A Longer But Later-Than-It-Should-Be Update (Sorry!)

September 10, 2013
We are blessed with wild turkeys this year.

We are blessed with wild turkeys this year.

Well, here I am at last, over three weeks post-mastectomy.  I’m sorry to be so long in posting, but sitting at the computer was (and still is) a bit tiring.  In addition, despite being neurotically careful in my clicking and anti-virus software, I got a really nasty computer virus called a rootkit that rendered my computer unusable.  I’d never even heard of a rootkit, but trust me, they are very, very bad indeed.   I couldn’t help but notice how much rootkits are like cancer cells—they spread in a particularly insidious and stealthy way.

The truth is, I’m not even sure what to tell you about how I’m doing.  I really don’t know how one is supposed to feel three weeks post bi-lateral mastectomy, so I’m uncertain whether discomfort and pain (which I am still experiencing) is to be expected at this point.  I will say that my breast surgeon (whom I like very much, by the way) certainly appears to have sewn my incision very tight indeed.  I hope what she tells me about how much our skin can stretch is true.   I actually was feeling better after my surgical drains were removed, but unfortunately developed something called a seroma, which occurs when fluid collects in the surgical cavity.  My surgeon drained it, but it began to fill again only two days later, and the discomfort is discouraging.  I should mention, too, that during surgery, my heart went pretty wonky and, unfortunately, it continues to be so, which means I’m having to take heart medication that works well, but keeps me from sleeping.  A heartbeat regularly in the 150 BPM range along with poor sleep are not optimal for healing, I suppose.

I’ve always bounced back quickly after injuries, surgeries, childbirth and such, but this has been different.  I thought I’d be doing more by now than lying about like a big, useless slug.   It’s been humbling.

The funny thing is, I often feel like people are disappointed when I don’t say, “Great!” when they ask me how I’m doing.   I feel like apologizing for the fact that I’m still hurting, that I’m feeling tired.  But then I feel annoyed.  Why should I have to put on some kind of happy-face front when I’m not feeling that way? I’ve got breast cancer, for Pete’s sake.  It’s not that I’m being negative—those who’ve been around me since the mastectomy would tell you that I’m been quietly cheerful and positive.  I still feel enormous joy when I walk up the driveway and see the goldfinches, with their funny, squeaky-toy twittering burst forth like bright sparks from the sunflowers, outraged that I’ve interrupted their sunflower seed snacking.  Yep, for sure a positive attitude helps…but it doesn’t change the fact that I feel weary.

Despite the seromas and such, I’ve had good news, too.  While my pathology report wasn’t perfect, I was thrilled to read that the lymph nodes that were removed during surgery were clean.  That was very good news indeed, and I’m grateful for it.  I know I have further treatment in store, but I’m not certain exactly what it will be.  I was a bit unhinged when I saw the medical oncologist last week, and he mentioned that dreaded word “chemotherapy.”  With the clean lymph nodes, I thought I might avoid that.  We should know more in three weeks after yet another analysis (called on Oncotype DX) is performed on my tumor.

Meanwhile, I’ll continue to take pleasure in the good things—in having unfettered time to read, in the hint of fall in the evening air, and in still being able to laugh.  And I’ll be forever thankful for kind and loyal family and friends who listen and allow me time to grieve and feel sad, while encouraging a positive healing spirit.  As always, I’m grateful for goldfinches, for sunflowers, and for the cool, cleansing breezes blowing through our open windows—somehow making me feel that everything will be okay.

A Very Brief Update

August 13, 2013
sunflower (2) (799x800)

Tom planted sunflowers for me this year. This one bloomed first—on the day I was diagnosed with cancer. I went out to clear my head after the doctor called, and this was the first thing I saw.

I am very grateful for all of your kind expressions of love and concern—they mean a great deal to me.   I am especially thankful for the prayers going up on my behalf and all positive thoughts sent my way.

I’ll be having a bilateral mastectomy this week—on Tom’s birthday, in fact.  I hate that the surgery fell on his birthday, but he says the best birthday present for him is having the hope that the surgeon will find and remove every last cancer cell.

I am very sad and very scared, but also more than ready to get this cancer out.  I’m looking forward to seeing the faces of my three beloveds when I come out of the recovery room.  Not only will my three favorite people in this world will be there, but Ariel will stay with me at home for a week and Benjamin will be there for several days.  That in itself will be healing I’m sure.

