Tag Archives: garden

Time Warp

We’re back from a trip to Michigan. Mom had heart surgery in Grand Rapids at the heart center, and she did so well she was out of the hospital in 48 hours! So we were able to bring her back to Kalamazoo and get her set up at home. This was really a medical miracle because she had a 6th stent put in and a new heart valve without having to undergo open heart surgery. I am not impressed easily by modern medicine (though I probably should be), but this knocked my socks off.

While she was in the hospital, the gardener and I went for a drive one day and visited both Saugatuck and Holland. We really wanted to stare at Lake Michigan, so when we saw the sign in Saugatuck we started walking.

Walking without asking. Now, mind you, I have a reconstructed foot. This was a rare surgery done because of damage by a rare tumor. So even though I almost always wear my orthotic-adorned New Balances, I never know when the foot will start to hurt like crazy and I will have to stop walking.

Before we had gone too far I asked a woman who was passing by how long the trail was. “About a half mile,” she said. “But it’s very hilly.”

Yes, ma’am, it was very hilly. But it warn’t no half mile.

I looked it up afterward. 2.5 miles each way. HEH

I was lucky that my foot didn’t seem to mind and see where we ended up.

Worth it? MUCH.

A beach and a view with very few people.

After that we drove to Holland because the gardener had an antique store to check out, and I wanted to visit Windmill Island as I had as a kid.

Back to my Dutch roots ;).

These shoes would need some magical orthotics for me to wear them haha.

We found a restaurant the gardener could eat in without worry. Celiacs note: Persian restaurants are the next best thing to completely gluten free restaurants! Usually, only the bread, desserts, and a few appetizers have gluten.

Chicken koobideh and a rice dish with barberries.

My mother looked great after her surgery, and the only real hitch was when the discharge nurse told mom she can’t drive for a certain period of time. That made her really unhappy. Next day, she said she wanted blueberries from the blueberry farm. Which, of course, was way out in the country. And we had lots of errands and chores to get her settled in. She even pouted/whined a bit. “I can’t drive myself there.” Sniff sniff.

So we took her. When I walked inside, the smell of blueberries was overpowering. She bought 5 pounds and gave my brother and sister-in-law some of them.

The blueberries seem blurry, and I don’t know why. But we also walked around the farm a bit to give mom some exercise.

Yup, that’s me driving the tractor.

Last year we had Mom’s retirement community plant a plum tree in my father’s memory. We used to have a plum tree in our backyard growing up and Dad would take a pic every so often–as it grew and as we grew. So a plum tree seemed right.

The tree is on the outskirts of a woods that abuts the retirement community. The gardener drove us in Mom’s golf cart through the woods.

When we came out of the woods we saw the beautiful gardens planted by the residents of the community. Flowers and vegetables–so lovely.

It was also my birthday on the day we took my mother home from the hospital. My uncle, my dad’s twin, did what he did last year: called to sing “Happy Birthday” to me. That’s what my father used to do every year we were apart. I love that my uncle is carrying on the tradition.

The gardener and I checked out a few of our old houses, visited his parents’ graves (Dad’s is not in town and there wasn’t time), and appreciated the wild flowers (Queen Anne’s Lace, Chicory, Day Lilies, Ironweed). We left Kalamazoo 27 years ago, and at our last house, we noticed that they still have the same drapes in the living room. That was astonishing because those drapes were actually hung 32 years ago, and they are made of massive amounts of off-white sheers. I can’t imagine them lasting this long. But what I do remember is how much work I put into designing them and finding someone to make them–and how much I loved them! I wrote a poem about them and put it in the portfolio of poems I submitted to Western Michigan University for my application to the MFA program. The last stanza goes like this:

Through shadowed glass,

with guarded eyes,

my neighbors wait

for me to swoop my fingers

through the sheer

and clutch the volume

to my chest.

The poem is called “New Drapes,” though these are far from new, and none of the neighbors could still live there any more. Just one of the many time warp experiences I had.

And so it goes.

 

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Filed under Family history, Flora, Garden, and Landscape, Food & Drink, History, Lifestyle, Liminality, Nonfiction, Sightseeing & Travel, Writing

We Stayed All Day

As I explained on Monday, 0n Memorial Day, I went with my family to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.  We spent the day there because there was so much to see.

This museum owns 207 acres.  Of those, 120 are landscaped and divided into their various botanical gardens.

In Monday’s post I showcased the cacti and succulents and some non-desert flowers.  Today I want to share more of the gardens with you.

Their Japanese garden is gorgeous and complete with a traditional Japanese house, Zen garden, and a collection of bonsai trees.

These bonsai trees are larger than the sort you usually see at a store.  These were a couple of feet tall.

After the Japanese gardens, we visited the greenhouse and saw the carnivorous plants.

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After the greenhouse, we visited the herb garden with its calming colors and fragrances.

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At the end we took pictures on the statue-bordered lawn.  Maybe you recognize it from the movie The Wedding Planner You remember what happens to one of the statues, right?

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After we left we found a Persian restaurant for dinner. Next time we go to the Huntington, I want to take tea in their tea room.  I hope the library will be open by then because, after all, it is a library ;).

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Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Photographs, Sightseeing & Travel

Why Didn’t We Go a Long Time Ago?

Over the weekend, hubby and I visited our twenty-something kids in California.  On Memorial Day, we went to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.  Although we lived for twenty years in southern Cali, this was the first time we had gone.  I wanted to see the library, which I have heard so much about.  A few of my friends worked on their dissertations there.  So many times people have urged me to visit, and I kept putting it off. Don’t procrastinate as I did.  Seize the first opportunity to visit the Huntington! A lovely time was had by all :).

The Blue Boy

The Blue Boy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unfortunately, they are working on the library this summer, and visitors were not allowed access (that will change in September).  However, they did have the Huntington collection of volumes of Darwin’s The Origin of the Species on display.  It’s hard to believe there are any others left in the world!  One row of the books wrapped around the walls of a large gallery. When we entered one of the art galleries, I spotted Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy ahead, on the far wall, and ran up to hubby, the kids, and their friends excitedly pointing out the painting.  I hadn’t realized it was at the Huntington.  We also saw Pinkie by Thomas Lawrence. Most of our day was spent in the remarkable gardens.

Sorry about the light puddles–no time for fancy stuff when strolling with the family

We saw a few peacocks at one point.  But the only other animal we saw in any quantity was the occasional small lizard.

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I hope you enjoyed the slideshow of cacti and succulents. They also had flowers which reminded me of “back east”–Michigan, Cape Cod, all my other memories from years ago.

There’s still much to share, but I’m out of time for today.  Check back later this week for more of our fun time at the Huntington.  And, yup, it definitely took me away from my writing, but it also fed my soul–and that sure helps with the writing!  Here is the link to the next post.

Every secret of a writer’s soul,

every experience of his life,

every quality of his mind

is written large in his works.

Virginia Woolf

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Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Photographs, Sightseeing & Travel