I don't know if it's because of the unusually long and cold winter we had, or if it was because I couldn't sing or dance this spring so gardening was my major creative outlet, but I have been enjoying the gardens more than usual this year. Here are a few things that have been blooming lately:
Hibiscus and phlox - Except for Osmocote, I don't usually use anything artificial on the gardens. However, small caterpillars and beetles have been decimating the hibiscus leaves so I finally bought and used Neem last week.
A small hibiscus (or hibiscus relative) - this one is very healthy
Daisies and phlox
Asiatic lily and bee balm (the lily is what made me decide to take pictures of the garden!)
I haven't posted here in so long. It's been a busy, eventful spring year. Here's a brief rundown:
Les Misérables was one of the best experiences of my life! It was such a wonderful challenge, and the cast & crew were great! I was going to blog more about it during it, but I was too busy.
I injured my knee the evening before opening night. Since then, it's been up and down. Some days, it would feel fine, and, other times, it would be really stiff. I started doing Zumba again regularly, recently, and I've also been doing my physical therapy again. This week, my knee seems pretty much back to normal - I'm even samba-ing again!
After four years of very hard work and intense involvement, daughter graduated from UNC-Asheville. I'm so extremely proud of her, but I'll miss going to see her so close by.
(... so many Kleenexes...)
I had reflux for the first time ever in March & April. It seemed to come & go mostly based on stress. It was so bad that I was losing my voice. I was eating meals half as large as usual to try to get it to go away. I wasn't trying to lose weight, and when people complimented me I was polite. However, I'd rather STAY THE SAME WEIGHT AND HAVE MY VOICE BACK!!!!!!!!! I got my wish. For the most part, the reflux has gone away, and I'm back to about 3/4 of what I usually eat. I'm close to where I started, weight-wise, which, I suppose, should upset me, but I don't care because - a few days before Seussical auditions, my voice was back to normal!!!!
I sang "All That Jazz" for the Seussical auditions. I was trying not to dance it too. However, after all the times I've danced it in two different Broadway dance classes (and performed it with one), I had to stay so tense to not dance that I danced the second half of the audition (I asked ahead if that would be okay) so that the singing would be easier!
I'm a bird girl in Seussical! We've started rehearsals, and it will be fun!
Seussical is being done by the community theater group I've been in during the summers. I don't put the name in personal posts so my blog posts don't come up when people do a search for the group.
My first musical with this group was five summers ago. Younger son (15 yo) mentioned that I've been doing this for 1/3 of his life. He's going to help me paint sets this summer.
Older son is doing some of the set design!
I did a mindfulness-based stress reduction class through UNC-Chapel Hill in March and April. It's helped to lower my blood pressure and my stress, and I've really liked the changes I've made as a result of the class. I've been trying to take an MBSR class for the last two years, but the program at the other university medical center in the area (which my doctor recommended) never worked schedule-wise (either vacations, my performances, or daughter's performances were on the same days). UNC-CH's classes are more flexible - you can make up a session with the same session in another group, which worked out very well.
Usually, I have seasonal depression in the darkest parts of the winter. Being in Les Misérables pretty much kept that at bay this year.
On the other hand, I was depressed in the later part of the spring. That's almost never happened before. Spring is usually my most energetic time of the year. After reading a lot of different books in the first part of the year, I read very little in the late spring. I got way behind on the photo blogs, and I've hardly posted here at all. I took photos for May's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, but never even bothered to post them. I also watched more TV* than I've watched in decades.
Gardening did keep me going. I think I did more gardening this spring than in many past springs.
My mood totally improved when we started Seussical. All of a sudden, I had energy again.
I could see these pansies from the window next to the computer.
I often eat breakfast while sitting on the front porch steps. This was the view. The daisies in the background escaped from the bed behind them years ago as did the purple mazus in the grass on the right.
A close-up of the daisies and the mazus
The mountain laurel is one of my favorite bushes.
I took a number of photos of the columbines. This is the only one that came out well. They're hard to photograph.