I would appreciate your continued good thoughts and prayers.  As soon as I’m coherent enough to do so (pain meds make me really dopey), I’ll let you know how things are going.

A Somewhat Less Than Cheery Post

July 26, 2013
A little chipper I captured earlier this spring

A little chipper I captured earlier this spring

Well, I’m still here, more or less, for better or for worse.  I apologize for not commenting more on your blogs.  I think about you often, but the truth is, I haven’t felt well for a few months now, so I’ve saved my energy for the countless chores the summer season brings (gardening, mowing, weeding).   Commenting (and writing emails) has always been very hard for me anyway—it literally takes me hours—because in the same way that I find talking difficult (and I do), I find commenting so, as well.  It’s too much like talking.  I can write an essay more easily than I speak.

I assumed it was just my heart acting up again.  I’ve had arrhythmias in the past (and had catheter ablation surgery for it), so I worried that I’d have to have that again.  It finally got bad enough that I went to the doctor for the first time in nine years.  They did find heart irregularities (mostly related to sleep apnea) for which they gave me medicine, but they found something else, too.

They found breast cancer.  Invasive lobular carcinoma, in fact.  Unfortunately, lobular is a sneaky kind of cancer—it tends to not show up on mammograms.  Mine didn’t.  It showed on ultrasound just enough to do the biopsy. Next week, I’ll have a breast MRI (which is the most definitive imaging technique for invasive lobular carcinoma) to see if it’s also in the other breast (which loblular often tends to be).  This will help me decide what kind of treatment to have.  I have hard choices ahead.  Surgery is a certainty—either lumpectomy with radiation or a mastectomy, depending on what the MRI shows.

Initially (in fact, right up to this very moment ) I wasn’t going to share this on my blog.  I honestly felt I couldn’t bear to write about yet another crisis in our life.  After a while, you start to feel like a freak—like there must be something seriously wrong with someone who has such bad luck, and you feel something close to shame.  So you withdraw—at a time that you most need a loving hand to hold.  I’ve told very few people so far—mostly those I’ve known for years, whom I trust to love me no matter what.  I’m afraid I have no words of wisdom or inspiration right now.  I’m all spent.  Truthfully, I’m posting because I want to sincerely ask for your prayers.  Or if you aren’t the praying type, your very best thoughts.  I think I’ve never been in more need of it.

It’s funny that I say that because I’ve never felt more angry at God than I do now.  There, I’ve said it.  Might as well–He knows it anyway.  And I can’t seem to pray for myself.  I can pray—easily—for others (and I do).  But not for me.  Every time I try, I start crying and can’t stop.  But, despite my anger (which, in part, is born of faith—how could you be angry at someone you don’t believe exists?), I still believe in prayer.

And yes, yes, of course I know I should be thankful for all the good in my life.  Trust me—I am.  I’m human, so as humans, we’re subject to crazy, conflicting feelings.  “What the heck, God??” can co-exist with “Thank you, God.”   So along with my screaming “Why?” I whisper, “Thank you.”  Many times a day.  In fact, just now a mockingbird, still young and breast-speckled, landed in the shrub next to the window, looked in at me, and cocked his head.  He looked so comical, I laughed out loud.  And said, “Thank you.”

I don’t know when I’ll write again.  After the MRI, when they’ve gotten a better look under the hood, I expect things to start moving pretty fast.  So if you write me, and I don’t write you back, please don’t think I don’t appreciate it.  It’s just that now, I’m trying to stuff my addled head with enough information about breast cancer treatment to make an informed decision about my own care.  There’s a lot to read, and it’s hard reading.  Not only because it’s full of medical terminology that makes my head spin, but because the stories that so many brave ladies tell on the Breast Cancer Discussion Boards break my heart.

So, if you’ve read this far, I thank you for not turning away.  And I’m grateful for every single good thought and prayer for me you send into the firmament.  I can’t seem to bring myself to plead my cause with God, so I need you to do it for me. Please.  I’ll take all I can get—greedy supplicant that I am. And I thank you with all my heart.

