Saturday, June 30, 2012

"There Ain't No Cure for the Summertime Blues"

Eddie Cochran had a hit with this song in the late 1950's. Eddie was born in Albert Lea, MN, about 12 miles north of my hometown of Emmons, MN. Tonight is Borderfest in Emmons, and for my readers attending tonight, have fun and I'll try to make it next year. I didn't find out about Borderfest until 6:00 pm tonight.

Anyway, Eddie was wrong. Spending time with my sisters-in-law today was a cure for the blues. Thank you, Suzy and Julie, for sharing your scarce free time with me today. I wish you knew how much it brightened my day, and I hope I brightened your days a bit, too. It was the first Saturday I did not go into the office since Memorial Day. I'm sure I'll pay for it come Monday.

We got to visit Carver Country Flowers and Gifts this morning. If you're in the area, stop in! And kindly support Annette and Al in the Mission: Small Business grant initiative. Afterwards, we got to visit my father-in-law for an hour. Their shop is also on Facebook (Julie, you were asking about this earlier).

I set out the Japanese beetle traps and am getting some of the vile creatures contained. Instead of using the rather expensive disposable bags, I modified mine to use the top portion of the bag, a sprinkler system hose coupler, and some one liter Powerade bottles. The top of the bag is attached to the top half of the coupler with a couple zip ties, and the bottom half of the coupler is set through a hole I drilled in the Powerade bottle cap. The bottle contains a few drops of Apple Fresh Dawn dish soap in 8 oz. of water. One the critters slide through the bag into the bottle, there is no escape. I dump the water every other day.

Despite the mosquitoes, I managed to pick a little over a pint of berries tonight. The dry spell is slowing down the berry production. There are a couple chances for rain this week, so I'm going to let nature do the watering for me.

I hope everyone is having good weather. Enjoy some quality time with your spouse, significant other, or kids tonight.

Today's berry harvest.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Blackberries, raspberries and flowers

I'm trying to figure out where the past nine days have gone. I know work has consumed a goodly portion of it. The one nice thing about gardening is seeing all the changes that occur on different timelines. I'm already picking blackberries and raspberries and my green beans are flowering. The Japanese beetles are dining on the roses, but their numbers are down considerably from this time last year. I didn't get a chance to lay down Grub-X this year, but maybe the drought last summer thinned the herd. This is the only time of the year I tolerate crows. They love eating Japanese beetles and their larvae. I wish the squirrels and chipmunks would acquire the same taste.

I picked up lures for my Japanese beetles traps and will get the traps set out tomorrow. I think there are about two pints of raspberries to pick. The false sunflowers, blanket flowers, bachelor's buttons and catmint around the mailbox are all in bloom now. On the south side of the garage, the various yarrow are in bloom, including a couple colors I know we didn't plant. All the clematis are blooming, but it looks like I lost a hardy hibiscus after eight years, and the Russian sage looks like it is on its last legs after almost 13 years. There has been just enough rain lately to keep the tamarisk loaded with its tiny pink flowers, but not enough to sustain the mosquito population. I think that's a pretty good balance.

It's been warm, but the humidity has not been as beastly oppressive as a couple weeks ago. It appears we're in for a stretch of upper 80's to mid-90's for the next week with only a couple chances of rain. Of course that will be the day I decide to get the car washed.

Tomorrow will be the first Saturday since Memorial Day weekend I have not had to go into the office. I'm hoping to have a couple more weekends like that before the next crunch kicks in.

Try to brighten someone else's day when you can! Thank you for your time, and have a wonderful evening.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

First day of summer, 2012

It's 2012, not 2013. Sorry, Dana, you're not 20 yet!

Today saw a little rain this afternoon and evening. I saw a weak double rainbow tonight. The inner rainbow was nice and strong, the outer one fairly weak. The last double rainbow I saw was when Lucy and I were returning from her mother's funeral last August. Lucy liked rainbows.

The rainy weather here is hatching two unfortunate crops: mosquitoes and Japanese beetles. I'll have to find time this weekend to set out the Japanese beetle traps. I know I'll be putting in some time Saturday at work.