Yellow flag iris
These daisies have escaped from the bed into the drainage ditch between our house and the neighbors'.
I wish I'd taken photos for this last weekend. The tulips and narcissus were in full bloom. We had a front come through today, and the rain pushed most of them sideways. Here's a relatively short set of photos for an April Bloom Day:
The columbines just started blooming.
Narcissus and tulips
The view from the kitchen table
The dogwoods aren't blooming as profusely this year. This one has the most blooms of any in the yard.
The view from the library window
Some of the happiest flowers, right now, are the ones that have escaped from the flower beds into the grass - like this mazus.
This ajuga also is happy in the lawn.
The leopard's bane is escaping into the yard too.
Usually, this azalea bush is covered with flowers - but not this year.
Happy violets in the grass
When I open the blinds in the bedroom, this view of the dogwood flowers makes me very happy.
View of the viburnum prunifolium (black haw) tree from another window in our bedroom.
A few weeks before Lent started, I read a comment on a religious discussion board that said that people with allergies and asthma should just endure their reactions to incense (no matter how severe) in order to fulfill their religious duties. Basically, incense was too important to change its use for a bunch of whiners.*
Since I have asthma (back under control now, but it was really bad in November & December) and it was the height of seasonal depression, my first reaction was that maybe God just doesn't like asthmatics (& other people who have reactions to incense).
My second reaction was that I needed to stop reading things that made me feel like I couldn't be a Christian. That's what I should give up for Lent!
I've never seen the point of New Year's Resolutions - if you want to make a change, make it! Why wait until New Year's?! The same with this. A few weeks before Lent, I gave up reading things that looked like they would make me feel like I couldn't be a Christian. Basically, this means that before I start reading articles or discussion boards, I pause and really think about the possible results of reading them.
This was so useful that I'm also doing the same thing with articles & boards that have nothing to do with religion. Is this article really going to give me any useful new information or is it just rehashing the same arguments? Does it give a new perspective? I read far fewer articles now.
The wonderful thing is that I'm reading more books.
I also decided to try reading more things that actually encourage my faith! While this seems like a fairly obvious thing to do, I've spent lots of time reading things that other people recommend because they encourage their faith. I've never tried to focus on thing that will help my faith because that seems like cherry-picking - maybe I'll only focus on the easy stuff. However, with my bout of not-being-sure-of-what-I-believed a few years ago,** I decided that it would be good to nurture my faith for a while. I've been listening to Father Phillip's homilies online, and I've been reading Inspiration from Pope Francis.
The thing is, unlike the usual Lenten changes, I don't see a reason to change back when Lent is over.
* I tried to go back and find the link, but my internet history doesn't go back that far.
** During the Nicene Creed, I would mentally add "I would like to believe" at the beginning of every section.
[The photo is of the mother and baby dolphins that we watched in the harbor in Charleston, SC a month ago. The photo is only loosely connected to the post (I bought the book about Pope Francis from the Pauline bookstore in Charleston).]
It's been a while since I blogged - the show took all my creative attention and lots of my other attention too. I finally have most of the downstairs cleaned up after weeks of bringing things in and dumping them somewhere. Today, we spent lots of time cleaning up outside from the ice storm a week ago. We were in Charleston right after the ice storm so we're finally getting to take care of the yard. It was a lovely, warm afternoon!
Our yard is roughly pie shaped, and the point of the pie goes downhill here. This is what it looked like the day after the storm as the ice started melting (view from older son's bedroom). Here's a close-up:
We took care of the two trees on the left and the one that you can't really see well on the right in the shadows.
While we were in Charleston, SC, lots of bulbs started blooming! Here are some of them:
I love the stripes on this crocus.
Daffodils and more reticulated irises in front of a large branch from the cedar tree. When younger son was a toddler, we had a swing hanging from that branch (the flower bed wasn't there then). The ropes for the swing were long so the swing made a large arc. He still remembers how fun it was. We're trying to figure out something special to do with the branch.
Daffodils and white crocuses in front of the top half of a tree (the one in the shade in the first two photos)