Monday, May 28, 2007

Can you believe I am up and Steve is still asleep? Actually not so surprising considering all the yard work he did yesterday. Sophie came in with her soft meows around 6:30 since Daddy had been home for 2 days so that meant it must be a day for him to go to work. I didn't fall back to sleep but he went back to snoring almost immediately. So now we are out in the living room in the recliner with a heating pad on my hip and with Sophie as a purring cat fur ruff. :-)

I did yard work too - hauling the rock Steve dug out of the front yard "pit" we made for Baby Blue, a little blue spruce tree. (I name everything and plants do need to be talked to - it encourages growth.) Steve dug up chunks of brick along with the rock, as builders are not known for cleaning up after themselves. He dug through very hard clay soil and lots of rock to make a hole big enough for Baby Blue. So I hauled planters full of rock and junk across the street and down an incline to the little run-off area that is all rocky anyway. Then I watered and talked to the bushes and flowers in our beds. We also bought a couple of wild strawberry plants that have wonderful runners but do not bear fruit (darn!), a couple of smaller plants Steve picked out that I can't remember the name of, and a plum tree for the front large bed. They are in their spots, watered, but still need to be transplanted. While reading through the bed/container gardening magazine I bought during out endless waiting in Home Depot I realized the "unique" hosta I have been babying is a weed! So is the shamrock looking plant, which the magazine said is one of the prettiest weeds, but still a weed. Hmmm - maybe I can do a weed garden! I seem to be doing well keeping them alive. I have a couple other varieties of flowers weeds in there too. Let's just say I did not inherit my mom's green thumb, but I do love plants and flowers. Sadly, I know next to nothing about the ones that grow in Kentucky flower beds. I just thought they were perennials the builder put in. So, it will be off to B&N before long to find a book on Kentucky gardening!

The exciting news is we bought lilacs! :-) Steve did get the pit dug for the larger lavender one next to the back deck, but we had used all the top soil for Baby Blue so the lilac is still in the pot in the hole. Haven't named her yet. She has one large fragrant blossom already, which made me miss my parents. Dad seemed to know when the first blooms came out anywhere in Point Mills and off we would go to pick a bouquet for Mom. He took great pleasure in being the one to find the first lilacs blooming, the first arbutus, and the first wild strawberries. And I took great pleasure in bursting into the kitchen, smelling of homemade bread and whatever else Mom was baking on her wood stove, with an armload of blooming lilacs. We stopped for lunch yesterday with the plants in the car and when we got back in it smelled of lilacs and I was transported back to my childhood for just a moment as I breathed in the smell I so love and means home to me. I didn't realize what a Northern plant a lilac is until I read White Lilacs by Caroline Meyer, in which a white lilac means as much to an African American family in Dillon, TX (really Denton, TX as this book is based on a piece of history that Denton and Texas Woman's University should hardly be proud of) as the lavender lilac tree in our front yard meant to me growing up. I love the cover of the new paperback edition A black girl holds a tiny lilac plant in her hand. Lilacs do not typically grow in hot climates as they need a hard freeze and those that do often do not bloom. But, after living in Denton, TX and slip-sliding my way to classes at TWU, both on foot and via car, I can say it gets cold enough to freeze! Teenage Rosa Lee's family has a white lilac bush that does thrive and bloom in Freedomtown, the black area of Dillon/Denton, which is about to be turned into a park and the families who live there forced to relocate to a swampy area outside of Denton. I was in my PhD program at TWU when this book was published and Caroline Meyer came to campus and spoke to a predominantly black audience about the difficulties she encountered during her research for this book and the sad fact that there is just a plaque in the ground in the city park where Freedomtown once stood. The story of this sad historical event is told through the eyes of Rosa Lee and her family. A wonderful book and I always have a copy in my collection. I gave my signed copy to Mary. The sequel Jubilee Journey has also recently been reprinted in pbk. and is told from the point of view of Rose Lee's great granddaughter Emily Rose, who has grown up in affluent bi-racial family living in Connecticut where racism isn't an issue in her private school. She learns from experience and the stories her great grandmother tells during her visit to Dillon just how different things are in Dillon, TX, both today and in the past. A real eye-opener! Meyer is best known for her tween/teen the Young Royals historical fiction series as well as other YA historical fiction titles such as Loving Will Shakespeare, but I am partial to her contemporary titles, including the 1995 Drummers of Jericho, which addresses prejudice and the issues of church vs. state. Pazit, fresh from a year in a kibbutz, leaves liberal Denver to live with her father and his new family in a "Bible belt" suburban town where the marching band director is insisting they play hymns at the games. When Pazit refuses to be part of the band's forming a cross during half-time at the football game, she finds out just how outsiders in these small towns can be treated. If you have not read any Caroline Meyer, visit her books - wonderful all the way around and very teen and tween friendly. Where the Broken Heart Still Beats: The Cynthia Ann Parker Story is beloved by many and a heartbreaking read. Captured at age 9, Cynthia Ann is the wife of a Comanche chief when she is "rescued" and returned, against her will, to the settlement. This one came to mind as Steve and I watched Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee last night. The tears rolled down my cheeks as I watched the movie based on the book in which Dee Brown documents the horrific manner in which the Native Americans were treated from 1860 - 1890. I read it when it came out back in the mid 1970s, but I was too young and lived in such an insular environment it didn't mean much to me then. I need to read it again. Aidan Quinn plays the Senator who truly believes he is helping the Indians. He had his agent ask if he could play a role in this movie as the book had affected him so deeply. It shows in his performance that he knows this "story" well.

Steve just came through grumbling and mumbling. I think he is more than a bit sore and he is off to the golf course later this morning. All that walking will loosen him up a bit. I'll have the house to myself! :-) The other day, on one of our nursery trips to look at plants, he took me through the new subdivision going in on the golf course they play on. Good grief! We couldn't afford one of the garages on the houses. One of the houses has 5 garages and the covered multi-level balconies in the back make it look like a fancy hotel on the golf course. Sure, I drooled over them, but I am quite content with our 3 bedroom ranch! I have no concept of having that kind of money. Ignorance is bliss! :-)

Time to go check on Steve - after a few grumbles it is quiet again. He probably went back to sleep!