So there was no pot of gold at the end of tonight's rainbow, but it did bring back some nice memories of Lucy and me looking out the window at rainbows. She would smile when seeing one. I hope you had a chance to smile tonight, too.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

I've been battling some sort of stomach bug for the past four days and I'm still putting in a bit of overtime at work. So to my father and father-in-law, your Father's Day cards will be a day or two late. To the both of you, thank you for all your support and patience. It has made me a better person.

I'm starting to figure out some of the concepts of the various technologies, but it's been a slow process. It's frustrating because I usually pick up programming languages and other technologies very quickly. I'm looking at the process as "short term pain for long term gain". The questionable part is defining "short term".

We're out of the monsoon season, but we are still getting enough rain so that I have not had to water anything but the pansy bowl in front and the impatiens in back. The mini glads have shot out of the ground, the daliahs and cannas are over a foot tall, and the mystery delphinium I moved earlier in the season is a deep purple. Lucy only bought true blue delphiniums so this one is courtesy of  a bird. All the shrub roses are in full bloom and the climbing rose is loaded. Lucy's lilies are looking better than ever. I'll be picking about a pint of blackberries in a couple weeks and five or six quarts of raspberries in early July. Lucy loved this time of year when everything was blooming and green. I'm sure she is happy her gardens are doing so well.

For those of you who can, give your father (or father figure) a big hug today. Trust me, they earned it!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Two months

Today marks two months since Lucy's passing.

It was another long day at work, and the indications are this is not going to get better for the next month.

Suzy was over tonight to pick up some magazines. It was nice seeing a friendly face today.

Happy birthday to Ardelle tomorrow.

Give your loved ones a hug tonight and make the hug meaningful.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get

Benjamin Franklin has wanted "Tempus Fugit" (time flees) as the motto of the united States, and had that motto placed on some of the Continental Congress coinage. Working extra hours shortens my week, of course. I swear about the time Silverlight starts making sense something else throws me for a loop. I know my brain is not functioning at anywhere near 100% which isn't helping. I keep blanking out on stuff that I know.

Minnesota Oncology sent a sympathy card that arrived on Monday. The post office screwed up delivery. It was very nice of them to do that. Lucy and I knew she got the best possible care from them.

There were three birthdays, Jane on the 6th, John on the 7th and Julie on the 8th that I haven't properly acknowledged. Happy belated birthday to each of you.

The flower gardens are hitting their stride. I need to get a few more photos in the photo gallery. The Asian lilies are spectacular this year and the ancient and sickly peony actually bloomed. It looks like I'll get a pretty good crop of blackberries and raspberries and the string beans I am growing in containers on the deck look to be setting flower buds. Now that the monsoon season has ended, the lawn doesn't require twice per week mowing.

Lucy would be happy with the increased number of monarchs I am seeing. Monarchs had a huge population crash several years ago when a large wintering area for them got unseasonably cold and killed a few billion of them. The dragonflies are really busy and I'm seeing sphinx moths which almost look like hummingbirds. I have not seen a hummingbird yet this year, but I'm sure they are out there.

Wednesday will be two months since Lucy's passing. In some ways, it doesn't seem like it's been that long, yet in other ways, it seems like two million years.

The weather has cooperated nicely for the Twin Cities area as of late. It sounds like tomorrow night could bring some rain and possibly a few storms our way. The air conditioner has been getting a workout lately, too.

Give our loved ones a hug tonight and make it meaningful. You may be surprised at how much a good hug is appreciated, especially when they go from plentiful to scarce.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Today would have been our 24th anniversary

Our wedding day was unseasonably hot and the area was in a dry spell. June 4th is supposed to be around 77 for the high. I think we hit 94 that day, and we had an outdoor wedding. Despite people almost passing out from the heat and my brother Robert with a very painful sunburn, it was a perfect day.

Today went better than I thought it would. Reading everyone's comments before heading to work helped so much. Last night was actually tougher. Thank you everyone for thinking of me!