A Grand Day Out

March 13, 2013

Biltmore Diana and her dog (2) (513x800)

Now, I could tell you that this is our REAL house.  I could say that our doublewide trailer is just a decoy to hide our incredible wealth and that I never mentioned this house because, well…*sniff*…it simply doesn’t do to flaunt one’s riches.  But then you’d probably think, “Hmm…looks like Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl has been watching a little too much Downton Abbey, haha.”   And, haha…you’d be right.

Besides, if this were OUR house, why would all these people be here?

Biltmore from the hill (3) (800x617)

The truth is, a very kind friend (thank you, kind friend!) gave me two tickets to Biltmore, and Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man and I had a grand day out at a very grand house surrounded by an even grander expanse of rolling hills and mountains.

We were a little worried when we approached the house, and the first thing we saw was this fellow:

biltmore statue (2) (600x800)

We couldn’t help but be wary of someone with a cross in one hand and a big, scary sword in the other.  Talk about mixed messages!  But we felt much better when we saw his sweet companion:

Biltmore Joan of Arc perhaps (2) (600x800)

And better yet when we saw this friendly lady waving, “Hey!”  It’s so nice to be welcomed!

Biltmore friendly statue (2) (599x800)

We politely averted our eyes and pretended not to notice that…ahem…her dress had slipped.  Bless her heart!

And look!  Her companion even unfurled a lovely bough of flowers for us!  Aww…you shouldn’t have!

Biltmore statue with flower bough (2) (800x593)

biltmore looking ominous blog

As you might expect, we didn’t spend much time in the Big House.  In fact, we were rather relieved to walk away from it and the foreboding clouds gathering over it.  Even in all its extravagant glory, it paled in comparison to the glory outside:

Biltmore trail (2) (800x633)

Like this path, where we could see both our beloved mountains and the beautiful French Broad River that flows near our own Doublewide Ranch.

And the stately, ancient trees that were everywhere, including this cypress and the knees gathered, like a quiet and worshipful congregation, at its base.

Biltmore cypress knees (2) (800x599)

And this climbing ivy, that looked almost as though it were painted on the tree:

Biltmore ivy climbing (2) (600x800)

The bamboo was a bit of a surprise, but lovely in its own way:

Biltmore bamboo (2) (800x649)

But I think perhaps one of my favorite things were these little hemlock cones that hung like little bells in the tree.  These were in a secret garden that we found when we sought to get away from the crowds.  My favorite places have always been those that have  little green sanctuaries like this.  Places where you can quiet your mind long enough to remember where the real riches are.

Biltmore evergreen cones (2) (800x599)

Grateful Praise #2: The Star–My Christmas Story (and A Love Story, of Sorts)

January 31, 2013

The sun outshines it (2) (800x576)

It’s been almost three months since I last posted, and as is usual for that situation, I’ve made an already long time longer yet.  That’s because the more time there is between posts, the more I feel that I must write something brilliant to make up for my slothful ways which means, of course, that I become paralyzed because, well…nothing I write seems brilliant enough.

But who wants to hear yet again about my silly neuroses?  How about a Christmas story?

Yes, I know that Christmas was, like, over a month ago, and possibly no one wants to hear a Christmas story in almost-February, but that’s what I’m feeling thankful for right now, so I reckon a Christmas story is what you’re getting.  Even worse, I suppose, haha, it’s not even a fresh Christmas story.  It happened two years ago.  Nevertheless…

Longtime readers of my blog know that we’ve had a bit more than our share of hard times, so I won’t rehash those.  Suffice to say, it’s sometimes been a challenge for us to stay hopeful, though we have remained ever thankful for our many blessings.  So, two years ago a few weeks before Christmas, when Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I said, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe some good luck?”

“I’m afraid I’m fresh out of good luck, ma’am,” said Tom.  “But how about some elf magic in the workshop?”  (As most of you know, Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man is a carpenter and handyman, and I have more than once been the lucky beneficiary of his handiwork.)

I thought for a second and said the first thing that popped into my head.  “Well, you know I’ve always wanted a star.”

We’d talked about it before.  Ever since we lived in Roanoke, Virginia, known as “Star City of the South” (because of the huge illuminated star that shines over the city from atop Mill Mountain) I’d been yearning for our own star.  But we’d had a lot on our plate since then, and there had been scant time for star building.

Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man frowned.  I could tell he had something a little more modest in mind.

