Is is June yet? YES!!!

Day One of summer vacation arrived with the theme song to “Rocky” ba-bum-bum-bum-bumming in my head.  I awoke to Harper running into our room, “PopPop, when you are finished sleeping, will you get up and make me some sausage?”  We had to get up anyway because it’s cleaning day and we had not tidied before going to bed.  Up and at ’em…before my first cup of coffee, I was showered, had towels chugging in the washer, and the bath and bedroom tidied.  Meanwhile, John was prepping the kitchen for a good cleaning by fixing pancakes and sausage. (Could be worse, he could have made bacon.)

During the school year, tidying means leaving the house so that police would not consider it a crime scene.  Come summer, a voice in the recesses of my brain reminds me that I take pleasure in a beautiful and orderly home.  So this morning, with “Rocky” thumping in my head, Harper leaping around the house, and caffeine finally coursing through my veins, the little voice was shouting to be heard.  Each act of tidying revealed something else that needed to be dealt with.  Summer was not off to a very relaxing beginning.

Ah…but by 10 a.m. I was ready to sit on the porch with my second cup of coffee.  Shelley and Harper were off to playgroup.  John went to Tractor Supply.  I had the house to myself.  One final act remained to make the tidy house ready…some fresh cut flowers.  Away with the fake daffodil in the bathroom.  Today called for arrangements of carnation, chamomile, fennel, and thyme.  In the bedroom, my great-grandmother’s juice glass added an heirloom touch of elegance to the garden herbs.  I placed the flowers next to DoodaBear, a teddy bear made from my grandmother’s fur coat.  Together, the freshness of the flowers and the tradition of the glass and the bear made me feel content and grounded.  What more could I ask from Day One of summer?


Smelling the roses…

Oakleaf hydrangea

“Life comes at you fast.”  We all love those insurance commercials because we could all have our turn starring in one.  Sometimes it even involves a big insurance claim, like for my daughter who recently went through labor with their first child while her husband dealt with a massive basement disaster.  Other times, we get caught up in the tornado twists of just living–there’s no insurance check for that one.

Saturday was a catch up day for me.  Ah…a day at home and all was calm.  It was a day to (a) stop and smell the roses or (b) do all the things I have not gotten around to because I’ve been busy.  Well, since I do not actually have any roses, that presented a logistical problem for option A.  Option B was overwhelming enough to send me into paralysis mode.  I  decided to follow the advice someone gave me years ago when I was in overload:  Don’t do anything unless it makes you happy.  Ok, this is not a mantra for all of life, but it is pretty helpful at keeping me from shut-down mode.


Since I have no roses (note to self:  buy some roses), I decided to just walk around the property, take stock of what was going on out there, and enjoy what I could.  There was a lot to enjoy.  In front of the house, the laurel are blooming like never before.  In the herb garden, big beautiful clusters of chamomile pick up the flowering where the sage blossoms left off, and feathery fennel fronds tickle my legs as I walk by.  In the back, the hydrangea bushes are preparing another stunning display.  It made me happy.

Mountain laurel

The rains of May have produced lush growth.  It’s looking more jungle-like than usual for June.  The weeds are very happy.  The weeds threaten to overwhelm everything, including me.  I chose to focus on the lettuce beds.  It would be nice to know what really is in my salad.  I pulled weeds until I had nice neat rows and my back was telling me to quit.  Then I took a water break in the lounge chair until raindrops shooed me indoors.

A rain shower is the perfect time to sit on the screen porch.  Unless it is covered in pollen.  Since it would make me happy to sit on the porch if the porch were clean, I wrapped a kerchief around my face and got to work.  I swept the screens. I swept the floor.  I swept and washed the tables and chairs.  All the while I thought of the bunny we used to have.  Lucy lived on the porch and in spring would hop around in circles mopping up the pollen while her feet turned green.    I appreciated her effort, even if she didn’t know she was making one.  She was just happy to hop around the porch.

Now that my porch is clean, I can stop and smell…oh, raindrops on fresh-cut grass,  citronella candles keeping the mosquitos away, hamburgers on the grill.  This was a day where a to-do list would have backfired on me and I would have accomplished nothing.  Giving myself permission to do nothing resulted accomplishing more than I expected.