Friday, September 30, 2005

Garden Reality Tour
written June 15, 2000

In a life of stress and chaos, I longed for a place of beauty and order.
A perfect summer day of warm sunshine.
Time to enjoy the day.
No work. No cares.
I pictured myself in a beautiful dress and sun hat, with a basket on my arm.
I strolled into the perfect garden.
Cut armfulls of fragrance, color, form and texture.
Ah! The image.
I felt the sun warming my skin, delighted in the bounty I held in my arms.
The clouds over me were white brush strokes,
slowly moving, building towers on a blue pallet.

I am older now and there is opportunity to build a garden of my own.
Oh joy!
Down on my knees in the dirt.
The spade won't go past a rock.
The turned up dirt releases mold in the air.
Allergic, my nose runs.
Both mold and sunstroke give me a headache.
Weeds refuse to yield to my hand.
Time out.

Next year:
A garden fork slides between the stones.
If it has recently rained, the weeds let go.
A decongestant, bottle of water and a hat are my defense.
Some plants go in. Some die.
My good meaning neighbor mows for me and kills my tree. It was a little tree.
Sand fleas feast on my neck and shoulders.
Oh well.
Some plants survive. I waatch some thrive.

Next year:
Jerry Baker's garden books and magazine subscriptions
lots of gardening catalogues filled with beautiful promises fill my book shelf.
Several nurseries have been scouted out.
I pick the brains of other gardeners who willingly share their wisdom.
No more watering can. I had an outside spicket installed.
What survived from last year, has grown magnificently.

So have the weeds.
A basic plan in mind.
Pay attention to sun and water needs.
Try not to use chemicals
Tall ones go in the back.
Choose plants that like rock garden conditions.
Son of a gun!
The hazy image clears.

My garden needs structure.
White fence, stone walkway, a shady place to sit
Plans hatch in my head.
With paper and pencil, I plan their locations.
Waiting for spring

Next year:
Confidently choosing what goes where.
Years of mulching are paying off
Weeds still try.
I spy them and they're out.
The theme is blue.
Bachelor button, lavender, bluebird rose of sharon, lilac, pansies, iris, vinca, violets, veronica, all in their season, smile in blue.
In jeans and floppy hat, with vase of water and pruning shears,
I cut a flower for the table.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