I was about to tell him it was okay—something else (maybe some shelves?) would be fine, when I thought No.  A star—a big glowing, shining, radiant star—was exactly what I needed.  What we needed.  Something to remind us that there is always hope, to help us remember to always keep our eyes steadfastly on the light.

Tom sighed. “Okay…sure.”  He’d seen that look in my eyes before. “A star it is. I’d better get started.”

It took him a lot longer than he thought it would.  Stars—at least the kind that perfectionistic carpenters that take great pride in their work make—are harder than you’d think to construct.  Thank goodness we had a couple of crackerjack mathematicians in our family to consult about angles and such (Thanks, Benjamin and Cameron!)

I stayed out of Tom’s workshop in the weeks it took him to make our star because I wanted to be surprised.  I actually had no idea what it would look like, although I did know that this was not going to be some quick cardboard cutout covered with tin foil.  All I had asked was, if possible, to make it so it’d still look pretty in the daytime.  And to make it at least big enough that our neighbors could see it.  You know, in case they needed a little hope to hold onto as well.

When he brought the star out, his smiling handsome face shining right in the middle of it, I cried. It was splendid.  It was beautiful.  It was absolutely perfect.

The stars of the show! (2) (590x800)

Star Man--My hero (2) (587x800)

We got it up just in time for Christmas that year.  And after Christmas was over, we couldn’t bear to take it down.  So now it stays up year round.

We illuminate it, of course, during the Christmas season.  After all, that’s what inspired it.  The bright, shining star that led the shepherds and Wise Men to the baby Jesus is a beacon of hope and faith and salvation to many.  But we turn it on at other times, too.  It shines to show friends, traveling in the dark, the way to our home, and it glows to welcome our children back to the fold.  We turn it on to celebrate happy times and we turn it on to give solace in sad.  But mostly, it’s to inspire hope.  To help us (and perhaps others) remember that even in the gloom, there’s always a light somewhere.  To remember always to keep our eyes fixed on that light.  To remember that God is there, even when we can’t feel His presence.

And, too, when I see it, I think of who made it for me.  Anyone who’s been through extended hardship and pain will tell you that it can bring you closer to those you love, but it can also push you apart.  To be honest, it’s been a little bit of both for Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man and me.  I’m not ashamed to say that—to pretend otherwise would seem disingenuous.  Looking at the star and remembering his dear face right in the middle when I first saw it reminds me of the love that brought us together twenty-six years ago.  I know that that love is still there, even when obscured by weariness, by sadness, by pain.  Sometimes, it’s a matter of remembering and focusing on the good, on the light.  Sometimes, love (the lasting kind, that is) is a conscious and committed choice.

I say “sometimes” because, as someone who stayed longer then I should have with an abusive man, I am painfully aware that sometimes, the only healthy choice is to leave, when you can clearly see that there is no light left in your relationship.  My years with Tom have been hard in many ways, and there are cracks, but…oh!…there is so much light shining through those cracks!  And I believe that when you both choose to turn to the light and remember the good, to be generous and forgiving, love and hope can and usually will prevail—love over hate, light over darkness—shining even in the darkest night.

Bright and shining star (2) (800x600)

Captured Curiosities #1

October 30, 2012

Most of you already know that forsythia blooms in April, sending out bright yellow flowered spikes, then the green leaves turn red in fall. Ours have several yellow blooms now which contrast nicely with the purple-red leaves. Odd, but lovely, I think.

I still seem to be having a hard time expressing myself these days—not because my head is empty, but because it is too full!  But better a full head than an empty one, I suppose. :-)

Meanwhile, I thought you might enjoy the sights here at the Doublewide Ranch.  Even when I feel flattened by my own crazy thought train, I am always mindful of the loveliness of the changing seasons and the beauty of the peculiar.  By peculiar, I mean our extended warm weather, which means that zinnias, cosmos, and cleome are still blooming and that we even had fresh summer squash this week.  And snow peas!  All quite strange in almost-November, but all quite welcome just the same.  And, of course, subject to change (since I first wrote this) as it did this very morning with the coming of snow.

So I thought it’d be fun to have a new feature called “Captured Curiosities” where I share with you the things I see that might be slightly out of the norm.  No aliens, Bigfoot, or even zombies here (though if I happen to encounter them, I’ll be sure to get a shot)—just the things that surprise me and make my eyes widen in amazement or delight.