I left work at 4:30 (I was in at 6:15 this morning) and went to the cemetery to visit Lucy. The cemetery was supposed to have flowers placed for her today. I filled the paperwork out in late April, so they had their requisite one week advance notice. No flowers. Cub Foods is about two miles away, so I went there and picked up a nice summer arrangement. Lucy enjoyed monarch butterflies in our backyard, so finding this bouquet was perfect. One of my (numerous) quirks is when I would get flowers for Lucy, I ensured that at least part of the arrangement was something we did not have in our gardens. The Gerber daisies fit that criteria. I sent a fax to the cemetery asking what happened and insisting on a refund.

It's about 6:20 pm CDT as I write this, which is the earliest I have managed a posting since I started work (at least on a weekday). Thank you again for thinking of me today! I wish I could adequately express how much it helps.

The last minute bouquet from Cub Foods (the monarch is a decoration, not a real one).

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thank God for friends

I had a really great Memorial Day weekend. The work week got long. I like the company, I like my co-workers, my bosses are great, but we're on a very aggressive product timeline and I'm trying to contribute without slowing everyone else down. I spent seven hours in the office Saturday to get as much behind schedule stuff done as I could. I've learned quite a bit of stuff these past three weeks, but I have only begin to scratch the surface. For a new hire to be successful, you have to endure some short-term pain to get long-term gain.

Today was an example of where friends come in. I got to catch up a bit during a large landscaping job with a friend I hadn't seen in about fifteen years, though we've exchanged emails and IMs through the years. It's funny how we picked up as if the last time we had seen each other was last week. That's the most wonderful part about long-time friends. Thanks, Kell! It was nice meeting her husband, Darren, and seeing her daughter, Amanda, too.

Tomorrow is going to be a tough day. It would have been our 24th wedding anniversary. I'll be going to work tomorrow and start hammering away on a fairly complex project I'm a week behind on. It sounds like thunderstorms are forecast for tomorrow afternoon and evening, so I might not get to the cemetery, either. Lightning seems to like the cedar trees near Lucy's grave. I think she'd rather wait for me to join her from natural causes rather than from ten billion joules running through me (and yes, I had to Google that piece of trivia). We normally would go to Don Pablo's or Romano's Macaroni Grille for dinner, especially since our anniversary falls on a weekday and we both have to get up early the day after. My guess is many people thought we were a boring couple, but we enjoyed spending time together. That was our gift to each other: time spent together. It meant more than anything we could buy. We had to share our week with work, but we tried to spend as much time together during our weekends. They were precious to us.

It's been nearly two months since Lucy died. I know I'm slowly healing and I hope the others who love her are feeling some healing, too. She was a very special woman. As I wrote in her eulogy, it took time for me to get the courage to ask her out. The more I got to know her, the more it seemed right. I wanted to be sure that I wasn't getting my hopes up only to find she didn't feel the same towards me as I did towards her. It seriously damaged a wonderful friendship decades ago when I saw what I wanted to believe, and I didn't want to go through that again.

Perhaps that's why I remember so many seemingly trivial details about our relationship. Our first kiss took awhile because I didn't want to mess up a good thing. I could see how happy she was when we were together and it took a bit to be sure I was the one making her happy. So much for my above average observation powers, eh? I believe that no opportunity should be wasted, but some opportunities require more care than others, none moreso than l'affaires de cœuer. (If I butchered the French, it's been about 35 years since I ran through a French Berlitz class. My Spanish and Latin and slipping badly and I have totally forgotten what little Norwegian and Danish I knew.)

I'm grateful for those of you who read this blog. I have no idea what the future holds for me. Some of you have lost a spouse and have found love again. Perhaps that is in my future, but Lucy will always be special to me no mater what. Some of you are in long term relationships and/or marriages, and my hope is your happily ever after lasts for many more years. Others are battling health issues, or being a caregiver for a loved one, with a great deal of dignity, good humor, and courage, and I hope your battle is fought on your terms. Some of you have loved ones serving in the military and are enduring a long separation, and I hope your loved one returns safely so you can keep going with your happily ever after.

The common thread is that love gets us through life. Love is a priceless blessing that someone shares with you. I find inspiration, strength, peace and hope in each of you. Thank you for sharing that with me.