My across the street neighbor was walking his dogs. A thought occured to me as I watched them walk down the street. They live in a rented house. The homeowner has put the house up for sale. I asked my neighbors if they will buy the house and they stated they couldn't afford to do that. They are looking for another place to rent. I will be sad to lose my neighbors. They got me into my house when I locked myself out. They called the Police when someone attacked my dog. They are good neighbors. They wave and say,"Hello. Good morning."
I've decided to move into my rental house until it is sold, thereby saving some capital gains tax. It will be a shame to leave my Melba Street house empty. Why not rent it to my neighbors? I know they take good care of their property, as I've lived across the street from them for 20 years.
And when my rental is sold? What then? Let them stay in the Melba Street house while I move into the Park Circle eventual destination. I intend to live on Park Circle in retirement for the rest of my life. The plan was to renovate the house before moving in, but that plan can change. I can renovate while living there.
My accountant asks,"What if the rental is sold immediately?"
Then I move directly to Park Circle and pay the capital gains tax. I would not turn down an honest purchase offer just to avoid the tax.
A message was left on their answering machine to call me. Can't wait until they return my call to see if We can make a deal.
The name of my blog won't change, regardless where I'm living.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Today, earlier, I wrote of my disappointment with a family member who is causing delays with my Mom's Probate. Funny, but a friend in San Francisco seems to sense just when I am feeling sad about this. Perhaps it is because he is a Sensitive. Perhaps it is because He has a similar situation happening within his family circle. Anyways, Colin called me and We talked for an hour. I feel better now.
In the afternoon, I watched a video, "Warm Springs". Its about FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt. It covers his bout with polio (infantile paralysis) and the years He sought treatment at Warm Springs....up to the time He returned to politics. I student taught physically handicapped children at the school located on the grounds of Myer Memorial Hospital in Buffalo New York. Working with physically handicapped students was a learning experience for me. I learned that kids are just kids. Physically handicapped children are just children, except their legs don't work right....or whatever their handicap is. The rest of the child is just a child. They work around their handicap. In my senior year at Buffalo State Teacher's College, I met Eleanor Roosevelt. Little did I know of all that she had overcome and accomplished in her lifetime. All I saw was the outside: an old woman with no sense of fashion. What does a college senior know, anyways?
I did not appreciate her legacy until decades later. The video added another dimension to my understanding of the lady and her husband.
The summer before Bob died (husband), We went to Maine to visit his aunt and uncle in Pembroke. As a side trip, We drove across the Canadian Border to visit where FDR spent his childhood summers....can't think of the name of the place at the moment....will edit this blog when I do. (Oh, it's called Campo Bello. Did I spell it right?) That's the place where FDR contracted polio. Bob had polio as a child and wore a brace on his leg so that He could walk. I bless the brace because it enabled Bob to function.
I bless the brace because it kept stupid women away from the man until I met him. Stupid women who could not see past the brace. How shallow some people are. I saw a gem and got him!!!!
I love to paint pictures. I am not a real artist, meaning, producing fine art. What I like to do is to paint pretty landscapes. The joy of painting is editing out the ugly: billboards, garbage in the streets, overhead wires....that sort of thing. Delight is found in color , line and form. Satisfaction is found in translating what the eye sees into something caught on paper or canvas.
Fall is a wonderful time to paint. I've been trying to get away in October for years, but something all ways happens to present me from getting away. I figured it out. September and October is the end of summer. It is the start of the winter season and people get back to business. They make appointments, write letters, make phone calls. I get called.
I am retired. Surely, I can get into the forest to paint fall foliage. Just go, I tell myself. So, I made a reservation for a bed and breakfast for one week , next week, for a painting trip, just for myself, in the middle of New Hampshire. The foliage should be spectacular. I'm taking Rascal. The B&B said it was OK to bring a dog, if she was not a barker. I said she was quiet. I lied.But Rascal will be with me out in the landscape, not in the B&B room. Most of her vacation will be in the truck.
My suitcase is out again. I am making mental lists of what to pack. Guess what came in the mail yesterday?
A snafu to my painting trip. Never fails. Probate Court has scheduled me for an appearance for October 4 at 11:30 in the morning. I think I shall ask my attorney to represent me this time. As word of explaination: My mother died in April 1999. Her estate is still not settled because a member of the family has decided to take all assets or the lawyers will get everything....a direct quote from family member. So, probate is tied up and has been for years. The probate mess is the worst experience of my life because it represents betrayal by someone I loved and trusted, someone who should have been my best friend. I was shocked to discover the depth of agression and hate in this person, because I have searched my soul and can't find a reason for treating me this way. Regretfully, I have had to let this person go, because to try to keep her in my life is toxic. So, the lawyer goes to the meeting where nothing shall be accomplished except generating another bill and I go with heavy heart on my painting trip with dog. While painting, I hope I can forget for a while, what is happening at home.