These are snowpea blossoms—we just had snowpeas for supper two nights ago. Very appropriate to show SNOWpeas because…

…alas, snow this morning shall put an end to the bright flowers and fresh vegetables in the photos above (taken only days ago). But, of course, the snow is lovely in its own cold and crystalline way.

Grateful Praise #1: Queen Anne’s Lace

October 17, 2012

Bug walking tightrope is NOT a chigger.

I really enjoyed doing Thirty Days of Grateful Praise, and some of you seemed to fancy it as well.  So I’ve decided to make it a regular feature (called simply “Grateful Praise”), except this time, I’ll take it one day at the time. :-)  I don’t find it difficult at all to find things I’m grateful for—-every single day, it seems, I see something ordinary with fresh eyes and recognize how blessed I am.

It’s been a wonderful year here at the Doublewide Ranch for Queen Anne’s Lace.  I’ve always loved this commonplace flower (which some unenlightened souls call a weed), but have taken particular notice this year of all the lovely forms it takes throughout its long growing season. It’s been a delightful distraction in my daily walk down the driveway to fetch the mail.  It’s pretty obvious from my pictures, I suppose,  why some call it “bird’s nest.”  Growing up, I heard folks call it “chigger weed” because they claimed it was chock-full of chiggers, but I think as long as you don’t loll about in a large field of Queen Anne’s Lace, you’ll be okay.

When looking for poems about Queen Anne’s Lace, I found a poem that wasn’t specifically about the flower, but I liked it so much that I decided to include it here.   It could almost be a poem about me, except for the “long after midnight” part.  I’m an “early-to-rise” girl, for certain, up at the crack of dawn. But the part about “walking up the walk Like a woman in a dream”(people used to call me a “dreamy” child and I don’t think they meant it as a compliment) and leaving the clover and Queen Anne’s Lace standing when mowing…well, I’m afraid that’s right on target. :-)

PORTRAIT BY A NEIGHBOR

Before she has her floor swept
Or her dishes done,
Any day you’ll find her
A-sunning in the sun!

It’s long after midnight
Her key’s in the lock,
And you never see her chimney smoke
Till past ten o’clock!

She digs in her garden
With a shovel and a spoon,
She weeds her lazy lettuce
By the light of the moon.

She walks up the walk                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Like a woman in a dream.
She forgets she borrowed butter
And pays you back in cream!

Her lawn looks like a meadow,
And if she mows the place
She leaves the clover standing
And the Queen Anne’s lace!

Edna St. Vincent Millay

478 Words About Why I Can’t Write

October 11, 2012

Several weeks ago, I read Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, a memoir by Anna Quindlen, a well-known journalist, columnist, and novelist.  As I always do with a library book (since I don’t have to decide whether or not to buy it), I waited until I’d finished it to read the reviews on Amazon.  I like reading reviews after I’ve read a book.  Sometimes, it’s a little like being a fly on the wall at a book club, and reading other’s thoughts on a book often gives me insight or clarity that I’d earlier lacked.  Besides, if I read them before, it can color my own opinion.

I liked the book quite a lot and was amazed—since our lives are so radically different—at how many of her reflections and observations I could relate to.  She’s famous.  She’s wealthy (with a “summer” house).  She’s well-educated.  She’s had a pretty easy life.  I’m not.  I’m not.  I’m not.  And I haven’t.   Nevertheless, I found myself smiling and nodding in recognition a lot as I read.

So, I was very surprised to read so many negative reviews (although there were lots of folks that felt as I did).  I was struck by how many people seemed to feel that her life of privilege rendered her incapable of relating to ordinary people and that ordinary people would be incapable to relating to her life.  I can say that as a very ordinary person myself, I didn’t feel that way at all.  And since she lives a life of fame and privilege, I don’t find it particularly surprising that she writes from that perspective.

But the thing that struck me most was how many people said that the writing was “egocentric” and “self-centered.”  One person said that it was all about “me, me, me.”

People.  Hello??  It is a MEMOIR.  It’s supposed to be about me, me, me!  (Or in this case, her, her, her.)

Anyway, for some reason reading all those negative reviews made me think about my recent Thirty Days of Grateful Praise.   I started wondering just how many people might have thought that about my writing.  That is, that there is too much “Me, me, me” on my blog.

