Goals set and met. Like most college freshman, Kelly’s first semester at college was a wake-up call. She did well, but not as well as she wanted to. She set a goal to make it on the Dean’s List in her second semester and she did it, finishing her first year at college (in the middle of a pandemic!) with a 3.8 GPA.
Dollar Store decor. My sister gave us these cute painted mason jars filled with fresh flowers for Mother’s Day. When the flowers died, I decided to pick up a couple of bunches of fake flowers from Dollar Tree and they look great sitting on our outdoor tables.
Mulched beds. My flower beds never look better than early June when they are freshly weeded and mulched (our Memorial Day weekend tradition) and the dianthus blooming all over.
Returning to the office. After working from home since March of 2020, I was kinda dreading returning to the office, but…it’s nice there. Quiet. Cool. Smells good. Nobody bothers me. And, there is no kitchen/pantry to raid all day long. I’m easing my way back in, working at home a couple days, and at the office the other days before returning full time in August. It’s not bad going back to the office when it kinda feels like home, too.
Summer ‘yakking. Finally got the boats in the water on Memorial Day and it was a perfect day to paddle around the lagoons at Presque Isle. We saw a muskrat, an eagle, a pike, a beaver, and tons of baby geese and ducks. The Lagoons tend to be very busy, but it’s easy to spread out and find your own space/peace. (I do find it annoying when people play music out loud….it’s just kinda rude in an environment like that when there are so many people there just trying to enjoy nature).
Things I’m not loving this week
Flats. We were 6 miles from our car at the lagoons at Presque Isle when the flat on Kelly’s bike because too low to ride. Fortunately, there is a bike pump at the ranger station and we weren’t far from there. We walked our bikes over, filled her tire and, thankfully, it held until we made it back to our cars to kayak.
A few articles, blog posts, and other things I think are worth your time.
The New York Times: Goodbye to a Yankee Farmer
Harvard Business Review: 8 Questions to Ask Someone Other Than “What Do You Do?”
I took this photo in 2018, probably sometime in early spring, based on the bare trees and drab colors of the landscape. It borders the lot of a Harborcreek church we often park at to run, walk, or bike because we like the long, mostly-flat roads near it.
I remember smirking when I saw this little tree growing right out of the stump of the one they tried to kill, or maybe the parent tree was just old and dying. I don’t know, but I admire this little guy’s pluck.
And now, look, three years later:
You have to admire the tenacity and resilience of nature and if you don’t, you should. If you look, you’ll find it everywhere. In this tiny “weed” that grew a foot up to see the sun:
This hosta that used to be outside of our garage and is now inside the much larger garage and growing in what’s left of the dirt and a little bit of sunshine from the windows in the garage. By the way, we’ve already dug up and replanted three garage hosta, but the roots just keep sending up new shoots.
These flowers growing in sand and stone and blazing heat of which I have never felt until traveling through the southwestern U.S. with my family a couple years ago:
This enormous rhododendron bush that my husband has wanted to cut down since the day we moved into the house 25 years ago because “it blocks your vision” when backing out of the driveway. I tell him to just nose out a little further because every spring this bush makes the hassle worth it. (I’m certain it will outlive both of us.)
This tiny milk snake, sunning himself on a busy path, narrowly avoiding being squished by a lunchtime walker (me) and a young female runner who happened by at the same time. I was excited and i pointed to the snake and said….LOOK, how cool! I immediately worried she would shriek and run away faster. Instead, to my utter happiness, she squatted down next to me and we watched him slither along for a bit.
These “weeds” that bring color and life to our ditches, fields, roadsides, and really anywhere cause…..dammit, they bloom where they are planted (by the wind, birds, insects):
This nest of tiny baby birds tucked into a hanging potted fern on my front porch where a dog and two (killer) cats routinely lounge. I fear the day the babies fledge. My entire family is on alert to protect them while they learn to fly and keep the killers cats inside, no matter how much they cry, pout, or box each other (they beat up on each other when you don’t let them out — like bored kids picking on each other):
This sun that comes up and goes down day after day after day after day after day. Most days the vast majority of us don’t even notice it coming and going, but there are some days (and nights) that it demands our attention:
I’m so inspired by nature. In awe of the miracles around us every day that go unnoticed by many. And, I assume, we go mostly unnoticed by them as they just do what they do — grow, shine, multiply, live.
One of my favorite things to think about is what would happened in this world if all the humans left. What will be come of our shopping malls and concrete bridges and paved roads when we finally destroy ourselves? Save for our domestic animals, I’m guessing most of the natural world would be better off with out us.
About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.
Things I’m loving
Star Wars stamps. Did you know there are Star Wars droid stamps currently available? Yep…and they are pretty awesome and are the stamps of choice for Lauren’s graduation invitations, which I need to get in the mail very soon.
We’re expecting! Triplets! I bought my hanging ferns early this year and they’ve been hanging on the front porch for a couple weeks now. I’ve seen a bird going back and forth out of one and couldn’t figure out whether he was stealing fronds to build a nest or nesting in the fern. I dug around a little recently and held up my cell phone to take a photo and see if there are eggs and — it’s triplets! Now the mission will be to protect the fledglings from my killer cats. Sigh.
Bamboo sheets. I bought these bamboo sheets after reading that they helped keep you cool at night without being cold (like satin), and OMG….I will never buy anything else. I LOVE them. They are so soft and….yes, cooler than regular sheets. I will say they are a little “slippy” — like I have to yank them all back in place in the a.m., but….worth the extra 3 seconds it takes to make the bed.
Things I’m not loving
Price gouging on wood. This …right here….this is $1,500 worth of roofing material for a 10×12 foot gazebo next to our pool. The 2x4s were $25 a piece. I do not understand how a supposed shut down for….what…a month a YEAR AGO continues to be their excuse for these insane prices on building materials.
Brick workouts. If you’re unfamiliar with brick workouts, they are hell on earth. For those training for a triathlon, though, they are vital to get your body/legs/mind accustomed to transitioning from the bike to the run. When you first start the run, your legs feel wobbly, like jelly or…bricks. Hence the name. Lauren recently survived her first brick — a 13+ mile bike ride followed by a 1 mile run. It wasn’t without a fair amount of whining, but she got a real taste for what to expect on June 19. Now…to get her out for a swim in open water (that is a whole different experience than lap swimming).
A few articles, blog posts, and other things I think are worth your time.
“Motherhood is one of our modern, enlightened society’s awkward little secrets. Here we are with more than 100 years of feminism under our belts, including 50 years of second-wave feminism, during which many consciousness-raising hours were spent unpicking domestic enslavement. Yet mothers are still underpaid, overworked, exploited, overlooked, frazzled, isolated and perpetually guilty.”
“Culture wars always precede shooting wars. They don’t necessarily lead to a shooting war, but you never have a shooting war without a culture war prior to it, because culture provides the justifications for violence. And I think that’s where we are. .”
Five Thirty Eight: Why Militias Are So Hard to Stop
“Private militias want us to think the Second Amendment protects them, and they’re just wrong,” said Mary McCord, the executive director of Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection. “‘Well regulated’ has always meant ‘regulated by the state.’”
Not all militias are extremist, and not all extremist groups are militias. But sometimes the two overlap, and that’s where you can end up with a dangerous combination of armed, organized individuals with violent tendencies and extremist views.