Martha Thinks

Thursday, September 30, 2010

cinderella marigolds

Ah, those who mock the marigold. The work-horse Cinderella flower of the garden. But who gets the last laugh at the end of a drought filled summer when those more fragile petunias wilt and fade under the blazing sun? The bright! orange! happy! marigold, that's who!
I do not tell a lie when I say that all of the orange in this picture is from ONE six-pack of annuals from Lowe's. So let this be a lesson for next year. I will always proudly have them in my garden ; )
And while I was at perhaps the very same shopping trip back in late May I picked up some grasses. I wanted something to cover up the bottom of the privacy fence that I had built. The little plastic card did say that they would grow to be 5 feet, but I didn't expect it in the first year. I found some wooden trellis pieces through craigslist and came away with a very custom look. All of these years of reading "Coastal Living" feel like they are paying off ; ) Now I just need the coast part, he he.
These beauties were given to me last week from a good friend for my birthday. Since I don't have a lot of experience with roses, I shall have to figure out a place of honor in the garden, for these certainly merit that.
And even in the simplest of ways, whether you are a gardener or not, plop a pot of mums in a planter and usher in this pretty season of Fall.
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Bon Voyage

We hear a lot about diversity in our world. Growing up in my town there was one African-American family and I didn't know them at all. Other than that it mostly consisted of Irish and Italian families. But over the past 20 years things have changed a lot, especially in the workplace.
Who would have thought that I would find the most diversity at my job! That I would learn so much about other cultures and their customs through selling clothing together in a department store? But indeed I have.
I had a going-away party last week for a co-worker who's husband is in the military and the family is moving to Colorado. At my house, my co-workers from Egypt, Jamaica, Africa, India, Mexico and St. John all gathered together to wish Marcia a fond farewell. The Indian women came dressed in their saris and we all got to see (and taste) their pride in cooking delicious Indian food.
When I hear the word "diversity" now I feel like I am really living and understanding it a relationship at a time, in real life, not in a sound bite on tv.
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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Just breathe....

In times of trouble, in times of stress, in times when you are not sure what the answers are, I think we forget to lean into what is the most comfortable for us. Perhaps we think too hard about stuff, looking for peace and calm way outside ourselves and our space. There's is this saying "when you don't know what to do, do what's in front of you". I like that a lot. And what's always in front of me, literally are brushes. On most countertops and desktops in my house and I even keep them in my cup holder in the car to nudge me to get back to it!
For me, art is the thing that calms me down. I am as critical as anyone about being perfect or having just the "right" tools, in this case, proper watercolor paper, the best paints, the right brushes. Of course, it's silly, it's a big fat excuse. I signed up for a watercolor class. I hemmed and hawed over how far it was from my house and all of the above. I had taken a class with this teacher before so I already knew she was great.
What I didn't expect was how this class was there waiting for me all along. The experience of painting for me - or whatever it is for you - is meditative and it's like it literally feeds a part of my brain. Does that make sense? Like I "click in" during the time I am there.
I brought some samples from my garden for inspiration. The teacher says she is using a special technique and it will take us the whole 8 weeks to finish one painting. That's cool. I'll be there.
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Snack Time

Oh, the forbidden Oreos are gone. The Vienna Fingers and Strawberry Newtons, too. We have been put on notice in this house. It's too much high fructose corn syrup and it's all adding up. So I have found quite delightful alternatives and thought I would share them.

The little chocolate squares are manufactured by Loacker and come right from Italy! They are crispy wafers and come in many different flavors such as hazelnut, vanilla, orange, etc. They offer no artificial flavors or colorants and no preservatives.

The Mi-Del Vanilla Snaps are made with organic unbleached wheat flour, organic dehydrated cane juice and contain just 6 ingredients all together. It was a little hard getting the hard core sugar out of my system (can't lie about that...). But now that I am getting a little more centered, these are a lovely alternative to the high sugar cookies. While once I may have looked on them as the poorer little sister, they now hold a place of honor in my drawer and are a great accompaniment with my other tea with lemon ; ) (thanks, Kate)
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Friday, September 3, 2010

My Yearly Sign

Oh what devilish fun I have coming up with an appropriate little rhyme for the first day of school banner. It has attracted much attention this annual event of mine. One year my sign was in the paper, this year a whole family from down the street came to take the kids picture under it for the first day of school. (this group of shorts belongs to me, however)
I always let them rip it down on the Friday after school starts. That is today! So get ready for the big tear...
crumple, crumple, crumple. We each get a laugh and a little satisfaction whether the sign is going up or down ; )
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Welcome Students

Another quick summer, another September is here! And lo and behold it is the first day of school. Some who may be entering 4th grade may not be in the mood for a photo shoot at 8 a.m. on a sweltering already 90 degree morning. But mom tries.
Seeing all of the teachers with their personalized "head of the class" signs welcoming their new kids made me realize there is nothing like the first day of school. It is the ultimate beginning for both teacher and student. It's not like a holiday concert or an assembly or a play. It's not something that can ever be repeated. It is just a day for butterflies and anticipation and hopefulness. Every parent thinks..."this will be the year that it all comes together!!"
New shoes without so much as a scuff, shiny lunch bag and lots of supplies waiting to be put away inside.
Then back down the school field, back home, off to work, minus one or two fresh faced little gals or guys. It is a new morning for all. Turn around and my youngest is starting 4th grade, turn around and my oldest is a senior in high school.

These days I can actually feel the wheel of life turning and my hope for this year is that I will not fight it so much, but be happy in the moment. Help the kids with homework and college applications, listen with "glee" to the marching band performances, enjoy the autumn and laugh at every single silly joke ; )
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