Day 9: Tulip Bulbs, Dean Koontz and Carrot Cake

After a busy weekend when we play out, Mondays always seem like I’m trying to find all the pieces of me and reassemble myself.

I woke late, went to the gym late and then planted sixty-one tulip bulbs around the gazebo. Yes, that’s a lot and my back can testify.

My sister-in-law sent me a very generous birthday gift of one hundred tulips and fifty daffodils. They arrived Friday.

I’m thrilled when I think of the beauty coming up next Spring, but now is the time to plant them while the ground is wet and the temperature mild. So I planted a little more than a third of them today and will work on planting them the rest of this week.

After I came in and showered, I put a gluten free vegan pizza in the oven for lunch and sat down to finish The Silent Corner: A Novel of Suspensethe Dean Koontz book Alan gave me for my birthday.

It wrapped up nicely, but clearly a sequel was on the way. And indeed, The Whispering Room: A Jane Hawk Novel is now available.

Jane Hawk, the protagonist, is definitely a badass, but one with a heart of gold. Everything she does is to protect her son, avenge her murdered husband and save the world. No big deal. If you like suspense novels, add this one to your list.

Next up on my fiction list is Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: Author’s Preferred Text.

My afternoon was spent sewing felt dolls and birds while watching The Tunnel on Amazon Prime.

And then it was time for carrot cake. Sarah Bakes Gluten Free is a blog filled with delicious gluten free and mostly vegan treats.

I have a friend coming over for lunch tomorrow and wanted a classic dessert to serve her. This recipe will produce a carrot cake you won’t forget. I subbed carrot for the zucchini and added 1/4 almond flour. With vegan buttercream frosting, it’s scrumptious.

What was your Monday like?

9608D85D-DBCC-4C60-A956-3A2C2378385E

 

Day 3: Walking on Sunshine

IMG_3240

One of the ways I fuel personal creativity is by immersing myself in Nature. I am fortunate to live in the middle of farm fields with hills, valleys, lake and sky out every window I look.

This morning I took a truly satisfying walk. I stepped out of the door into the cool sunny embrace of the day. I walked slowly, taking in the cornfields that the farmers have been harvesting, some already bare, some still standing. I saw the lake faraway, reassuring me that something is right in this world. The Amish farms, tidy and exuding industry and old-fashioned wholesomeness, were to my right as I walked down the hill. I could hear a killdeer shouting, crows gossiping and crickets singing a slower, cheerful early fall song. Doug the dog at the small house near the bottom of the hill stood sentinel and simply watched me. I continued carefully on by so as not to work him up. The sun warmed my right ear and my neck, the slight breeze held the edge of a chill. I remembered what my therapist told me last year: to take walks and just observe sight, sound, scent and relax into my surroundings. So I did not hurry and attempted not to think about calories burned or steps walked.

IMG_3248

In the nestle of the hollow, I heard rustling of small fauna within the shelter of the trees and breathed in the sweet scent of decaying leaves. The creek was very low, nearly dry. As I came up the hill on the other side I noticed the hay rounds had been removed. I guess I should’ve snapped a shot of them when I had the opportunity. Maybe next year. After the shade of the wooded area, the sun warmed me considerably and I pulled off my sweatshirt, slinging it around my waist. An Amish buggy approached and a young woman with sunglasses waved as she passed, her black horse carrying her away. The sound of their buggies always causes me a bit of a fright. I guess I expect the grim reaper instead of a good Amish. I chalk it up to my overactive imagination. When I reached the corner where the horses stared at me I turned and headed home.

It was as if by doing an about-face the weather changed personalities. Out of the South a strong wind blew into my face and I walked uphill with dried corn stalks flying at me as the farmers harvested.

Trying not to get bits in my eyes, I squinted against the now glaring sun and kept my mind on home. The romance from earlier had definitely flown. As I passed the lower farmhouse, Doug barked twice to let me know he wasn’t fooled by my lack of interest. At last, I hauled myself into the shade of the driveway and felt an overwhelming sense of love and gratefulness for this house that shelters me from Nature and all her moods. I was definitely ready to be productive with the rest of the day. Indoors, that is.

IMG_3241

Tell me about your walks and what they mean to you. I’d love to hear where you go and what the landscape is like where you live.

IMG_3238

The Practice of Creative Living (31 Days)

 

Finger Lakes Love

IMG_2388Do you ever take where you live for granted? I must confess–I have. Not that I ever meant to, but I allowed my thoughts, the day-to-day stresses of my little world and all the activity in my schedule to blur the beauty of my surroundings.

This year I divorced, moved to a new home, worked two different jobs and have been in the process of adjusting to a different way of living. I’ve been trying to find how to create new patterns and reestablish rituals I’ve let go or forgotten. I’ve been doing my best to keep close to my kids, see them as often as possible, communicate through text and phone when they aren’t with me and make things as alright as they can be. Every day seemed full from morning to night. Exercise, work, cooking, practicing and performing music, chores and errands, driving to pick up or drop off my daughter and spending quality time with both of my kids, with my partner and occasionally, with a friend.

The year transitioned along the usual trajectory of Winter, Spring, Summer and it is nearly Fall. I let the outdoors be outdoors, kept my head down and tried to make order, sense and stability in my days and nights.

IMG_2344

Then I injured my neck and back in early August and couldn’t start cleaning houses as I planned to do once my other job ended. But that didn’t slow me down. Rather than sit and wallow in misery, I decided to paint the kitchen. Sure, if I was smart, I would’ve heeded Alan’s advice and waited until I healed up and he could help me; but I didn’t. I pushed through and it took three long and painful weeks to finish. When I finally took myself to the doctor’s office yesterday, she said that painting hadn’t been the best idea and I needed to rest, take ibuprofen and apply heat and cold.

So now I’m in the library, sitting with an ice pack around my neck, writing and looking out the window at the sun dappled grass and the dancing trees rustled up by the never-ending wind. In a few minutes I will walk (slowly and carefully) down the road and take in the view of Cayuga Lake, the rolling corn-filled fields and the general peace of this lovely landscape. I am going to turn on my senses, be grateful and love the place where I live.

IMG_2889