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E l s a

Elsa Abed 2

 

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Rhody in Bloom 2 Window

Thirty years ago we planted a baby Rhododendron at our new home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.   It was a house warming gift from our friends, Terry and Barbara.  Barbie did all the work too and she has a magic touch in the garden because our Rhody grew and grew, and her saucer sized flowers stunned all visitors.

Note:  I did prune her once and as if in protest there were no flowers for several years.  

But she grew and grew and grew some more.

And this year she bloomed again foor the first time in a long time (see photo above)!

But Rhody was suddenly enormous!

She reached the roof of the house and spread out to cover two windows.

That was when Bill said, “She needs to be pruned.”  “No,” I cried, “She will not flower again for years.”  Then Bill left it to me, but the seeds of doubt were planted.

I literally lost sleep over the decision but finally got enough courage to begin to cut.  “Just a little here and there,” I thought.

I think I cut too much.

I am so sad and so sorry.

Do you think I killed Rhody?

Rhody Pruned

Suitcse

I used to travel for work.  It was exciting to accompany groups on international tours.

But when Bill and I retired to the joys of a quiet country life I vowed to curtail roaming.

The travel fever had subsided after eight years of tours.   Flying became challenging instead of an adventure, crowded instead of elegant,  uncomfortable instead of fun.  And our international tours were fraught with the anxiety of pleasing 25+ people at a time.

“Enough was enough,” as Dad used to say.  It was time to stay home.

The urge to travel afar did not plague me for years.

But now there is a strange compulsive need to discover and collect travel accessories!

Where other folks love fashion catalogs, or gardening issues, or even food catalogs, I love TRAVEL THINGS!  Not PLACES you know – THINGS.    I literally “pour” over all the travel catalog treasures:

  1. mix and match wrinkle free outfits,
  2. ideas for minimizing packing,
  3. under-seat carry-ons,
  4. travel soaps,
  5. jet lag help,
  6. sleep masks,
  7. first aid kits,
  8. packing cubes
  9. clotheslines to string up in hotel bathrooms,
  10. blankets,
  11. pillows
  12. air purifiers,
  13. collapsible mirrors,
  14. sample size detergents, and
  15. the whole range of THINGS to make travel less cumbersome, sleeker, easier to manage, safer, more comfortable, and organized.

Even articles about how to be away from home for a month with one carry-on have my full attention.

Oh, the temptations there are in direct mail catalogs, newsletter articles, travel blogs, and even invasive social media advertisements.

With instant take-off in mind,  I started a real collection that is taking up space in the closet (I am READY!):

  • A passportwallet that is positively amazing for all it will hold and ease of access.
  • Shoe bags that do double duty holding slippers and shoes or socks and shoes, or  other things besides shoes.
  • A drawstring makeup bag. Open it up and see all your cosmetics spread out (no digging).
  • Oblong packing cylinders (don’t ask me to describe what these are for because I am not sure)
  • A valet tray with snap up corners. Snap the corners, and it becomes a walled tray for keys, watch, change, etc. Unsnap and it lies flat at the bottom of your luggage.
  • A mini umbrella and a foldable reversable raincoat.
  • Neon colored luggage straps for easy identification.
  • A collapsible water bottle.

The collection keeps growing and it will one day soon be ready to go.

And surely there will be another day when the urge to roam will take over.

Will the travel things I thought were perfect actually work?

Will the odds and ends necessities come in handy?

Will I be able to find what I need when I need it?

The question now is where in the morass should I pack my toothbrush?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mack Grad 2 w Cork

Corky and Mack

My son is here visiting after the great graduation celebration.  It is always wonderful to see him because he lives so far away in California.

This visit is extra special  though –  1) because of the graduation, and 2) because we saw all three grandgirls, 3) because Corky extended his stay and we can catch up on his life, and 4) because he is so darned helpful.

All in the space of a few days:

  • He moved umbrellas  and heavy pots to get us ready for summer.
  • He added a music app to our computers and phones.
  • He helped his Dad with technical things in the car.
  • He found us a highly recommended Handy Man.
  • He solved the problem of stink bugs in the tractor gas tank. (How did they get in there anyway?)
  • He installed dark blinds in the guest bedroom so guests can sleep longer now.
  • And more.

He is our pride and joy anyway, but this visit has to be marked down as special and this is our way of saying “Thank you son.  We love you.”

 

 

 

Grand Grad

Congratulations Mackenzie!

We are so proud of you.

Our youngest grand is graduating from college!

She is a beauty and as smart, sweet and kind as she is beautiful.

Mack Graduates JMU

 

 

Beauty and the Beast

There is a tree I love.

Most of the year it is a little spindly tree,  hardly recognizable and often mistaken for a common weed.

Then Spring arrives and the flowers of this tree are like decorative trimming on a fantastical wedding cake.

The metamorphasis happens right after Forsythia blooms here in Virginia.  A cloud of pink begins to line the roadsides.  And suddenly there are sparkling pathways of brilliant pink for miles around.

I think this is a special time when nature is transformational and with its magic wand,  even a frog can become a prince.

Beauty and the Beast

Cercis canadensis, Eastern Redbud

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Copious clusters of fabulous pink to fuchsia flowers hug bare branches in early spring giving way to heart-shaped leaves. This Pea family member often grows as an understory tree in mixed forests in the Mid-Atlantic Region* from southern Pennsylvania through Virginia. The Virginia Native Plant Society named Eastern Redbud as Wildflower of the Year for 2013.

Print Version: Cercis canadensis, Eastern Redbud

 

Elsa

Our little dog, Elsa, is not as little as she was when we got her.

I knew she was chunkier.  I had a feeling you know.

And of course, some signs are clear.

It was a very stormy night here in Virginia, and Elsa is terrified of storms.

My first clue that she had gained weight was the “thunder shirt” I got her didn’t fit anymore.  I couldn’t get the velcro closure to close around her tummy.

Thunder shirts are supposed to feel like swaddling and hopefully calm the jitters.

When Elsa is really frightened she looks for a close covered shelter where she can go to shake and shiver.

During one previous storm I had to laugh when she literally flattened herself out and slithered under our bed.  That was when we first got her.  After the storm of course, she slithered herself back out.  I called that acrobatic maneuver The Return-Slither.

Well,  last night, when I was all tucked in and ready for a long sweet sleep, there was a thunderstorm. And this time, sans Thunder Shirt, she needed an escape cave – fast! 

Once again Elsa slithered under the bed.  Unfortunately, I never saw or heard her emerge, even when the storm was over.

There were subtle movements like maybe she was trying though, like the bed kind of heaved.  And then I thought I could feel her trying to turn around under there.

Was Our Dog Stuck Under the Bed?

  • Oh No!  Had Elsa gained so much weight she couldn’t slither back out?
  • I agonized over what to do.  
  • Would Elsa have to spend the night in the dark?
  • I lay there imagining.  Was she frightened?  Could she breathe under there?  Did she feel abandoned?
  • And I lay Sleepless in Virginia, imagining the worst,  and plagued by worry for hours and hours..
  • I couldn’t call to her or I would wake Bill.
  • I dozed and woke and dozed and woke.

Finally at 3AM I thought I heard a little cry so I jumped up, got a flashlight, and determined to wake Bill to help me lift the bed off our poor littlechubby Elsa.

But she was up and out.

Elsa had managed the Return-Slither.

It must have been a struggle though.

And Elsa is now on a diet.

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