This notion, of course (since I am a ridiculously neurotic person and have felt particularly neurotic lately), sent me into a state of being unable to write anything on my blog.  Hence, the lengthy blog silence. I do apologize.

So…haha…I have just written over 400 words to tell you that I can’t write.  Only to discover, to my surprise, that perhaps I can.

Nevertheless.   I WAS going to simply post photos of the last month here at the Doublewide Ranch, so even though I’ve now written more than 450 words, I’ll post the photos anyway.  Then, there will be 6,478  words.

Yes, I know.  As we say here in the South, I’m a mess.  :-)

(30) Thirty Days of Grateful Praise: You

July 31, 2012

These springtime bluets seemed to be growing right out of the rock. They look delicate, but they are tough little buggers.

If you click on my “About” link, you’ll see where I mention that I started my blog in 2007, in part, as an attempt to re-awaken my muse.  Going through repeated hardships can sure suck the juice out of you, and that’s pretty much what happened to me—my well of inspiration went bone dry.  The last straw was when my abusive ex-husband’s third wife contacted me out of the blue in late 2006 and asked if I’d help her.  I must admit—I didn’t want to do it, but I did because they had a six-year-old son together, and he was the one who was suffering most.

Helping her (and she was a lovely person) was even more intense and difficult than I thought it would be.  I relived not only my own abuse, but I heard of the egregious lies he had told about me.  I don’t know why the outrageousness of his lies surprised me—I certainly knew he was capable of it—but it did.  It seems I am constantly blindsided by the depth of meanness that people are capable of.  I never seem to learn.

Anyway, I’m not sorry I did what I did because she finally found the courage to leave him, and she and her son are doing very, very well now.   But going through that, on top of everything else, somehow killed the spark in me.   My creative spirit was a dried husk of a thing.  So I decided to start a blog, hoping that being forced to write often might squeeze out whatever juice was left.

And it did.  I learned that I could write, that my muse was only sleeping, not dead, and that there were people who actually wanted to read what I wrote.  Imagine that!   But even better, I’ve made connections through my blogging that have helped to sustain me—in so many ways.  Your kind words not only have given me more confidence in my writing, they have restored some of my faith in the goodness of people.  And, oh! how I needed that.

So…thanks, y’all.  Thanks especially to those who have stuck by me as my family has gone through yet more hardships—your kind comments have meant a great deal.   And I’m thankful, too, to those who read before, even if they no longer do. It’s always difficult to know why folks stop reading your blog, but I’ll have to say that I’ve grieved every reader I have lost, because I do think of y’all as friends.  But no hard feelings—I know they had their reasons and I respect that.

But my heartfelt thanks to you, dear friends, who continue to read my rambling, raving, and ranting writing.   And who put up with silly puns and possibly excessive alliteration. :-) To y’all—who continue to help me believe both in myself and in the kindness of people.  I am deeply grateful for you.

(29) Thirty Days of Grateful Praise: Happenstance Flowers

July 30, 2012

Zinnias, cosmos, garden phlox, morning glories, and even a little cleome that hasn’t bloomed yet

It’s probably pretty obvious that I love flowers.   So much so that I’m willing to endure the inevitable pain that comes from the bending, kneeling, pushing, pulling work that gardening requires.  However, because of that pain, I do tend to choose flowers and shrubs that are easy to grow and that require a minimum of upkeep—flowers that aren’t particular.   In other words, I like hardy, sturdy plants that take care of themselves, blooms that don’t expect to be coddled.  Here at the Doublewide Ranch, we expect plants to pull their own weight.

So I have a particular fondness for plants that self-sow, flowers that toss their seeds extravagantly to the wind—-botanical spendthrifts.  And so it is around our place.  I have pots and flowerboxes that I merely have to water and occasionally fertilize because the flowers perennially reseed themselves.  Every single one of the flowers in these pictures were accidental blossoms.  The zinnias in the top picture I did round up and corral into the bed on the right after they ran amok in the walkway.

This always seems miraculous to me, although I know it can be rationally and scientifically explained.  Doesn’t matter.  Sometimes it’s enough to just to revel in the wonder of it and to be thankful.  I am so grateful for my lovely, self-sowing, fortuitous, happenstance flowers.

Good ol’ reliable petunias—these self sow every year.

These cleome grew right in the middle of the path. We were happy to step around them.


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