!! 

        Saturday… I can’t even describe how amazing Jul looked as a bride, or how handsome Daniel was, or how proud I was of my sister.  I could seriously tear up again just writing about it.  Geez if I have to go through this for each of my other 3 sisters… I’m buying stock in Kleenex!!!!  Jul wrote me the sweetest card and thanked me for being her maid of honor.  She looked beautiful and her vows with Daniel were touching to witness.  The whole Mass was inspiring.  Being rather musically inclined (haha!), they had about 10 musicians there playing, and also they had a small devotion to the Divine Mercy image near the end of Mass.  Father Dennis quoted the Diary of Divine Mercy more than once and I loved it, since I have a strong devotion to St. Faustina and the Chaplet.  It was the best gift in the world to be able to follow behind Jul down the aisle when she and Daniel left as husband and wife!  Kudos to Dave for making me laugh or else I definitely would have cried just a little.  And I got to sign and witness the marriage license, which was an interesting experience.  After all the picture taking and hugging and kissing, we boarded the party bus to do what else- get more pictures!  Dave had stocked the bus with champagne and beer and it was a hilariously fun time, despite that I was surrounded by Red Wings fans. UGH.  Don’t worry, I defended Sidney quite vociferously.  Jul suffered a slight injury when she scratched her arm on someone’s corsage pin, but it only bled a little.  We arrived at the reception around 5:00ish… Actually I really have no idea if that’s when we arrived.  I didn’t have a watch and I wasn’t exactly looking at my phone…  I think it was 5ish.  We all made our entrances and soon enough it was time for the toast.  I was really, really nervous for some reason, but I think it went well.  It was a really sweet toast.  Tara’s was sweet too, and Dave’s was funny so I think it all worked out perfectly.  I nearly teared up again when Jul danced with Dad.  Daniel danced with his mother next and then it was time for the girls and I to rock the dance floor.  Everyone danced a lot, it seemed to me.  The DJ was great and for awhile it seemed like almost all the crowd was on the floor.  The coolest dancing moment was when “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay came on and everyone joined in singing.  After a few hours of an amazing party, some of us snuck outside and decorated Jul & Daniel’s car!!!  We went all out.  Streamers, a Just Married sign, cans on strings, car paint… It was a thing of beauty.  I don’t know who thought of it, but if you read this, step up and take credit!!!!  The car looked sensational.  And it was loud!!!  After a few last slow dances, Jul and Daniel left around 11 or 11:30pm and you should have heard those cans rattling as they drove away!!    

        Tara and I had some people over the apartment for a small after-party, once the reception hall had been cleaned up.  (Many thanks to everyone who helped in that task!!)  Mr. Schmit graciously gave us some leftover beer and we had wine back at the apt, so we headed there for some relaxation.  Dave and Tyler became instant heroes because they stopped at Burger King and brought us all burgers, which I proceeded to fall on as ravenously as a wolf.  Dancing increases my appetite, it seems.  The party lasted till about 3 in the morning, it was such a fun time I didn’t want it to end!   Of course, though, the next day was Sunday and time to head home.

        All in all, it was an amazing weekend and despite my camera breaking, not one thing marred the enjoyment of the wedding.  Jul and Daniel are a wonderful (married!) couple and I’m so glad they could be surrounded by so many people who loved them that weekend.  Share your favorite wedding memories in the comments!!!!  I left out a bunch of stuff because I was just trying to summarize everything.   I want to visit Michigan again!!!  I may become a fan!  Just NOT of the Wings.


PS- Still reading Mansfield Park.  not as good as Pride and Prejudice, but still amazing.

Wedding Time!!

April 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Just a quick post here everyone!  I wanted to let you all know I am heading out very early tomorrow morning with Veronica to the sovereign state of Michigan.  Juliana’s wedding is on Saturday!!  It’s come upon us so crazily fast.  I am extremely excited and so happy for my sister.  She deserves all the happiness and blessings in the world.  I am also excited for the reception!  Who doesn’t like to dance???  Well, I don’t care about those people.  I love to dance.  I am going to dance like crazy.  My only disappointment is that I have bowed to the inevitable amount of running around I will need to do and chosen to wear sensible 2 inch heels, instead of the delicious 4 inch heels I have that would have been sooo gorgeous.  Don’t fear, though!  I’m wearing the 4 inch ones to the rehearsal dinner.  Triumph! 

Ok, well the point of this post was to let you all know I will be gone for a few days and when I return, there will be wedding pictures for everyone’s viewing pleasure!!! 

and NO I haven’t written the toast yet.  AGH.

And in case you were curious, I’m reading Mansfield Park on my Kindle.   More Jane Austen!

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