Friday, September 23, 2005

My daughter has started a blog. She e-mailed me from Australia about it. So I read her blog. I just love blogs. Blogs reduce the geographical distances between family and friends to nothing at all.
A decision has been made, or I slipped into it without notice. I have a house for sale in the town next door to my town. It was a rental, but it is too far away to keep a close eye on the tenant. The last tenant stiffed me for rent , cleaning and utilities, so I took them to court. Good record keeping assured that I would win. I won and collected. However, even when I win, I lose, because going to court is stressful. It ages me and makes me unhappy that I have to go through with this process or let someone walk all over me. I don't like either alternative. So, after 10 years of dealing with tenants and pouring money into this house, which I dearly love, the decision is made to sell it.
A sign by the side of the road is all I've done to advertise this house. Since it is next to an exclusive country club / golf course, I've had many an interested person look at it. Some would have loved to purchase the house, but they neglected to save money for a down payment. They did not qualify for a mortgage.
There is no hurry to sell this house. I don't have to move because of a job transfer. I don't need the money to pay for emergency medical bills. I know this house will sell when the right person comes along, because it is a quaint restoration in the Arts and Crafts style.
Since this isn't my main address, I will have to pay the government a hefty capital gains tax when the house sells. Unless.....I make it my main residence.
So, I am moving into this lovely restored old home while selling it. To be completely exempt from capital gains, I need to live in it for 2 years. The government allows me to pro-rate my profit. If I live there for 6 months, I save 25% of the tax.
So, even as it takes a lot of planning and work, I am moving for the short term. When the house is sold, I plan to move back to my other house on Melba Street.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I heard on TV last night, that WalMart is opening stores in China. They want the billion people in China to spend money in their stores. The spokesperson for WalMart, criticized the classical way that the Chinese shop. It is not efficient. They do it by personal on one in small shops. The Chinese are dazzled with the large array of goods in the giant store. It is the devil's mis-direction. They have yet to learn how impersonal it is to be shopping in an "efficient"
discount store. They will lose their personal relationships and be left with social isolation. ..abet, with a lot of material goods. This hollow victory is dry as dust. What is more important: material posessions or personal relationships?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Hi there. I've been off line for a month, feeling withdrawal symptoms. My computer means a lot to me, contact with the world, and all that. My 8 year old laptop finally got hard drive heart attack and died. With the assistance of my son-in-law, I located a new computer that had all the features I a price that was 1/4th of my first computer. My! how technology changes and gets cheaper.
I'll save you all the techno stuff. Actually, I don't understand it all, but I know who to call.
While my laptop was in the hospital, I was on vacation with my girlfriend, Judy. Her mother lives in San Francisco, so Judy and I flew from Connecticut to San Francisco. This was my second trip there. The first trip was so busy, We never got to see a single museum. Museums were high on the priority list this trip.
Judy loves to go first class. I like to keep my money in my pocket, but she persuaded me to go for a luxury trip. We were drives to the airport by a chauffer, sat on the leather seats of a Lincoln towncar. I can get used to that.
We stayed at a bed and breakfast in the city. the Bishop's Mansion was all antiques, polished wood and small luxuries, like supplied bathrobes in the bathroom and a wine and cheese reception every afternoon. The reception was a wonderful way to get to know the other guests.
We had a fire in the fire place in our suite, classic music playing on a good radio as We arrived and a basket of soda and snacks. I can get used to this.
Japan Town cost me a bundle. As an art lover, I could not resist a shop selling Japanese Woodblock prints. Some of them were over a hundred years old. Others were contemporary. I bought four and doubled the cost of my trip. I am not sorry. The prints are lovely.
Hate to bore you. I had tea in the Japanese Garden in Golden Gate Park, saw buffalo and harbor seals, ate gourmet meals, got an escorted tour of the Castro district and the Mission Delores. I think San Francisco is the most beautiful city in the entire United States.
The second half of my trip was in Napa Valley, where Judy's Mom lives in an assisted living center. We toured a winery, stayed at 2 more bed and breakfast places under the Four Sisters Inns. Add to the luxury of the first b&b: a pool and hot tub, bicycles for free , newspapers and more wine and cheese. (sigh) In the area: an Art Preserve. I liked it better than the Museum Of Modern Art in S. F. We stayed in Yountville, famous for having the best restaurant in the entire US. Of course I could not get reservations. The restaurant is called the French Laundry.
I am absolutely furious with the airlines. Do they think all that screening they make passengers go through will screen for terrorists? I am a believer in profiling. If all the terrorists are arabic men between the ages of 16 and 45, why are they searching women age 68? If I was a terrorist, I would go to the nearest uniform shop and buy some navy blue clothes, sew braid on it and , pulling luggage, walk in the back door. Last trip I was offended by a woman screener, poking me in my bra to see if I was wearing an underwire (metal, of course) This time, I was made to take off my sandles and forced to stand on their filthy floor in my bare feet. It will be a long time before I feel like flying again.
Outside of the security screening, the trip was wonderful. Judy is a good travel companion. Having a companion cuts the cost of travel in half. However, next time, I drive to a near-by city for a tour and exploration.
Now to finish setting up my new computer and reading the over 100 e-mails that piled up while I was away.